Last week I attended the second Bi-Annual Anishinaabe Inendamowin (Thought) Research Symposium at Algoma University. It was a great day and included speakers on everything from sustainability, to the power of food, to decolonizing railways. The symposium also included scholars from a range of backgrounds including community members, all levels of students, and academics. It was nice to see such a diverse group of participants and to learn about so many interesting projects. Some of the highlights for me included:
Sustainable Education Practices
Yvonne Vizina was the keynote speaker for the day and spoke on her academic and professional work relating to sustainability. I found her work relating to the integration of Indigenous knowledge in science education and her curriculum development advocacy particularly interesting. Her talk also focused on role Indigenous people have to play in environmental science and the need for the incorporation of Indigenous voices in policy development relating to sustainable environmental practices. Yvonne also spoke about her work on the Indigenous Science From Place project which examined the inclusion of First Nations and Métis perspectives in the Saskatchewan school science curriculum and the impact that inclusion had upon student outcomes.
Urban Indigenous Youth For Change Panel
This panel featured Candace Neveau, Jordan Tabobondung, Rihkee Strapp and was chaired by Mitch Case. I’ve heard this group of youth speak a few times before and it is always an inspiring experience to hear about their community driven work and the success they’ve had in engaging local youth. The discussion focused on how the panelists were involved in the local and other communities, what Indigenous innovation means, the role of Indigenous ways of knowing in their work, and advice for other Indigenous youth looking to become involved in similar work. The panel included many powerful words and examples of being dedicated and driven to create safe spaces, open the lines of communication, and look at problems from Indigenous perspectives.
Work to Aid Healing and Reconciliation
Maggie McGoldrick, a PhD Candidate at Queens and an AlgomaU grad, spoke on her research relating to Indigenous centered archival movements and specifically the work of the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre to aid healing and reconciliation. I’ve been in touch with Maggie over the past couple of years while she’s started this work and its great to see the early stages of her research coming together. Her presentation focused on archives as site of memory and the power of archives to act as collective memory. She also spoke on the need for historical documents and lived experience to interconnect. I look forward to hearing more about Maggie’s work as it progresses.