Monday, May 31, 2021
With financial support from the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences’ Aid for Interdisciplinary Sessions Fund.
Keynote Address/Discours D’Ouverture
Decolonizing Begins With Spirit
Lana Whiskeyjack (University of Alberta)
Chair: Simone Pfleger (University of Alberta)
Financial support for this session is provided by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.
Before engagement with community, research, and creative projects, I prepare for, and within, ceremony. There are diverse ceremonies for specific intentions and requests that provides and maintains the gentleness, clarity and guidance needed to connect my spirit to all my relations. The language spoken within ceremony goes beyond the intelligence of the mind but travels straight to heart. I am reminded of my roles and responsibilities as an ayisîniw ota askiy (human of this land) to the Laws of this Land, whom we call nikâwiy askiy (Mother Earth) in nêhiyawêwin (Cree language). Returning to land-based teachings, art practices and nêhiyawêwin, I am reclaiming my inherent sacred role as a mother and grandmother. Decolonization and indigenization are important spirit-centred spaces to bridge Indigenous knowledge and worldviews as well as to have uncomfortable conversations. I will share how arts-based practices and cultural land-based teachings supported the transformation of confronting and transcending historical wounds into intergenerational resilience.
Lana Whiskeyjack is a multidisciplinary treaty scholartist from Saddle Lake Cree Nation. She is an assistant professor in the Women’s and Gender Studies, Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta. Lana’s research, writing, and creativity is committed to community arts-based scholarship, research, and practices grounded in Indigenous knowledge, ceremony and language. She completed her iyiniw pimâtisiwin kiskeyihtamowin doctoral program at the University nuhelot’įne thaiyots’į nistameyimâkanak Blue Quill, a former Indian Residential School attended by two generations of her own family. Her research focuses on Indigenous sexual health, economic security, intergenerational trauma to resilience, and iskwêwêwin (womanhood).
- Lana Whiskeyjack, Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Alberta & multidisciplinary treaty scholartist from Saddle Lake Cree Nation