New Course taught by Professor Jill Carter- DRM387H (Call 45 : Re-stor(y)ing Treaty Relationships)

DRM387H (Call 45[1]: Re-stor(y)ing Treaty Relationships)

We are what we imagine. Our very existence consists in our imagination of ourselves. Our best destiny is to imagine, at least, completely who and what and that we are. The greatest tragedy that can befall us is to go unimagined. (Momaday 103)[2] 

The West founds itself in its history of its textual citation whereas my citation is given to me in my birth, it’s intergenerational, it’s in my blood, it’s in my language—in ways that don’t necessarily translate into Western thought systems” (Dolleen Manning, qtd. in Needham 1)[3]

The truth about stories is that that’s all we are. (King 2)[4]

Course Description

Canada’s de Jure existence as an internationally recognized sovereign state has relied upon this nation’s forgetfulness—upon her refusal to acknowledge that there are stories that precede her recent genesis, stories that inhabit and reverberate throughout “deep time.” It rests precariously upon a multi-pronged campaign of legislative assimilation through which to story the disappearance of entire nations, while eventually erasing all traces of Indigeneity from living memory. Resisting such erasure (in place, historical memory, or cognitive space), Indigenous people from all walks of life are working diligently to script interventions upon myriad “stages” through which to dislodge colonization from the Indigenous body and through which to excise the psycho-spiritual scars visited upon and inherited by the bodies that survive within and despite the depredations of the colonial project. What, then, is the work of the Ally in this historical moment? What actions might be undertaken by the individual settler-Canadian (citizen, permanent resident, or temporary visitor) to contribute to an urgent project of redress, re-treating, and relationship-building?

This course carries its participants into rigorous engagement with the tangled history of settlement, so that future conciliation might be operationalized. Here, we explore the curation of fluid spaces in which Indigenous participants and our non-Indigenous allies might address ourselves to the question (sometimes apart, sometimes together) of what it means “to rebel against the permanence of settler colonial reality,” to “dream alternative realities” and finally through story-ing together to create both the “context and event” out of which a process of re-worlding might begin (see Simpson 8-9).[5]  Call 45 offers a blended program of land-based, experiential sessions (peripatetic teachings), lectures, sharing circles, and Storyweaving workshops through which to mediate possible sites (topographical, cognitive, ceremonial, and performative) of profound encounter and renewal. Informed by Indigenous aesthetic principles and by the Knowledge Systems that are rooted in this territory, Call 45 provides all participants with the opportunity to find ourselves within the ancient Stories written in the land, to remember the history of settlement and treaty-making, to address treaty-violations, and to actively re-present ourselves as treaty peoples in Tkaronto/Gchi Kiiwenging. 

This course will only be offered one time – Spring 2019. It has been designed in conversation with the Hart House 100 production Story-ing Call 45: Weaving a Peoples’ Proclamation of (Re) Conciliation (opening September 2019 at Hart House Theatre). Participation in this production is not required to complete DRM387H.

Certainly, students of DRM387H will be invited to participate in Story-ing Call 45 in any capacity that best suits their inclinations and/or gifts. However, the course and the production are separate entities. Interested students may pursue (a.) the course, (b.) the production, or (c.) both.


[1] Prior to this nation’s last federal election, and immediately following thereupon, Canada’s current Prime Minister committed this nation to honoring the 94 Calls to Action set forth in the Final [2015] Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC).  In these are included a call to this nation to partner with Indigenous peoples to develop a Royal Proclamation of Reconciliation (Call 45) and no fewer than four calls to repudiate the Doctrines of Discovery and Terra Nullius, the cornerstones of Canada’s claim to sovereignty.  This new Proclamation of Reconciliation, then, would require the dissolution of these cornerstones and the reconfiguration of Canada’s identity as a fully invested treaty-partner.

[2] Momaday, N. Scott. “The Man Made of Words.” Literature of the American Indians: Views and Interpretations: A Gathering of Indian Memories, Symbolic Contexts and Literary Criticism. Ed. Abraham Chapman.  New York: New American Library, 1975. 96-110.

[3] Needham, Fraser. “Ojibwe Scholar Challenges What is Defined as Knowledge.” Eagle Feather News. 13 March 2015. Web. Last Access: 09 April 2016.

[4] King, Thomas. The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative. Toronto: House of Anansi, 2003.

[5]  Simpson, Leanne.  “Land as Pedagogy: Nishnaabeg Intelligence and Rebellious Transformation.” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society.” 3:3 (2014). 1-25