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Big Picture at #congressh: The Next 150 on Indigenous Lands

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Guest blog by Karen Leiva, Congress 2017 blogger

The Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences brings together leading thinkers, academics, researchers, policy-makers and innovators to explore some of the world’s most challenging issues. Congress celebrates the vitality and quality of Canadian research contributions, and helps train the next generation of Canadian ideas leadership. This year’s theme “The Next 150, on Indigenous Lands" celebrates the history, legacy and achievements of the peoples and territories that make us who we are, and anticipates the boundless opportunities of the future. Organized by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, this year’s Congress is being hosted by Ryerson University in Toronto from May 27-June 2. Follow this series of Big Picture at #congressh blogs.

With the overarching theme of Congress 2017 being “The Next 150, on Indigenous Lands,” expect to find programming that acknowledges the country’s colonial past and present practices, and looks ahead to forging new relationships towards positive change and reconciliation in an inclusive and respectful manner. Sessions range from keynotes and presentations from thought leaders such as Deborah McGregor, Lee Maracle and Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, to academic sessions and participatory events, including a KAIROS blanket exercise and a session on re thinking pedagogy for university classrooms

One event to look out for is the Truth and Reconciliation on the Streets of Toronto Tour.

While there wasn’t an "Indian Residential School" in Toronto, this tour led by First Story Toronto will take you by church, government and educational sites connected to this history. Guides will also share other facts about Indigenous history in the city.

Did you know?

  • Ryerson University is named after Adolphus Edgerton Ryerson, who developed the educational model for Canadian “Indian Residential Schools”
  • Jarvis Street is named after Samuel Jarvis who was the Chief Superintendent of Indian Affairs in Upper Canada in the 1800s. He was removed from this position for stealing money from the sale of Indigenous properties.
  • Davenport Road is an old Indigenous trail that dates back, possibly a millennia. The trail was there before the Europeans arrived, and eventually it became a paved road and trading route.
  • Spadina is a Mississauga-Ojibwa word meaning ‘a rise in the land’

“This is a Truth and Reconciliation Tour,” says tour co-leader Jon Johnson of First Story Toronto. “The first thing that has to come is the truth; you have to talk about what happened and make sure people know what happened. Once you really understand what happened, you will see how racism, colonialism, and structural inequalities have created disadvantage and trauma among Indigenous peoples and communities that continue to affect Indigenous peoples today.

“Once you’ve done that, you can begin earnestly working with Indigenous communities to dismantle colonial structures, and that is the reconciliation part. Once work towards reconciliation begins in earnest, then you can start to talk positively about the next 150 years.”

The Truth and Reconciliation Tour of Toronto Streets is open to the public. Tours are scheduled for May 28 and May 31.

What’s On: 3 Sessions to Look For

1. Indigenous knowledge systems, decolonization and research innovation in Canada
    May 30, open to the public, 18:30 - 21:30
    Presenters include: Zoe Todd, Jill Carter, Carrie Bourassa, Dawn Martin Hill, Jean-Paul Restoule, Deborah McGregor, Marie Battiste, Kim Anderson, Falen Johnson, Leah Levac and others.

2. Remembering our past, rethinking the next 150 years and beyond
    May 29, 13:30 PM – 14:45
    Moderator: Frank Deer, University of Manitoba. Panelists include: Kevin Lamoureux, University of Winnipeg; Lee Maracle, University of Toronto; Pamela Palmater, Ryerson University; Senator Murray Sinclair.

3. Building a common digital infrastructure to sustain Algonquian languages
    May 31, 10:30 – 12:00
    Speakers: Marie-Odile Junker, Inge Genee, Heather Bliss, Bill Jancewicz, Mary Ann Corbiere,     Yvette Mollen

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Congress of the Humanities and Social SciencesCongress 2017