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Indigenous scholars visit Queen’s for year-long fellowship

The Faculty of Arts and Science has announced the recipients of its pre-doctoral fellowships for Indigenous graduate students.

This brand new opportunity, announced in February, was designed to recognize outstanding scholarship among four Canadian Indigenous PhD candidates. The initiative will provide each fellow with an annual stipend of $34,000 and up to $3,000 for research and conference travel. In addition, each fellow will be appointed and compensated separately as a Term Adjunct to teach a half-course (three unit) university course.

Following a positive response and many worthwhile applications, the Faculty decided to expand the initiative to include a fifth scholar.

“The widespread enthusiasm for the Indigenous pre-doctoral fellowships, coupled with the intensity of the response and the high quality of the applicants, was such that we decided to award five fellowships,” says Lynda Jessup, Associate Dean (Graduate Studies) within the Faculty of Arts and Science.

During their year at Queen’s, these five scholars will each teach a course within the Faculty of Arts and Science, engage with local Indigenous peoples and communities, broaden their networks, and complete their doctoral work to receive their degree from their home institution.

The recipients are coming to Queen’s from different universities the west coast to Ottawa, and represent five distinct Indigenous cultures. Keri Cheechoo, from Long Lake #58 First Nation, says she is “incredibly honoured” to have been selected as one of the recipients.

“Wachiye (that means ‘hello’). The many positive Indigenous initiatives being undertaken at Queen’s have much to offer in terms of building community and promoting reconciliation efforts, and I am pleased to be a part of that revitalization and growth,” says Ms. Cheechoo. “I remain grateful that the “rafters have been extended”, to quote the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation task force report, to welcome my Indigenous knowledge, my capabilities as a Cree scholar, and the ancestral teachings I bring with me. Meegwetch (thank you).”

The five scholars include:

 

[Scott Berthelette]
Scott Berthelette (Supplied Photo)

Scott Berthelette
Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Queen’s Department of History
PhD Candidate, University of Saskatchewan

Scott Berthelette’s doctoral research examines how French-Canadian voyageurs and coureurs de bois were instrumental intermediaries between the French State and Indigenous Peoples in the Hudson Bay Watershed.

Mr. Berthelette is Métis. 

 

[Keri Cheechoo]
Keri Cheechoo (Supplied Photo)

Keri Cheechoo
Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Queen’s Department of English Language and Literature
PhD Candidate, University of Ottawa

Keri Cheechoo's research questions what Indigenous women's stories reveal about public and customary practices, as well as the policies and practices of forced sterilization, and she uses an arts-based methodology in the form of poetic inquiry, along with an Indigenous conversational methodology.

Ms. Cheechoo is Cree.

 

[Jennifer Meness]
Jennifer Meness (Supplied Photo)

Jennifer Meness
Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Queen's Cultural Studies Program
PhD candidate in the joint Communication and Culture program through York and Ryerson Universities.

Using Anishinaabe conceptual frameworks and methodologies, Jennifer Meness' research gathers stories of experiences with Gaa-dibenjikewaach and seeks to further understand these types of relationships through the social lens of powwow participation.

Ms. Meness is Algonquin.

 

[Evelyn Poitras]
Evelyn Poitras (Supplied Photo)

Evelyn Poitras
Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Queen’s Department of Gender Studies
PhD Candidate, Trent University

Evelyn Poitras's research is on Nikawiy (mother) to Nitanis (daughter) narratives on the Nehiyaw Iskwew role in governance, leadership, and Treaty enforcement with particular focus on Treaty Four and Treaty Six.

Ms. Poitras is Nehiyaw Iskwew (Cree and Saulteaux).

 

[Adrianne Xavier]
Adrianne Xavier (Supplied Photo)

Adrianne Lickers Xavier
Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Global Development Studies
PhD Candidate, Royal Roads University

Adrianne Lickers Xavier's research is an autoethnographic account examining the implementation of a food security initiative, "Our Sustenance," at Six Nations.

Ms. Lickers Xavier is Onondaga.

 

For more information on this new program, visit the Faculty of Arts and Science’s website.

Reflecting and reconciling

The annual staff barbecue marked National Indigenous Peoples Day through décor and a special art project.

  • [Queen's University staff bbq 2018 Jill Scott]
    It all starts with a plate, and in some cases with a bun, expertly served by Hospitality Services staff and university leaders such as Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning) Jill Scott. (University Communications)
  • [Queen's University staff bbq 2018]
    From there, staff added their choice of burger, eggplant parmesan, or other entree options, along with side salad. (University Communications)
  • [Queen's University staff bbq 2018 cake daniel woolf]
    What meal would be complete without dessert? Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf, with assistance from Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill), hands a slice of cake to Nour Mazloum of he Office of the Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration). (University Communications)
  • [Queen's University staff bbq 2018 grant hall]
    Hundreds of employees packed Grant Hall and the surrounding area as part of the annual Staff BBQ. (University Communications)
  • [Queen's University staff bbq 2018 reconciliation tree daniel woolf]
    Prior to entering Grant Hall, guests had the opportunity to fill out a leaf as part of a 'reconciliation tree', sharing their hopes for reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. Among those who added their thoughts to the tree: Principal Woolf. (University Communications)

Grant Hall was all decked out in black, red, yellow, and white – the colours of the medicine wheel – for the annual Staff Barbecue, which this year coincided with National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Hundreds of staff and faculty packed the hall to celebrate and look back on the year past and enjoy burgers, eggplant parmesan, coleslaw, pasta salad, cookies, brownies, and other barbecue favourites.

There were several tributes to Indigenous Peoples throughout the lunch, including a special art project. Indigenous students and employees who are members of the Kahswentha Indigenous Knowledge Initiative (KIKI) brought in a ‘reconciliation tree’ which employees could contribute to.

Inspired by a similar Ontario government initiative, the tree is designed to encourage both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples to share their hopes for reconciliation. Attendees at the barbecue were asked to complete the sentence, “My hope for reconciliation is…”, write their answer on a leaf, and add it to the tree.

Along with the décor in Grant Hall, the cake featured an Indigenous-inspired design. It included three symbols: a feather, which is considered sacred within First Nations culture; an infinity symbol, which represents the dual identity of Métis people as both European and First Nations; and an Inukshuk, which is an important symbol in Inuit culture.

In addition to being an opportunity for staff and faculty to catch up and look ahead to the summer, the annual Staff Barbecue also serves as an opportunity to gather non-perishable food items for the Alma Mater Society (AMS) Food Bank.

After the event, Hospitality Services assisted the Principal’s Office in donating all of the themed balloon bouquets and leftover unused slab cakes to the City of Kingston’s National Indigenous People’s Day event, which was still continuing for a couple of more hours at Confederation Park.

National Indigenous Peoples Day was established by the Canadian federal government to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. To learn more, visit the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada website.

Four Directions moves out

An expansion is underway at Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, with a planned re-opening this fall.

  • [Four Directions Queen's University renovations construction June 2018]
    144 Barrie – the new addition to Four Directions – will feature a large main floor room dedicated to ceremonies. (University Communications)
  • [Four Directions Queen's University 144 Barrie renovations floor plans main floor]
    The ground floor of 144 Barrie will include a library, meeting space, and a cultural and ceremonial room. (Supplied Photo
  • [Four Directions Queen's University 144 Barrie renovations floor plans top floor]
    The upper floor of 144 Barrie features some programming and quiet space, along with Four Directions office staff space. (Supplied Photo)
  • [Four Directions Queen's University renovations construction June 2018]
    The former kitchen at Four Directions Aboriginal Student centre has been gutted, and will be expanded and moved to the front of the building. This area will become part of a meeting and multi-purpose room. (University Communications)
  • [Four Directions Queen's University 146 Barrie renovations floor plans main floor]
    The ground floor of 146 Barrie will include an expanded kitchen and meeting space. (Supplied Photo)
  • [Four Directions Queen's University 146 Barrie renovations floor plans top floor]
    146 Barrie's upper floor features more office and programming room. (Supplied Photo)
  • [1893 newspaper ad furniture]
    When opening up the walls at 144 and 146 Barrie, workers found an old newspaper ad from 1893. (Supplied Photo)

Back in the fall, it was announced that Four Directions would expand from its home in 146 Barrie to include the neighbouring house.

Now, with the insides of both 144 and 146 Barrie Street torn down to the plaster, work will soon begin on putting the expanded and renovated Four Directions back together in time for the fall.

Once work is complete, the two houses will feature a cultural and ceremonial room, a library, a larger kitchen, multiple meeting rooms, and programming space, along with added office space for staff.

This expansion of Four Directions aligns with the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation task force, which called on Queen’s to develop centralized space for Indigenous activities and the celebration of Indigenous traditions, and to enhance the visibility of Indigenous communities at Queen’s and promote inclusive learning and community spaces on campus. 

Recommendation 13 specifically called on Queen's to "Expand Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre and ensure that it is appropriately staffed and resourced to adequately support expanding enrolment of Aboriginal students".

While workers were prepared for anything when they began work up the 19th-century homes, you never quite know what you will find when you open up the walls of older buildings.

Contractors working on 144 and 146 Barrie got an interesting lead on a furniture supplier, albeit over a century too late. An ad from 1893 was found during demolition work.

While construction is underway, Four Directions staff will still be available. They are currently located in Victoria Hall. To learn more, visit queensu.ca/fdasc

Maintaining Mohawk identity

Queen’s University and Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na are partnering to deliver a certificate in Mohawk Language and Culture.

[Queen's University Mohawk certificate Callie Hill Nathan Brinklow]
Callie Hill, Director of Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na Language and Culture Centre, looks on as Nathan Brinklow, Lecturer in the Mohawk Language and Culture certificate program, speaks at the launch event. (Photo by Katherine Kopiak)

Language forms a critical part of identity. Canada’s Indigenous languages form not only part of the country’s cultural mosaic but also carry history and meaning for millions of people from coast to coast to coast.

Yet, of the 60 unique Indigenous languages recognized by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) in Canada, all but one (Inuktitut) are considered critically endangered. A 2009 report from United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) found that dozens of Indigenous languages in Canada were ‘near death’, and that Canada had the fifth highest number of endangered languages in the world.

In 2015, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission called on the government and the higher education sector to increase their support for Indigenous language revitalization. The intent was to ensure the languages would be passed onto the next generation, and that credentialed programs would be created to educate others in these languages.

On National Indigenous Peoples Day 2018, Queen’s University announced a partnership with Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na which would see the two organizations work together to deliver a certificate program in Mohawk Language and Culture in the community of Tyendinaga.

“To move forward in a good way, it is imperative that we forge strong alliances – such as this partnership – to ensure that we as an institution are responding appropriately to the recommendations of the TRC and to the needs of local Indigenous communities,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “This certificate is distinctive in the way it provides training in both Mohawk language and culture directly to members of the Tyendinaga community, and I am proud that Queen’s is a part of this important initiative.”

Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na is based in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and is dedicated to the revitalization of the Mohawk language, culture, and worldviews.

“We have been delivering Mohawk language and culture courses in the Tyendinaga community since 2004,” says Callie Hill, Director of Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na Language and Culture. “What is new and unique about this certificate is our partnership with Queen’s University and fact that students who complete the certificate will be able to apply their credits towards a degree at Queen’s. These university credits are definitely an added bonus for our students.”

The courses will be delivered by Queen’s University’s Faculty of Arts and Science, Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. This certificate will provide students knowledge of the Mohawk language while embedding the students in culturally rich learning experiences. Courses will introduce students to the many traditions, histories, and worldviews of the Mohawk people.

The certificate is intended to be completed over two years. Completing the course will involve both in-person instruction along with homework and some online learning.

Thanyehténhas (Nathan Brinklow) is Turtle Clan from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, and will be one of the certificate’s instructors. Mr. Brinklow also teaches Mohawk language courses at Queen’s, but he grew up without speaking or understanding Mohawk.

“I did sing hymns with my grandmother, which sparked my interest in the language leading to me learning Mohawk as an adult,” he says. “In my experience, language and culture are inseparable. Mohawk is a vivid language that allows the speaker to see how previous generations encountered and interacted with the world.”

This launch follows the creation of an on-campus Indigenous Languages and Cultures certificate program, focused on Mohawk, Anishinaabemowin, and Inuktitut languages and cultures.

For more information on this new program, visit queensu.ca/artsci/mohawk

New fund to support Indigenous art at the Agnes

The Dodge Family Foundation is helping the Agnes Etherington Art Centre learn more about its Indigenous art collection.

A new fund will help the Agnes Etherington Art Centre discover the history behind some of its most important artifacts in order to guide future collection building.

The Dodge Family Indigenous Art Collection Research Fund has been established with a generous donation from Chancellor Emeritus David Dodge (Arts’65, LLD’02) and his wife, Christiane (Arts’65), to support the gallery in developing a strategy to grow its Indigenous art collection as a powerful asset for research and learning at the university and to encourage fellow alumni, friends, and faculty to support Indigenous arts at Queen’s.

“Our Indigenous art collection has accrued over a long period, and as a result, it’s quite eclectic,” says Jan Allen, Director of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. “Our knowledge about the collection is uneven. Some of the pieces we know a lot about, others very little. Research must be done to ascertain cultures of origin and materials.”

[Indigenous frontlet art gift 2010]
Kwakwaka'wakw or Ts’msyan (Tsimshian) artist, Frontlet, undated, wood, paint, abalone shell, metal and hide. Gift of Dr. Archibald Malloch, 1910. This frontlet was used in a stirring performance by Mike and Mique’l Dangeli, of the internationally renowned Northwest Coast Git Hayetsk Dancers, at The Isabel in 2016. (Supplied Photo)

Alicia Boutilier, Chief Curator and Curator of Canadian Historical Art, says the fund will allow the Agnes to connect with communities where objects originated, including Inupiaq, Yupik, and Athabascan communities of the northwestern subarctic region.

“We are inviting knowledge keepers from that region to work with us to review and engage with the objects to give us a better understanding of what we have that’s beyond a typical museum record,” says Ms. Boutilier. “With that knowledge, we’ll have a better sense of how to move forward — what we can exhibit, how we can expand it, how we can display it, how we can even store it.”

An example of the knowledge the gallery is aiming to expand upon was realized when the internationally renowned Northwest Coast Git Hayetsk Dancers visited the collection prior to their performance at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts in 2016.

During their visit, one of the artists, Mique’l Dangeli, discovered a frontlet — a headpiece made from wood, paint, abalone shell, metal, and hide — made by a Kwakwaka'wakw or Ts’msyan (Tsimshian) artist she believed originated from her people. She shared that, in her culture, a frontlet is used in ceremonial dance and worked with the gallery to incorporate it into their performance. With the help of conservator Amandina Anastassiades, students in the Master of Art Conservation program constructed a cradle to ensure the piece would be protected during the event.

“We were especially interested in Mique’l Dangeli’s knowledge about the traditional use of the piece — which she described as a cultural being — given we had very little information,” says Ms. Allen.

In addition to cultural insights, the Agnes will consult with a range of experts to define its goals in relation to its Indigenous art collection. This will include developing a strategy to assess potential acquisitions with research and learning in mind.

“The addition of this fund will bring us access to extraordinary expertise to advance our collection in tandem with the growth across campus of Indigenous studies and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force Implementation,” says Ms. Allen. “We need to discern where these welcome resources will be placed to ensure our work is sensitive and well-informed.”

The Dodges say their intention is to support that growing knowledge with the creation of the fund.

“Other Canadian, European and, to some extent, Inuit art has been looked at more closely and the knowledge about it has been developed over time,” says Christiane Dodge. “But, as far as I know, not that much knowledge is available about Indigenous art. It’s about time the University and the rest of the world looked at that. We hope that others will join in supporting this fund.”

Ms. Allen says the creation of a fund is timely.

“A gift like the Dodges’ is especially exciting because it meets the demands of the moment,” she says. “We’re at a time where, in order to move ahead, we need to cultivate the knowledge and participation of specific communities and there’s a cost associated with that. This is a visionary gift.”

For more information on The Dodge Family Indigenous Art Collection Research Fund or to donate, visit givetoqueens.ca

This article originally appeared on the Queen's Alumni website.

Supporting Indigenous academics and Indigenous research

New funding and updated policies will support Indigenous graduate students, and students conducting research with Indigenous communities.

[Alex Veinot Queen's Chemistry]
Alex Veinot is a PhD candidate in Chemistry, and a member of Glooscap First Nation located in Nova Scotia. (University Communications)

One in four Canadians holds a bachelor’s degree or higher according to Statistics Canada. Yet for Indigenous people in Canada, the number is just one in ten - making it more of a challenge for Indigenous learners wishing to obtain a graduate education.

To help support Indigenous students seeking their masters or doctorate, the School of Graduate Studies has earmarked additional funding, and introduced a new admissions policy for Indigenous applicants in keeping with the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) task force’s report.

“These actions are a step toward increasing access to graduate studies,” says Brenda Brouwer, Vice-Provost and Dean (Graduate Studies). “They align with increasing inclusivity in our graduate community and promoting opportunities for research and scholarship that actively engages Indigenous communities.”

Among the changes, the value of entrance scholarships for Indigenous students has been increased from $10,000 to $15,000. Ten such awards are adjudicated each year.

Additionally, an Indigenous Student Admission policy was approved this year to encourage applications from Indigenous candidates and support access to graduate studies.

The regulation applies to all graduate programs in the School of Graduate Studies, and it means that the evaluation of applications from Indigenous candidates will consider academic, cultural, personal, and professional background, along with other factors indicative of capacity for graduate study.

To be considered under this regulation, applicants must self-identify as Indigenous upon application for admission defined as First Nation, Métis, and Inuit Peoples.

“Financial supports such as the Robert Sutherland Fellowship, which I received in my first year of doctoral studies, and other awards with allocations designated for Indigenous students are invaluable for promoting the advancement and development of Aboriginal communities throughout Canada,” says Alex Veinot, a PhD candidate in chemistry. “While Queen’s University has made significant improvements in supporting its Indigenous students both culturally and financially, there are still issues that need further attention in order to greatly improve the experience of Indigenous students at Queen’s.

The School of Graduate Studies has also set aside funding resources to support graduate students conducting research that requires travel to Indigenous communities. Masters and doctoral students engaged in Indigenous-related research can apply for Graduate Dean’s Travel Grant for Indigenous Field Research to help offset the costs.

These awards are similar to the Dean’s Travel Awards for Doctoral Field Research, but address a particular need linked with conducting responsible and respectful research with Indigenous communities. These awards are not restricted to PhD students.

It is expected the first applications for these travel awards will be submitted in the coming academic year in response to a call for applications from the SGS.

To further raise awareness about the distinctive requirements of research collaborations with Indigenous communities, the School of Graduate Studies has partnered with the Aboriginal Council of Queen’s University (ACQU) to organize a series of workshops.

The first workshop was held in October 2017 alongside the Indigenous Research Symposium and attracted nearly 90 student, faculty, and community participants. A second workshop will be held in November 2018 and will focus on issues of ownership and control in research.

“We are working with the ACQU and Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre to enhance our outreach, and to facilitate research with and by Indigenous communities,” says Marta Straznicky, Associate Dean (School of Graduate Studies). “It is important we build these relationships in a manner that respects Indigenous knowledge, research methodologies, and cultural protocols.”

“Respecting different ways of knowing and facilitating uptake and mobilization of the scholarly work requires that consideration be given to how the work is presented,” she adds. “The revised regulations on thesis structure affords flexibility in how the research is presented for alignment with the nature of the research conducted.”

For more information on support for Indigenous graduate students at Queen’s, visit queensu.ca/sgs/aboriginal-students

Finding equity

A new mobile application launched by the Queen’s Equity and Human Rights Office will help visitors to campus find equity resources.

[Equity App screenshot]
Users of the Equity Locator app can search for specific resources, check buildings they intend to visit, or have the application follow them and show them what is nearby. (Supplied Photo) 

A new Queen’s mobile application seeks to make campus more welcoming to a wider array of visitors.

The Queen’s Equity Locator offers maps of the Queens University main and west campuses, as well as The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. These maps contain equity-related points of interest across the three locations.

These resources range from safety basics like phones, emergency exits, and security lamps, to accessibility essentials like elevators, accessible washrooms, and accessible entrances, to amenities such as gender-neutral washrooms, breastfeeding stations, and resources.

“This new application will be an important resource for students, staff, faculty, and visitors to campus so we can provide a more welcoming and inclusive experience for them,” says Stephanie Simpson, University Advisor on Equity and Human Rights and Executive Director of the Equity and Human Rights Office. “Many equity-seeking members of our community may not be aware of the resources available to them, and this is one more channel through which we can highlight our available supports.”

In addition to being able to scan the campus for the necessary resources, users can also see which supports are close to their current location through optional global positioning system (GPS) tracking. Users can also look up specific buildings to find out what accommodations are available before visiting campus. They can also submit resources they find on campus which are not listed.

“This began as an effort to map gender-neutral washrooms on campus, and we are pleased with the end result which will serve many within our community,” says Jill Christie, Manager, Data and Administration with the Equity and Human Rights Office. “We view this app as an ongoing effort, and we welcome feedback and submissions from the community.”

The application is a free download for iPhone and iPad, and is available through the App Store.

Mentoring Indigenous youth

Queen’s and the Katarokwi Learning Centre of the Limestone District School Board are partnering on a pilot research mentorship program.

  • [The Indigenous mentoring program unites faculty, staff, and students at Queen’s with staff and students from the Limestone District School Board.]
    The Indigenous mentoring program unites faculty, staff, and students at Queen’s with staff and students from the Limestone District School Board. (University Communications)
  • [Nicole Morse, Natasha Vitkin, and Matteo Zago-Schmitt meet at Four Directions to plan exercises for their mentees.]
    Nicole Morse, Natasha Vitkin, and Matteo Zago-Schmitt meet at Four Directions to plan exercises for their mentees. (University Communications)
  • [Graduate students Shrutika Sukumar and Mohammad Azzam review lab safety with the high school students.]
    Graduate students Shrutika Sukumar and Mohammad Azzam review lab safety with the high school students. (University Communications)
  • [Mary-Jane Vincent explores the Anatomy Learning Centre]
    The Anatomy Learning Centre contains human body parts preserved in glass containers so students can study them. (University Communications)
  • [Ms. Vincent examines a model of a human brain in the Anatomy Learning Centre.]
    Mary-Jane Vincent, an Indigenous high school student, examines a model of a human brain in the Anatomy Learning Centre. (University Communications)

First Nations students in grades 10 and 11 have deepened their knowledge of science and health care with the help of some Queen’s graduate students.

The high-school students are participants in a pilot program aimed at giving them a leg up as they prepare for post-secondary studies. They met with their mentors from February through to the end of May.

“The vision of this program is to provide these students with a science-based education opportunity that leaves them feeling inspired, confident, and supported,” says Lisa Doxtator, Aboriginal Community Outreach Liaison at Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre and one of the program’s co-ordinators.

“Our hope is that the students will consider furthering their education in the sciences and will be better established for postsecondary success through this program,” adds Bruce Elliott, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine who is also one of the program’s co-ordinators. “The Four Directions Centre provides an ideal supportive home for our program.”

Working alongside Dr. Elliott and Ms. Doxtator are assistant co-ordinators, PhD student Chelsea Jackson and MSc graduate Sarah Nersesian; and graduate student mentors Nicole Morse, Natasha Vitkin, and Matteo Zago-Schmitt of the Queen's Collaborative Cancer Grad Program and the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine.  

The mentors guide the students down one of two streams – a general stream, where the students learn about the scientific method through basic experiences; and a specific interest stream, where they complete a goal-driven project to gain experience in their area of interest.

“I wanted to get involved with the Research Mentorship program to combine my passion for science with my desire to give back to the Kingston community,” says Ms. Vitkin. “In our meetings, my mentee and I perform scientific experiments, go over key concepts, and discuss possible career paths and educational opportunities. I have really enjoyed creating a one-on-one discovery-based environment where my mentee and I learn from each other and explore key scientific concepts.”

Rounding out the team are Scott Nicol and Kelly Maracle, Indigenous Student Support and Engagement teachers with the Katarokwi Learning Centre of the Limestone District School Board (LDSB).

“For the school board, this program has created a post-secondary pathway for our students that attend the River Program at the Katarokwi Learning Centre,” says Ms. Maracle.

The pilot program currently includes three students from the education centre – this fall, the school board and Queen’s hope to expand the program to include more Indigenous students.

"The science mentorship was an enjoyable, interactive, and educational program,” says Mary-Jane Vincent, one of the students. “I enjoyed the variety of hands-on experiments like extracting DNA out of a strawberry and identifying differences between the mentor's and mentee's fingerprints."

As a final highlight, students and their mentors were invited to visit the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences’ Anatomy Learning Centre, where they were hosted by the Anatomy Pattern II program. During their visit, they viewed human body parts and tissues on microscope slides.

This mentorship program was funded by a $5,000 Canadian Institutes of Health Research Synpase grant. The school board has also covered some of the students’ costs.

Making dreams come true

The Principal’s Dream Courses support ongoing efforts to make Queen’s a more inclusive, diverse, and welcoming institution.

Each year, the Principal’s Dream Courses fund a number of course proposals tied to key themes, such as Indigenous knowledge, sustainability, and diversity and inclusion.

The selected courses will be taught for at least two iterations and each has access to up to $15,000 in one-time funding for teaching materials, field trips, and guest speakers. Faculty members will also receive course development assistance from the Centre for Teaching and Learning.

“The Principal’s Dream Courses support our ongoing efforts to make Queen’s a more inclusive, diverse, and welcoming institution, and a place that values, reflects, and shares Indigenous histories and perspectives,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf. “At the same time, the program asks faculty members to be creative and to consider what they’ve always wanted to teach. I am certain that each of these new and innovative courses will provide students with an exceptional and memorable learning experience.”

The winning courses are:
DEVS 221: Topics in Indigenous Human Ecology
T'hohahoken Michael Doxtater (Global and Development Studies, Languages, Literatures, and Culture), Queen’s National Scholar in Indigenous Studies: Land- and Language-Based Pedagogies and Practices

A redesign of the popular DEVS 221 course, Topics in Indigenous Human Ecology (TIHE) reevaluates conventional knowledge based on Indigenous knowledge, worldview, and culture. The course will introduce an Indigenous perspective on contemporary issues. Content and activities will provide detailed examinations of specific topics such as contemporary issues in Indigenous healing and wellness, art, teaching, and learning, socio-political life. Course activities include deep, collaborative inquiry-based learning, use of multimedia tools, and access to Indigenous subject matter expert coaches. Students will participate in four high-quality ‘TED Talk’ style presentations on topics related to course content and will summarize the talks using animation software.

PHIL 276: Critical Perspectives on Social Diversity
Lisa Guenther (Philosophy, Cultural Studies), Queen's National Scholar in Political Philosophy and Critical Prison Studies

The starting point of this course is Indigenous scholar Eve Tuck’s call to suspend “damage-centered research” that relies on pain and injury for its theory of change, and to cultivate a “desire-based research” that affirms the “complexity, contradiction, and the self-determination of lived lives.”  The course will develop a critical toolkit of concepts and methods for desire-based research on race, class, gender, sexuality, and disability, in conversation with primary texts and theoretical reflections on recent social movements such as Occupy, Black Lives Matter, Idle No More, #MeToo, and movements for queer and trans liberation, disability rights, prison abolition, and radical ecology. Students will work in active-learning groups to create a collective project on a specific social movement, and will also be guided through an inquiry-based process to develop their own individual research paper. Scholar-activists Eve Tuck, José Medina, and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor will be invited to campus to share their perspectives with students.

MUTH 329: Listening Otherwise
Dylan Robinson (Dan School of Drama and Music, Gender Studies, Global Development Studies, Cultural Studies, Languages, Literatures & Cultures, Art History) Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts

We listen every day, every moment, yet often do not consider the ways in which this form of perception is guided by factors including gender, sexuality, race, class, and ability (i.e. our individual positionality). MUTH 329 – Listening Otherwise considers the particular ways in which listening takes place in different settings (the concert hall, gallery, and urban and domestic spaces), and is influenced not only by cultural and gendered norms, but also by values of the institutions we are part of and the nation states we live within. The course is envisioned as a kind of “listening lab” in which we will experiment with different practices of listening. Students will have the opportunity to explore new ways of listening to music (recorded and live performance), of listening to place (as a ‘visitor/guest’ or when ‘at home’), and reconsider the political stakes of listening. The course will benefit from learning from a wide range of visiting artists, musicians, and scholars who will share their work with the class. We will listen to multiple genres of music, sound art and places themselves as we ask how the body listens “beyond the ear.”

The Principal’s Dream Course program is administered by the Centre for Teaching and Learning – learn more about it on the CTL’s website.

* * *

Queen’s University is committed to creating a campus environment that is more inclusive, diverse and welcoming. In the past year, Queen’s has received final reports from the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity and Inclusion (PICRDI) and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Task Force. Recent developments in support of these efforts include expanding Deputy Provost Teri Shearer’s profile to cover the diversity and inclusion portfolio, establishing the University Council on Anti-Racism and Equity (UCARE), instituting the Office of Indigenous Initiatives and appointing Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill) as the first Director of Indigenous Initiatives, as well as having all areas of the university develop and implement their own plans for addressing the TRC and PICRDI recommendations.

* An earlier version of this article had the wrong course number for MUTH 329 – Listening Otherwise. Information about the course has also been updated.

Indigenous art proposal selected by Faculty of Law

Visitors to the Faculty of Law building this fall will see a unique Indigenous art installation.

[Hannah Claus and her proposal]
Hannah Claus showcases her proposal, which consists of wampum belts made of translucent purple coloured and frosted clear acrylic sheets and hung vertically from the ceiling of the Faculty of Law building. (University Relations)

“Words that are lasting,” an artwork by Montréal (Tiohtià:ke) visual artist Hannah Claus, has been selected as the winning entry in the Indigenous Art Commission competition held by the Queen’s Faculty of Law.

This goal of the initiative is to introduce Indigenous art into the Gowling WLG Atrium of the Faculty of Law, and is an important element of the law school’s multifaceted response to the Calls to Action of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“This art installation will beautifully represent Indigenous legal traditions and reflect part of the commitment of Queen’s Law to respond to the calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Report,” says Bill Flanagan, Dean of the Faculty of Law and chair of the commission. 

Ms. Claus’ vision involves a suspended art installation based on wampum belts that will hang from the ceiling in the law school's atrium airy expanse. Made from translucent purple-coloured and frosted clear acrylic sheets, these laser-cut forms will interplay with the natural light that floods the atrium.

“I’m elated to have my project chosen as the artwork,” Ms. Claus says. “Wampum belts are mnemonic aids utilized by the Haudenosaunee and other Indigenous peoples within oral nation-to-nation agreements. They represent legal documents as reflected in this distinct worldview. It seems a fitting acknowledgement, as Queen’s University is located on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.”

This sentiment resonated with the 12 members of the committee who chose the winning entry.

“The representation of wampum in the faculty is representative of the oldest agreements or contracts between not only Indigenous peoples and settlers, but amongst Indigenous peoples as well,” says committee member Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill), Director of the Office of Indigenous Initiatives. “It’s most appropriate given there are wampum agreements between Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples, and so this work is representative of both groups of Indigenous peoples acknowledged as the original landholders.”

Ms. Claus is a visual artist of English and Kanien'kehÁ:ka / Mohawk ancestries and a member of the Tyendinaga Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. She teaches contemporary Indigenous art as a sessional lecturer at Kiuna, a First Nations post-secondary institution, in Odanak, Québec, and her artwork has appeared in exhibitions across Canada and the United States, as well as in Germany, Switzerland, Mexico, and Chile.

She is now at work creating “Words that are lasting” with a goal of installing it this fall. Later this summer, Ms. Claus and renowned Indigenous architect Douglas Cardinal, a member of the Indigenous Art Commission selection committee, will jointly record a video that will highlight and explore the themes embodied in her artwork.

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