May 30, 2022
3:15pm - 3:45pm

Identifying Anishinaabe Standards for Evaluating Indigenous Persons Courts

Presenter & Co-Author:

Karen Drake is a member of the Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation and an Associate Professor and Associate Dean (Students) at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University who researches and teaches in the areas of Canadian law as it affects Indigenous peoples, Anishinaabe constitutionalism, Indigenous pedagogy within legal education, and dispute resolution including civil procedure and Indigenous dispute resolution. She joined Osgoode in July 2017 from the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law at Lakehead University where she had been a founding Co-Editor in Chief of the Lakehead Law Journal. She is a member of the legal advisory panel for RAVEN and previously served as on the Board of Directors of the Indigenous Bar Association.

Bahar Banaei is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Sociology at York University. She conducts socio-legal research on immigration detention and racialized state violence in Canada.

Additional Co-Authors:

Carmela Murdocca, Autumn Johnson, Matt Stone


This project is a partnership between the Sarnia-Lambton Native Friendship Centre (represented by Ms. Johnson and Mr. Stone) and Professors Drake and Murdocca. The goal of the project is to develop a methodology and assessment criteria which will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of two Indigenous Persons Courts: the Bkejwanong (Walpole Island) First Nation Court and the Sarnia Indigenous Persons Court. This project seeks to understand the differences between western criteria and Anishinaabe criteria for assessing restorative justice initiatives, and to develop a methodology and assessment criteria that reflect the ways of knowing, laws, priorities, and goals of the Anishinaabe communities served by the two Indigenous Persons Courts. To do this, we held interviews and sharing circles with community members—including those who have appeared as accused or as parties before the two Courts—as well as the relevant staff, lawyers, and judges. In this presentation, we will present our preliminary findings.

3:45pm - 4:15pm

Building Our Inner Fires: Gikinoo’amaadiwin (Gaining Knowledge) with First Nations Leaderships

Giiwedin Noodin kwe n’dizhinikaaz. Flying Post miinwa Red Rock miinwa, N’swakamok n’doonjibaa. Randi Ray, PhD (c) is a proud Anishinaabe Kwe and founder of Miikana Consulting and Noojimo Health (Canada’s first Indigenous-owned Virtual Mental Health Clinic). Randi has a passion and strong commitment to working with leaders in order to bridge the social and economic gaps across all sectors for Indigenous people.


Gikinoo'amaadiwin (gaining knowledge) is a key concept in life; sharing knowledge with others and giving time is arguably the greatest gift. I would, therefore, like to acknowledge those people who shared with me their knowledge; without them, none of this would be possible. This learning, undertaken by me as an Anishinaabe researcher, explores the knowledge shared from Elders, senior administration and current Chiefs in relation to how to best support them during their time in political office. It has been shared with me that as Anishinaabe people, we are born into a political world that requires that we must first understand it in order to unpack. Political leaders within First Nation communities hold a great deal of responsibility in relation to ensuring that wholistic health (emotional, physical, mental and physical) is supported for members of the First Nation. The overall purpose of this learning was to understand First Nations governance during their time in elected office in an effort to develop recommendations for supporting newcomers. This presentation will use the concept of 'building a fire' as a metaphorical framework.


May 31, 2022
9:00am - 9:30am

If you have seen one community, you have seen one community: A northern Ontario First Nations epidemiology Partnership addressing the unique needs of its communities

Maureen Gustafson is Anishinaabekwe of mixed Ojibwe and settler ancestry. A member of Couchiching First Nation, she grew up nearby in Fort Frances. She is a loving auntie, sister, daughter, cousin, and friend. Maureen obtained a Master of Public Health with specialization in Health Promotion and Indigenous Health from the University of Toronto in 2019. Her work is informed by professional experience at Indigenous-led research institutes in both Canada and Australia as well as health and social service providers in northwestern Ontario. Maureen is privileged to support Mamow Ahyamowen as the Knowledge Translation & Exchange Specialist.

Christina Vlahopoulos is a woman of settler Greek descent from Sudbury, Ontario. She graduated from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and practiced as a Naturopathic Doctor for ten years in Toronto and Kingston. During that time, Christina pursued her Masters in Public Health at Lakehead University. She took a break from private practice to work at De dwa da dehs nye>s Aboriginal Health Access Centre as a part of the Healthy Living team. She now supports Mamow Ahyamowen as the Project Manager.


First Nations in northern Ontario play a vital role in providing essential health services and programs in communities. However, unlike administrators in non-Indigenous organizations, Leaders do not have the data that is needed to make evidence-informed decisions. This lack of community-level data led to the formation of Mamow Ahyamowen (Everyone's Voices), an epidemiology Partnership of 11 First Nations health service organizations that collectively serve 78 communities across northern Ontario. Partners and communities came together out of the shared need for accessible, high-quality health-related data specific to northern Ontario First Nations. This groundbreaking Partnership supports the principles of health equity, Indigenous data sovereignty and data partnerships.

Indigenist Research as Transformation from a Color Settler Perspective

Dr. Ranjan Datta, a Canada Research Chair II in Community Disaster Research at Indigenous Studies, Department of Humanities, Mount Royal University, Calgary. Canada. Previously he was holding at University of Regina, Canada. Ranjan’s research interests include advocating for Indigenist research, Indigenous environmental sustainability, Responsibilities for decolonial research, Indigenous water and energy justice, critical anti-racist climate change resilience, land-based education. He has a total of 50 peer-reviewed publications on decolonial research, traditional story sharing, Indigenist Community-based Participatory Action Research, Indigenous land-water and sustainabilities issues, and his recent book, Indigenous Perspectives on Land-Water Management and Sustainability, published with Routledge.


As a color settler in Indigenous land, the Indigenist research methodology helped to transform who I am and who I need to be as a researcher. The Indigenist research methodology helped deconstruct the static vision of research and made me responsible for my research and the community. In my research, the Indigenist research offers transdisciplinary perspectives, including intersectional, relational, feminist critical race theory, decolonizing perspectives. Therefore, an Indigenist research methodology for me is multiple realities, community-led, relationships, and interactions based on interdisciplinary knowledge and practice. It helped to focus on my relational responsibilities to protect community needs and traditional practice. Through my 17 years of relational research journey with Indigenous and minority immigrants, I learned that the Indigenist research methodology benefits both researcher and participants by unpacking issues of power and voice. It helped to understand how people accept or resist community-led water resiliency by examining their ongoing, dynamic, and relational interactions with it. Through this presentation, I will use Indigenist research methodology with four interrelated themes: Relationality, Learning as ceremony, Decolonizing water and Community-led practices.

9:30am - 10:30am

Wellness and Wiidooktaadyang: Moving Anishinaabe Knowledge into Self-Determining Action

Dr. Cindy Peltier is Anishinaabe-kwe with connections to Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory and Nipissing First Nation. She is an associate professor the inaugural Chair in Indigenous Education at Nipissing University. Her former roles include teacher, principal, and research consultant serving several Anishinaabe communities in Ontario. Dr. Peltier’s research interests include the intersections of health, education, and Anishinaabe knowledge; the lived experiences of Anishinaabek with cancer; Indigenous healing; wellness; and community-driven, Indigenous research methodologies. Her team has funding from CIHR and the Ontario Micro-Credential Challenge Fund for this work. She is co-investigator on two CIHR Team Grants, and two SSHRC Partnership Development Grants.

Additional Co-Authors:

Dr. Louela Manankil-Rankin, Dr. Karey McCullough (Nipissing University), and the Nipissing First Nation Advisory Committee


Wiidooktaadyang, an Anishinaabemowin term meaning "we are helping each other," emphasizes a relational approach to realizing wellness. Working from this relational approach, this study explored how Nbisiing Debendaagziwaad (Nipissing First Nation citizens) understand and experience wellness. Nipissing First Nation (NFN) leaders and Elders acknowledged that the community-driven Wiidooktaadyang service-delivery model could be further informed by a broader understanding of wellness. Implementing a Two-Eyed Seeing approach, Indigenous methodologies were paired with Participatory Action Research. 90 conversational interviews were conducted with Nbisiing Debendaagziwaad: 30 on-reserve, 30 off-reserve, and 30 staff. The storied knowledge shared was co-created by community researchers, and an advisory committee. Together, appropriate conversation guides were developed, storied data were co-analyzed, and knowledge was disseminated prioritizing NFN’s self-determination. Five themes emerged: 1) connectedness; 2) living the medicine wheel; 3) belonging; 4) experiencing colonialism; and 5) reclaiming Anishinaabe ways to wellness. We aimed to move the findings into action by hosting planning discussions on the Wiidooktaadyang model, visually animating the story, and integrating the knowledge with NFN’s strategic plan. This research furthers current understandings of wellness by centering voices Nbisiing Debendaagziwaad. It illuminates a strengths-based lens on living wellness by accentuating the ontology that supports it. For Nbisiing Debendaagziwaad, wellness involved living a life connected to creation that fuels the spirit, develops identity, and makes explicit the living out of Anishinaabe values according to the teachings of the Medicine Wheel. As reclaiming Anishinaabe ways of being become more fluid, this strength creates opportunities for self-determination and confronting colonialism.

My Stories of Indigenous Land-based Learning: A Decolonial Autoethnography of a Racialized Woman

Jebunnessa Chapola, Sessional Lecturer Mount Royal University, Calgary, Canada. She is a community builder, decolonial social justice feminist activist, transnational cultural activist and performer, community radio host, interdisciplinary community-engaged scholar, and rooted in the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. She is a newcomer woman; she was born in Bangladesh and left her home country 20 years ago. Her area of study, Sociology, Social Work, and Gender and Development. Her Ph.D. dissertation title is “A Racialized Settler Woman’s Transformative Learning and Empowerment Journey in Canada: Building Relational Accountabilities with Indigenous and non-Indigenous Newcomer Settler of Colour Communities in Saskatoon”. She obtained an SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship in August 2022, a two-year designation. Her postdoc research title is “Women-led Community Climate Solutions Spaces (WCCSS): Developing A Policy Guide from Indigenous, Racialized Immigrants, and Refugee Women’s Perspectives” at the University of Regina, Saskatchewan.


The presentation will discuss how Indigenous land-based learning became healing and empowering for me as a newly arrived, color settler woman on the Indigenous land. After migrating from one colonial land to another, I was focused on building a family and new community, and learning about Indigenous histories, cultures, Indigenous land-based learning, and diverse communities in Saskatoon, Canada. Using decolonial feminist autoethnography research, I learned how to challenge our everyday racism and colonial practices which are engrained in our everyday lives. Last twelve years of community activities (community garden, radio, and transnational cultural activities) in Treaty 6 and 7, I learned that I need to be responsible for understanding the Indigenous meaning of land to create my belongingness with the land and people. As a decolonial feminist autoethnography researcher, I will explain my collaborative learning and responsibility about learning the meaning of land through a community garden, radio, and cultural activities. I will explain how I had taken responsibility for this land in solidarity. I hope my decolonial learning stories and connections with the land may help other non-Indigenous communities build meaningful relationships with the land and Indigenous communities.

10:15am - 10:45am

The Big Michif Dream: Enacting Love & Healing Through Visiting

Céline Wick, MA, Prairie Michif & citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario


Métis women, and Indigenous women more broadly, have been left out of the mainstream historical narrative. Many women in my family tree were not recorded with care, accuracy, or at all. The absence of their voices tells the story that their lives didn’t matter and that is both not true and not the story that should be perpetuated. I visited with my maternal Métis grandmother and mother to collect family stories to create a more fulsome account of life as a Métis woman on the prairies. ​The data I collected was stitched together with archival research to “locate the ways in which familial and colonial histories intersect” (Hunt, 2016). I facilitated informal gatherings, or ‘visits’, with my mother and grandmother to discuss our understanding of Michif culture, tell stories, strengthen our bonds through kîyokêwin (visiting) and contribute to the repairing of cultural knowledge transmission pathways to create a better life for future generations. My work is for my family, for the future generations and for other people like me who are finding their way back to themselves and their identity.

Tapipano toohaan: The impact of organized basketball and the stories of Fort Albany’s players and their community supporters.

Justin Sackaney is Mushkegowuk Cree with connections to Attawpiskat, Kashechewan, Fort Albany and Constance Lake. He is currently enrolled in the Master of Education program at Nipissing University. His background is working in the field of education and youth development, mostly working with Indigenous youth throughout the Northeastern Ontario region. His biggest passion revolves around sport, whether it’s playing or sharing via coordinating sporting events for youth. He gratefully acknowledges his Nipissing University supervisors and co-authors in his Master of Education journey, Dr. Cindy Peltier, Dr. Colin McLaren and Dr. Mark Bruner.


Dr. Cindy Peltier, Dr. Colin McLaren, and Dr. Mark Bruner


A collective purpose is to move out from under the dark shadow cast on Fort Albany First Nation by the legacy of St-Anne’s Residential School. This community-driven research endeavour aims to share a positive story that can influence youth wholistic health. Tapipano toohaan shares stories of participation in competitive basketball league from perspectives of Mushkegowuk Cree youth, parents, and community members of ‘remote’ Fort Albany situated 300 kilometers north of Timmins, Ontario. The stories concentrate on participation in the Northeastern Ontario Athletic Association’s basketball league from 2011 to 2014. Cree methodology tipaachimowina (storytelling) for data collection honours the Cree way of conversing and sharing information. In addition, non-Indigenous data organization tools (NVivo) and thematic analysis are also utilized. This work is framed within a conceptual model that incorporates Cree ways of thinking along with a positive view of a healthy, sport culture. This research study focuses on how basketball participation influences wholistic growth for student-athletes and its relationship to community development.

10:45am - 11:15am

Old Texts, New Narratives, and The Self-Determining Archive

Susan Paterson Glover – Professor Emerita, Department of English at Laurentian University. I am a member of a New Frontiers in Research project led by PI Lauren Beck, “Indigenous Approaches to the Western Literary and Visual Canon.” Recent publications include “Reading Tipâcimôwin and the Receding Archive,” Afterlives of Indigenous Archives: Essays in Honor of the Occom Circle, ed. Ivy Schweitzer and Gordon Henry, Dartmouth College, 2019, and entries for the Cambridge Guide to the Eighteenth-Century Novel, 1660-1820, Cambridge University Press, forthcoming. I am also a mother and a grandmother, and my life and work is shaped by the Bruce Peninsula/southern Georgian Bay land and water where I was born.


Presentation will address directly the question of "telling our own stories" in perhaps an indirect way. The research, and the questions, grow out of a collaborative project begun in 2015 with Alan Corbiere, now CRC, Indigenous History, at York University, and Tom Peace, Associate Professor, History, at Huron College University Western, investigating early Indigenous texts and writing prior to the formation of the state of Canada in 1867. This material includes letters (official and personal), reports, newspaper articles, poetry, histories, life writing, language studies, translation work, travel writing. As a settler scholar I, of course, do not "tell" these stories, but rather augment the identifying of documents and creators and responding to TRC Calls to advance Indigenous knowledge and content in and beyond the classroom.

Igniting the Spirit: Healing and Self-Determination through Indigenous Dance

Sandra Lamouche nitsikason, niya Nehiyaw iskwew. I am an off reserve member of the Bigstone Cree Nation and my father is from Kapaweno First Nation. I am a champion hoop dancer, award winning educator, writer, artist and storyteller.


Presentation will examine the spiritual dimension of the Nehiyawak Medicine Wheel and how this aspect is essential in self-determination and healing. We look at what it means to live a good life – Nitohnahk Miyo Pimadiwin. What it means to walk down this path and how we can recognize this journey. I will also share how decolonization is important and a barrier in the journey of healing and self-determination.

11:30am - 12:30am

Indigenous Science: Reinterpreting Data to Reclaim and Rewrite Indigenous History.

Paulette Steeves. Ph.D. – (Cree- Metis), was born in Whitehorse Yukon Territories and grew up in Lillooet, British Columbia, Canada. She is an Associate Professor in Sociology – Anthropology at Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie, ON, and a Canada Research Chair in Healing and Reconciliation. Her research focus is on the Pleistocene history of the Western Hemisphere, reclaiming and rewriting Indigenous histories and healing and reconciliation.


Archaeologists have controlled the interpretation of archaeological data of Turtle Island for over a century. Reinterpretation of Indigenous history and links to the land is critical to the survival and protection of Indigenous peoples’ rights and sovereignty. Archaeological discussions and data are not neutral pieces of information; they are embedded in political and colonial views and ideas. A majority of American Archaeologists have denied an Indigenous presence on Turtle Island before 12,000-15,000 years before the present. Archaeological discussions of the Indigenous past have been taught as truths and thus hold currency in the present, within social and political institutions, and in the education of the public. Thus, Indigenous archaeologists and communities must reinterpret and rewrite archaeological data on Indigenous history during the Pleistocene. It is essential to weave Indigenous knowledge and oral traditions through discussion of the deep Indigenous past. Through a study of archaeological data and oral traditions, I argue that Indigenous people have been on Turtle Island for over 130,000 years. The existence of Pleistocene archaeological sites and ancestral connections between ancient First Peoples and contemporary Indigenous communities is empowering to Indigenous people. The presence of hundreds of ancestral places in the Pleistocene creates a dialogue from which Indigenous people can challenge erasures of histories; it foregrounds their Indigenous identities and their links to the land and empowers them in seeking justice. To allow Indigenous people have been present in the Western Hemisphere for a much greater time is to support Indigenous ownership of the past and present, and lands and material heritage.