Conference CFP: MAAMWIZING: Indigeneity in the Academy (Deadline: 15 June 2016)


Indigeneity in the Academy

L’université à l’heure de la réconciliation

Laurentian University (Sudbury, Ontario)

November 18-20, 2016

Laurentian University and its federated partner, the University of Sudbury, which are located on the traditional territory of Atikameksheng Anishnawbek First Nation, are pleased to announce a three-day multidisciplinary conference. This event seeks to advance scholarship on issues facing Indigenous faculty members at Canadian universities including equity, curriculum and pedagogy. Bringing together leading and emerging scholars from across the country, faculty members, graduate students, senior administrators, staff, educators, and community members, the conference is built around three themes:

1) Diversity in Universities: Equity in Hiring, Tenure, Promotion and Leadership.

2) Ways of Knowing: The Place of Indigenous Knowledge in the University Curriculum.

3) Decolonizing Universities: New Pedagogies, Resistance and Reconciliation.

In fulfillment of their bilingual and tricultural mandate, Laurentian University and its federated partner, the University of Sudbury, have:

  • Appointed a critical mass of 24 Indigenous faculty members who hold full-time positions in Anthropology, Architecture, Education, English, Geography, History, Indigenous Social Work, Indigenous Studies, Labour Studies, Nursing, Rural and Northern Health, and Sociology;
  • Established a Master of Indigenous Relations in the Faculty of Health in 2014;
  • Begun working to establish the Maamwizing Indigenous Research Institute;
  • Taken a variety of initiatives to integrate Indigenous knowledge more broadly across the curriculum;
  • Created over 100 Indigenous content courses across some 20 different programs in the Faculty of Arts;
  • Made a proposal to require 6 credits of Indigenous content courses for all B.A. degrees as of 2017 that was unanimously approved by the Faculty of Arts 
  • Built a team of Indigenous and non-Indigenous faculty who are working together on the design and delivery of a new interdisciplinary course on missing 
and murdered Indigenous women;
  • Created Laurentian University’s new Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre (ISLC) to open in the fall of 2016;
  • Established the University of Sudbury’s Sacred Fire Arbour traditional teaching space to open in the fall of 2016;
  • Offered on-site courses in four Indigenous communities on the James Bay coast and one on Manitoulin Island, delivered by the University of Sudbury;
  • Offered cultural sensitivity training workshops to the University of Sudbury’s board and members of the university community at the four institutions in 
the Laurentian Federation.


Laurentian University and its federated partner, the University of Sudbury, invite you to join us November 18-20, 2016 to engage in critical reflection and analysis of the barriers and challenges encountered, as well as the achievements and progress made in promoting Indigeneity in the academy. We hope to share best practices and to reflect on ways to move forward as we take up the challenges of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report within our respective institutions.

Conference Organizers:

Dr. Sheila Cor-MeeK: Assistant Professor, Department of English, Laurentian University
Dean, Faculty of Arts, Laurentian University
Director and Associate Professor, School of Indigenous Relations, Laurentian University

Dr. Michelle Coupal: Assistant Professor, Department of English, Laurentian University

Dr. Elizabeth Dawes: Dean, Faculty of Arts, Laurentian University

Dr. Taima Moeke-Pickering: Director and Associate Professor, School of Indigenous Relations, Laurentian University

Shelly Moore-Frappier, MSW, B.Ed.: Director, Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre (ISLC), Laurentian University

Nicole Nicolas-Bayer, B.A., B.Ed.: Aboriginal Special Projects Officer, Laurentian University

Celeste Pedri-Spade, M.A.: Lecturer in Anthropology, School of Northern and Community Studies, Laurentian University

Dr. Brock Pitawanakwat: Assistant Professor, Department of Indigenous Studies, University of Sudbury

Contact us:

Nicole Nicolas-Bayer, Aboriginal Special Projects Officer

Office of the Associate Vice-President, Academic and Indigenous Programs, Laurentian University (705) 675-1151 ext. 3062



1) Diversity in Universities: Equity in Hiring, Tenure, Promotion and Leadership

According to Dr. Malinda S. Smith, recipient of the CAUT Equity Award 2015, “academic associations should be paving the way for openness and change” (CAUT Bulletin, Feb. 2016). In 1969, CAUT took a stand against prioritizing Canadian citizens at a time when the majority of Canadian universities were still resistant to mandatory advertising of faculty positions. In January 1974, the entire CAUT Bulletin was devoted to the topic of Canadianization as the debate raged on. Since the 1980s, employment equity language has appeared in Faculty Association Collective Agreements. By 2000, women made up 24.7% of tenured faculty while other equity groups had seen little change. In January 2010, the CAUT Education Review noted that “Aboriginal Canadians remain largely absent from the ranks of the professoriate”. In 2011, the Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education Working Group was established. Since 2013, Laurentian University has appointed 11 Indigenous full-time faculty members in a variety of departments. A similar initiative to appoint 5 Indigenous faculty members is currently underway at the University of Guelph.

  • Which institutions are creating positive change and how are they doing it?
  • What is the everyday experience of those who are hired under equity provisions? How does self-identification impact an Indigenous 
faculty member’s career? How do hiring initiatives prioritizing Indigenous faculty impact members of other equity groups?
  • What recognition should be given to the heavier burden of institutional service (e.g. role modeling, mentoring, committee 
representation, and community outreach)?
  • How does racism manifest itself in the academy today?

2) Ways of Knowing: The Place of Indigenous Knowledge in the University Curriculum

Canadian universities are being challenged to respond to the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015). Some student associations are actively promoting Indigenous content requirements. In 1974, Dr. Donald C. Savage wrote that “University senates […] should query departments, particularly in the humanities and social sciences, about their responsiveness to the Canadian experience”. But it was often students, not Senators, who demanded Canadian content courses, telling Molière and other canonical authors to “go home”. The first Indigenous Studies program in Canada was established by Trent University in 1969. The University of Sudbury followed in 1971. The 1970s also saw the introduction of Women’s Studies courses, many developed by graduate students and non-tenured faculty. While some academics favoured separate Women’s Studies departments, others sought to integrate feminist knowledge and theories across the curriculum. As increasing numbers of Indigenous faculty, appointed to different departments, integrate Indigenous knowledge across the curriculum, what will be the role of Indigenous Studies departments within the academy?

  • What is the place of Indigenous knowledge and worldviews in the dominant intellectual traditions of the university?
  • How can Indigenous researchers fulfill their responsibilities to their communities while maintaining their academic freedom? What 
are the implications for Indigenous researchers of accepting funding from natural resource industries?
  • How should Indigenous knowledges be brought into the academy?
  • What could be the relationship between Indigenous Studies programs and Indigenous content across the curriculum? What can be 
learned from the experience of Women’s Studies?
  • Which institutions have established Indigenous content requirements? What is the value of such requirements and whose interests 
do they serve?

3) Decolonizing Universities: New Pedagogies, Resistance and Reconciliation

In the 1970s, changes to the education of Indigenous peoples were made, largely in response to the federal government’s 1969 White Paper, which promoted the full integration of Aboriginal peoples into Canadian society, effectively extinguishing the collective rights of Aboriginal peoples (RCAP, 1996). The 1972 policy paper Indian Control of Indian Education, released by the Assembly of First Nations, recommended that First Nations have full control over their education. In 1968, the Hall-Dennis Report on the education system in Ontario had recommended a student-centred pedagogy with an emphasis on “learning to learn”. In 1984, Dr. David A. Kolb published his book Experiential Learning which promoted learning through concrete experiences. In the 1980s, feminist faculty were trying to establish a more egalitarian relationship with their students and affirm the commonality of their experiences. Feminist pedagogy encouraged students to bring their personal narratives into the classroom. In the context of ongoing colonialism, bringing narratives of intergenerational trauma into the classroom presents serious challenges for both faculty and students. In 1999, Linda Tuhiwai Smith’s book Decolonizing Methodologies : Research and Indigenous Peoples articulated the transformative potential of Indigenous research methodologies. Today, Indigenous faculty are creating new transformational pedagogies, by drawing together critical theory and Indigenous worldviews and cultural practices to resist racism and facilitate learning.

  • What Indigenous pedagogical approaches are most effective in the university classroom? Where can land-based pedagogies be used effectively? How can faculty collaborate ethically with elders and traditional knowledge keepers?
  • Where can transformational pedagogies be applied? What strategies can be used to teach traumatic texts (e.g. about Indian residential schools)?
  • How do Indigenous research methodologies inform Indigenous pedagogies?
  • How can faculty become effective in resisting racism in the university classroom?
  • What steps can non-Indigenous faculty take to begin a journey towards reconciliation?


The conference will promote a dynamic exchange of knowledge through keynote lectures, workshops, roundtables, panel discussions, author and reader dialogues, creative sessions, individual papers and poster exhibits. We welcome proposals that explore one of the three conference themes.


1) WORKSHOPS give participants the opportunity to have an in-depth reflective discussion of a current topic of interest following a brief introduction by the workshop facilitator.

2) ROUNDTABLES include 4-5 presenters and a moderator. Presenters make brief remarks about a specific initiative, with most of the session devoted to dialogue and audience participation.

3) PANEL DISCUSSIONS include 3 presenters and a moderator. Each presenter addresses the chosen discussion topic from his or her point of view.

4) AUTHOR AND READER DIALOGUES include the author of a recent book and 2-3 readers who discuss the work’s contribution to the field and the questions that it raises.

5) CREATIVE SESSIONS involve storytelling, performance, art, film, etc.

6) POSTERS will be displayed during an allotted time so that the conference participants can have one-on-one conversations with the poster exhibitors.

7) INDIVIDUAL PAPERS will be arranged into sessions by the Program Committee. Presenters will have 12-15 minutes to present their paper with discussion following.


We welcome proposals from individual presenters as well as proposals for complete sessions. Sessions will be held in Nishnaabemwin, Cree, French or English.

Proposals must be submitted electronically to and include:

  • Contact information: participant’s name, institutional affiliation, email address and phone number.
  • An abstract of 300 words maximum, including the title.
  • A brief biography of the participant (150 words maximum).
  • The type of session for which the proposal is intended (see types 1-7 above).
  • The target audience (academics, community members, university administrators, etc.)


Proposals must be received by Wednesday June 15, 2016. Early submissions are strongly encouraged.

Participants will be informed of the acceptance of their proposal by August 1, 2016.


Plans are underway for a peer-reviewed publication following the conference. Presenters will be invited to submit their work for consideration. Details forthcoming.

Categories: Conferences

Leave a Reply