Queen's hosts Indigenous research symposium
By Craig Leroux, Senior Communications Officer
The 15th edition of the Annual Symposium on Indigenous Research will bring Aboriginal elders, Indigenous scholars and many others community members to Queen’s on Nov. 8 and 9 under the theme of “Honouring the Kahswentha: Reclamation, Renewal, Reconciliation.”
Presented by the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, the symposium features keynote speakers Paulo Wangoola, founder of Mpambo Afrikan Multiversity and a leader in the ongoing Afrikan Renaissance, and Sakokwenionkwas Tom Porter, a member of the Bear Clan of the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne and founder of the traditional Mohawk Community of Kanatsiohare:ke.
“The symposium provides an excellent opportunity to share research and perspectives, and to open a dialogue between elders, scholars and other community members,” says Janice Hill, Director of the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre. “Now in its 15th year, it has become an important event at Queen’s to build awareness and understanding of the indigenous experience in Canada.”
The symposium will also feature talks by Queen’s faculty members, including Robert Lovelace (Global Development Studies) and Jill Scott (Languages, Literatures & Cultures, Gender Studies), and by elders like Randal Tetlichi, who is travelling from Yukon College to participate in the symposium.
Alana Fletcher, a third year PhD candidate in the Department of English Language and Literature who is an organizer of the symposium and will be presenting alongside Dr. Scott, says that the symposium helps bring Indigenous voices to the foreground on topics of urgent relevance. She’s particularly looking forward to Mr. Tetlichi’s talk.
“This is the first time we have had someone travel from the Yukon to participate, and we are honored to have Mr. Tetlichi with us,” says Ms. Fletcher. “His talk, Living in Harmony, is particularly relevant to this year’s theme of reconciliation and Indigenous/non-Indigenous relations.”
Fostering respect and understanding of Indigenous perspectives is priority for Queen’s. The university recently launch an Indigenous Studies degree plan, which includes courses from across the Faculty of Arts and Science, and is currently in the process of recruiting a Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Indigenous Arts. The CRC is expected to be in place by July, 2014.