Events to Date

Niigaan: In Conversation

March 9, 2013
National Arts Centre
Speakers: Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, Elder Albert Dumont, Theland Kicknosway, Elaine Kicknosway, Tiffany Dumont, Thomas King, Leanne Simpson and Victoria Freeman, Bonita Lawrence and Chief Gilbert Whiteduck, Claudette Commanda and John Read LL.B., Craig Benjamin (Amnesty International) and Andrea Landry

Niigaan: An Evening of Conversation

June 8, 2013
University of Ottawa
Speakers: Waubgeshig Rice, Elder Verna McGregor, Lawrence Martin, John Borrows, Ed Bianchi (KAIROS), Chelsea Vowel, Shiri Pasternak

Honour the Apology

July 25, 2013

Speakers: Claudette Commanda, Barb Hill, Linda Koosis, Lysandra Chaplin, Geraldine King

Niigaan Treaty Workshops

July 15, 31 and August 15, 2013
Gallery 101

Speakers: Ed Bianchi, Richard Powless, Niigaanwewidam Sinclair, Rarihokwats

Niigaan: Talk Show

September 15, 2013
University of Ottawa

Participants: Native Women’s Association of Canada, Amnesty International, KAIROS, Ecology Ottawa, Asinabka Indigenous Film and Media Arts Festival, OPIRG, Families of Sisters in Spirit, Native Youth Sexual Health Network. Speakers: Ian Campeau, Qajaq Robinson, J-L Fournier, Ed Bianchi, Alexa Lesperance, Jennifer Adese

Treaty Workshop

October 22, 2013
Muslim Community Centre

Understanding Elsipogtog

October 29, 2013
Gallery 101

Participants: Richard Powless, Albert Dumont

November 2, 2013
No One Is Illegal, Re-Launch & Conference, “Building the Treaty Relationship with Settlers”

“essential to finding our way forward”

“I come from a ‘red dirt’ poor Southern (mostly) white settler family on my father’s side who are racist towards African Americans yet romanticize their one taproot among the Creek Cherokee people of Georgia. Troubled by these contradictions growing up, and incubated in the ‘Yankee liberal’ sensibilities of my (partly) Jewish mother, I came to recognition of centuries of settler injustice towards Indigenous peoples first through the long ‘red summer’ of the Oka crisis and then through my reading and teaching of Canadian and Indigenous literatures. I was always looking for an organic way to be involved in Indigenous justice movements, yet even in this period of invitations to settlers to witness and participate by the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission website and by the Idle No More movement, I saw so many Settler people not knowing or caring that this call was even out there. The women organizing Niigaan stepped in to this gap to create wonderful opportunities, events, and spaces where Indigenous and Settler people could meet together, learn together, and eat together. I have been to three of their events from the first Niigaan day of Conversation on the way forward, to an Experiential workshop theatre (in partnership with Kairos), to a Talkshow panel with Indigenous activists, lawyers, scholars, and hiphop stars. Niigaan: In Conversation is essential to finding our way forward towards a more just future in which unlearning colonialism becomes mainstream.”

—Professor Brenda Vellino, Theatre and Redress Studies, English Department, Carleton University

Video: Talk Show

From September 15, 2013. Seven guests discussing Indigenous-settler relations, Indigenous naming, the Nepean Redskins name, and what decolonization means. Speakers: Jennifer Adese, Alexa Lesperance, Neal Freeland, Ed Bianchi, Jean-Luc Fournier, Ian Campeau, Qajaq Robinson. Host: Darren Sutherland. Video produced by

Video: First Event

Most of the first Niigaan: In Conversation that was held on March 9, 2013 is now archived on our Youtube channel.

Introductions, featuring event co-organizer Linda Nothing, host Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, Elder Albert Dumont, song from Elaine and Theland Kicknosway, and dancing by Tiffany Dumont.

Opening presentation from Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, with introduction by Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair.

Presentation from Victoria Freeman, with additional commentary and response to audience questions from Leanne Betasamosake Simpson and Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair.

Presentation from Claudette Commanda.

Presentation from John Read, with additional commentary and response to audience questions from Claudette Commanda and Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair.

Presentation from Andrea Landry.

Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair introducing Craig Benjamin of Amnesty International, in final panel discussing future actions, ally responsibilities, and implementation of United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Audience responses follow.

Why Elsipogtog Matters

A conversation about the land

On October 17, 2013, after months of vocal opposition, the Mi’kmaq defenders of the land in Elsipogtog we attacked by RCMP officers and their dogs.  What led to that confrontation and what does it mean for all of us living together because of a treaty relationship?

Please join us for learning and discussion on Tuesday, October 29 and 6pm at Gallery 101, 301 Bank Street (upstairs).

We will touch on three related areas:

Spirit: We feel such a connection to land that we will cry when we are told news of environmental devastation and distruction. We cry because we feel the pain of creation whose health has been compromized. Elsipogtog teaches us that our bodies should defend the land so that our grandchildren have something left to connect to.

Legal History: The Mi’kmaq signed a peace and friendship treaty in 1761 so that the English could settle but not to trample Mi’kmaq interests; the land was never relinquished. Before they came for shale gas, they came for the timber, the fish, and the wildlife. However, look forward to modern times the Canadian Supreme Court’s judgment in 1999 recognized Mi’kmaq rights under that treaty. What does that mean for resource extraction?

Fracking: What is it? Why do we use the technology? What are the social and environmental impacts? What is being done and how can we inform ourselves and voice our opinion?

For more information please watch this space or

Baamaa pii ga waabmin!
(see you soon!)