ANSUT conference: Indigenizing the Academy

On May 3 & 4, the Association of Nova Scotia University Teachers (ANSUT) held a conference entitled “Indigenizing the Academy: Envisioning How to Implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Recommendations for Post-Secondary Education in Canada”, at Membertou Trade and Convention Centre. It was organized by CBU’s Scott Stewart, Terry Gibbs, Stephen Augustine, and others. The conference sold-out after hitting the cap of 200 registrants, and was attended by individuals from Eskasoni & Membertou, CBU, Dalhousie, St.FX, MSVU, UNB, NSCAD, and even as far away as UNBC, and York U (Toronto).

The event was MC’ed by Jeff Ward of Membertou First Nation, opening remarks were provided by CBU’s President David Dingwall and Scott Stewart, and the key-note speakers included Dr. Cheryl Bartlett (CBU Professor Emerita), Dr. Marie Battiste (Potlotek FN, Full Prof @ U of Sask), Elder Dr. Albert Marshall (Eskasoni FN), Naiomi Metallic (Listuguj FN, Assistant Prof @ Dalhousie), Professor Sakej Younblood Henderson (Chickasaw & Cheyenne, Prof @ U of Sask), Dr. Blair Stonechild (Muscowpetung Saulteaux FN, Professor @ First Nations U), Stephen Augustine (Elsipogtog FN, Associate VP Indigenous Affairs & Unama’ki College @ CBU) and John R. Sylliboy (Eskasoni & Millbrook FNs, MA, PhD student @ McGill).

The speakers shared a wide variety of stories about their on-going efforts to indigenize education at their respective universities, showing that while the slowness of the process can be difficult and frustrating at times, there is also considerable reason for hope and optimism. Emphasis was placed on prioritizing working together collaboratively with the Elders and other Traditional Knowledge Holders, forming an independent Elders Council in Atlantic Canada, respecting the Land, spirituality, and ceremony, and replacing Eurocentric assimilation in education with justice, respect and liberation for Indigenous ways of knowing/seeing the world. All powerpoint presentations will be made available on the ANSUT.ca website.

Heather Schmidt presenting poster on Mi’kmaw Inclusion at CBU

Research posters were displayed throughout the duration of the conference to allow everyone an opportunity to view the 12 posters and speak to the presenters. CBU faculty presented 4 posters: Sandra Jack-Malik (Education), Janet Kuhnke (Nursing), Heather Schmidt (Psychology), and Barb Glassey, Catherine Arsenseau, & Katherine Jones (Biology, & Beaton Institute).

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