Indigenous Awareness Week

Monday, September 17, 2018toFriday, September 28, 2018

The 8th Annual Indigenous Awareness Weeks

Indigenous Awareness Week privileges Indigenous voices on campus, offeringthe opportunity to learn aboutIndigenous issues and promote greater knowledge and understanding about the Indigenous peoples in "Canada." The week aims to raise awareness and initiate an exchange of ideas on First Nations, Métis and Inuit topics within the McGill community.

Schedule of Events


IAW Launch: Honour Where you Stand

September 17, 4-7:30pm

Ballroom, Faculty Club (3450 Rue McTavish)

Come celebrate our Indigenous community and success at the launch surrounded by beautiful local Indigenous artwork. This is one of the special initiatives that was organized this year for the launch event. The historical paintings in the Faculty Club will be taken down for the evening to give space to celebrate the beauty of local Indigenous artwork. Our promotional material this year is also a representation of local Indigenous art by Tekaronhiahkwa Margaret Standup (links to more info on her work below).

Keynote address will be delivered by Janelle Kasperski, Indigenous Education Advisor & IAW organizer. Insight on the special initiatives of this year's IAW will be discussed as well as information on upcoming events. Traditional singing accompanied by water drums and rattles will be the featured performance by local members of the Kahnawà:ke community. Refreshments and hors d’oeuvres will be served in the networking hour. We look forward to seeing you there!

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Jodie-Lynn Waddilove - Indigenous Political & Legal Issues

September 18, 3-4:30pm

Moot Court, New Chancellor Day Hall- Faculty of Law (3644 Peel St)


Including experience with:
-The Ipperwash Inqiury
-MMIWG Inquiry
-The Independent Street Checks Review

PLEASE RSVP:laura.davis3 [at] mail.mcgill.ca

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Dismantling Racism in Healthcare and Education: Panel Discussion

September 19, 10:30am-12pm

3630 Rue University

A Panel Discussion with Indigenous Health Professionals and Allies. Join Tania Dick (Kwakwaka'wakw Nurse), Wanda Gabriel (Mohawk Social Worker), Suzy Goodleaf (Mohawk Psychologist), and Dr. Saleem Razack (Pediatric Intensive Care Physician) to discuss solutions for creating a safe learning and healing environment with Indigenous peoples.

Presented by the Indigenous Health Professions Program during Indigenous Awareness Week. In partnership with Social Accountability and Community Engagement Office, Ingram School of Nursing and the School of Social Work at McGill.

Refreshments and coffee will be served.

*We acknowledge this date as the day of Yom Kippur. The panel discussion will be available online for community members who are unable to attend the live discussion.

Tune in to this event LIVE
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Turtle Island Reads Launch Event & Storytelling Workshop

September 19, 4:30-7:30pm

Thomson House Ballroom (3650 McTavish)


The Turtle Island Reads initiative celebrates stories written by Indigenous authors. Now in its third year, the objective of TIR is to connect readers with Indigenous stories.

Each year, we choose three books of fiction written by an Indigenous author as well as three advocates who will act as a "champion" for each book.

Nantali Indongo, host of CBC Radio One’s The Bridge, will reveal this year’s Turtle Island Reads books, authors and advocates. There will be a special performance by the women’s singing and drumming group, ODAYA. We will also be announcing the shortlist for the 2018 CODE Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Young Adult Literature.

The event will also offer a storytelling roundtable discussion, which will take place from 4:30 - 5:30 p.m. The roundtable features educator and filmmaker Tharionente Barnes (Kanien’kehá:ka), authors Cherie Dimaline (Métis), Rosa Rosa Washee (T’licho Dene), Jessica Deer (Kanien’kehá:ka ) Journalist, CBC Indigenous Unit, Montreal.

The launch event on September 19 is part of McGill's annual Indigenous Awareness Week celebrations.

The Turtle Island Reads initiative is a partnership between CBC Montreal, McGill's Indigenous Education Advisor, the Faculty of Education at McGill, LEARN, Quebec Writers' Federation, and CODE (NGO)

A book table will also be set up as of 5:30pm for book signing & book sales with Good Minds Books, Brantford, ON


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In Solidarity and Support

September 20, 2-4pm

Thomson House Ballroom (3650 McTavish St.)


This event will be a panel/roundtable discussion with self-identifying (Black & Indigenous) panellists:

Kyle T. Mays, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of African American Studies & American Indian Centre at the University of California, Los Angeles

Latisha Reddick, Graduate from Osgoode Hall Law School and is currently articling at Gowling WLG (Canada) in the Toronto office.

This will be a full day of solidarity events. The panel/roundtable discussion will be followed by a CLOSED arts event for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour). Separate FB event will be posted for this Open Mic Arts night. The ambition behind our joint planning was to create a space for conversation around solidarity, support, intersectionality and the difficulty in finding your identity. How do we stay true to our identity and also hold space in solidarity and support of other groups who need it?


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To Be, In Solidarity and Support: Open Mic Night

September 20, 4-7pm

Thomson House Ballroom (3650 McTavish)


Join us for a lovely evening of poetry, song, stories and much more. This is the second portion of the In Solidarity and Support - Panel/Roundtable discussion event for Indigenous Awareness Weeks 2018.

After an afternoon of in depth (and sometime heavy) conversation about what solidarity means to us, let's also release and recharge together at this open mic night. This will be a safe space for BIPOC folks to listen, speak, and celebrate in solidarity and support. Snack buffet will be present and Thompson House beverage services will be available.

Please contactjanelle.kasperski [at] mcgill.caif you would like to sign up as a performer/speaker.

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First Peoples' House 17th Annual Pow Wow

September 21, 11am-4pm

Lower Field, McGill University

Join us under the big tent to catch the Grand Entry at 11:00am on McGill’s Lower Field. It will be a full day of traditional dancing, drumming, and singing. This is an excellent opportunity to browse artisan vendors, learn about student groups, and connect with Indigenous organizations.
The Pow Wow is free and open to the public!
No tickets or registration needed, just come on over to the lower field and check things out.

Interested in being a vendor, coming to dance, or drum? Have any questions? Contact the First Peoples' House atfirstpeopleshouse [at] mcgill.ca

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Outdoor Film Screening w/ IGSF- WAKE UP! Hard Femme Intimacy

September 24, 6:30-8:30pm

Lower Field, McGill University

OUTDOOR BIKE POWERED FILM SCREENING: "WAKE UP! HARD FEMME INTIMACY"- A Screening of 2-Spirit Indigenous Short Films, followed by a conversation with Tio'tia:ke based Dayna Danger abd Beric Manywounds

(check the IGSF website or Cinema Out of the Box Facebook page for exact location details)
Co-presented by the Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies, McGill, Indigenous Awareness Week, Mediaqueer and Cinema Out of the Box. Part of “The Arts of Trans, Gender Diverse and Two-Spirit Lives”, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

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ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᐊᕐᓇᐃᑦ ᐃᓱᒪᓂᕕ ᐊᒻᒪ ᓴᓇᙳᐊᒐᑦ – Inuit Women in the Arts

September 25, 5-6:30pm

McGill Indigenous Studies Program (3643 Peel St.)

Join us for a panel featuring some of the most distinguished contemporary Inuit women in the arts: Heather Igloliorte (ᓯᕈ ᐃᒡᓗᓕᐅᖅᑎ), Niap Saunders (ᓂᐊᑉ ᓴᓐᑐᔅ), Nina Segalowitz (ᓂᓇ ᓯᒐᓗᕕᑦᔅ), and Beatrice Deer (ᐱᐊᑐᐊᔅ ᑎᐅ).

Light refreshments will be served.

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Our Peoples Will Be Healed - Film by Alanis Obomsawin

September 27, 12-1:45pm

1st floor, Faculty of Education (3700 McTavish St.)

Our People will be Healed nfb, 2017 Alanis Obomsawin (dir.), 97 minutes

Our People Will Be Healed is Alanis Obomsawin’s 50th film. This 2017 film, reveals how a Cree community in Manitoba, has been enriched through the power of education. Through the work of community members, language speakers, teachers, and musicians the students at the the Helen Betty Osborne Ininiw Education Resource Centre in Norway House have powerful experiences that build a strong sense of identity and pride of self.

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On Coming Home- Stories from a 2S Adoptee w/ Smokii Sumac

September 27, 5-8pm

215W Arts Building

In this Indigenous Awareness Week talk, Ktunaxa poet and PhD Candidate, Smokii Sumac, will share stories of his many journeys "home," as an Indigenous adoptee and two-spirit person, in ceremony, with chosen family, within his nation, and to his homelands. While stories of loss and devastation tend to forefront today's conversations on Indigenous issues, Sumac argues that we must seek out and share narratives of returning, remembering, and what Gerald Vizenor calls "survivance" in order to learn to restore and celebrate the relationships that colonization seeks to destroy: relationships with the land, our bodies, our selves, families, communities, nations, knowledges and ceremonies. With a background in Indigenous literary studies, Sumac weaves thoughtful analysis of Indigenous works such as Cherie Dimaline's the Marrow Thieves, Jeff Barnaby's Rhymes for Young Ghouls, and Linda Hogan's Solar Storms with deeply personal and moving stories of his own experiences learning what it means to come home.

Smokii Sumac is a proud member of the Ktunaxa nation located in what is currently southeastern British Columbia. They are a PhD Candidate in Indigenous Studies at Trent University where their research centres on “coming home” as a Ktunaxa adoptee and two-spirit person. Smokii identifies as queer, transmasculine, two-spirit, a poet, and uncle, and auntie and a cat person. They accept he/him/his or they/them/theirs pronouns. Smokii’s work has been published in Write Magazine, and under his former name* (he is a man of many names) in Canadian Literature, Aanikoobijigan //Waawaashkeshi (a project by Anishinaabe/Métis artist Dylan Miner), and on coffee sleeves in local Peterborough coffee shops as one of the winners of e-city lit’s artsweek contest in 2014. Smokii currently shares his time between Ithaca, NY where he lives with one of his families, and Nogojiwanong (Peterborough, Ontario). He also teaches Ktunaxa 100: Intro to Ktunaxa Cultures online through College of the Rockies.

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Commodication of Spiritual Items

September 28, 4-6pm

Thomson House Ballroom (3650 McTavish St.)

As part of Indigenous Awareness Week (IAW) 2018, we will be hosting a panel discussion involving members of both the Indigenous and Tibetan communities intended to foster dialogue and knowledge exchange. The topic of the panel will be "Commodification of Spiritual Items" and Dismantling Commodification, Reclaiming Spirituality in Everyday Life.

Our panel will be multi-generational and multidisciplinary in order to ensure that a diversity of perspectives are represented. We will engage with the topics of commoditization and depoliticization of spiritual aesthetics in both Indigenous and Tibetan communities. We will address how objects that carry spiritual significance, such as prayer flags, dreamcatchers, mandalas, and headdresses, work themselves into settler colonial imaginaries and become repurposed as benign objects of beauty. As the panel will explore, the appropriation of sacredness is rooted in systems of oppression which impede both groups’ self-determination. By making these processes known, we hope to work towards strategies that could be used for effectively reclaiming these practices and spaces.

The panel will consist of 4 panelists (of which Khando Langri will serve as moderator for the Q&A portion of the event). Each presenter will speak on the sub-topic of their choice for approximately ten minutes. Two prepared questions will then be presented by the moderator, and a ten-minute open panel discussion will follow.

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