Arriscraft Speaker Series: What is Solidarity? | Land Back

Tuesday, September 22, 2020 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm EDT (GMT -04:00)

Land Back poster

What is Solidarity?

Movements, research, and design for another world


Amy Smoke, Co-founder & Organizer, Land Back Camp, Victoria Park, Kitchener
Phil Monture, Nativelands, Six Nations of the Grand River
Eladia Smoke | KaaSheGaaBaaWeak, Smoke Architecture, Laurentian University

Moderated by Amina Lalor, Researcher, Nokom's House, University of Guelph; Adjunct Professor, Waterloo Architecture; with
Mayuri Paranthahan, Master of Architecture Candidate, Waterloo Architecture

In the summer of 2020, the O:se Kenhionhata:tie Land Back Camp set up in Kitchener’s Victoria Park, demanding fees be waived for Indigenous community events in the city, access to land in Victoria Park and Waterloo Park for traditional ceremonies, paid Indigenous staff, and a paid Indigenous advisory board for full participation in the governance of Municipal public spaces. At the same time, 1492 Land Back Lane Camp has blocked the construction of a new suburb in Caledonia adjacent to the Six Nations Reserve. Like these two camps, Waterloo Architecture sits within the Haldimand Tract, land promised to the Six Nations in 1784. The current Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve inhabits only 5% of this granted territory. Recognizing that settler architecture is built on land appropriated from Indigenous peoples, how can architects resist a professional continuation of colonial practice and work in solidarity with Indigenous peoples?

Amy Smoke is Mohawk Nation, Turtle Clan from the Six Nations of the Grand River. Amy is a 2 Spirit mother, public speaker, community organizer, and singer. They have graduated from Conestoga College General Arts & Science, University of Waterloo with a BA and BSW, as well as Wilfrid Laurier University with a Masters in Indigenous Social Work. Amy is one of the founding members of the Blue Sky Singers and is an active community member here in Kitchener-Waterloo. Amy spends much of their time on social justice community organizing and public speaking in order to make visible Indigenous women, girls, and Two Spirit. Having sat on various Indigenous Advisory Boards in the local community Amy hopes to bring more First Nations, Metis, and Inuit education to organizations on the Haldimand Tract today.

Phil Monture is Mohawk from the Six Nations of the Grand River. From 1975 to July 2002 he was Director of the Land Claims Research Office at the Six Nations of the Grand River, where he developed and supervised a long term research program about Six Nations of the Grand River lands that are no longer used for its benefit and for which no Crown letters patent have been issued or legal surrender obtained under prevailing legislation. Phil was key in developing the 1995 litigation the Six Nations of the Grand River have against Canada and Ontario seeking an accounting for all the lands and resources within the Haldimand Tract no longer under the control of Six Nations. Phil continues to work on this "mega trial" as it continues to work its way through the courts. In 2002, Phil established his own company Nativelands to study and develop land tenure for Indigenous Peoples in Canada, the United States, and Central America. He has been a representative on land claims and Indigenous land rights at the provincial and national levels, as well as at the United Nations. The ultimate goal of his work is to establish a secure, stable and independent economic base for the Six Nations Peoples as was the intent of Six Nations’ Treaties.

KaaSheGaaBaaWeak | Eladia Smoke is Anishinaabekwe from Obishikokaang | Lac Seul First Nation, with family roots in Alderville First Nation, Winnipeg, and Toronto. Eladia has worked in architecture since 2002, and founded Smoke Architecture as principal architect in 2014. She is a Master Lecturer at Laurentian’s McEwen School of Architecture. Eladia has served on the RAIC’s Indigenous Task Force since its inception, 2015. Eladia was on the Unceded international team of Indigenous designers and architects representing Canada at the 2018 Venice Biennale. Current professional work includes post-secondary, community, and multi-family residential projects, working with First Nation and institutional clients.

View the conversation on YouTube