Thursday, 29 November 2012

The Law of Discovery and the Maori Experience with Dr Jacinta Ruru

Dr. Jacinta Ruru (Faculty of Law, Otago University) gave a public lecture on "The Constitutional Indigenous Jurisprudence in Aotearoa New Zealand" at the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Law's Distinguished Visitor Lecture Series on Monday, October 22, 2012.

We discuss Dr. Ruru research in the areas of Indigenous peoples' legal rights to own, manage and govern land and water, her work into the Common Law Doctrine of Discovery, Indigenous rights to freshwater and multidisciplinary understandings of landscapes, national parks, power and place, differences between Maori and settler concepts around land, Maori land courts, the alienation of land (selling of land). 

She is co-director of the University of Otago Research Cluster for Natural Resources Law and the recipient of significant research awards including the University of Otago prestigious Rowheath Trust and Carl Smith Medal for outstanding scholarly achievement across all disciplines (2010) and the Fulbright Nga Pae o te Maramatanga Senior Maori Scholar Award (2012). 


Friday, 23 November 2012

Academics say cuts to Aboriginal organizations are hurting crucial research projects

Open letter from Academics sent to the Minister of INAC

Exchange in the House of Commons Hansard

November 22, 2012

The Hon. John Duncan
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A6

Dear Minister Duncan:

We are writing to express our dismay over unprecedentedly deep funding cuts for Canada’s Aboriginal Representative Organizations, including the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and tribal councils across the country. This follows the forced closure of the National Aboriginal Health Organization. As researchers, we work with these organizations and others in research partnerships to tackle some of the most pressing issues Canada faces. Grant funding agencies supported by your government consistently identify Aboriginal research as one of the top priorities for research in Canada. They also make it clear that this research can only be done in partnership with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities.

As minister, you are well aware of the health, education and infrastructure issues that are preventing Canadian First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities from reaching their full potential. Innovative research partnerships between the people affected and the brightest minds at Canadian universities offer hope for resolving these issues in an effective and fiscally responsible way. In many cases, these bright young minds are First Nations citizens themselves.

We partner with the organizations whose funding you have cut on practical issues such as clean drinking water and community planning. We also partner with individual First Nations that rely on these umbrella organizations for training and support that enables them to engage meaningfully in research. Dedicated staff at these larger organizations, with whom we have developed relationships over years, are named as co-applicants and collaborators on our research grants. However, these people may not be able to carry through on their commitments because they may lose their jobs.

The potential loss of expertise is staggering and could take a generation to recover. Canada cannot afford to wait another generation for solid research on urgent issues. We urge you to rethink these ill-advised cuts to organizations that have been doing excellent work in their communities that benefits Canada as a whole.


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Controversies of Ruth Phillips, Museum Pieces: Toward the Indigenization of Canadian Museums

Dr Phillips discusses her new book Museum Pieces: Toward the Indigenization of Canadian Museums and the controversies surrounding museums and their obligation to First Nations political and spiritual demands in North America. The ways in which Aboriginal people and museums work together have changed drastically in recent decades. This historic process of decolonization, including distinctive attempts to institutionalize multiculturalism, has pushed Canadian museums to pioneer new practices that can accommodate both difference and inclusivity. Drawing on forty years of experience as an art historian, curator, exhibition critic, and museum director, she emphasizes the complex and situated nature of the problems that face museums, introducing new perspectives on controversial exhibitions (1967, 1988) and moments of contestation (1997). We discuss an uncle of mine Noel Wuttunee who was one of the principal artists at the contested Montreal 1967 Expo. We also discuss the 1988 Calgary Olympics and how much I enjoyed her work (I was 12) even though it boycotted by the some First Nations in Alberta (Lubicon Cree Nation) because they are still without treaty and the oil and resources are being stolen from them.

Ruth Phillips argues that these practices are "indigenous" not only because they originate in Aboriginal activism but because they draw on a distinctively Canadian preference for compromise and tolerance for ambiguity. Phillips dissects seminal exhibitions of Indigenous art to show how changes in display, curatorial voice, and authority stem from broad social, economic, and political forces outside the museum and moves beyond Canadian institutions and practices to discuss historically interrelated developments and exhibitions in the United States, Britain, Australia, and elsewhere.

To Learn More (Podcast):

Friday, 16 November 2012

A Story of Betrayal, Elizabeth Cook-Lynn From the Rivers Edge

This is one of Elizabeth Cook-Lynn finest fiction books From the Rivers Edge. In our discussion we talk about how the characters serve as proxies to the larger debates within society between settler and indigenous cultures. Ideas of love, privacy, honesty, traitors to a people, ageism and concepts of justice are all intertwined in this account which highlights the changes in the 1950-1960s First Nation culture. A culture which was forced to suffer in their dealings with the domineering white society.  It is published by Living Justice Press.

Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, a member of the Crow Creek Sioux tribe, was born in Fort Thompson, South Dakota, and raised on the reservation. She is Professor Emerita of English and Native American Studies at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington.

She was one of the founding editors of Wicazo Sa Review: A Journal of Native American Studies (Red Pencil Review). She is also a member of the Council of Editors of Learned Journals and the Authors Guild. Since her retirement, Elizabeth has served as a writer-in-residence at universities around the country. She has been a very prolific writer since her retirement having published over a dozen hard analytical books in as many years. Review

Liz says “The final responsibility of a writer like me … is to commit something to paper in the modern world which supports this inexhaustible legacy left by our ancestors.”

To Learn More (Interview Podcast)   

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

North American Aboriginal Hide Tanning: The Act of Transformation and Revival, by Dr Morgan Baillargeon

Robert Falcon Ouellette discusses with Dr Morgan Baillargeon his book and work North American Aboriginal Hide Tanning where Morgan shows his profound understanding of traditional hide tanning techniques and the discoveries he made concerning spirituality and the spirit of transformation.
Dr. Morgan Baillargeon is French/Metis from southwestern Ontario.  He obtained his PhD from the University of Ottawa, where his studies centred on Great Lakes and Plains Aboriginal spirituality. His research includes areas such as Plains Cree beliefs about death and the afterlife, traditional Plains arts and culture, urban Native life and contemporary Aboriginal performing and visual arts, and aspects of material culture among the Blackfoot, Cree, Metis and Ojibwa.  Earlier research resulted in the Canadian Museum of Civilization exhibition Legends of Our Times: Native Ranching and Rodeo Life on the Plains and Plateau and the companion publication Legends of Our Times: Native Cowboy Life.  Dr. Baillargeon is currently working on an exhibition focusing on urban Native life and the impact arts plays on the survival of Aboriginal culture, language and traditional knowledge in urban settings.  Since 1992 he has been Curator of Plains Ethnology , and in 2008 additional duties included  the First People’s Hall, at the Canadian  Museum of Civilization.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

For King and Kanata Canadian Indians and the First World War

In honour of Remembrance Day on November 11, this is a discussion with Dr Timothy Winegard and his new book For King and Kanata about the roles that Status Indians played in the WWI, their treatment during and after the war, racism, conscription, drinking, Duncan Campbell Scott (great Canadian poet and architect of the Indian Residential Schools), Indian Affairs and the use of their service for purposes of assimilation. 

Timothy C. Winegard received his doctorate in History from the University of Oxford in 2010. He served nine years as an officer in the Canadian Forces, including a two-year attachment to the British Army. He is the author of Oka: A Convergence of Cultures and the Canadian Forces (2008) and Indigenous Peoples of the British Dominions and the First World War (2011). His main areas of interest, research, and writing include: military history, global indigenous peoples and cultures, North American colonial history, and the comparative history of British settler-societies.  Dr. Winegard recently moved to Colorado, where he is professor of history at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction. He teaches a variety of courses in history and political science. He has traveled extensively across the globe for research, pleasure, and with the military, and is an avid Detroit Lions and Detroit Red Wings fan. 

Xavier Ouellette 11 Nov 2013

To hear the interview

To Learn More: radio (interview) podcast  

Friday, 2 November 2012

Leo Baskatawang, March4Justice: dragging the Indian Act into the 21st century

Researcher and activist Leo Baskatawang (Anihnaabek) is back to discuss how he has taken applied research to new level. Leo is a Masters student at the University of Manitoba in the Native Studies department. Leo looks back at his March 4 Justice where he marched over 3000 km across the country in his efforts to abolish the Indian Act and replace it with Indigenous Laws that respect Aboriginal people. He marched across Canada from Vancouver to Ottawa.  

To Learn more (podcast)