|7:00 PM - 8:00 PM ||Laurier Milton Lecture Series: Recovering and Relearning our Deeply Canadian (Indigenous) Heritage|
Wilfrid Laurier University, the Town of Milton and the Milton Public Library are pleased to present the 2020-2021 Laurier Milton Lecture Series.
Wilfrid Laurier has long supported the public role of academics to bring their knowledge and thinking outside of the classroom. The Laurier Milton Lecture Series provides a wonderful opportunity to engage in a public dialogue with citizens of Milton on a broad array of important topics. We are pleased that the presentations represent the current research and analysis of members of different faculties, departments and programs.
Lectures take place the second Wednesday of each month starting September 2020 and until May 2021 from 7- 8 pm. Lectures will take place via Zoom. Registration required and is free. Please register at beinspired.ca/lmls
March 10th lecture will discuss Recovering and Relearning our Deeply Canadian (Indigenous) Heritage presented by Miguel Sioui, PhD, Assistant Professor, Undergraduate Officer (Environmental Studies), Department of Geography & Environmental Studies.
Canadian identity and heritage, in the political sense, have developed according to an economistic (resource-based) lens brought over from a distant continent—Europe—whose land and people were shaped by histories, political systems, and a cultural evolution completely distinct from the First Peoples of Turtle Island. Canada’s philosophical and political systems, which originated in Europe, have compelled its citizens to feel a sense of belonging to the Canadian society and ‘democracy,’ and protection from their rights as citizens—all of which are philosophical constructions and human thought experiments, and are, by definition, abstract, immaterial, and fleeting. Canada’s official national heritage is thus precarious and has shallow roots in the soil of Turtle Island. In contrast, Canada’s Indigenous heritage is rooted in the material and concrete: the land. Indigenous peoples across Canada (and the rest of the Americas) base their sense of identity and heritage on their love for Eatenonha (G. Sioui, 2019), the Wendat word for our Earth Mother, to which all human, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike, as well as other-than-human beings, necessarily and inescapably belong. To the Indigenous mind, it is impossible to truly and meaningfully “belong” to immaterial political systems and ideologies, regardless of their geographical and cultural origins. Indigenous heritage is permanent and real, because our (human) relationship with the land will never be extinguished. While mainstream understandings and meanings of Canadian heritage, based on transitory political and economic paradigms in constant renegotiation, are immaterial, Canada’s Indigenous heritage offers a luxuriant source of inspiration for redefining what it means to be deeply Canadian.
Miguel Sioui is an Indigenous geographer and environmental management scholar deeply rooted in his Huron-Wendat traditions and community, he sees his purpose as a cultural translator between two worlds – Western and Indigenous – that have historically struggled to meaningfully communicate. Indeed, for a variety of reasons, academia has traditionally been reluctant to seek to understand Indigenous ways of knowing, doing, and being, and to incorporate relevant Indigenous knowledge (IK) concepts into fields related to environmental management. Miguel is keenly aware of the need for deeper reconciliation between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous intellectual communities through the creation of mutually usable channels of communication and research collaboration. It is this deeper motivation that initially sparked his interest in the field of environmental studies and management. Miguel’s growing interest in Indigenous environmental management paradigms compelled him to pursue an MA in geography at the University of Ottawa. His two-year participatory research in a 'non-status' Algonquin community in eastern Ontario (Ardoch Algonquin First Nation) project sought to understand AAFN’s traditional spiritual ecology (mino pimàdiziwin) as it is currently practiced by its members, and compare it with land-use ethics underlying resource development strategies promoted by the Ontario government. His master’s research further augmented his interest in Indigenous land-based philosophies, and led him to choose to pursue doctoral research, at Carleton University, on current Mayan land-use and management knowledges in Yucatan, Mexico. Relying on interviews and participant-observation, Miguel’s doctoral research sought to document, interpret and elaborate a synthesis of the current state of Yucatec Maya land-use knowledges of a Mayan community (Xuilub) and describe how they are understood and put into practice on the land by its members.
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