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Revisiting University Histories: Why we need to critically engage with the specific colonial histories of our institutions

Candace Brunette-Debassige
University of Western Ontario
Thomas Peace
University of Western Ontario
Watson Hall 517


A Special Department Seminar to mark National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (September 30th).

In this presentation, Candace Brunette-Debassige and Thomas Peace will argue that universities must revisit their founding stories and histories – as well as the idea of the university itself – if they want to realize the promises of decolonization and reconciliation today. This presentation will range from a general overview of the relationship between First Peoples and universities from the seventeenth to twentieth centuries focusing, though, on specific research on Indigenous peoples' historical presence at Western University. The session will end with some general reflections about Queen's University where scholars will point to some alignment and divergence with their own work.

Candace Brunette-Debassige is a Mushkego Cree iskwew from Peetabeck (Treaty 9 Territory) with Cree and French ancestry. Brunette-Debassige is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at Western University located on lands of the Anishnabek, Haudenoshaunee and Lenapewuk Peoples in London Ontario Canada. Currently, Brunette-Debassige serves as a university-wide Teaching Fellow in Indigenous Learning at Western. Her scholarly work and professional practices center on advancing the liberatory struggles of Indigenous Peoples in educational settings. Her current research agenda is located in the areas of Indigenous and decolonial approaches to curriculum, educational change, leadership and policy. Her scholarly work embodies a deep commitment to advancing Indigenous theorizing, Indigenous methodologies in research, and Indigenous pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning.

Thomas Peace is an associate professor of history at Huron University College. His research focuses on the histories of education and colonialism in eighteenth and nineteenth century northeastern North America. He is a founding editor of and a co-director of the Huron Community History Centre. His work has been published by Acadiensis, Historical Studies in Education, and History Compass, and he is the author of two Open Educational Resources: the Open History Seminar (with Sean Kheraj) and A Few words that Changed the World, as well as co-editor with Kathryn Labelle of From Huronia to Wendakes (Oklahoma, 2016).

Watch the recording on the department's YouTube channel, History Talks.

Department of History, Queen's University

49 Bader Lane, Watson Hall 212
Kingston ON K7L 3N6


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Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.