A Year in Review

This year has brought many exciting events to the Centre for Aboriginal Initiatives: an outstanding speaker series with four guest speakers, monthly events organized by CKQ and SAGE, and a series of talks discussing Indigenous legal issues.

We began our 2015/2016 Speaker Series with Joyce Green, Professor in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Regina. Green’s talk, Enacting Reconciliation, was based around a single question: Can reconciliation, conceived of as a state of peace between two parties, be achieved in Canada? In a hopeful yet incisive critique of the current national conversation surrounding the Truth and Reconciliation Report, Green argued that in order to achieve reconciliation, we must work towards the decolonization and Indigenization of the Canadian State.

In January 2016, we were joined  by John Ralston Saul for an introduction and discussion of his most recent book, The Comeback. We also presented a lecture from Bruce Duthu, Samson Occom Professor of Native American Studies at Dartmouth College. Duthu’s talk, The New Indian Wars, gave an account of the ways in which the US Supreme Court has limited the sovereign authority of tribal nations across the United States. Duthu calls this a form of judicial violence and the rejection of the United States’ commitment to legal pluralism.

For our final event in the 2015/2016 Speaker Series, we welcomed Chaw-win-is, instructor in Indigenous Education at the University of Victoria and Interim Prevention Manager at the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre. Chaw-win-is’ talk, Remaking Balance, looked at the ways in which storytelling can influence the decolonization of gender relations within Indigenous communities.

Ciimaan/Kahuwe’yá/Qajaq (CKQ), the language initiative operating out the Centre for Aboriginal Initiatives, organized many events, including an Inuktitut Movie Night, language-learning socials, and lectures from visiting language instructors. And another CAI initiative, Supporting Aboriginal Graduate Enhancement (SAGE), hosted many events for Indigenous graduate students throughout the school year, culminating in a graduation ceremony for graduate students completing their studies in 2016.

We ended the year  with candidates for the Certificate in Aboriginal Legal Studies at the University of Toronto, who presented their research as part of the series, Topics in Indigenous Legal Studies.

It was a busy and exciting year and we’d like to thank all of those who came out to support our events and contribute to the discussions. We hope to see many of you in our upcoming season of events!