Keynotes and Guest Speakers: Discussions from the Canadian Federation of Students, National Aboriginal Caucus: Dr. Jo-Ann Episkenew, Dr. Lynne Davis, Eber Hampton, Otis Jasper notes and discussions


August 26th–28th, 2012


Notes courtesy of Dolly Reno.

DAY 1:

Opening Ceremony with Elders


DAY 2:

Guest Speaker: Dr. Jo-Ann Episkenew, University of Saskatchewan:


Gatekeepers as a disconnect and obstacle to indigenization

  • Gatekeepers      that are a part of the reason for a disconnection between Indigenous      people and the Institution.

I.e. -Non-Indigenous people/teachers who think they know all things Indigenous.

     -One Indigenous person making all the decisions that applies to all indigenous students.


  • You      don’t make someone stop being racist by calling them a racist.
  • What      do we do? We need to go back. We are repairing 500 years of damage. We      need to acknowledge what’s actually happened and fix it accordingly.

Four R’s of Education

  • Education      is the practice of freedom.
  • The      Four R’s of what we want from education:

Respect, Reciprocity, Relevance, Responsibility

Elders and Institutionalization

  • We      have made the title ‘Elder’ with a capital ‘E’. Yes, in the community we      know who our elders are but that is not their title.  Was this deemed appropriate by the      institution?


Group Breakout Session:

Finding a voice

  • Having      a conversation that needs to be had and is usually cast to the side.
  • Bridging      the gaps between institutions. Making connections networking with each      other, learning from each other.


  • We      need to bring the love tradition and spirituality back into the academy,      to make it a safe place for everyone.





  • Don’t      just assume that what we’re doing is the right thing. When ‘Indigenizing      the Academy’ we must question what we’re doing, don’t fall into our own      form of assimilation.
  • We      must be sure we aren’t slowly turning to the same methods of the      European/Eurocentric mentality and ways. Not to conform.
  • Rock      the boat… If we’re not rocking it then we’re assimilating.
  • More      than just bringing our culture into the academy.
  • If      it’s not uncomfortable then it’s not right.
  • We      must de-colonize first.
  • “I      think the response to racism is called ‘Indigenizing the Academy’”
  • Indigenous      people have every right to be angry.
  • Indian      act displaces us, our women.
  • Matriarchal?  The society here has been displaced and      dishonoured.

Definition of Indigenization

  • Who      determines the definition of Indigenization?
  • What      is education without love?
  • Indigenizing      yourself is familiarizing yourself with your locale.

Community – Learning and Sharing Knowledge

  • Learn      from your community, learn with your community and then take that knowledge      and those teachings and share them with other communities and people both      First Nations and Non-First Nations.
  • How      to learn how to forget everything you know to relearn the truth.
  • When      we come together like we have at this gathering we share the spirit.
  • What      is knowledge without sharing it?
  • Sharing      what you have, sharing what you know.
  • Knowledge      comes from everywhere
  • We      are family
  • It      only takes one person to make a difference in our lives; it only takes one      (us) to make a difference other people’s lives.
  • We      don’t know how we touch people. We are audio and visual people so we may      have some small idea on the outside but we don’t know how we touch      people’s hearts.
  • Be      careful what you say, what you do. You may be hurting somebody
  • LOVE.

Younger generation having a foot in both cultures/Responsibility of Youth

  • Young      people nowadays have double the responsibility. They have to learn culture      and they have to pay bills. Young native people nowadays have double the      responsibility as well as having to wear two hats. Young native people      have to wear one hat to live with their community and one hat to survive      outside of it.
  • “Pick      your head up. Pick your head up and be proud of who you are. Pick your      head up but don’t pick your head up so high that your nose is in the air.”      – Steven Point
  • What      you do in this generation will affect the next seven generations.
  • You      need to go through the trials and tribulations to make it to the other      side stronger and more knowledgeable.
  • Never      forget self-care.


Speakers Session:

Definitions of Indigenization

  • Indian,      First Nations, Aboriginal, Indigenous…. All the names that non-First      Nations peoples have labeled us over the years.
  • What      does ‘Indigenous’ mean?
  • What      does ‘Indigenizing the Academy’ mean? We need to come together and find a      common definition before we can move forward.

Humility as a Highly  Valued Quality/Weakness

  • As      a leader, a great personal quality to have in our culture is to be humble      and to have humility. However, in the history books it reads that      humbleness and humility is seen as a sign of weakness in the Eurocentric      mentality/culture.

Learning First Nations culture and History

  • You      need to learn, know and understand First Nations people and/or your own      culture and history so you can properly teach others.
  • It      starts within the faculty.
  • Everyone      is a genius but if you ask a fish to climb a tree it’s an idiot. Everyone      has a gift; you just need to find it.
  • You      can’t fit a circle into a box.
  • Some      of the only people who are taught the truth about our history, the dark      parts of our past are Social Workers.
  • Reflect      on what brought harmony to this land in the past.
  • Frank      Calder – the first aboriginal person to graduate law school.



  • We      need to open the door to our elders and actually listen.
  • Universities/Colleges      really need to think about what their role is as an institution, what kind      of society are they shaping, what is their contribution to the fate of our      future.

Preparing for the Future:  You’ve got to do the Hard Work

  • Story:      Coyote is in the forest and loses his needle. Owl comes and asks coyote      ‘what’s wrong’? Coyote tells Owl ‘I’m looking for my needle.’ Owl says to      Coyote ‘I’ll help you find your needle’ and then soars up into the sky and      circles the area looking for the needle. He comes back down and tells      Coyote ‘I didn’t find it, so it must not be here because if it were I      would have seen it.’ Coyote was sad and tells Owl ‘I really need my needle…’      Owl sees the stress in Coyote’s face and asks him ‘where did you lose the      needle?’ Coyote points to a completely different area and says ‘I lost it      over there behind the bushes.’ Owl, looking perplexed asks Coyote ‘If you      lost it way over there, why are you looking here?’ Coyote responds      ‘because there’s light over here.’ The point of this story is that we must      not do something because it’s easier or not-not do something because it’s      harder.


  • It      took us a long time to get to where we are and it’s going to take along      time to get better but it is possible. Hard work, but worth it.


  • They      don’t teach scientists how to feel, they teach them how not to.
  • What      do we need to prepare ourselves for the future?
  • How to beat the ‘white man’? Get an      education. Beat them at their own game.
  • If      it’s too easy then we’re a part of the problem. If it’s not easy then we      may be on our way.
  • Change      is never easy.


DAY 3:

Guest Speaker: Dr. Lynne Davis, Trent University:


  • 1972      Peace & Friendship treaty
  • Marie      Baptiste – Cognitive Imperialism
  • Ocher      34 Paint colour of the sun.
  • Traditional      Aboriginal scholar i.e. Edna Manitoba
  • Dual      scholar: Dan Longboat
  • Leanne      Simpson – Research
  • AEC      – Research
  • PhD      program in Indigenous studies at Trent University. (Approximately 12      years)
  • Alliance      as a microcosm of colonization
  • Leeroy      Little Bear talks about what happens when the worlds views collide
  • Place      name tours
  • The      Redman’s burden
  • Alliance      as a site of pain
  • Alliance      as a site of sharing and learning
  • Trent      ethics
  • Alliances      book
  • Zen      Master story
  • A      space of not knowing
  • Sam      Cook – Research


Group Breakout Session:

  • The      challenge in listening
  • Ensuring      indigenous voices within the institutional structure
  • Creating      our own First Nations institution
  • Rock      the boat… If we’re not rocking it then we’re assimilating.
  • Canadian      Association of University Teachers (CAUT)
  • Create      a larger network between institutions

I.e. Collectives


Speakers Session:

  • Whatever      is said on the floor is meant to be said, they are the words of the      creator.
  • Not      to do it because it’s your job, do it because you want to.
  • Otis      Jasper – Chief.
  • Come      from the heart
  • If      that relationship is going to be everlasting then we must realize and be      willing to put time and work into building it continuously.
  • Don’t      rush. Don’t hurry. Be patient. Be here.
  • How      you reach out may be far more important than what you reach out with.
  • Listen      more and speak less. This way you gain more knowledge that you can      ultimately use when you do decide to speak, so you aren’t just speaking      for the sake of speaking but instead you are speaking with purpose.


Guest Speaker: Eber Hampton – First Nations University:

  • Mother      Earth, she is not ours we are hers.
  • Every      time an Indian breathes its politics.
  • Value      of the heartbeat.
  • You’re      speaking for everyone that went before you and pave a path for those after      you.
  • Be      a human, just a human for a bit.
  • Every      breath you breathe in is the universe’s gift to you and every breath you      breathe out is your gift to the universe.
  • You’ve      got to have the positive and the negative… or your car won’t start… but      careful not to spark it too much or it will catch on fire.
  • Resistance      is a form of integrity
  • Be      humble, set your ego aside, you don’t know everything.
  • Willful      blindness (book) ties into another statement, Perverse Ignorance.
  • Racism      works if we don’t know about it.
  • We      are perfectly imperfect
  • This      is a life and death situation that we face, that we have come here to talk      about at this gathering.
  • It      is not the ‘me’ way, it is the ‘we’ way.
  • Western      Imperialism
  • If      I look like an idiot, I hope it’s useful to somebody.
  • For      Whites Only – Book
  • We      learn about a system, we learn by a system that is based on mind, body and      emotion… how do we bring back the teachings of spirit into popular culture      that has no room for it.
  • Our      mouths are too small to talk about GOD.
  • I      only know the truth as I know it.
  • Addictive      Organization – Book
  • Inviting      and accompanying each other to accomplish something as siblings.
  • Making      family for mutual benefit
  • Buffy      Saint Marie son ‘God is alive, Magic is afoot’.
  • Indian      wisdom for white people – Book
  • Indigenous      people of the world stand up!… Everybody stands up.
  • When      you’re learning take what is useful to you and set the rest aside.
  • Realities      are especially diverse.
  • Eurocentric      way of thinking ‘Either, Or’, the Native way of thinking ‘Both, And’; are      either of these right? What about ‘All this and more’.
  • The      conscious thoughts and words are only a tiny part of our existence.
  • Where      are we in the professional development of our tenure track to keep this      learning going from an Indigenous perspective without losing what we’ve      learned so far, so we don’t have to keep starting the process over?
  • How      do we become inclusive of the primary, secondary institutions into this      discussion.
  • People      really want to carry on what they’ve learned at these conferences but      people can get caught up in life… Could we meet like this on a regular      basis? As many of us as possible to create and carry on an event like this      so we can keep this process going


Next Steps Recommendations from the Canadian Federation of Students, National Aboriginal Caucus:

  • Put Keynotes on the web to create some      structure to use as a way to gather more information on the web from      others who read it.
  • CADD      – Research
  • Make      Indigenizing the Academy meetings a regular event
  • All      institutions to put out a paper on anthologies on best practices.
  • Document      and track the professional development of our tenure track to keep this      learning going from an Indigenous perspective without losing what we’ve      learned so far, so we don’t have to keep starting the process over?
  • The      Indigenous Scholars Networks.
  • Power points and video of the keynotes.
  • Create an email network forum online for      those interested in indigenizing the Academy.
  • Send      out Surveys that every few months to each institution to see if we’re      growing from this.
  • Inform gradualte students of these      findings.  These are Ideal master      thesis projects. We should inform students out there and work with them to      do the necessary research that is needed to move forward.
  • Involve the youth! Inform them that these      support systems are here.
  • Create      a committee that commits to supporting the organizations of National      Graduates of Indigenous studies.
  • Every      institution of Canada should integrate into their tenure/promotion process      the crediting of Indigenous studies, traditions, ceremonies and/or      knowledge.
  • Draft a collective briefing note that lays      out some of the recommendations back to the institutions and have a follow      up. *Attach this responsibility to the executive decision makers.
  •  Keep      re-telling the stories of what took place here.
  • Send      post-secondary professors and students into the elementary schools.
  • Have      another conference and include more children and their voices.
  • We      must look to ourselves because we are the ones training and teaching the      indigenous and non-indigenous students.
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