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Integrating Knowledges Summit, 2016

In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action, this summit is designed to be an intercultural calling-in of social justice advocates, community elders, researchers, artists, cultural, and multidisciplinary practitioners and performers, academics, students, and residential school representatives - among others - in order to generate creative solutions to immediate societal challenges and to develop opportunities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists and researchers across disciplines to meet and collaborate. See the full summit schedule.

OHEN:TON KARIHWATEHKWEN 2016 by artist Naomi Johnson written on laneway leading to the Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School. Video by Shane Powless and Thru the Red Door.

Summit highlights

Keynote address by Dr. Cindy Blackstock, October 14, 9am. Watch opening ceremony and keynote video on YouTube

3-Day Theatre Workshop – Performing Practice Truth & (Re)conciliation, Theatre of the Arts, ML 135. Workshop process open to public viewing throughout Summit - October 14, 15, 16. Featuring: Actors Bruce Sinclair, PJ Prudat, Falen Johnson; Waterloo Theatre and Performance students, Brooke Barnes, Zac Gungl, Nivan ElSeweify, Alexandra Porter; facilitated by Spy Dénommé-Welch. Workshop Performance “The Offering” on Sunday, October 16, 1 to 2pm.

Key participants and happenings
  • Elder-in-Residence: Jean Becker
  • Nine circle discussions on summit themes
  • Oral Storytelling by Rene Meshake
  • Archive & Representation Installation + Workshop with Susan Roy and Ian Mosby
  • Digital Storytelling Installation, “A Canadian Conversation,” by Kim Anderson
  • TRC Reading Challenge: Invitation to participate in the public reading of Canada’s Residential Schools: The History, Part 1 at the UWaterloo Arts Quad
  • Summit/History Speaker Series: Lisa Monchalin, “The Colonial Problem: An Indigenous Perspective on Crime and Injustice in Canada"
  • Call to Action #83: The Artists & The Work – Exhibition
  • Sound Installation by Bó Bárdos – Elindultam (I set out…)
  • On Firm Ground: a reposition of being, ceramic works curated by Patricia Deadman at Clay & Glass Gallery
  • Fire Keepers, Al McDonald and Howard Loft – Open invitation to the Fire
  • Catering by Janace Henry, Pies and Things, Six Nations of the Grand
Mush Hole Project & Integrating Knowledges Youth Workshop, October 13 and 14

Watch the youth workshop's Integrating Knowledges video:

Six Nations Elected Chief Counsel Ava Hill reminds us of the importance for mainstream Canada to understand the history of residential schools and the implications: “They need to understand what happened to our people by the government of the day. It is to blame for many of the social problems still being experienced today” (Ruby, 2014). Before we approach the complex meanings embedded in the language of “reconciliation” and “truth,” we must first address the societal challenges that emerged from the residential school system and the impact to educational paradigms and youth. The objective of the Mush Hole Project & Integrating Knowledges Youth Workshop is to create and encourage opportunities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth to meet and to share their lived experiences by opening channels of communication, facilitating intercultural spaces of learning, and acknowledge different historical contexts and knowledges in order to develop and sustain deeper understanding and relationships. The video "Reconciliation: A Response" was created from this experience.

  • Waterloo Aboriginal Education Centre (WAEC)
  • Six Nations Polytechnic, Assumption College, and Waterloo Region School Board student with Seminar Session led by Kelly Laurila, Indigenous PhD Student, Songkeeper, and Facilitator of Mino Ode Kwewak N’gamowak

The choice of the title of the summit deliberately points to the present actions that need to be undertaken alongside the plural formation of “knowledges,” in order to acknowledge the heterogeneity of Indigenous pedagogies across Canada, as well as challenge the sustained structures of systemic oppression and exclusion.

The summit is organized around four themes: Education, Nutrition, Truth, Reconciliation.

Integrating Knowledges will be the first of its kind held at the University of Waterloo. It sets out to facilitate collaborations among departments within the University, as well as the greater communities to revitalize the relationships between Indigenous peoples and Canadian society in meaningful and long-lasting ways.