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Students answer the prime minister’s reconciliation challenge

A joint class of Arts and Science students examined the relationship between Indigenous Peoples and settler communities through a social justice exposition.

  • Penny Cornwall (Artsci’18) speaks with Madeline Heinke (Artsci'18) in front of their team's exhibit, Maanamaji'o. The word means "the community (or the person) is sick." (University Communications)
    Penny Cornwall (Artsci’18) speaks with Madeline Heinke (Artsci'18) in front of their team's exhibit, Maanamaji'o. The word means "the community (or the person) is sick." (University Communications)
  • The Maanamaji'o exhibit includes items gathered from Pikangikum. The First Nations community has "an alarmingly high suicide rate", says Ms. Cornwall. (University Communications)
    The Maanamaji'o exhibit includes items gathered from Pikangikum. The First Nations community has "an alarmingly high suicide rate", says Ms. Cornwall. (University Communications)
  • Other topics explored by the joint class include "The Monstrous Other" in pop culture - demonstrating unfair portrayals of, among others, Indigenous Peoples. (University Communications)
    Other topics explored by the joint class include "The Monstrous Other" in pop culture - demonstrating unfair portrayals of, among others, Indigenous Peoples. (University Communications)
  • Mishiikenh (Vernon Altiman) of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre performs an honour song to open the expo. (University Communications)
    Mishiikenh (Vernon Altiman) of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre performs an honour song to open the expo. (University Communications)
  • Thohahoken (Michael Doxtater) and student Cosimo Morin (Artsci'18) lead the joint class in an Indigenous song the class rehearsed in anticipation of the event. (University Communications)
    Thohahoken (Michael Doxtater) and student Cosimo Morin (Artsci'18) lead the joint class in an Indigenous song the class rehearsed in anticipation of the event. (University Communications)

Students in a Global Development Studies course and a Languages, Literatures, and Cultures course have come together to spark a dialogue around the issues identified in the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report.

Under the guidance of Thohahoken (Michael Doxtater), Queen's National Scholar in Indigenous Studies: Land- and Language-Based Pedagogies and Practices, the students have organized the “Treaty Peoples Social Justice Expo”, a poster fair in Stirling Hall. The event was aimed at increasing awareness of Indigenous Peoples issues and honour their cultures and languages. The idea to host a poster fair was Dr. Doxtater’s, as a way to foster his students’ learning while also providing them an opportunity to find topics that relate to their interests.

“The aim was to engage these young people in the prime minister’s challenge to ‘move towards a nation-to-nation relationship based on recognition, rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership’,” says Dr. Doxtater. “I am proud of the students’ efforts, and pleased that we were able to engage two distinct classes in this multidisciplinary look at contemporary Indigenous issues.”

To help create a respectful and inclusive environment, Wednesday’s event opened with greetings from Elder Mishiikenh (Vernon Altiman) of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre. Then, guests were welcome to explore the room and learn about 13 topics related to the well-being of Indigenous Peoples.

“The poster fair included examinations of issues such as environmental resistance and the impact of development on Indigenous health, incarceration of Indigenous peoples, and even portrayals of Indigenous Peoples in sports,” says Penny Cornwall (Artsci’18), one of the organizers. “My team’s project, Maanamanji’o, focused on suicide and mental health in Pikangikum First Nation – a community with an alarmingly high suicide rate.”

Ms. Cornwall notes one of her peers has a personal connection to the Pikangikum community, and this student’s passion led the team to explore that topic.

Dr. Doxtater was hired in 2017 as part of the Principal’s faculty renewal efforts. He is a Queen’s National Scholar cross-appointed to the Departments of Global Development Studies and Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. Learn more about Dr. Doxtater here.

Equity Office turns 20

The Queen’s Equity Office marked a milestone and celebrated equity leaders from across Queen’s at an annual symposium.

  • 2017 Tri-Award recipients, along with the Provost and Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion). L-R, back to front: Erin LeBlanc, Michael Fisher, Ian Casson, Deputy Provost Teri Shearer, Provost Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Tricia Baldwin, Charlotte Johnston, Em Osborne. (University Communications)
    2017 Tri-Award recipients, along with the Provost and Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion). L-R, back to front: Erin LeBlanc, Michael Fisher, Ian Casson, Deputy Provost Teri Shearer, Provost Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Tricia Baldwin, Charlotte Johnston, Em Osborne. (University Communications)
  • A panel explored matters of equity and inclusion within higher education, and took questions from the audience. (University Communications)
    A panel explored matters of equity and inclusion within higher education, and took questions from the audience. (University Communications)
  • Ramna Safeer (Artsci'19), Social Issues Commissioner for the Alma Mater Society, shares a personal story during a panel discussion. (University Communications)
    Ramna Safeer (Artsci'19), Social Issues Commissioner for the Alma Mater Society, shares a personal story during a panel discussion. (University Communications)
  • This cake, printed with the Equity Office's logo on it, helped mark the office's 20th anniversary. (University Communications)
    This cake, printed with the Equity Office's logo on it, helped mark the office's 20th anniversary. (University Communications)
  • The Four Directions Women Singers played an honour song for the award winners, and a travelling song to mark the end of the event. Ramna Safeer (Artsci'19), Social Issues Commissioner for the Alma Mater Society, shares a personal story during a panel discussion. (University Communications)
    The Four Directions Women Singers played an honour song for the award winners, and a travelling song to mark the end of the event. Ramna Safeer (Artsci'19), Social Issues Commissioner for the Alma Mater Society, shares a personal story during a panel discussion. (University Communications)

The Queen’s Equity and Human Rights Offices congratulated various members of the Queen’s community on their efforts to build a more inclusive Queen’s, and celebrated two decades of its own work.

On Tuesday, the offices hosted their Tri-Awards Reception. This annual symposium featured leading speakers on equity and human rights, and recognized four Queen’s employees and two students for their efforts to build a more inclusive Queen’s University.

“We are fortunate in Canada to have a society rich in diversity, and it can be easy to forget that inclusion does not happen by accident,” says Stephanie Simpson, Executive Director (Human Rights and Equity Offices) and University Advisor on Equity and Human Rights. “Successful learning, living, and employment outcomes are the result of a shared responsibility and commitment. The annual Tri-Awards ceremony is a celebration of community as well as the individuals and groups who make remarkable contributions to the advancement of equity, human rights, accessibility, and inclusion here at Queen’s.”

The Equity Office was created following a university-wide restructuring of equity and human-rights initiatives in 1998, when then-Principal William Leggett hired Mary Margaret Dauphinee as Queen’s first University Advisor on Equity.

During the event, attendees honoured the recently retired University Advisor on Equity and Human Rights, Irène Bujara, who was in attendance.

The event’s booklet also paid tribute to Leo Yerxa, an Indigenous artist who created numerous images on behalf of the Queen’s Equity and Human Rights Offices. Yerxa passed away last year. His most recognizable work on the Queen’s campus were the “Woman Recreated” mosaics, which were created in 2012 to recognize the 20th anniversary of the Human Rights office. The mosaics continues to be displayed in the Dunning/Mac-Corry passage and Gordon Hall Room 401.

Here are the 2017 Equity Office Awards Recipients:

Employment Equity

Erin LeBlanc and Michael Fisher. (University Communications)
Erin LeBlanc and Michael Fisher. (University Communications)

Recipients: Michael Fisher, Human Resources Manager, and Erin LeBlanc (Artsci’82, LLM’12), Adjunct Lecturer (Smith School of Business)
Project: Transgender Transitioning Guideline

Fisher and LeBlanc worked together to initiate the development of Transgender Transitioning Guidelines for the Smith School of Business. Foundational to the process of developing these guidelines was the goal of identifying and removing barriers for individuals transitioning in the workplace both now and into the future.

Fisher exemplified the spirit of stepping up to the mark and then going beyond expectations in establishing a safe and supportive professional environment.

Through speaking opportunities and community engagement, LeBlanc continues to be an advocate in the areas for gender identity and gender expression at Queen's and beyond.

 

Human Rights Initiative

Tricia Baldwin. (University Communications)
Tricia Baldwin. (University Communications)

Recipient: Tricia Baldwin, Director of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts
Project: Human Rights Festival at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts

Based on tremendous contributions to the Isabel Human Rights Arts Festival, Baldwin was able to organize an event which provided a lasting benefit to the Queen's and Kingston community. In addition, it brought social justice messages to life and changed the cultural landscape through artistic mediums and experiences.

In 2018 the Human Rights Festival continued to grow and expand, attracting a diversity of attendees from the University, Kingston and beyond.

 

Steve Cutway Accessibility Award

Ian Casson. (University Communications)
Ian Casson. (University Communications)

First recipient: Ian Casson, Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine
Project: Health Check Program

Over the past five years, Dr. Casson has been the driving force in developing, promoting and distributing tools to promote the innovative Health Check Program.

Housed within the Queen’s Department of Family Medicine, the primary care clinic implemented the Health Check Program to reduce inequities in health care for adults with intellectual and development disabilities.

Dr. Casson has worked unwaveringly throughout the progress of this initiative, all the while upholding the values of providing respectful and equitable health care to people with disabilities.

 

Em Osborne (left) and Charlotte Johnston (centre). (University Communications)
Em Osborne (left) and Charlotte Johnston (centre). (University Communications)

Second recipients: Em Osborne (Artsci’17) and Charlotte Johnston (Con.Ed’17) 
Project: Access Art

As part of the Isabel Centre Human Rights Art Festival, Johnston and Osborne were instrumental in organizing the widely successful Access Art project which examined intersecting facets of identity through artistic mediums.

Johnston and Osborne gave countless hours towards this project, with enthusiastic and positive attitudes amid the course of maintaining their academic endeavours.

As a quote from the visitor book states “The importance of this type of space cannot be overstated. You are making the change, and I’m humbled to witness it”.

 

To open the event, the audience heard from speakers Sheila Cote-Meek and Minelle Mahtani. Dr. Cote-Meek, who is Anishinaabe from the Teme-Augama Anishnabai, spoke to her experience as an Indigenous woman and as an academic, and offered suggestions on Indigenizing the academy and making it a more inclusive place for Indigenous Peoples.

Sheila Cote-Meek. (University Relations)

Dr. Mahtani’s talk, meanwhile, was focused on marginalized voices, and drew from her own experience as she worked to enter academia.

Following the two keynotes, Dr. Cote-Meek and Dr. Mahtani joined Queen’s own Ramna Safeer (Artsci’18), Social Issues Commissioner with the Alma Mater Society; Awet Weldemichael, Associate Professor and Queen's National Scholar on African and World History; Lauren Winkler (Artsci'17, JD'20), past president of the Queen’s Native Student Association and past member of the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation task force; and Beverley Mullings, Associate Professor and Queen’s National Scholar in the Department of Geography and Planning, for a broader conversation about equity in academia.

Raising awareness of Indigenous identity

The student-led Indigenous Awareness Week featured high profile speakers and artists, along with events designed to bring the community together.

  • Throughout the week, the Queen's community was invited to contribute their thoughts to the question, "What does the term Indigenous mean to you?" (Supplied Photo)
    Throughout the week, the Queen's community was invited to contribute their thoughts to the question, "What does the term Indigenous mean to you?" (Supplied Photo)
  • Breton Burke (Artsci'18) chows down on bannock and cedar tea on Wednesday, as part of a charitable sale in the BioSciences Atrium. (University Communications)
    Breton Burke (Artsci'18) chows down on bannock and cedar tea on Wednesday, as part of a charitable sale in the BioSciences Atrium. (University Communications)
  • Jaylene Cardinal was one of the Indigenous artists who visited campus on Thursday as part of Indigenous Awareness Week. (University Communications)
    Jaylene Cardinal was one of the Indigenous artists who visited campus on Thursday as part of Indigenous Awareness Week. (University Communications)
  • L-R: Ellyn Jade, Model from Whitesand First Nation; Alexandra Young (ArtSci '18), Co-President of Vogue Charity Fashion Show; Wiiwagaa'ige (Darian Doblej) (ArtSci '18), Co-Chair of QNSA Conference; and Siera Bearchell, Métis citizen and Miss Universe Canada. (Photo by Stefany Li (ArtSci '18))
    L-R: Ellyn Jade, Model from Whitesand First Nation; Alexandra Young (ArtSci '18), Co-President of Vogue Charity Fashion Show; Wiiwagaa'ige (Darian Doblej) (ArtSci '18), Co-Chair of QNSA Conference; and Siera Bearchell, Métis citizen and Miss Universe Canada. (Photo by Stefany Li (ArtSci '18))
  • Clément Chartier, President of the Métis National Council, speaks on Friday at an event co-sponsored by the Institute for Intergovernmental Relations. (University Communications)
    Clément Chartier, President of the Métis National Council, speaks on Friday at an event co-sponsored by the Institute for Intergovernmental Relations. (University Communications)

Organizers of Indigenous Awareness Week 2018 are taking a moment to reflect back on the past week’s celebration of and exploration of Indigenous identity.

The annual conference and festival featured remarks by Indigenous artists, leaders, and celebrities; Indigenous food and culture events; and education opportunities for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples.

The week was the result of hard work by 60 Queen's Native Student Association (QNSA) volunteers, and support from departments including the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, the Grad Club, and the Institute for Intergovernmental Relations.

For more updates from the Queen's Native Student Association, visit their Facebook page.

Learn more about this year's conference.

Indigenous art collection grows with generous donation

The Agnes Etherington Art Centre has received a gift of Inuit prints and a bequest from Margaret McGowan (Artsci’78) and her husband.

Mattiusie Manakudluk (QC 1911-Puvirnituq QC 1968), In Summer They Went Camping, In Winter They Went for Seals, 1968, stonecut on paper, 27/30.  Gift of Margaret McGowan Artsci’78, 2017 (60-003.18). (Photo by Bernard Clark)
Mattiusie Manakudluk (QC 1911-Puvirnituq QC 1968), In Summer They Went Camping, In Winter They Went for Seals, 1968, stonecut on paper, 27/30.  Gift of Margaret McGowan Artsci’78, 2017 (60-003.18). (Photo by Bernard Clark)

The Agnes Etherington Art Centre has received a donation of 23 stone-cut and stencil prints from alumna Margaret McGowan (Artsci’78). Ms. McGowan and her husband have also sponsored a research studentship, and these gifts complement bequests that the couple had previously established.

“As a student at Queen’s, I visited the Agnes regularly to see the exhibits and to enjoy the peace and beauty of the original house,” she says. “Recently, a more immediate opportunity to make a gift presented itself. For years I collected early Inuit prints from Puvirnituq on the east coast of Hudson Bay in northern Québec. I offered the collection of 23 prints to Queen’s, and Professor Norman Vorano was enthusiastic about adding them to the Agnes’s collection. He suggested the prints would offer possibilities for programming, exhibitions, and academic and community-based research.”

The prints span the first decades of printmaking in the Puvirnituq community, from 1961 to 1989. Consisting of 23 works on paper, the donation provides a representative overview of the emergence of printmaking in this community. The prints focus on depictions of birds and animals, show hunting scenes, and life at camp, with a few of the illustrations representing stories from the oral history of the Inuit culture.

In addition to this gift, Ms. McGowan and her husband are supporting a research studentship specific to Indigenous art and with a priority focus on Inuit art. The Research Studentship in Indigenous Art will provide opportunities for Queen’s students to further their studies in art history, art conservation, or Indigenous studies; enable research into the prints of Puvirnituq; and benefit the collections and programs at the Agnes.

To be eligible for the studentship, interested students must submit their applications to the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and a committee will decide on the recipient. The studentship will be granted on the basis of demonstrated knowledge, interest, and experience in the relevant disciplines, and the candidate's potential to contribute to the field.

Dr. Vorano, a Queen's National Scholar and Curator of Indigenous Art with the Agnes, says this donation is an excellent complement to the art centre’s existing Inuit graphic arts and resources.

“The McGowan donation will help Queen’s foster and support innovative student research, and enhance the experiential learning possibilities in the gallery and beyond,” says Dr. Vorano. “This donation will help us present a more comprehensive and comparative history of Arctic printmaking, and through the research studentship will also help attract Indigenous students and support a diverse array of graduate and upper-year undergraduate research.”

In addition to furthering scholarship on campus, these new art pieces and the studentship will support Queen’s in its reconciliation efforts. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission task force report called on the university to, among other things, raise awareness of the complex histories of Indigenous Peoples, and to enhance the visibility of Indigenous communities at Queen’s.

The donation
● Twenty-three stone-cut and stencil prints from Puvirnituq, an Inuit community in northern Québec. This donation was provided by Margaret McGowan.

● Ms. McGowan and her husband have also established the Research Studentship in Indigenous Art – an active research studentship focused on Indigenous art with a preference on Inuit art. This is in addition to a research studentship the couple had previously established as part of an estate gift.

● Also as part of the estate gift, a program will be created to provide bursaries for elementary and high school students participating in public and art education programs at the Agnes.

The donations also build on past commitments that Ms. McGowan and her husband have made to the Agnes. The couple had previously established two bequests which will establish a second research studentship, and will create a bursary program that will provide full or partial bursaries for elementary and high school students participating in public and art education programming presented by the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. 

“I am tremendously grateful to Ms. McGowan and her husband for this generous gift of art, which enables us to better reflect the complex expression of Inuit culture, and for such thoughtful support for related research,” says Jan Allen, Director of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. “We look forward to sharing new insights and to presenting these extraordinary prints for all to enjoy, as part of the expanding presence of Indigenous culture on campus and across the wider community.”

A selection of the Puvirnituq prints will be displayed at the Agnes in the spring and summer 2019.

The timing of this donation is also significant, as it comes just as the Master of Art Conservation program announced a $632,000 grant over five years from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The grant will be used to develop conservation research and online courses with a focus on Indigenous material culture.

For more information on art exhibits at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, visit agnes.queensu.ca.

Think DIFF-erently

DIFF – the Diversity & Inclusion Film Festival – will take you from Australia, to Uganda, to China, and Egypt – all without leaving Queen’s.

A new film festival at Queen’s will bring the Queen’s community together for reflections and celebrations of people from all over the world.

The Diversity and Inclusion Film Festival (DIFF), which runs from March 20 to March 28 – is being hosted by the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS), the Queen’s University International Centre, and Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, among others.

Atul Jaiswal, International Commissioner for the SGPS and doctoral candidate in Rehabilitation Science, says the goal of the festival is to strengthen the connections between the domestic and international students.

“We intend to use movies as a tool to showcase the culture unique to the specific region and how people could appreciate each other’s culture and start accepting and including everyone,” he says.

A promotional image for "Bran Nue Dae", a film about an Aboriginal Australian teenager which will be shown at the Diversity & Inclusion Film Festival. (Supplied Photo)
A promotional image for Bran Nue Dae. The film, which is about an Aboriginal Australian teenager named Willie, will be shown at the Diversity & Inclusion Film Festival. (Supplied Photo)

The festival will feature five different films – each representing different areas of the world. The first up, Bran Nue Dae, is about the coming of age of an Aboriginal Australian teenager.

Other films to be examined include Queen of Katwe, about a Ugandan girl who becomes a Woman Candidate Master in chess, on Wednesday, March 21; About Elly, a murder mystery involving several Iranian couples on vacation, on Friday, March 23; Confucius, a biographical film about the legendary philosopher, on Tuesday, March 27; and Cairo Drive, a film about navigating traffic in Egypt set against the backdrop of the 2011 revolution, on Wednesday, March 28.

Each film screening will be accompanied by a panel discussion led by students’ facilitators from the same region to engage the Queen's community and build cultural understanding. The festival will conclude with the screening of Cairo Drive and a Jeopardy! event all about world cultures.

“We believe that this event may start the conversations around the importance of each culture that the students from different parts of the world bring on campus,” says Mr. Jaiswal. “One cannot appreciate the beauty of a rainbow until one understands the importance of each colour in making the rainbow possible. Similarly, on campus, once we start appreciating other person’s culture, we would be more respectful and accepting towards them and then the doors would be more open to share and learn from each other.”

For more information on the festival, please visit the SGPS Facebook page.

Proposals for reconciliation

Three Indigenous artists presented art proposals Monday as part of a project to bring First Nations art into the Faculty of Law atrium.

  • Ms. Claus showcases her proposal at Monday's open house. It consists of wampum belts made of translucent purple coloured and frosted clear acrylic sheets and hung vertically from the ceiling. (University Communications)
    Ms. Claus showcases her proposal at Monday's open house. It consists of wampum belts made of translucent purple coloured and frosted clear acrylic sheets and hung vertically from the ceiling. (University Communications)
  • Ms. Claus' proposal is entitled “words that are lasting”. Wampum belts are mnemonic aids utilized by the Haudenosaunee and other Indigenous peoples within oral nation to nation agreements. (University Communications)
    Ms. Claus' proposal is entitled “words that are lasting”. Wampum belts are mnemonic aids utilized by the Haudenosaunee and other Indigenous peoples within oral nation to nation agreements. (University Communications)
  • Rebecca Baird’s proposal is entitled “Kihewataniy” (“eagle feather” in Cree). The eagle's feather is honored by Indigenous peoples, and is a symbol of truth, power and freedom. It has been included as part of the reconciliation initiative and has been established as a legal oath-swearing option in the courts of Canada. (University Communications)
    Rebecca Baird’s proposal is entitled “Kihewataniy” (“eagle feather” in Cree). The eagle's feather is honored by Indigenous peoples, and is a symbol of truth, power and freedom. It has been included as part of the reconciliation initiative and has been established as a legal oath-swearing option in the courts of Canada. (University Communications)
  • Ms. Baird speaks to visitors at Monday's open house. If her proposal is successful, the feather she has designed would be suspended in the air above the Gowlings Atrium. (University Communications)
    Ms. Baird speaks to visitors at Monday's open house. If her proposal is successful, the feather she has designed would be suspended in the air above the Gowlings Atrium. (University Communications)
  • Wally Dion’s proposal is entitled “It will put your mind at ease, that we still remember these words.” The art piece consists of three large wampum belts suspended vertically from the wall with three smaller belts woven between them. (University Communications)
    Wally Dion’s proposal is entitled “It will put your mind at ease, that we still remember these words.” The art piece consists of three large wampum belts suspended vertically from the wall with three smaller belts woven between them. (University Communications)
  • Mr. Dion speaks to Norman Vorano, Curator of Indigenous Art at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, about his proposal at an afternoon reception. (University Communications)
    Mr. Dion speaks to Norman Vorano, Curator of Indigenous Art at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, about his proposal at an afternoon reception. (University Communications)
  • Bill Flanagan, Dean of the Faculty of Law, and Douglas Cardinal, renowned architect and member of the Queen's Faculty of Law Indigenous Art Commission, examine the proposals. (University Communications)
    Bill Flanagan, Dean of the Faculty of Law, and Douglas Cardinal, renowned architect and member of the Queen's Faculty of Law Indigenous Art Commission, examine the proposals. (University Communications)

When visitors pass through the Faculty of Law atrium this fall, they will see the faculty’s commitment to reconciliation writ large. A piece of art will be installed to help increase the visibility of Indigenous art and culture, promote the recognition of Indigenous territory on campus, and create a welcoming space for Indigenous Peoples.

The question remains: will the art take the form of an eagle feather, or of wampum belts?

The Story So Far
Indigenous art to appear in Law atrium - Sept 20, 2017
Queen’s Law reveals shortlisted proposals for Indigenous Art Commission - Mar 1, 2018
● The successful artist will be named by the end of March.
● The art will be installed this fall.

As a committee evaluates the three options they have received in response to their recent request for proposals, the artists had a chance Monday to make their case directly to the Queen’s community.

Artists Wally Dion, Rebecca Baird, and Hannah Claus were on campus to demonstrate their ideas during an open house and a public reception. Mr. Dion’s and Ms. Claus’ ideas involve installing large vertical wampum belts in the Gowling WLG Atrium, while Ms. Baird has suggested suspending a large feather from the rafters.

The purpose of Monday’s events was to solicit comments from the Queen’s community regarding the proposals via an online survey. The comments will inform the committee’s final decision, which will be revealed later this month.

“Thank you to everyone who came out to our two public events, and to those who have taken the time to register their comments,” says Dean Bill Flanagan, chair of the committee. “This project will help our faculty contribute to the important cause of reconciliation in Canada, with the inclusion of a prominent work of Indigenous art that reflects historical and contemporary issues relevant to Indigenous Peoples and law.”

The goal is to complete the art installation this fall. For more information, visit the Faculty of Law Indigenous Art Commission webpage.

Exploring Indigenous identities

The Queen’s Native Student Association (QNSA) is organizing a week of events aimed at raising awareness of reconciliation and Indigenous matters.

Queen's Native Students' Association member Helena Kita (Artsci'19) and Co-President Sarah Hanson (Artsci'17) help take down the thoughts of the Queen's community as part of Indigenous Awareness Week. (University Communications)
Queen's Native Student Association member Helena Kita (Artsci'19) and Co-President Sarah Hanson (Artsci'19) help take down the thoughts of the Queen's community as part of Indigenous Awareness Week. (University Communications)

Through song, stories, food, and art, organizers of Indigenous Awareness Week hope to spend the next few days exploring what it means to have Indigenous identity.

“Whether you are an Indigenous person, a well-established ally, or beginning your journey towards ally-ship and educating yourself on Indigenous histories, cultures, and current issues, you are invited to join us this week,” says Queen’s Native Student Association (QNSA) Co-President Sarah Hanson (Artsci’19). “Our goal is to engage all members of our community in a discussion around Indigeneity and reconciliation, and further their knowledge of issues affecting Indigenous Peoples today.”

There are several activities planned throughout the week, with events scheduled for each day. This year, organizers have aligned Indigenous Awareness Week with the QNSA’s annual conference – blending the learning and social aspects of the two events.

On Monday, members of the Queen’s community can participate in a whiteboard session from 10 am to 3 pm in the Athletics and Recreation Complex (ARC). Organizers hope to use the time to gather thoughts on what reconciliation means to them, and share it on a canvas forever featured by QNSA.

Monday night will include a poetry slam featuring community poet Bob Mackenzie as well as Queen’s student poets in the Grad Club.

On Tuesday, organizers will lead a mass KAIROS exercise from noon to 2 pm. in the McLaughlin Room of the John Deutsch University Centre (JDUC). This exercise is a teaching tool used to share the historic and contemporary relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. Later that evening, organizers will show Angry Inuk, a documentary about a new generation of Inuit as they participate in the traditional seal hunt. The film will be followed by a discussion lead by Professor Noel McDermott (PhD’15).

Those looking to broaden their palates should stop in to Wednesday’s bannock and tea sale from 9 am until noon at the intersection of Union and University.

A student contributes to the Indigenous Awareness Week whiteboard. (University Communications)
A student contributes to the Indigenous Awareness Week whiteboard. (University Communications)

Thursday will see a number of Indigenous vendors visiting campus to sell their artwork and other creations between 10 am and 2 pm in the JDUC. Some of the items that will be for sale include beautiful traditional items such as dreamcatchers and earrings. Later in the day, QNSA will host a Kehewin Cree Hoop Dance workshop.

Thursday evening, two acclaimed Indigenous models will visit the Queen’s campus to share their stories and experiences at a ticketed event. Miss Universe Canada Siera Bearchell and International Model and former cover of Vogue Ellyn Jade will join the Queen’s community for a wine and cheese event at the Agnes. The event is being co-hosted by the QNSA and the Vogue Charity Fashion Show.

Friday culminates in a town hall event featuring Clement Chartier, President of the Métis National Council. Mr. Chartier will deliver remarks from 12:15 to 1:15 pm in Goodes Hall, and a reception will follow at the Agnes from 1:30 to 3 pm.

Sixty volunteers are coming together to help make Indigenous Awareness Week a reality, and the QNSA has received support from a number of groups on campus including the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, the Grad Club, and the Institute for Intergovernmental Relations.

“We are so excited that Indigenous Awareness Week includes participation from students, staff and faculty from all parts of our university,” says Darian Doblej, (ArtsSci ’18). “Working towards reconciliation requires all of us, non-Indigenous and Indigenous people working together in order to create better futures. When everyone here comes out to events, I know we can be confident in just that – creating better futures.”

Queen's community members filled in their thoughts responding to the question, "What does the term Indigenous mean to you?" (Supplied Photo)
Queen's community members filled in their thoughts responding to the question, "What does the term Indigenous mean to you?" (Supplied Photo)

To stay up to date on Indigenous Awareness Week at Queen’s, please visit the Queen’s Native Student Association’s Facebook page.

Queen’s marks International Women’s Day

This year’s celebrations and reflections are being marked through art and powerful discussions.

In recognition of International Women’s Day 2018, which is Thursday, March 8, the Queen’s Gazette has gathered reflections from a variety of members of the Queen’s community about what the day means to them.

Jennifer Li (Artsci’17), AMS President

Jennifer Li
Jennifer Li (Artsci'17), AMS President. (Supplied Photo)

"To me, International Women's Day is a time to celebrate the achievements of women and acknowledge ways to achieve gender parity. When I first got involved in student leadership at Queen's, I was very fortunate to have several female mentors and role models. They made it easy to envision myself serving in similar roles and forged a path for me to follow. We know that women doubt themselves more than men, which is why I think it's so important to invite other women to get involved at Queen's and encourage them to stay involved.

Even as AMS President, I have been asked if I am the Vice President because I am the only female on my team, or criticized for exhibiting traits that would be considered essential for a leader if I were male. These types of incidents make it even more intimidating for women to step up but, if given the chance, we are capable of greatness.

If you look around Queen's there are so many strong, inspiring and resilient women. Just imagine what they could accomplish if we continue to commit to helping them achieve their ambitions. Whether it's through advocacy work, a conversation with a friend, or a political campaign, I think we all have a role to play in ensuring that the women around us are supported and treated equally."

International Women's Day Events
● On International Women’s Day, the Isabel is hosting a special panel discussion from 11 am to 2 pm. The panel is a part of VOICES: A Multimedia Exhibition that is part of the Isabel’s Human Rights Festival.

● Also playing at The Isabel on March 8 – The Judge. This documentary “provides a rare insight into Shari’a law, an often-misunderstood legal framework for Muslims, told through the eyes of the first woman judge to be appointed to a religious court in the Middle East.”

● The Agnes Etherington Art Centre is currently hosting a number of gender-centred exhibitions including The Powers of Women: Female Fortitude in European Art, and Log Cabin: A Canadian Quilt which examines traditional gender roles in the creation of domestic space.

● On March 7, the Agnes presented a woman like that, a film about female artist Artemisia Gentileschi, at the Film Screening Room in The Isabel.

● The Queen’s Feminist Legal Scholars annual conference, which was held March 2 and 3, was themed around “(Re)Production: Inequalities of Gender, Racialization, and Class.” Learn more about this year’s conference.

● In the community, The City of Kingston is lighting up City Hall in purple for International Women's Day.

Carole Morrison, Director, Ban Righ Centre

“International Women’s Day is an important day when we publicly acknowledge that much work remains to be done to achieve gender equality in Canada and around the world.

My role is to help women to pursue their educational goals so that they can go into every boardroom, operating theatre, university classroom, and community, and make contributions in their chosen fields. I am confident that the participation of women improves and strengthens any organization. The Ban Righ Centre provides very practical support informed by the social and political realities that women face.”

To learn more about the work of the Ban Righ Centre, visit banrighcentre.queensu.ca.

Karen Yeates (Meds'97), Associate Professor, Department of Medicine

“As someone who does research in low income countries into women's reproductive health, cervical cancer screening access, and maternal health, I think the recent focus on women's rights in society – equal pay for equal work, access to reproductive health rights, as well as safe 'harassment-free' workplaces – are positive. I hope that the sea change we are seeing in high income countries will translate into other positive outcomes and priorities for the poorest women in our world.

The work of #MeToo is important, and yet, at the same time there is a woman dying each hour from childbirth in low-income countries due to lack of access to family planning and lack of access to safe delivery. Traditionally, women's health and maternal health has been prioritized by governments to improve the lives of women in low-income countries. Most recently, some major funders of foreign aid, such as the US, are reducing their funding or restricting how it can be used where reproductive health and family planning are concerned, and these decisions are already, in less than one year, having a massive impact on women in the poorest countries of the world.

I have great hopes that this philosophy of one country controlling the reproductive health rights of women in other countries of the world will end, but is unlikely to occur unless other countries, such as Canada and in the European Union, begin to fill that funding 'void' and apply pressure for critical policy change on the strings attached to funding.”

 

Dr. Yeates discusses a project where smartphones were used to provide mentorship to nurses in Tanzania, thereby improving women's health.

Grace Steed (Con.Ed’19), Logistics Director for Queen’s Female Leadership in Politics (QFLIP)

Grace Steed
Grace Steed (Con.Ed'19). (Supplied Photo)

“To me, International Women’s Day represents an occasion to celebrate the accomplishments of women excelling in a variety of fields which were once closed to them, based on their gender. It is a day to honour the courage and sacrifices of the many way-pavers that came before us, as well as to recognize the work that remains to be done, in order to allow for the contributions of women to be valued in all areas of society.

Within the framework of the Queen’s Female Leadership in Politics’ conference, this occasion serves as a reminder of the importance of empowering women to mobilize and become activists in their own communities, in order to achieve gender parity in the spheres of government and civil service. I look forward to the day that I will be able to celebrate International Women’s Day under a female prime minister!

In my opinion, Malala Yousafzai summarizes the purpose of this day succinctly, saying “I raise up my voice - not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard. We cannot succeed when half of us are held back.”’

Jan Allen, Director of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre

Five members of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre team, including Director Jan Allen (second from right), pose in the "Powers of Women" exhibit. (University Communications)
Five members of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre team, including Director Jan Allen (second from right), pose in the "Powers of Women" exhibit. (University Communications)

“International Women’s Day is a moment to take measure of equity for women in our community and around the globe. It’s a time when women’s voices are raised, and – most importantly – raised together. This year, #MeToo’s spectacular and proliferating calling out of systemic sexual misconduct signals women’s refusal to suffer such humiliation and manipulation in silence. Denying impunity to abusers is only one more step toward equity, yet it feels like a thrilling breakthrough. 

Recognizing womens’ achievements is the other side of this occasion. The Agnes Etherington Art Centre, founded by a visionary woman, has a long and distinguished history of championing art by women. We celebrate their creative work and forms of expression, and, at the same time, present exhibitions that speak back to stereotypes and gender binaries. Our three major shows this winter confront these issues in explicit and surprising ways. For me, the informed receptivity of the current generation of students to these issues is truly inspiring.”

The Agnes Etherington Art Centre is currently hosting a number of gender-centred exhibitions including The Powers of Women: Female Fortitude in European Art.

Alexandra da Silva (Artsci’20), incoming Rector

Alex da Silva
Alex da Silva (Artsci'20), incoming Rector. (Supplied Photo)

“International Women's Day is about a number of things – recognizing and appreciating the work that has already been done, acknowledging the projects that are ongoing, and identifying where we need to go in the future. Each of these areas holds equal importance, as we cannot expect to justly move forward in the area of gender equality without having first properly acknowledged the work that was done by those who came before us.

In the future, I hope we can take a more intersectional approach to feminism. We need to really acknowledge that feminism has been predominantly focused on the middle-class white woman and push to work on the gaps which exist as the result of that.

It means really working to understand why the accomplishments of women like Dr. Donna May Kimmaliardjuk are so spectacularly important, considering struggles which are specific to the transgender female community, and advocating for feminism to represent the equity which it is meant to be founded on.”

 

The theme for this year's International Women's Day in Canada is #MyFeminism. For more information on the day, please visit the federal government's website.

The theme for International Women's Day is #PressforProgress. Learn more at internationalwomensday.com.

 

Additionally, Athletics and Recreation has launched a new campaign to support female varsity student-athletes. Visit gogaelsgo.com/womenintricolour to learn more.

Queen’s Law reveals shortlist of Indigenous art proposals

Have your say on the three proposals submitted by Indigenous artists seeking to create a permanent art installation in the Queen’s Law building.

  • Wally Dion’s proposal is entitled “It will put your mind at ease, that we still remember these words.”  The art piece consists of three large wampum belts suspended vertically from the wall with three smaller belts woven between them. (Supplied Photo)
    Wally Dion’s proposal is entitled “It will put your mind at ease, that we still remember these words.” The art piece consists of three large wampum belts suspended vertically from the wall with three smaller belts woven between them. (Supplied Photo)
  • All six of Mr. Dion's wampum belts are constructed using recycled computer circuit boards that are painted with acrylic enamel paint (auto paint) then sewn together with steel wire. The piece would be just over 23 feet in length. (Supplied Photo)
    All six of Mr. Dion's wampum belts are constructed using recycled computer circuit boards that are painted with acrylic enamel paint (auto paint) then sewn together with steel wire. The piece would be just over 23 feet in length. (Supplied Photo)
  • Rebecca Baird’s proposal is entitled “Kihewataniy” (“eagle feather” in Cree). The eagle's feather is honored by Indigenous peoples, and is a symbol of truth, power and freedom. It has been included as part of the reconciliation initiative and has been established as a legal oath-swearing option in the courts of Canada. (Supplied Photo)
    Rebecca Baird’s proposal is entitled “Kihewataniy” (“eagle feather” in Cree). The eagle's feather is honored by Indigenous peoples, and is a symbol of truth, power and freedom. It has been included as part of the reconciliation initiative and has been established as a legal oath-swearing option in the courts of Canada. (Supplied Photo)
  • Ms. Baird's art would be suspended in the air above the Gowlings Atrium. (Supplied Photo)
    Ms. Baird's art would be suspended in the air above the Gowlings Atrium. (Supplied Photo)
  • Hannah Claus’ proposal is entitled “words that are lasting”. It consists of wampum belts hung vertically from the ceiling. (Supplied Photo)
    Hannah Claus’ proposal is entitled “words that are lasting”. It consists of wampum belts hung vertically from the ceiling. (Supplied Photo)
  • The belts would be made from translucent purple coloured and frosted clear acrylic sheets. Wampum belts are mnemonic aids utilized by the Haudenosaunee and other Indigenous peoples within oral nation to nation agreements. (Supplied Photo)
    The belts would be made from translucent purple coloured and frosted clear acrylic sheets. Wampum belts are mnemonic aids utilized by the Haudenosaunee and other Indigenous peoples within oral nation to nation agreements. (Supplied Photo)

 

This fall, the Faculty of Law atrium will be home to a permanent art installation created by an Indigenous artist – and the project committee that launched the special commission is seeking your input on three proposals.

“The Indigenous community at Queen’s Law is excited to have a permanent visual representation of our heritage, culture and presences on campus,” says Ann Deer, Indigenous Recruitment and Support Co-ordinator at Queen’s and project committee member. “This art will reflect our history, present and future in Canada, and the evolution of law.”

The Indigenous Art Commission was launched by Queen’s Law in September 2017. The purpose of the commission is to further the cause of reconciliation on campus by increasing the visibility of Indigenous art and culture and the recognition of Indigenous territory, specifically within the Faculty of Law. Additionally, the members are seeking to create a welcoming space for Indigenous people and to promote awareness around historical and contemporary issues that are relevant to Indigenous people and law.

“Queen’s University is situated on traditional Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee territory,” says Dean Bill Flanagan. “By honouring this traditional territory, we acknowledge its significance for the Indigenous peoples who lived, and continue to live, upon it. Having a work of art that reflects Indigenous culture and values in the entrance to our school will be one of many ways we honour this traditional territory and embrace Indigenous engagement in all that we do in the Faculty of Law.”

The project committee has shortlisted three artists who will be presenting their proposals on Monday, March 12 from noon to 1 pm in the Queen’s Law atrium. Each artist will display a three-dimensional maquette or digital scale-rendering of their proposed artwork. Attendees of the open drop-in will have an opportunity to ask the artists about their proposals, and submit comments to the project committee via a survey.

Later that day, from 3:30 to 4:30 pm at an Agnes Etherington Art Centre reception, the Queen’s community can meet and chat with members of the project committee and the three shortlisted artists.

The project committee members will consider public input when making its final decision. Those who are unable to attend the open house can submit their feedback via an online survey.

For those who are unable to attend the presentations on March 12, a summary of the three shortlisted proposals and the online survey is available on the Faculty of Law Indigenous Art Commission web page.

Unprecedented grant awarded to Queen’s Art Conservation

Prestigious Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funding for Queen’s Master of Art Conservation program increases focus on Indigenous material culture.

The internationally-recognized Master of Art Conservation program at Queen’s has received a grant of $632,000 over five years from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop conservation research and online courses with a focus on Indigenous material culture.

Specifically, the new funding will help initiate and implement comprehensive change to the program’s curriculum and research activities and will help advance the university’s goals of diversity, equity, anti-racism and inclusion. 

Art Conservation student Paige Van Tassel  at work on a piece of art
Conservation student Paige Van Tassel is mechanically surface cleaning a 19th century Iroquois beaded frame. Photo by Marissa Monette

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supports institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to a heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work. Importantly, this is the first time the United States-based Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has funded a Canadian art conservation project.

“We are very grateful to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generous support for this project,” says Rosaleen Hill, Director of the Art Conservation Program. “We are excited to have this opportunity to engage with the broader community, nationally and internationally, in curriculum diversification. This project will have a significant and lasting impact through the development of online courses and the creation of an international network of colleagues focused on diversity."

Founded in 1974 as Canada’s only graduate program in art conservation, the Queen’s program has established key priorities, including an increased focus on Indigenous material culture and ethics. As graduates from this program go on to care for objects and artworks in public and private collections, this project will have a fundamental influence on how these objects are preserved and accessed in future.

The new five-year project also focuses on developing strengths in research and curriculum on both Indigenous material cultures and modern media and is designed to increase course accessibility through the use of web-based learning.

The proposed activities of the project include:

  • Symposiums to engage the Canadian and international conservation communities, and the broader field of cultural heritage, in an open discussion related to the challenges involved in the development of new curriculum
  • Hosting visiting scholars to build local, national and international networks which include Indigenous elders and knowledge keepers, to support curriculum diversification focusing on Indigenous material and modern media
  • Web-based courses to maximize access to new curriculum content
  • Increasing diversity in the conservation profession through engagement with under-represented groups, coordination with heritage institutions with Indigenous youth programs to provide a pathway to graduate studies in art conservation

“One of our institutional research strengths, the Art Conservation program is internationally recognized for excellence in scholarship and for the development of graduates who go on to work in the world’s leading museums, archives and galleries,” says John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). "This support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will allow the program to better diversify and support a more inclusive and global approach to preservation, such as exploring new and innovative ways to recognize and incorporate traditional knowledge.”

For more information on the Queen’s program, visit the website.

  • Art conservation professor and students work to restore baskets.
    Amandina Anastassiades, Assistant Professor, Artifact Conservation, works with students restoring a selection of unique woven baskets.
  • Alison Murray, Associate Professor, Conservation Science, discusses techniques with a student of the Master's of Art Conservation program at Queen's.
  • A student of the Master's of Art Conservation program
    A student of the Master's of Art Conservation program works on restoring a painting. The program has received a grant of $632,000 over five years from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
  • An art conservation student works with an old photograph.
    Students of the Master's of Art Conservation program work with a range of media, including artistic objects, paintings, and photographs.

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