Christine McKenna Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences
The University of Victoria is located on traditional Coast Salish territory, and strives to ensure a strong relationship with Aboriginal students and communities. As the hosts of Congress 2013, their commitment to supporting Indigenous perspectives has shone through in this year’s lineup of cultural programming.
During the week of Congress, a number of special events are set to take place which deal with issues related to Aboriginal experiences and culture. Various activities have been organized by the University of Victoria, the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as a range of different associations and scholars. For anyone interested in learning about Indigenous issues in Canada, here is a round-up of this year’s related events open to Congress attendees and the general public:
Featuring Daniel Heath Justice (Chair of the First Nations Studies Program, UBC) and Sarah Biscarra-Dilley (independent comic artist), this keynote presentation brings together artistic, academic and queer/two spirited perspectives to decolonizing sexuality studies. This event is hosted by the Sexuality Studies Association, and will take place June 1st, from 7-9 PM in room 110 of the First Peoples House.
In this keynote address, Helen Gilbert looks at long-distance walking performances by Aboriginal groups in Canada and Australia, and considers the embodied action of “walking together” in the context of postcolonial reconciliation movements. Hosted by the Canadian Association for Theatre Research and with funding support from the Federation, this event will take place on June 3rd from 9-10:30 AM in the Chief Dan George Theatre, Phoenix Building.
See also: How natives find power in a long-distance walk (The Globe and Mail)
Beginning at 4:30 PM on June 3rd, First Peoples drummers will move through UVic’s academic buildings to call Congress attendees to join Elders at key gathering spots around the University’s Ring Road. Head down to Celebration Square to witness a ceremonial entrance and enjoy an authentic Indigenous meal, First Peoples artisan fair, carving demonstrations, and special musical performances on the outdoor concert stage.
Dr. Peter Jacobs is a faculty member in the Linguistics department at the University of Victoria, as well as a leading expert in linguistics and teaching Indigenous languages. This interdisciplinary talk will examine Indigenous language research in Canada and the role of formal linguistics in informing curriculum design. This event, hosted by the Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics and the Canadian Linguistic Association, will take place in room 110 of the First Peoples House from 4-5:30 PM on June 3rd.
Building on Governor General David Johnston’s speech at Congress 2012, this panel featuring Roberta Jamieson (President and CEO of Indspire), Jody Wilson-Raybould (AFN Regional Chief, British Columbia) and Wanda Wuttunee (University of Manitoba) will focus on the challenges and opportunities of community-campus collaboration in Aboriginal communities. Presented by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, this event will take place on June 4th, from 3-4:30 PM in room 110 of the First Peoples House.
The University of Victoria is hosting a discussion and reflection on challenges facing Indigenous communities in Canada, which will take place on June 4th from 4:30-6 PM in the Multifaith Services Centre (room 151 of the Campus Services Building).
Cree singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie will be hitting the Celebration Stage on Wednesday June 5th, treating Congress attendees and the community to a high-energy, family-oriented performance of her powerful songs.
This exhibition explores the role of art in residential schools, presenting a collection of paintings by children who attended the Alberni Indian Residential School in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It will be hosted by the University of Victoria at the Legacy Art Gallery, 630 Yates Street, from June 5 – 8.
See also: Rediscovered art by residential-school pupils paints a portrait of survival (The Globe and Mail)
Hosted by the Canadian Sociological Association, this panel will engage in an interactive discussion on “Idle No More”, Indigenous struggles, ongoing colonialism, and the role of social scientists in the study of Indigenous relations in Canada. This event will take place in E168, Elliott Building from 1:30-3 PM on June 7th.