Aboriginal Peoples Week: Truth and Reconciliation

Aboriginal Peoples Week at Memorial University

Faculty members, researchers, students, staff and guests will present a variety of sessions for the university community and the public as part of Aboriginal Peoples Week: Truth and Reconciliation, from March 21 - 24. The series of events, presented by Memorial University’s Office of Aboriginal Affairs in partnership with the Aboriginal Resource Office, is intended to inform the community, spark dialogue and discussion, and respond to the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. As the only university in the province, Memorial plays a vital role in not only helping to safeguard Aboriginal history, cultures and languages, but ensuring that all students gain a deep understanding of the history, cultures and languages and carry forth their awareness and education to future generations of students. 

All events are free and most are open to the public. Note that some require an RSVP. See the descriptions below.

Monday, March 21, 2016

8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., A-5014, Arts and Administration Building
Building a National Research Program to Advance Canada’s Understanding of Reconciliation: A Discussion with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)
Brent Herbert-Copley, SSHRC’s Executive Vice-President, and Gail Zboch, a Senior Program Officer in SSHRC’s Research Grants and Partnerships Division
In a discussion planned for the morning of March 21, SSHRC will open with a synopsis of its work in support of Aboriginal research: (i) SSHRC initiatives on provisions to support Aboriginal research and talent; (ii) the upcoming SSHRC Knowledge Synthesis Grants about Aboriginal peoples; and (iii) SSHRC’s work in relation to an implementation plan for Call to Action 65. SSHRC will then invite feedback and input in all three areas but would in particular welcome ideas and options from Memorial faculty, students and partners – both Indigenous and non-Indigenous – for implementation of the TRC’s Call to Action 65: We call upon the federal government, through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, post-secondary institutions and educators, and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and its partner institutions, to establish a national research program with multi-year funding to advance understanding of reconciliation. We invite those interested in participating to review the TRC’s Calls to Action and prepare a short (5-minute) position statements on how SSHRC and its community might design research funding strategies that support the TRC’s Call to Action 65, any related Calls to Action, as well as related elements of SSHRC programming in support of Aboriginal research and talent. Participants are not obliged to prepare statements, but prepared statements will be given priority during the discussion.

Space is limited, in order to ensure your space, please RSVP to crcab@mun.ca by March 17, 2016.

On behalf of the organizing committee: Dr. Mario Blaser, Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Studies Dr. Carrie Dyck, Associate Dean of Arts (Research and Grad Studies)
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Lecture Theatre B, Faculty of Medicine
Diversity and Inclusion Workshop
Dr. Richard Chavolla, Educational Consultant
Diversity and Inclusion Workshops will consist of an exploration of the multiple social identities such as gender, race, socio-economic class, sexuality and religion and their intersectionality within each individual and throughout society. Through facilitated dialogue, presentation of research and theory, and interactive activities, participants in the session will examine the privilege and oppression associated with these social identities. The training session will also provide colleagues in attendance with language and tools to better identify, discuss and develop benchmarks to reach for addressing such unwanted elements in their institution such as sexism, racism, classism and homophobia. Finally, the entire session will draw from several conceptual frameworks such as Identity Development Theory, Critical Race Theory and the Cycle of Socialization. Since each of these topics are so vast, in the interest of limited time, the sessions will focus more on race and racism to insure more worthwhile examination and conversation. Commonly, regardless of location and institutional type, diversity training in higher education begins with a study of race.

Faculty, staff and graduate students are welcome to participate in one of two workshops being offered. Workshops are capped at 20 participants each Please RSVP to instrdev@mun.ca.
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m., The Landing, UC-3018, University Centre
An introduction to Canada's Indian residential school system
Edward Allen, Aboriginal Cultural Education Coordinator
This session will introduce new learners to the history of Canada’s Indian Residential School system and the ongoing work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. A preparatory time line will be offered; one that associates Canada’s colonial climate to the rise and perpetuation of the Indian residential schools and to the residual impacts. The work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Including examples of the 94 calls to action will be discussed as a potential avenue to a post-colonial Canada.
7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Innovation Hall (IIC-2001, Bruneau Centre for Innovation
Memorial Presents: The Impact of Aboriginal Residential Schools in Newfoundland and Labrador
Panelists include Chief Wilton Littlechild, Truth and Reconciliation Canada Commissioner; Ches Crosbie, Legal counsel, Residential Schools Class Action; Toby Obed, Labrador Residential School Survivor; and Catharyn Andersen, Special Advisor to the President on Aboriginal Affairs, Memorial University
The recent report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada shone a spotlight on residential schools in Canada. In 2008, the Canadian Government apologized for the residential schools and the damage they caused to Aboriginal people. However, the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement excluded the residential schools in Newfoundland and Labrador. This public forum will explore the history of residential schools and the experience of Aboriginal people who attended them in Newfoundland and Labrador. What can we, as a society, learn from this experience? And what can we do today to correct any abuses that may have occurred and to create a more just society?

Free admission and free parking. Attend in person or via the webcast.
To watch the webcast, visit www.mun.ca/harriscentre at the time of the event and click the "watch live" link.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Suncor Energy Hall, Room 1050 School of Music
Abraham Ulrikab – Trapped in a Human Zoo: followed by a Q&A with Johannes Lampe, Inuit Elder and Dr. Hans Rollmann, Department of Religious Studies
Dr. Tom Gordon, Professor emeritus, School of Music, Dr. Hans Rollman, Professor, Religious Studies, Johannes Lampe, Inuit leader
Abraham Ulrikab was an Inuk from Hebron, Labrador who was transported to Europe in 1880 to be exhibited in “human zoos.” In a matter of months, Abraham and the seven other Labradorimiut who travelled with him had died from smallpox. Abraham’s eloquent diary and recent investigations to locate the remains of Abraham and his companions informed Trapped in a Human Zoo – a recently aired documentary on CBC’s The Nature of Things. Nain Elder, Johannes Lampe, who literally followed in Abraham’s footsteps, and Religious Studies professor, Dr Hans Rollmann – both of whom participated in the film – will host a screening and follow-up with a discussion of Abraham’s story and the question of repatriation of human remains. This is a presentation of the Tradition & Transition Research Partnership.
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (Newfoundland Time)
Livestream from the Labrador Institute to the Landing, UC-3018 and AS 275, Grenfell Campus
Indigenous culture and land-based learning in the primary and elementary school curriculum
Sylvia Moore, Assistant Professor, Aboriginal Community-Based Teacher Education, Faculty of Education/Labrador Institute and students in the Inuit Bachelor of Education program
Students in the Inuit Bachelor of Education Program, and their professor, Dr. Sylvia Moore, based at the Labrador Institute, will discuss culturally relevant curriculum. This presentation will examine how interweaving Indigenous culture and land-based learning through culturally relevant pedagogy satisfies Newfoundland and Labrador curriculum outcomes for primary and elementary students.
1:00 p.m. - 1 :50 p.m., The Landing, UC-3018, University Centre
Celebrating Inuit womens' leadership
Dr. Andrea Procter, Postdoctoral Fellow, Office of Public Engagement, Tradition and Transition Among the Labrador Inuit Research Partnership
The "Daughters of Mikak" project is a collaboration between Memorial University, the Nunatsiavut Government, and AnânauKatiget Tumingit Regional Inuit Women's Association that aims to celebrate Inuit women's leadership in Nunatsiavut. Dr. Andrea Procter, Memorial’s lead on the project, will introduce the initiative and show videos and digital stories created by Nunatsiavummiut about the inspiring Inuit women in their lives.
2:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m., The Landing, UC-3018, University Centre
Blanket Exercise
Edward Allen, Aboriginal Cultural Education Coordinator
The Blanket Exercise is a participatory workshop developed by KAIROS to raise awareness and understanding of the nation to nation relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in what is now known as Canada. The Blanket Exercise is based on the major themes and findings of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and will help new learners begin to recognize the impacts of colonization over time. The Aboriginal Resource Office will facilitate the exercise and offer debriefing afterwards.The session is open to everyone, but participants are asked to RSVP to instrdev@mun.ca.
4:00 p.m. - 5:50 p.m.
Innovation Hall, IIC-2001, Bruneau Centre for Innovation
Documentary film screening and panel discussion: Guardians of Eternity
Dr. Arn Keeling, Associate Professor and Graduate Officer, Department of Geography and Dr. John Sandlos, Associate Professor, Department of History
Guardians of Eternity is a startling film that describes the impact of arsenic pollution from a huge gold mine on adjacent Yellowknife’s Dene First Nations communities. It has been over a decade since the mine closed and community members struggle today with the question of what to do with 237,000,000 tons of arsenic trioxide dust stored underground at the site. They also consider how to warn future generations of the toxic dangers at the old mine, and how to communicate the perpetual care activities that will be required for the foreseeable future. This session includes a screening of the film and a panel discussion with geography students and faculty who are conducting research on this issue.
7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m., MMaP Gallery, 2nd floor, Arts and Culture Centre
Aboriginal languages: loss and revitalization
Dr. Marguerite MacKenzie, Professor Emerita, Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Arts
Sending young children to residential schools had been a major cause of the current endangered situation of Aboriginal languages in Canada. Within this province the full range of language loss is represented, from extinction through threatened. Linguists have played a major role in documenting these languages as they decline, and assisting community members in revitalization efforts. Dr. MacKenzie will speak about the superficially healthy situation of the Innu language in Labrador, after which a panel of linguists who work with Cree and Cayuga will described the process of language loss and recovery. Yvan Rose, a specialist in the acquisition of language, will talk about how preschool children learn any language and why the home environment is most important for later success in school and employment, indicating that what is going on with children in Aboriginal language situations has lessons for English-speaking families.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

9:00 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.
The Landing, UC-3018, University Centre
A Chorus of Voice and Visuals: Responding to Indigenous Issues in Canadian Classrooms through Canadian Children’s Literature
Dr. Anne Burke, Associate Professor, Literacy and Education, Faculty of Education; Dr, Catherine Best, St. Mary's School; Laura Butland, Bishop Abraham School
In this visual display and presentation, we present a chorus of voices from children and educators stepping into the historical past and shoes of those who suffered through Residential schooling. We share our Canadian funded SSHRC project showing how educators worked in teacher inquiry groups and used Aboriginal Children’s Literature to find voice and take action to help children understand this Canadian tragedy.
10:00 a.m. - 11:50 p.m.
The Landing, UC-3018, University Centre
Aboriginal Awareness Project – a cross-Canada study of knowledge of and attitudes to Aboriginal people among entering and exiting university and college students
Dr. Anne Godlewska and Laura Schaefli, Queen’s University
Dr. Anne Godlewska and Laura Schaefli will discuss the Aboriginal Awareness Project which is an across-Canada study of knowledge of and attitudes to Aboriginal people among entering and exiting university and college students. The knowledge of first-year students was measured at Memorial in the fall of 2013. The team will be returning to Memorial in the winter/spring of 2017 to survey fourth year students. Godlewska and Schaefli will talk about the co-design process for developing the knowledge test at the heart of the survey, the kinds of questions asked of the students and the results of the 2013 survey of first-year students at Memorial. They will close with reflections on the best way forward for the Awareness Project and the take away message for Memorial University.
12:00 p.m. - 12:50 p.m.
The Landing, UC-3018, University Centre
Academic Stock Exchange: The Value of an Aboriginal Student's Tears
Tobi Jolly, Social Work Student
During this session, Tobi Jolly, a student in the School of Social Work,will share some of her experiences as an Aboriginal person, specifically from her perspective as a student and then engage in discussion about the way Aboriginal issues are addressed in academic settings. There are new forms of violence against Aboriginal students that often go unnoticed in settings that are dominated by whiteness, such as post-secondary institutions. This session will call into question these acts of violence and ask everyone present how the acts have been perpetuated, how they can be stopped, and what the roles and responsibilities of individuals and groups in the university community may be in addressing and overcoming the violence. 
1:00 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.
EN-1001, Engineering Building
Call for Meaningful Care: Building Capacity in the Delivery of Primary Health Services within Northern Canadian Aboriginal Communities 
Zaida Rahaman, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing
State health affairs within Northern Aboriginal communities are often reported below normative population status quos, as compared to mainstream populations across the Canadian landscape. Deploying a postcolonial episteme, a qualitative study was conducted to help explore the roles and challenges of health service providers working within Northern Canadian Aboriginal communities; as well as, what resources can help or impede their efforts in working towards delivering primary health services to Aboriginal persons with meaningful care, and respect and dignity. During this presentation, Dr. Rahaman will share the findings of the study and share her perspectives on this topic.
2:00 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.
EN-1001, Engineering Building
A People Left to Die: The mercury poisoning events at Grassy Narrows and how government indifference significantly contributed to the disaster affecting an entire First Nations community
Myron King, GIS and Research, Environmental Policy Institute, Grenfell Campus
During the 1960’s and 1970’s, many First Nations people located on the Grassy Narrows and Whitedog Reserves in Ontario were poisoned after drinking water or eating fish that contained high levels of Methyl-Mercury. The federal and provincial governments played a large role in the politics surrounding the disaster, including control of the mercury contamination response early on. Inadequate response to the disaster left First Nations’ people misinformed, unprotected and without economic options to properly carry them through it. The Grassy Narrows and Whitedog peoples’ struggle continued long after the poisoning, and a comprehensive risk-management plan for First Nations’ communities is long overdue
3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
ED-2018B, Education Building
Aboriginal health left hanging in the balance (again!) – independent research reveals health risks for Labrador Inuit from Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project
Tom Sheldon (Nunatsiavut Government) and Dr. Trevor Bell (Memorial University)
Do you understand how the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project will harm the health of Labrador Inuit? Do you know that this harm could be reduced with appropriate action now? This presentation will demonstrate why hydroelectric developments in Labrador and across the North can raise methylmercury levels in Aboriginal populations who live downstream. Since the Government of Canada has announced that “science is back”, audience discussion about how independent research like this can help shape evidence-based policy in relation to hydroelectric development in the North is encouraged.
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
ED-2018B, Education Building
When Tolerance and Diversity Aren't Enough: Building and Sustaining a Truly Inclusive University
Dr. Richard Chavolla
Around the world countries are experiencing enormous demographic shifts due to migration of people across national borders, the increase of racial and ethnic populations within countries and the continuing growth in sovereignty and size of Indigenous communities across the globe. And these ever emerging changes in the identity of any given country go beyond race and ethnicity to all forms of empowerment in social identity including gender, sexuality, and religion. Universities and specifically Canadian universities in more recent history, become a reflection of these assertions and challenges of lived identity. In the earlier days of policy and practice, universities attempted to “manage diversity”, promoting tolerance for underrepresented groups that, through almost uncanny effort and persistence, were entering the campus in greater numbers. Then an age of greater enlightenment took hold in many universities as higher education leaders saw the need and value of a campus that looked more like the world around them. Recruitment initiatives came and numbers of underrepresented students increased. But now, in the most progressive institutions, enrollment counts and the measure of statistics isn’t enough. Many students and professionals at campuses in Canada have conveyed the message that every person attending or working at a university should feel included – through the colleagues with which they work, the curriculum, the pedagogy, the research, the publications, the policies, and the historical symbols and implicit messages imbedded in the everyday life of the campus. This calls for a comprehensive approach that may at first assessment seem overwhelming. But this transformative enterprise can be taken on incrementally, democratically, and result in a tremendous sense of accomplishment in both the short term and the longer term for all those involved. Ultimately, the institution is not just more inclusive but by truly embracing and incorporating the perspectives and knowledge of all its constituents, the university will be more intellectually robust and achieve greater levels of excellence in its academic mission. Webcast details for Dr. Chavolla sessionClick here to begin login
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Thursday, March 24, 2016

9:00 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.
The Landing, UC-3018, University Centre
The Mi’kmaq of Southwest Nova Scotia and Residential Schooling: A Little-known Story of Resistance
Dr. Maura Hanrahan, Assistant Professor and Chair of Humanities Program, Grenfell Campus
Even within the framework of residential schooling and centralization, the Mi'kmaq of southwest Nova Scotia were able to engage in resistance. This presentation is based on interviews with fourteen Mi’kmaq elders and experts. It was commissioned for Acadia First Nation, NS and submitted to the Supreme Court of Canada by the band. Finally, its results were published in Native Studies Review. Dr. Maura Hanrahan is the chair of the Humanities Program at Grenfell, a faculty member of the Environmental Policy Institute, and a long-time member of Splet'k Mi'kmaq First Nation.
10:00 a.m. - 10:50 a.m.
The Landing, UC-3018, University Centre
The scholarly origins of racism and its Indigenous Legacy: the case of the Labrador Inuit 
Dr. Rainer Baehre, Associate Professor, Historical Studies, and Social/Cultural Studies, Grenfell Campus
This talk will examine how medicine, anthropology, and history combined in constructing biological racism in the form of social darwinism; its legacy extended well into the twentieth century.  Using the example of the Labrador Inuit, their participation in exotic people's exhibits at zoos and world fairs, and the ongoing discourse of what constituted the "Esquimaux," Dr. Baehre will discuss how such ideas are also evident in the thinking of Prime Minister John A. Macdonald and others in the formulation of federal "Indian policy," wherein the residential school came to play a key role in "shaming" and stigmatizing Aboriginal peoples.
11:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.
The Landing, UC-3018, University Centre
“Broken up and Upside Down”: A Magdalene Laundry Survivor's Story
Dr. Rie Croll, Associate Professor, Sociology, Social/Cultural Studies, Grenfell Campus
This presentation explores one story, Chaparral Bowman's. Chaparral was an Indigenous woman who was born into a Magdalene Laundry in New Brunswick and remained incarcerated there for 18 years. Her story is a reminder that while much attention has been given to the residential school system, there were other comparable total institutions in Canada that colonized Indigenous people in similar ways. By bringing us inside a world of prison labour, harsh disciplinary regimes, and punishment, Chaparral's story helps us to see and understand how a colonizing mission produced social and cultural dislocation, inhumanity, and powerful life-long stigmatization
12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
The Landing, UC-3018, University Centre
The Grenfell Campus Wampum Belt Project: We Are All Connected
Kelly Anne Butler, Student Affairs Officer—Aboriginal Affairs, Grenfell Campus
This talk is a presentation of a year-long project currently underway at Grenfell Campus, a project designed to foster awareness of Aboriginal cultures, to create a more inclusive campus, and to increase engagement with surrounding communities, all through the experience of collaboratively designing and weaving a six-foot long wampum belt, in traditional style. The loom, belt, and weaving materials will be available for participation from all who are interested. Note that the Wampum Belt will be set up in the Loft, UC-3013, from 1-2:30 p.m. to enable the community, staff, students and faculty additional opportunity to add to this exciting project.
12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
The McCann Centre, ED-2030B, Education building
First Nations, Métis and Inuit presence in the Newfoundland and Labrador curriculum
Dr. Anne Godlewska, Professor of Geography, Queen's University
This session will present the results of an analysis of the Canadian and world studies curricula and associated texts in Newfoundland and Labrador. This analysis is based on critical literature and consultations with First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples (FNMI) educators, educational administrators, and knowledge holders. Although there is evidence of reform, as a whole the curriculum suffers from critical silences and lack of context, problematic placement and associations, the intrusion of settler perspectives, deep contradiction over judgment about issues related to FNMI peoples, and inconsistency that undermine any efforts at reform. This research provides guidance to curriculum designers, textbook writers, teachers and administrators keen to participate in the decolonization of education in Canada. RSVP to Nancy Bishop at nlbishop@mun.ca if you are planning to attend.
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
C-4002, Chemistry Building
Diversity and Inclusion Workshop
Dr. Richard Chavolla, Educational Consultant
Diversity and Inclusion Workshops will consist of an exploration of the multiple social identities such as gender, race, socio-economic class, sexuality and religion and their intersectionality within each individual and throughout society. Through facilitated dialogue, presentation of research and theory, and interactive activities, participants in the session will examine the privilege and oppression associated with these social identities. The training session will also provide colleagues in attendance with language and tools to better identify, discuss and develop benchmarks to reach for addressing such unwanted elements in their institution such as sexism, racism, classism and homophobia. Finally, the entire session will draw from several conceptual frameworks such as Identity Development Theory, Critical Race Theory and the Cycle of Socialization. Since each of these topics are so vast, in the interest of limited time, the sessions will focus more on race and racism to insure more worthwhile examination and conversation. Commonly, regardless of location and institutional type, diversity training in higher education begins with a study of race. Faculty and staff and graduate students are welcome to participate in one of two workshops being offered. Workshops are capped at 20 participants each (RSVP requested to instrdev@mun.ca)
4:00 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.
C-4002, Chemistry Building
Honouring Former Students of Residential Schools
Edward Allen, Aboriginal Cultural Education Coordinator
During this session, we will be seeking ideas and input on a project to honour former students of residential schools. As one example, the project may be a visual display similar to a Heart Garden, a joint initiative of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada, the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, KAIROS, and Project of Heart, in which children and youth are invited to create a heart and decorate it in a way to honour those lost to the Indian residential school system along with why reconciliation is important to them, attach the heart to a gardening stake and plant it in a garden.
 
 

Note: "Honouring the truth, reconciling for the future" is the title of the Summary Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Terminology used throughout communications materials for Aboriginal Peoples Week at Memorial University reflects the language used by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

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