• Kyle Shiells, Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba

    April 18
    12 p.m. - 1 p.m.
    The Glue That Binds Us

  • As this is the last Indigenous Scholars Speaker series until September this will be a hybrid session. Please join to share some Bannock while enjoying the featured April presenter Kyle Shiells. As space is limited please RSVP Danielle.Lang@umanitoba.ca to reserve your in person spot. A calendar invite will be shared at that time.

    Since our earliest times, people have been trying to explain the world around them. What are we made of? What is matter? How does it all work? In this goal, which seems to be tied to human nature, we seem to have a natural insistence on identifying a finite number of “elements” or parts which complete a whole picture of everything we can observe and know. This can be seen from Medicine Wheels to Periodic Tables. In many instances, some of us also require some central unifying principles which gives rise to all the parts – reinforcing a complete whole. I will try to draw on these philosophical ideas of describing nature, and share the picture currently adopted in the so-called Standard Model of elementary particle physics.

    One of the “parts” of the Standard Model is the theory of the Strong interactions which is responsible for forming the nuclei in atoms and it is sometimes the called the “glue” that binds us all together. Nuclei, or more generally hadrons, constitute over 99% of all the tactile matter as we know it on earth: from your Manitoba poplar trees to the Assiniboine River to the venison steak on your plate. If we ask what are we made of, hadrons can fill much of that answer! And yet as numerous and prevalent as hadrons are, physicists still struggle to explain how they are formed. I will discuss some general features of the theory of Strong interactions, and why it is difficult to make predictions with it. I will then discuss some of the historical attempts physicists have made to make sense of hadrons, and where we are now today. I will then explain my role in this effort as a so-called nuclear femtographer. The plot takes a very interesting turn when we return to the idea of completing the picture and finding a central unification – motivated by Indigenous perspectives.


Past talks

Dr. Amy Farrell

Understanding the World Beyond a Worldview

In this talk. Dr. Farrell will discuss a part of her research on Indigenous knowledge and sacred story, presenting on where and how Indigenous (namely Anishinaabe and Cree) cultural conceptions of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) can be found in both the everyday and within traditional ways of knowing.
Dr. Amy Farrell is Anishinaabe and a member of Eabametoong First Nation in Northwestern Ontario. Her mother, Ruby Slipperjack, was born and raised on her family's ancestral land at Whitewater Lake. Her father Patrick Farrell is from Thunder Bay and is of Irish, English, and Scottish descent. She grew up in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Amy is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching & Learning in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba. She joined the Department in January 2019.  Her focus here lies in the field of Indigenous Education. Dr. Farrell’s research interests include: the exploration and application of Indigenous knowledge, culture, traditions, and sacred story into various concepts within Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) education; the exploration of Indigenous sacred story teachings and storytelling methods into creative narrative works; and the practical application of Indigenous knowledge, spirituality, and culture into mainstream curricula and teaching practices. Within the field of education, her interests branch into Indigenizing STEAM in education, Indigenous holistic education, Indigenizing mainstream curricula, and Indigenous arts and crafts. Dr. Farrell invites you to visit her professional website.

Heather Souter

Proficiency, New Speech Communities and Capacity-Building Among Learners of Michif

This talk will address how the triple goals of language proficiency, community-building and capacity to promote and participate in language revitalization can be achieved among learners of Michif through supportive, student-centered andragogy and project-based language learning (PBLL).

Heather is a Sessional Lecturer in Michif, Department of Native Studies, University of Manitoba; Chair of the NRC's Indigenous Languages Technology Project Advisory Committee; and Secretary-Treasurer and Projects Manager, Prairies to Woodlands Indigenous Language Revitalization Circle. Heather holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia and a Master of Education in Indigenous Language Revitalization from the University of Victoria. Heather is reclaiming her heritage languages and, in collaboration with Elders, has published educational resources for the Michif language, such as a conversational phrase book and a college level beginner's course. 

Dr. Réal Carrière

Kinistotên (do you understand)

This lecture will explore what it means to research from an Indigenous paradigm. While paradigm is a broad philosophical project, this lecture will discuss the theoretical and practical foundations of Indigenous analysis by exploring the Nehinuwak approach I have developed and used in my research. This approach draws on the Nehinuwak (Swampy Cree) concept of “Nistotên”, which is the word for understanding.  Using a combination of Nehinuwak knowledge, literature, and my experiences, I have developed a Nehinuwak method of analysis around the theory of “Nistotên”.  I will discuss how my work advances the fields of Indigenous studies and methodology.  Ultimately, I argue that more work is needed to explore the theories and practices of Indigenous analysis and that Indigenous analysis can lead to transformative change in scholarship and Canadian society, law, and politics.

Réal Carrière is Nehinuw (Swampy Cree) and Métis from Cumberland House, Saskatchewan.  He grew up on the land, home-schooled, no road access, running water, or electricity.  His political research focus is Nehinuwak political theories and practices. He is currently the principle investigator for a SSHRC Insight Development Grant on this topic, titled “Nistotumowin Nehinuwak Okimahin: Developing a Deeper Understanding of Swampy Cree Political Theories and Practices”. In addition to this research, he is interested in Indigenous research paradigms and he is writing a manuscript for University of Toronto Press on this topic. He is an Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba in Political Studies, with a specific focus on Indigenous politics. He previously held positions at University of Saskatchewan and Ryerson University. He is passionate about canoeing, storytelling, Indigenous knowledge, and social justice. 

Dr. Frank Deer

Morality and Indigenous Consciousness: The Importance of Archetypes

One of the central aspects of belief systems that are manifest in and across cultures and is that of morality. A ubiquitous feature of humanity’s search for truth, meaning, and fecund social connections, morality is often strongly associated with religious and/or spiritual orientations. As many indigenous peoples venture to affirm and embrace their traditional identities, their focus upon traditional systems of belief and morality have become more focused. In recent years, public schools have begun to reflect such systems of belief and morality in educational programming. This talk will be an effort to discuss how indigenous conceptions of morality may be resident in educational forums and in broader communal consciousness. Watch Dr. Deer's presentation.

Dr. Sara Goulet

‘Two-Eyed Seeing’: Weaving Indigenous Ways of Knowing with Western Knowledge Systems

The TRC call to action 23 asks us to increase the number of Indigenous Health care providers in Canada. However, there are many invisible or unintended barriers within academic institutions that limit the ability to admit, train and retain Indigenous Peoples. This talk will explore 10 ways in which two-eyed seeing could help to shape a process of selecting and training future Indigenous physicians. Watch Dr. Goulet's presentation here. 

Dr. Mylène Gamache

Reflections on reading unsettling stories  

This presentation engages with the potential of ‘unsettling’ stories. Merging former doctoral and new research work, Dr. Gamache attempts (rather tentatively and somewhat cautiously) to stay with two incommensurable and irreconcilable forms of ‘unsettling.’ She will explore how some contemporary Indigenous stories preclude readers from settling in seemingly fixed or self-assured positions of knowing. In contrast, she considers what it means to suggest that certain telepathic and narcissistic figures unsettle psychoanalysis—a 20th-century institution ‘steeped in colonial, racist thought’ (Brickman)—from within. As Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang work to remind readers exactly ‘what is unsettling about decolonization’ in their well-referenced article ‘Decolonization is not a metaphor’ (1), she analyzes in this presentation why some forms of ‘unsettling’ further decolonization while others produce at best unintended counter-effects. View Dr. Gamache's presentation here. 

Dr. Michael Yellow Bird

Exploring using Neuroscience, movement, contemplative, fasting, and adaptive stress research to examine how mindfulness approaches and traditional Indigenous contemplative practices can train the mind and positively change the structure and function of the brain, genetic, molecular, and cellular processes. Watch Dr. Yellow Bird's presentation here. 

Dr. Brian Rice

Why I Chose Indigenous Land based Learning to End My Career

Dr. Brian Rice (Mohawk-Finnish) had been an Indigenous educator for 31years beginning as a school teacher, principal and 27 years as a University Professor. His dissertation included a walking journey of 650 miles to all of the main historical and cultural places of his Mohawk ancestors. It culminated in helping facilitate subsequent journeys with elders, community members and leaders. View Dr. Rice's presentation here. 

Dr. Brenda L. Gunn

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 

The first principle of reconciliation is "the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is the framework for reconciliation at all levels and across all sectors of Canadian society." This discussion will explore how the UNDRIP is an essential tool for the protection of Indigenous rights and will challenge us all to embrace the articles, both within post-secondary institutions and more broadly across Canadian society. This presentation will involve aspects of how UNDRIP may be conceptualized as well as how it may be implemented. View Dr. Gunn's discussion here

Shawn Bailey and Roxanne Greene

Shoal Lake 40 Feasting Shelter 

During the summer of 2019, Shoal Lake 40 councillor Roxanne Greene, and University of Manitoba Faculty members Farhoud Delijani, Jillian Seniuk Cicek and Shawn Bailey implemented an interdisciplinary summer design and build studio. Community members and students from the Faculties of Architecture and Engineering worked side by side to design and construct a shelter for feasting. The project resulted in a unique cross-Faculty design course between Architecture and Engineering with inclusion of Indigenous Knowledges and perspectives. This discussion will be about the processes and experiences had by community members, students and faculty. Watch their presentation here. 

Dr. Niigaan Sinclair

How Anishinaabeg Knowledge Can (and Will) Save the World

We live in a time of great unrest - of environmental disaster, racial and geopolitical conflict, and impending economic unrest. Anishinaabeg (also known as Saulteaux, Ojibway, or Chippewa) not only foretold this time but prepared us for it - investing into themselves teachings and stories while at the same time spreading these throughout the world. What are these teachings? Where can we find them? And, perhaps most important of all, how can we uncover them to help us save the world? Watch Dr. Sinclair's discussion here. 

Dr. Cary Miller

Looking beyond cultural competency: The need for literacy in Indigeneity to achieve a reconciled campus community

Following the release of RCAP in the 1990s, universities began to understand that they needed to increase the cultural competency of faculty and staff with regard to Indigenous learners, and over the early 2000s we saw many campuses open Indigenous student centres and allow more cultural activities on campus. However, the scope of the TRC recommendation #57 calls on public servants to move beyond cultural competency to also gain an understanding of the history, treaty rights, legal status, understanding of Indigenous-Crown relations, and familiarity with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The problem exposed through the TRC is that while cultural competency has helped campuses to attract and support Indigenous students, it has not reduced student experiences of anti-Indigenous racism in classrooms and campus extracurricular activities. To address this, campuses should promote faculty and staff "literacy in Indigeneity" which requires us to re-conceptualize the ways that campuses have traditionally engaged in cultural training programs. View Dr. Miller's presentation here. 

Dr. Catherine Cook

The Impact of Anti-Indigenous Racism on Health and Well-being: the Case for Intervention

View Dr. Cook's presentation here. 

Dr. Yvonne Pompana

The Inner City Social Work Program: 37 Years of Educational Equity in the Inner City

The Inner City Social Work Program (ICSWP) of the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Social Work is a unique off-campus program committed to educational equity. The Program was founded in 1981 through the collaborative efforts of various levels of government, the Social Work Faculty, and community organizations. The ICSWP recruits mature students from Aboriginal, immigrant, refugee and other inner-city populations who are living below the poverty line. The systemic barriers which historically have prevented "non-traditional" students from attending university have been well documented. The prescription for success, as articulated by the National Anti-Poverty Organization (NAPO): "active recruitment, financial assistance, personal counselling, tutoring, and specially structured introductory courses which integrate prerequisite skills with the initial phases of the programs to allow the students to catch up" (1998, p.104). NAPO further elaborated: "A successful example the type of programs we have in mind are the ACCESS programs developed in Manitoba in the 1980's..." (p. 104). One of those programs, in fact, is the ICSWP, arguably one of the most successful affirmative action programs in Canada. According to a report commissioned by the current Government of Manitoba, the student completion rate at the ICSWP is "substantially above that reported for most regular university programs" (Hikel, 1994, p. 43). In fact, the strongest quantitative indicators of the Program's success are the student completion rate (73%) and the employment rate (ranging from 70 to 80%). Citing these statistics, Hikel (1994) concluded: "We know of no other Access like program in Canada that can claim such success" (p. 8). Watch Dr. Pompana's presentation. 

Dr. Marcia Anderson

Ten Ways Organizations Get in Their Own Way on "Indigenous Achievement" / "Reconciliation" / "Diversity" / "Inclusion" / "Anti-Racism"

Quite often, and maybe even more often than not, the gaps between the impacts that organizations are able to achieve in relation to "Indigenous Achievement" / "Reconciliation" / "Diversity" / "Inclusion" / "Anti-Racism and their intentions are wide and can seem insurmountable. This challenge is not limited to academic institutions. This talk will explore ten ways that organizations may be getting in their own way, and provide some reflections on embracing the required disruptions. Watch Dr. Anderson's presentation here. 

Dr. Wanda Wuttunee

Stronger Together: Collaborations That Are Making Sense

Indigenous leaders have visions for how to build healthy, strong, independent communities but are often faced with limited resources and opportunities to realize their goals. Dr. Wuttunee will share examples from her research that show Indigenous citizens and their leadership are making a difference. View Dr. Wuttunee's presentation.

Dr. Fred Shore

So, Why Are the Metis So Hard to Identify?

Historically, the Metis have been called everything from Half-Breeds to Mixed Bloods. Today, there is the problem of people in Eastern Canada who call themselves Metis but who are more than likely First Nations. The Canadian inability to let go of the colonial underpinning of our nation continues to contribute to the problem of Metis identity. A possible imminent settlement of the Metis land claim makes the need for a solution a priority but we are far from an acceptable solution for all concerned. View Dr. Shore's presentation. 

Dr. Marlene Atleo

Our Stories are True, They Are Life Affirming Narratives: Storywork as Indigenous Survivance Scripts

Nuuchahnulth grandparents, the naniiqsu, spoke in storied discourse when we lived with them. Cultural narrative was the logic with which they talked about living. Their terms of reference were their lives and doings as storywork. The bits and pieces of Nuuchahnulth stories about here or there in the territory were continuously part of their meaning making with us when I was a young parent. Of course, we needed to know the time of day, how to do laundry and fish and berries and the other instrumental knowings in the bicultural demands of reserve life. But... the narrative frame in which we lived was and continues to be storied with survivance stories. In the presentation, I will share a storywork framework based in research with Elders and how the worked stories, "as far as I know". Watch Dr. Atleo's presentation.

Dr. Warren Cariou

The Now Place: Indigenous Storytelling in the Contemporary World

While many of today's celebrated Indigenous artists and writers draw inspiration from their nations' traditional stories, far less attention has been given to the contemporary Indigenous storytellers who continue to share and perform these stories. In this talk, Warren Cariou will introduce listeners to the extraordinary work of three storytellers: Omushkego Cree Elder Louis Bird, Okanagan Syilx Elder Harry Robinson, and Kainai Elder Flora Zaharia. Though these Elders' stories provide crucial connections to Indigenous teachings that date back many generations, they are not in any way archaic. In fact, Cariou argues, they need to be understood as contemporary performances, revealing and expressing Indigenous cultural vitality in our present age. By focusing on representations of time and territory in these stories, Cariou will attempt to show how these storytellers perform an ethics of relationship that connects listeners and also teaches them about our responsibilities to one another and to our environment. Watch Dr. Cariou's presentation.

Dr. Barry Lavallee

To Be a Race or Not To Be a Race: the Paradox at the Academy

Indigenous peoples success within the academic institution exceeds the deficit narrative of the dead and dying Indian by far. This narrative remains persistent within the academy in many ways. While it is honorable and purposeful to celebrate Indigeneity at the institution, the realization of this settler obligation necessitates disruption and dismantling of practices and procedures that continue to advance whiteness. Elimination of Indigenous-specific racism within the institution is one of those obligations. While racialization of Indigenous peoples is acceptable in practice, the racialization of whites and other non-Indigenous persons is not. This paradox carries deliberate and detrimental consequences to Indigenous communities. The institution must not shy away from including racism and racialization across the domains of research, administration, and education. Watch Dr. Lavallee's presentation. 

Kaila Johnston

Everything You Need to Know and More about the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

NCTR is home to all of the documents, photographs and statements collected by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). There are over 58,000 items publicly available online and over 5 million records in the Centre’s full collection. Over the course of the presentation, participants will learn about the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA), the TRC and the NCTR, the Centre’s activities, as well as its archival holdings. Time will also be dedicated to work around missing children and unmarked burials as well as educational initiatives and a tour of the NCTR archival database.

Kaila is the Supervisor of Education, Outreach, and Public Programming at NCTR. In this role, Kaila oversees matters related to the support of educators, development of resources, establishment of outreach initiatives, as well as public engagement on residential schools and their legacy. Prior to the NCTR, Kaila worked with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) as a statement gatherer and coordinator to support statement gathering activities. She holds a BA (Hons.) in Criminal Justice from the University of Winnipeg and a M.Sc. in International Crimes and Criminology from Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. 

Dr. Kyle Bobiwash

Building Equitable Science Systems

Evidence-based decision-making has long been a challenge throughout the history of society. Over time knowledge systems have developed to meet the needs, desires and aspirations of specific groups. Understanding the variety of components that go into knowledge system delineation is important to drive innovation and equity in how we manage ourselves and the fellow inhabitants of our planet.

Dr. Kyle Bobiwash, a member of Mississauga First Nation, is an Assistant Professor and an Indigenous Scholar in the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences at the University of Manitoba. At the University of Manitoba, his lab focuses on understanding the ecology of beneficial insects in agro-ecosystems and the greater landscape. Dr. Bobiwash is actively improving programming within the university and his faculty to enhance the science/agricultural/ecological capacity of Indigenous people and their communities, as well as to improve representation in STEM fields to enhance equitable decision making and knowledge creation in Canada.

Dr. Daniel Diamond

Topic: "Dispossession by Statute: The Erasure of Indigenous Land Rights in British Columbia 1858 - 1864"

From the Eastern shores of what is now Newfoundland and Labrador, across Quebec, Ontario and the prairie provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta; the crown justifies a claim to underlying title through solemn treaty agreements with Indigenous peoples. In this respect, British Columbia is unique. In British Columbia, only a handful of treaties were made in the 19th century, covering less than one percent of the total land area of Vancouver Island. Nevertheless today, according to one now contested view of Canadian common law, the crown holds underlying title to all lands in the province, much of which is held in fee simple by non-Indigenous people. What were the legal and policy decisions that converted Indigenous land into crown land and fee simple title held by non-Indigenous people? What were the legal mechanisms that erased Indigenous land rights and placed the land in the hands non-Indigenous people? To shed light on these questions this presentation analyzes the legislative and policy initiatives of the British Columbia colonies in the years following the onset of the Fraser River gold rush (1858-1864). Between 1858 and 1864 Governor Douglas laid the legal foundation for the wholesale appropriation of Indigenous land through the implementation of pre-emption rights, land registry acts, and a shift in colonial policy that deconceptualized Indigenous land rights as flowing from the generosity of the crown, rather than prior use and occupation. These initiatives made white acquisition of land in British Columbia possible even in the absence of formal treaty agreements.