Niigaan Winter Gala: A Red Man Laughing Live Podcast

Niigaan: In Conversation is honoured and excited to partner with Red Man Laughing for its upcoming Winter Gala and Fundraiser at the National Arts Centre on December 10, 2013 in Ottawa, Ontario. The theme is Biiskaabiiyang (returning to ourselves) particularly regarding how to move forward in the collective work across the land. Please join us for music, laughter, discussion, dancing and delicious food. The Red Man Laughing Podcast will be a discussion to recreate our shared future.  It’s been a year since Chief Spence’s fast and Idle No More. It’s time to regroup, refocus and figure out what we’re doing next. We do this by looking at what we’ve done and what needs to be done and where to go next.

We asked ourselves, what happened to the fire? The community rallied around Chief Spence, there was a desperate feeling, people brought wood, food, soup, medicines, water. We need to get that energy back. The problems are still here, we still have work to do.

We want to hear everyone’s contribution to this discussion;
Please join us to add your voice to this important project.

Our host for the evening is Ryan McMahon, comedian, actor, thinker and Anishinaabe living in Winnipeg. He will be joined by:

  • Grand Chief Derek Nepinak (Pine Creek First Nation, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs)
  • Chief Isadore Day (Serpent River FN)
  • Lee Maracle (author of a number of critically acclaimed, award-winning works)
  • Leanne Simpson (author of a number of critically acclaimed, award-winning works)
  • Geraldine King (academic extraordinaire and community mover and shaker)
  • Celina Matasawagon (astounding inspiration)

Music from:

  • Gerri Trimble (Jazz singer beyond compare)
  • Mosha Folger (a.k.a. M.O. hip hop, spoken word master)

Silent Auction:

  • Christi Belcourt
  • Sonny Assu
  • Jaime Koebel
  • Mo McGreavy
  • Shady Hafez
  • Kelly-Ann Kruger

and more!

Wab Kinew, Director of Indigenous Inclusion at the University of Winnipeg, the host of CBC’s 8th Fire and Al Jazeera host, will be joining us to film the discussion between our host and our guests! In partnership with the University of Winnipeg, Niigaan: In Conversation discussion will be used to create teaching materials around the topic of Idle No More. We are so honoured and excited that the University will be supporting our work.
Eventbrite - Niigaan Winter Gala: A Live Red Man Laughing Podcast

Advertisements

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 facebook.com/niigaanfuture

Baamaa pii ga waabmin!
(see you soon!)

Odawa Community Talk Show

September 15, 1-5pm

University of Ottawa Alumni Hall
85 University Private

Host: Darren Sutherland

Guests: Alexa Lesperance, Jennifer Adese, Ed Bianchi, Neal Freeland, and others…

Participation by: Kairos, Ecology Ottawa, Native Women’s Association of Canada, Amnesty International, Odawa Friendship Center, Families of Sisters in Spirit, and others…

To reserve your tickets please click here.

On September 15, 2013, Niigaan: In Conversation is proud and excited to present a chance to participate in a discussion about recreating the relationship between Indigenous and Settler peoples here in the city. Meet local community organizers and visionaries, share ideas, and add your energy and passion to making Ottawa a truly indigenized and inclusive city.

Decolonization is art that changes everything we know or thought we knew about our community, our country and our world. It is the inclusion of Indigenous stories in our collective histories. It is the unlearning and relearning Canadian history. It makes us uncomfortable, and that’s okay because it means we are learning.

Decolonization challenges the foundational structure and story of Canada and the accepted narratives of who we are and recognizes the many narratives that exist and deserve equal airtime in our consciousness.

The art of decolonization leads to material changes. What we hope starts as conversation will build into relationships that build into ideas that build into action that build into houses and healthcare and child care and equal services and lands and the respect for the treaties that have built this nation. So that no more 11 year olds decide to take their own lives and parents can keep their children safely at home and students can achieve their dreams because their schools are just as good as anywhere else and communities can build sovereign healthy nations rooted in their culture.

KAIROS calls for “right relationship”

Ed Bianchi will be presenting at Niigaan on June 8th.

KAIROS is 11 Canadian churches and religious organizations working on social justice, including Indigenous rights. Although KAIROS was formed in 2001, its Indigenous rights work stretches back to the late 60s and early 70s when churches realized that the historical relationship with Indigenous peoples had to change, and change drastically!

The change involved acknowledging that the churches’ relationship with Indigenous peoples is founded on colonial practices and attitudes. It involved shifting the focus of this relationship to the recognition and implementation of treaty and Indigenous rights; to a just, nation-to-nation relationship based on solidarity with Indigenous peoples. It involved engaging in public education and political action with governments and corporations on social, economic, environmental and cultural issues.

KAIROS calls for “right relationship” with Indigenous peoples. This means educating ourselves about how we, as churches and as settlers, have contributed to the oppression of Indigenous peoples, and how we continue to do so. It means listening and learning, dialogue and action. It means understanding the racist attitudes and policies that are at the root of current inequities and injustices. It means shining a bright light on our colonial history. It means understanding the need for systemic change.

For KAIROS, being in “right relationship” means acknowledging that we are all “treaty people” and that that means working collaboratively towards a more equitable and sustainable society. It means becoming aware of the fact that ongoing violations of Indigenous rights and sovereignty are harmful to the land and water upon which we all rely. It means understanding that injustice impacts us all and that solutions lie in working together towards our collective liberation. In short, it means realizing that, as the Anishnaabe prophecy declares, Indigenous and settler must come together to build the “8th Fire” of justice and harmony.

Ed Bianchi
KAIROS Canada

Sometimes there is no translation

ikidowinan

First things first:

My earliest ancestors here in the Kichisippi watershed were named MacEwen, British people who farmed 100 acres on Baseline Road, which is now a city park. My name is Tom Fortington. I was born here almost 40 years ago. It is my home only by the forbearance and good will of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg, since we have no treaty.

I attended the inaugural Niigaan event in March 2013. In the event’s program, there were one-word headlines in a language I recognized as Anishinaabemowin. They were set in uppercase, large enough to span the page. These words demanded attention!

Reading and re-reading the document, though, I found no translation for these words that the designer had deemed important enough to display so prominently. My initial reaction wavered between puzzlement and annoyance: was a minimum level of fluency to be assumed? Did I miss an e-mail?

So I sat with this enigma and let it be. In the two months since I encountered those words, some realizations have dawned on me. Intentional or not, the typesetter had issued a challenge: You may have to seek answers using your own resources. You will rely on the knowledge of others. The sharing of knowledge is as much a gift as it is an obligation. Sometimes, there is no translation. There is no guarantee that you will understand it. It is important to try anyway.

Sometimes, fortunately, a message comes in plain language exactly when you need it. In a recent article, Mississauga Nishnaabeg author and teacher Leanne Simpson relates her experience of Indigenous diplomatic traditions as she visits a nation on the western edge of the continent:

Doug Williams from Curve Lake First Nation always makes time to meet with me and answer my questions. He reminded me to acknowledge the territory I was visiting directly after I had shared with the audience my clan affiliation, where I was from, and my name. We talked about how as a visitor in another’s territory, my primary responsibility would be to listen and to take direction from my gracious hosts. We talked about our protocols and processes of engagement that foster and maintain good relationships between our nation and neighbouring nations. We talked about how even though I am not a political leader, I carry those responsibilities no matter where I go.

Had I been moving to Victoria, this kind of diplomacy would have carried even greater responsibilities. According to my own traditions, I would have a responsibility to listen, to learn, and to appreciate the jurisdiction, political culture, and traditions of the nation within which I was residing. I would have a responsibility to understand the issues this nation was facing, and I would have an obligation to support them and to stand with them. I would have a sacred duty to learn about my place and role within their political structure and their culture, and I would expect the same if one of their citizens moved to my territory. (Emphasis mine)

Leanne Simpson’s traditions are not my own, but I am willing to take direction from my hosts. Canadian culture certainly does not encourage its citizens to acknowledge the sovereignty of other nations on territory Canada claims as its own, so if I am to do my part to bridge the gap, I need to step outside my culture and take on that sacred duty to learn about my place and role. Learning the meaning of unfamiliar language moves me toward understanding. Understanding moves me toward action. This process is what the Niigaan series is encouraging.

The first step is to listen. There will be a lot of unfamiliar words and ideas. Many of them are wonderful. There is a lot to learn.

Chi miigwech.