On December 7th at 7pm EST, students from INDG 400 (Food Sovereignty) were invited to watch the film “Gather”, directed by Sanjay Rawal. In addition to the INDG 400 course, students from another course and First People’s House were invited to attend the screening.
“Gather” is an intimate portrait of the growing movement amongst Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political and cultural identities through food sovereignty, while battling the trauma of centuries of genocide.
Watch the full trailer for “Gather” here:
This fund supports meetings and visits with Indigenous community organizations; bringing community members to McGill; experiential learning opportunities for students on and off-campus; and other creative partnership opportunities for Indigenous community support on and off-campus. Some examples include Guest Lecturer compensation, using funds to purchase gift cards, seed funding for larger projects on campus, etc.
All applications will be reviewed by a committee. Funding can be used within 12 months of the review date. To apply for community engagement funding, please apply using this form.
ISCEI and the Bicentennial Working Group are looking for a part-time research assistant to help in the research, planning and logistical coordination of the Bicentennial Anniversary Program. Applicants must have a strong understanding and awareness of Indigenous-centered methodology and community. The research involved will focus on McGill’s history with Indigenous communities, and the RA will be reporting to Indigenous Initiatives (Office of the Provost).
If you know of a student who would be interested in this position, please pass this along to them. Indigenous applicants will be prioritized, but non-Indigenous applicants are still welcomed.
Under the supervision of Indigenous Initiatives (Office of the Provost, Vice-Principal Academic and Finance), the selected student will:
- Conduct research on topics as deemed relevant to the Bicentennial Indigenous Program. This will include, but not limited to the following topics:
- McGill’s Indigenous history:
- Historical figures, notable alumni
- Relationships to communities
- Attend meetings with the committee and take minutes if need be.
- Assist with internal communications as required
- Assist with stakeholder mapping and engagement.
- Meeting minutes
- Information management
- Logistical planning and coordination
Required skills and knowledge
- Professionalism and ability to interact with various stakeholder groups including academics, administrators, students, and external contacts.
- Ability to work autonomously and as part of a team.
- Demonstrated writing and communications skills.
- Knowledge of, and prior experience in conducting research in University Archives is an asset.
- English, spoken and written. Proficiency in French would be an asset.
Hours: 15-20 hours/week
Closing date: N/A
Duration: ~15 weeks (Dec.. 2020 – April . 2021)
To apply: Please email cover letter (including student ID no.) and résumé to email@example.com
On November 17th, McGill announced the new name of the Men’s Varsity Team: the Redbirds. This comes after many years and generations of Indigenous students who fought for the name change. Below is a very abridged history of the recent history of the name change:
Following the large protest in 2018, led by members of the Indigenous community, students continued to push for change through tabling and entering classrooms to further explain McGill’s history with mascots and names. These actions were to further remind other students to vote for the name change during the SSMU referendum. Although the motion did pass within the Student Union, students did not hear a formal announcement by McGill and were continually being handed insults, rude comments and at times, being yelled at by senior staff.
Following the lack of communication by the University, students led another campaign to stop the renewal of the Fee to Improve Athletics – during a Board of Governors meeting, students dropped a large banner off Leacock, demanding that Athletics needs to change their name before improving a facility meant for all students.
It was only announced in April 2019 that the name would change, months after being silent. Following the announcement, male Indigenous athletes were invited to join discussions on the name change as well as other students and staff within Athletics. However, Athletics has failed to discuss how Indigenous athletes can be supported in their team sports and much more work needs to be done within Athletics to make it a welcoming space.
In a recent article from the Bull and Bear, a student-led newspaper on campus, Indigenous students call for more support across campus. As the recent announcement of the Men’s Teamname being changed to Redbird, a sense of closure was finally brought to students who fought for the name to be changed.
In the article, Indigenous students, alumni, and faculty discuss the lack of support systems currently in place and push for more Indigenous faculty and staff. One student shared her experience at the Wellness Hub, stating that multiple stereotypes were being perpetrated on her by doctors and psychiatrists while trying to seek help.
As well, one Indigenous graduate noted that McGill is only beginning to address these issues and that more work needs to be done. As the Indigenous student population is very small, erasure and isolation from student services on campus occur more often within the community.
You can read the full article here.
“Knowledge Mobilization: from SSHRC Buzzword to Actual Meaningful Thing”: Online Workshop for Graduate Students
The Centre for Indigenous Research and Community-Led Engagement (CIRCLE) announced a SAGE online workshop on Friday Nov. 13th 2020, from 12:00-1:30 PM (PST) with Dr. Shiri Pasternak titled: “Knowledge Mobilization: from SSHRC Buzzword to Actual Meaningful Thing”.
Have you come across the term ‘knowledge mobilization’ when tediously filling out grant applications? Have you wondered why this language of war is used to describe the thing you are quietly doing in libraries and in your room? And what you can do, beyond peer-review publishing, to impact the world with your research? Using Yellowhead Institute resources, tools, and “collaterals” as examples (plus some other great forms of public intervention), this workshop is a crash course on making knowledge matter beyond normal academic outputs.
Shiri Pasternak is a professor of criminology at Ryerson University in Toronto. She is also the Research Director at the Yellowhead Institute, a First Nations’-focused and -led think tank based at Ryerson. She is the author of the award-winning book Grounded Authority: the Algonqins of Barriere Lake Against the State, and a bunch of other articles and essays all obsessively focused on abolishing the settler state.
Registration is limited and open to UVic graduate students, faculty, and staff as well as Indigenous graduate students throughout Canada. Register in advance for this meeting: https://uvic.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMrd-mqpzsjG9UX1QoHThmKFgTPfLGMS5Lb
On November 4th, McGill’s INDG 200 course welcomed Innu political activist Michèle Audette for a Q&A session with students concerning Indigenous Feminisms. Students were given the opportunity to connect and ask questions about her work and its relevance to the larger Indigenous communities.
Michèle Audette has served as president of Femmes autochtones du Québec (Quebec Native Women) and the Native Women’s Association of Canada. In 2017, she was appointed as one of the five commissioners of the government’s national inquiry: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).
“When Canadian society creates systems in which violence becomes pervasive, and which puts Indigenous women at risk, we fail our collective responsibilities.” – Michèle Audette
You can find more information here about her work on the national inquiry on MMIWG.
Founded in 2009, Youth Fusion is an award-winning charity that contributes to reducing dropout rates, developing 21st century skills and increasing community engagement among youth by implementing innovative experiential learning projects that create ongoing links between schools and communities. Currently, Youth Fusion is partnered with McGill to help students with career opportunities as well as mentored learning.
Every week, we work with 12,700 youth in 220 schools in rural and urban Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.
Youth Fusion is presently hiring for various positions and we invite you to visit the Careers section of our website. We also wanted to put forward the following positions:
- Project Coordinator in Indigenous schools (part-time and full-time mandates, starting in January)
- Project Manager – Inuit Communities (full-time position, starting as soon as possible)
- Project Manager – Cégeps and First Nation communities (full-time position, starting as soon as possible)
Youth Fusion highly values Indigenous knowledge; self-identifying Indigenous candidates are strongly encouraged to apply!
For more information or to apply you can contact Lydia Risi, Senior Director of Operations and Philanthropy – First Nations and Inuit communities (firstname.lastname@example.org).
On October 27th, McGill formally welcomed seven Indigenous academic staff (one being a recent hire who was not able to attend precious ceremonies), following a series of hires across departments and faculties. The welcome ceremony took place virtually and included prayer and ceremony by Indigenous Elders.
This series of hires stems from the Provost’s Task Force on Indigenous Studies and Indigenous Education, who called upon the University to set a target of appointing at least 35 Indigenous tenure-track or tenured professors by 2032.
Welcome and congratulations again on joining McGill!
On October 27th, Indigenous Initiatives launched their new website. This web site is serves as a central information hub pertaining to the different Indigenous projects and programs throughout the University including the work of Indigenous Initiatives.
Indigenous Initiatives was created following the 2018 final report from the Task Force on Indigenous Studies and Inidgenous Education. The report called for fifty-two specific Calls to Action in total. One Call to Action was the creation of a central administrative unit to guide Indigenous strategies and initiatives throughout the University, and more importantly, act as steward of an overarching vision. As such, Indigenous Initiatives fills this role.
On the website, you can find many resources such as updates on the 52 Calls to Action, current research, partnerships and resources for faculty, staff and students among other central topics. Be sure to check it out!
AISES (American Indian Science and Engineering Society) held its annual National Conference online from October 15 to October 17, and the McGill chapter, .caISES, attended. The National Conference aims at the promotion of Indigenous representation in STEM and celebrates the work being done by Indigenous students and researchers. The conference held networking suites, an opening ceremony, sessions for all tracks, research presentations, and career fairs, among other events.
McGill’s chapter attended the conference and won the Professional and Chapter Development Award for the second year in a row! The Professional and Chapter Development is a long-range AISES goal and aims to ensure that upon graduation, their members are prepared to enter the workforce.
AISES is a large student network consisting of chapters across universities, and its overall mission is to increase the representation of Indigenous peoples in STEM. McGill is part of the Canadian branch, which consists of McGill University, University of British Columbia, University of Saskatchewan, University of Manitoba and Queen’s University.
Celeste Geroux, a member of McGill’s chapter, is also
The Assembly of First Nations hosted an online National Youth Gathering from the Languages and Culture Sector virtually over the weekend of October 17th and 18th. This gathering, Spirit Speakers: Our Languages, Our Future, was originally scheduled for March 27th-30th 2020, however, due to health concerns stemming from COVID-19, the gathering was canceled.
The gathering’s goal was to create a collaborative discussion space for youth to share their experiences, best practices, successes, challenges, and recommendations regarding the revitalization, promotion, and maintenance of Indigenous languages.
One of the organizers of the gathering is Isabelle Zwicker, an Anishinaabe student who is currently at McGill studying Law. In the gathering itself, Zwicker helped facilitate and moderate discussions as well as making sure that the gathering ran smoothly. As well, Vanessa Racine (a linguistics student at McGill and Administrative Coordinator for ISCEI) attended the conference.
Some of the concerns that participants voiced were the lack of visibility of Indigenous languages both in schools as well as in general media.
The ideas, experiences, and comments from the First Nations youth participants were compiled into a report and will be shared with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and other leaders in language revitalization.
Over the last couple of weeks, the Indigenous Student Alliance (ISA) raised over 600.00$ to support Joyce Echaquan‘s family. In order to raise the funds, the ISA raffled a purse (see image) made by Karahkwinetha (Sage) Goodleaf, who is a Kanienʼkehá:ka student at McGill University.
The ISA is a community-based group of Indigenous students and allies working to improve student life on campus. They provide integrative support for Indigenous peoples attending McGill University, so that we may connect and share our Indigenous ways of knowing with each other and with non-I
ndigenous peoples in the community. Their vision is to develop networks and partnerships with university student groups and organizations through learning–teaching relationships that foster real and meaningful human development and community solidarity.
Joyce was a member of Atikamekw Nation from Manawan and was supporting seven children, may she rest in power. If you would like to further support Joyce’s family, donations are still being accepted on the GoFundMe page.
On Friday the 9th of October, the students from INDG 200 Introduction to Indigenous Studies welcomed Kanien’kehá:ka professor Ruth Koleszar-Green, from York University, to learn more about what is a guest and what is a settler and to understand further their responsibilities, as students of Indigenous studies, whether they are Indigenous or not.
Ruth Koleszar-Green is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at York University. Ruth uses She/her pronouns. She is the co-chair of the Indigenous Council at York University and the Special Advisor to the President on Indigenous Initiatives.
You can read professor Koleszar-Green’s paper on the subject here: Ruth Koleszar-Green. 2018. “What is a Guest? What is a Settler?” Cultural and Pedagogical Inquiry, Fall 2018, 10(2): pp.166-177. https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/cpi/index.php/cpi/article/view/29452/21463
This summer, Branches launched a mentorship program titled Pick Your Path, a four-week online learning experience. Indigenous students from highschool, CEGEP as well as university were able to participate in the program.
Pick Your Path provides students with the opportunity to explore a variety of academic fields as well as career exploration. It also provided an opportunity for Indigenous students to familiarize themselves with McGill, and how they can be part of the larger community. Branches seek to create equitable opportunities for students interested in pursuing academics. University Advancement recently published an article about the program, including this video:http://blogs.mcgill.ca/indigenousnetwork/files/2020/10/SP0250-PYP-Video-v2.mp4
Branches plans to offer two more sessions during March Break in 2021 for high school students. The program is offered to Indigenous students as well as those in underrepresented communities. To learn more about Branches’ outreach initiatives, check out their website!
This year, Branches (McGill’s Community Outreach Program) hired two new student ambassadors. It is the first year Branches has hired ambassadors, and they will be helping in creating sustained relationships with Indigenous communities and helping empower younger students to engage in education. The two ambassadors this year are Amanda and Leon!
Amanda is a third-year BCL/JD student at the McGill Faculty of Law. Her grandmother was from Pikwakanagan First Nation, and her grandfather was a member of the Ontario Métis Nation. Originally from Thunder Bay, Ontario, she moved to Montreal during high school. Prior to studying law, she obtained a DEC in Liberal Arts from John Abbott College. One of her favourite parts of law school has been the opportunity to study Indigenous legal traditions and the relationship between the Canadian State and Indigenous peoples. Amanda is excited and very grateful to have the chance to broaden her understanding of Canada’s Indigenous communities by working at Branches.
As an Indigenous Ambassador, Amanda will be supporting Branches’ outreach programs, both by working on existing projects and creating new programming. She is especially looking forward to incorporating an Indigenous perspective, and involving Indigenous communities, in her work.
Leon is Coast Salish from the Kwantlen First Nation, and is studying at the Desautels Faculty of Management pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce with a major in strategic management, a concentration in information systems, and a minor in Indigenous studies. Having been able to discover more about his Indigenous heritage through various courses in the Indigenous studies program at McGill, he has been able to extend and refine his existing knowledge and gain a greater view of Indigenous nations as a whole. Currently based in Richmond, BC due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he has been able to continue his studies at McGill in his home community, while having the chance to meet community leaders through his sister, Atheana Picha, who is a practicing Coast Salish artist in Vancouver.
Being a part of the Branches Program, as well as the Welcome Centre, Leon will be working on various projects throughout the year including the redevelopment of McGill tours through the inclusion of Indigenous content, as well as various outreach and recruitment projects ranging from podcasts, to webinars, to panels.
To learn more about Branches and what they do, be sure to check out their webpage. We are so excited to see what the new ambassadors will be up to this year!
Welcome to the Indigenous Network McGill blog! You can subscribe to receive a weekly email digest of blog posts from the week by clicking on the “Subscribe to weekly email digest” link in the right sidebar (you can easily unsubscribe at any point in the future via a link at the bottom of the email digest).
As described on our About page, Indigenous Network McGill is a blog designed to be a centralized source for news, events, and information relevant to Indigeneity and the Indigenous community at McGill. This blog is currently supported by the Indigenous Studies and Community Engagement Initiative (ISCEI), and is always looking for contributions and regular contributors. Examples of the kind of contributions we would love to see from you include:
- good news from Indigenous faculty, staff, and students (projects, grants, publications, presentations, awards, media)
- news about upcoming events related to Indigenous topics or Indigenous studies, or designed for the Indigenous community at McGill
- reports about successful events or projects
- information about opportunities (funding opportunities, positions)
Please contact email@example.com to submit a blog post or an idea for a post, or if you’d like to be involved!
On September 29th, Wanda Gabriel will be leading a discourse on decolonizing social work education in collaboration with Dr. Billie Allan, who will be leading both Ceremony and Circle.
Dr. Billie Allan is a Two Spirit Anishinaabe from Sharbot Lake, Ontario. Allan is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Victoria and Chair of the Thunderbird Circle – Indigenous Social Work Educators’ Network (TC-ISWEN). Billie’s current research work focuses on the impact of racism on Indigenous peoples’ health, child welfare as a determinant of Indigenous health and well-being, and Two Spirit resurgence.
To learn more about the event and registration, check out the Facebook Event here!