In Vancouver BC, the initiative to support Indigenous artists through the Talking Stick Festival takes place annually around February. This festival showcases Indigenous culture through many different art forms. The Full Circle Talking Stick Festival is a charity event that allows Indigenous artists an opportunity to showcase their talents, and all of the proceeds go to local community art programs. Throughout this contemporary art showcase, there are many innovative to break Indigenous stereotypes through several forms of expression.
This podcast was created to teach Canadian history in a truthful way—using stories and narratives being shared of the true past of the country. This history podcast brings you the stories about the country you know and the stories you don’t. Some of the episodes include Indigenous Peoples e.g. Fred Sasakamoose, Tom Longboat. There is a new episode bi-weekly and they focus on looking at historical events through an Indigenous lens as well as acknowledging important people in Indigenous history that colonized curriculums do not teach.
This source not only provides links to background information on Gidimt’en territory but also has resources for settler people to support the Wet’suwet’en Nation and act against the injustices they are currently facing. This is a good reference point for settlers seeking to educate themselves on Indigenous issues and gives directions for acting. Not only is it relevant to current issues but can help to encourage settlers in future situations to act by functioning as a resource with examples of how to stand in solidarity with Indigenous people across Turtle Island. So far, over 1000 professors and scholars from across Canada and around the world signed “Statement of Solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en People of British Columbia”. Visit the link below to learn how you can be part of this movement. https://unistoten.camp/supportertoolkit/
The Canadian Cancer Society partnered with Pauktuutit organization to create awareness about cancer treatment for Inuit people in Canada. Below is a link to a video story about an Inuit woman named Sophie. In the video, she is sharing her experience battling cancer and her experiences receiving treatment. This partnership exposes how the Canadian healthcare system works in the northern part of Canada and how it impacts the patients. Sophie narrates how Inuits of northern regions of Canada have to travel hundreds of miles away from their homes for cancer treatment. The story shares the struggle of language and isolation; it’s nearly impossible to find healthcare providers who speak Inuktut. This partnership is aimed to bridge the distance and the language gap.
The First Nations and Indigenous Studies Program interviewed the artist behind the REDress Project, and its latest exhibition happening on university campuses across Canada. Jaime Black explains in the article that the REDress Project art installation involves 600 donated red dresses being displayed on university campuses to draw awareness to the missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada. The dresses are purposefully displayed in extremely busy, public areas in order to make dismissal of the issue more difficult. The large volume of dresses is intended to make the severity of the crisis much more apparent. The art installation is designed to start a conversation and create an emotional response to the staggering number of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada. The installation is purposefully provocative and emotional in order to prevent people from compartmentalizing and disregarding this ongoing issue. Jaime explained that often this is most peoples’ first real exposure to the missing and murdered Indigenous women issue, and often the piece causes people to be overwhelmed with emotion. For more information, please visit the links below.
TRACKS is a program that runs out of Trent University that focuses on using a Two-Eyed Seeing principle at the core of their programs. They are geared towards Indigenous knowledge and science and also prioritize looking at how these principles overlap and intersect with western science. There are two programs that run out of TRACKS: Oshkwazin; this is a youth group that encourages Indigenous youth to become leaders in their communities, schools, families, and with their peers. There is a heavy emphasis on Indigenous knowledge and Indigenous science. Indigenous youth between the ages of 13-18 are given a space to converse and learn, and hopefully, be encouraged to enter STEM careers. The other branch of programming that runs out of Tracks is their afterschool/ P.A. day programs. During these programs, the coordinators at Tracks will hold workshops at local Indigenous and non-Indigenous schools. The majority of the schools tend to be local non-Indigenous elementary schools. They begin these workshops with a land acknowledgment of the traditional territory they are on. They also begin the seminar with the creation story. The rest of the seminar is geared towards heightening awareness of Indigenous knowledge and acknowledgment of Indigenous science as a science. Most of their focus is on environmental sciences, and they encourage students to employ a Two-Eyed Seeing approach as they pursue science. Overall it is an excellent program to expose non-Indigenous youth to Indigenous science and helps to change societally enforced dogmas surrounding the validity and value of Indigenous science/ knowledge.
In British Columbia, the Building Indigenous Relations in an Age of Reconciliation workshop was held by Science Borealis, Curiosity Collider, Science Writers and Communicators of Canada, and the Hakai Institute. The workshops were led by Michelle Washington and Lou-ann Neel. Washington is a member of the Tla’amin village, while Neel is from the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation. The workshops they led were designed to help individuals from all areas of science learn how to develop relationships with Indigenous people and decolonize their approaches to writing and scientific research. One of the main workshops focused directly on isolating biases and discussing ways to work through them. Other suggestions that were made to improve practices amongst scientists and researchers included: developing a relationship with Indigenous peoples before requesting access to communities for research purposes. The importance of learning about different communities and being culturally sensitive was highlighted. Lastly, the workshop encouraged non-Indigenous attendees to take the knowledge they had learned and spread it to their fellow friends, families, and colleagues.