Category: News (page 1 of 2)

Catching Up: Indigenous Studies Program, Events, and Journal

First, we’d like to sincerely apologize for the lack of activity on our website  – we had a server error which locked us out – but we are back now with lots of major updates:




The Indigenous Studies Minor Program was launched!

Read about it here:

Description of the Minor Program Here

Logo design by Marcy Maracle, member of the Indigenous Student Alliance

KANATA EVENTS – 2014-2015

We launched our 8th Volume on April 9th, 2015 and wish to thank everyone who came to the launch!


The Volume: 8

KANATA Executive Coordinators: Chris Gismondi & Caleb Holden

KANATA Executive Board 2014-2015: Ariane Carter, Mélanie Wittes, Ashley Vach, Marta Kolbuszewska, Jasmin Winter, Iain Childerhose, Rosie Hatton, Catherine Penney, and Jed Nabwangu

KANATA Editors-in-Chief: Caleb Holdern & Marta Kolbuszewska

KANATA Editors: Alexander Furneaux, Avelaine Freeman, Caroline Copeman, Casarina Hocebar, Emily Weatherbed, Evelyne To, Haya Rizvi, Jackie Cooper, Jacob Schweda, Jaky Kueper, Jennifer Yoon, Kate Harris, Kariane St-Denis, Mackenna Caughron, Michael Wrobel, Monica Allaby, Nicole Cerpnjak, Nina Patti, Varun Chandra, Vita Azaro

Guest Editorial: Dr. Allan Downey

Content Contributors: Marta Kolbuszewska, Stephani Willsey, Joanna Jordan, Jennifer Mueller, Robbie Madsen, Jasmin Winter, Sarah Swiderski, Chris Gismondi, Michael Klassen,  Sophie Beauregard, Aaron Blair, Cedar Eve-Peters, Joe Jaw Ashoona, , Ava Liu, David Searle, Mélanie Wittes, Clare Heggies, Jannika Nyberg, Émile Duschesne, Shariss Oster

Design Editor: Jay Rajpal

E-Version: KANATA Vol. 8 Winter 2015

News: Indigenous studies minor approved at McGill for Fall 2014


The McGill Tribune

Indigenous studies minor approved for Fall 2014

Long-awaited program passed by Senate seeks to provide interdisciplinary study of Indigenous issues

Natalie Wong

Students will be able to enroll in a new Indigenous Studies minor in the Faculty of Arts starting in Fall 2014, following the program’s approval by Senate last Wednesday.

The program, which has been the goal of ongoing initiatives by students and faculty for approximately 10 years, will be administered by the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (MISC).

According to MISC Director William Straw, groups such as KANATA and First Peoples’ House researched existing programs in other universities and courses in Indigenous studies already available at McGill. MISC then began to put together a proposal over the Summer and Fall of 2013.

“We were able to base our proposal on the incredible research the various student groups had done,” Straw said. “The dean of arts indicated that he supported the actual proposal coming from MISC.”

According to Arts Senator and KANATA Vice-President External Claire Stewart-Kanigan, McGill’s previous lack of an Indigenous Studies program set it behind most Canadian universities.

“It is a bit of a trend in Quebec that Indigenous issues don’t have as much currency as they do in the west,” she said. “I think this is a really important step in making sure that people from Quebec can study this.”

The minor concentration seeks to provide students with a diverse, interdisciplinary outlook on the social, cultural, and historical elements of Indigenous life in Canada, according to Senate documents.

“Core courses offered within the program will provide interdisciplinary treatments of Indigenous life,” the documents read. “The program of the course will focus on the history of Indigenous populations in Canada, Aboriginal art and culture, and legacies of Indigenous resistance to the Canadian state.”

According to Straw, the minor will consist of two new courses—an introductory course and an upper level seminar in Indigenous studies. Students fulfill the remaining 12 credits for the program through course options cross-listed from other programs such as English, history, anthropology, and sociology.

The university will hire two new professors for the core courses, with recruitment beginning in March or April.

The proposal required approval from the Subcommittee on Courses and Teaching Programs and the Academic Policy Committee, prior to Senate approval.

However, the new minor could still face challenges such as financial difficulties, according to Stewart-Kanigan.

“There were a lot of problems getting faculty support [and] finding a faculty that would house this new minor,” she said. “For the program to really flourish and become its own autonomous unit, you will need a department chair and that takes funding.”

Stewart-Kanigan said costs could be as high as $2-3 million.

Straw added that soliciting greater involvement with the community is an additional goal for those involved in creating the program.

“Another challenge will be finding ways to involve […] the community of students invested in Indigenous studies and local Indigenous communities themselves,” he said. “We want to set up an advisory structure that conforms to McGill’s governance structure while acknowledging that an Indigenous Studies program needs to involve communities in a way that other programs may not.”

Jacob Greenspon, vice-president academic of the Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS), said many arts students have shown enthusiasm for the new minor.

“Students have been really excited about this,” he said. “A lot of them did seem to think we had a program like this but now they’re finding out it’s offered […] I think a lot of people are really excited to go into this topic.”

original source:

EVENT UPDATE: Kanata Peer-to-Peer Conference Dates Confirmed! [Nov.27-28]

Big news today for Kanata enthusiasts! The dates for our annual peer-to-peer conference have been confirmed as Tuesday, November 27th and Wednesday, November 28th.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Connecting Community”, and our presenter list will reflect this. Presenters will include the ISA (Indigenous Student Alliance)FPH (First People’s House), the Aboriginal Law Association, and many more on and off-campus groups soon to be announced!

Further details will be released soon, so keep checking back for updates. Hope to see you all there!

KANATA thanks you for a great year!

Hello friends of KANATA,

Thank you to all who came out and celebrated KANATA’s Journal Launch on Wednesday April 11th. It was a great event to celebrate the hard work of the Editorial Team and the submissions of this volume’s contributors. We also are grateful to Demiel Pepin, Chelsea Vowel and Katsitsa Roxann Whitebear for sharing their creative song and word with us.

As you know, the Journal Launch was also a fundraiser for the Inter-Tribal Youth Centre and the Native Friendship Centre of Montreal, who are both in a funding crisis right now. More information about it can be found here. KANATA is thankful for the various local businesses and individuals who donated for the raffle fundraiser. We were successful in fundraising almost $300 for the centres. Thanks to all your support.

If you were not able to attend the journal launch, you are more than welcome to get your copy of our journal with a suggested donation of $8.00 at the First People’s House  on Peel. We also encourage you to continue to show your support for the NFCM and the ITYC by methods suggested on our website below.

KANATA will be back in full force next year. We will be continuing our Indigenous Studies Conference, continuing our partnerships on campus and in the community, and will be working on moving the Hochelaga rock. Over the summer, our postings will be less frequent. If you have any questions, comments or events to share contact us at:


Thanks to all our supporters and community members. It really was an amazing year,


KANATA Journal Launch: April 11th @ 6pm in the SSMU Breakout Room!

On Wednesday, April 11th from 6pm to 8pm KANATA is hosting its Volume 5 Journal Launch Celebration!

KANATA encourages you to come and show your support for our community and journal! Our journal launch serves to distribute and celebrate the publication but also to showcase other forms of knowledge transmission that could not be included in the pages of the academic journal. This includes storytelling, poetry readings, exhibiting artwork, musical performances and more. We thank and recognize contributors of the journal and we provide snacks and non-alcoholic refreshments. If you know anyone who would be interested in showcasing some form of art at our journal launch, please encourage them to contact KANATA at

This year’s journal launch is also unique in that it will also be a fundraiser for the Native Friendship Centre of Montreal and the Inter-tribal Youth Centre. The Inter-tribal Youth Centre just recently was forced to close due to a funding dispute. The Native Friendship Centre of Montreal is also threatened to close due to a lack of funding. Raffles and other fundraising activities will take place to support these integral centres for the urban indigenous community of Montreal. More information can be found here.

For more information about the launch, please contact KANATA at

Arctic Realities: Inuit Perspectives on Change

March 12 to 16, 2012

All events are free and open to the public.

In a fast pace changing world, in the Canadian arctic how are the people able to adapt to these rapid changes in regard to essential services; health; education; and social. How has previous government been able to adapt to the changes, and what is the current climate. The week will focus onInuit perspectives through the lenses of law, health, education, environment, and government.

For more information, please forward general inquiries to or (514) 398-3711.

=> Monday March 12, 2012

5:30 P.M. – 7:30 P.M.
Education Building, Room 129, 3700 rue McTavish

Udloriak Hanson is Special Advisor to Mary Simon, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. She is currently also ITK’s Acting Executive Director. She has significant experience representing Inuit interests with regard to policy development.

Ms. Hanson has negotiated tri-partite agreements between the Federal Government; the Government of Nunavut; and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., the territorial land claims organization. She has held senior positions at Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., including Chief Negotiator on the devolution file. Ms. Hanson was also Executive Director of Nunavut’s Qaujisaqtiit Society, the territory’s first consortium of Inuit non-profit organizations.

She was born and raised in Iqaluit, Nunavut, and has undergraduate degrees in business administration and education. She is a frequent guest speaker, nationally and internationally, on issues affecting Inuit across Canada. Ms. Hanson currently serves on the ArcticNet Board of Directors and on the Board of Directors for Tungasuvvingat Inuit in Ottawa.

Hosted by the Aboriginal Sustainability Project.

=> Tuesday March 13, 2012

5:30 P.M. – 7:30 P.M.
Thomas House Basement, 3650 rue McTavish

Inuit populations face similar health challenges as many of Canada’s indigenous groups — unacceptably high rates of both acute and chronic disease, including respiratory infections, diabetes, and suicide. Yet Inuit culture, as well as the climate and geography of the Arctic environment, add particular complexity to medical care and health promotion for this population.
Minnie Grey is one of the foremost Inuit leaders in the world – a champion for Inuit self-government, and community and economic development, and former Executive Director of the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services among many other prominent positions. In this session she will share her perspectives on the state of health among Inuit — including the realities of health care and social services, and the interplay of cultural, political and economic factors in determining health status and quality of life for Inuit people.” Minnie Grey, Chief Negotiator for Nunavik self-government Nasivvik

Hosted by McGill Aboriginal Health Interest Group.

=> Wednesday March 14, 2012

6:00 P.M. – 8:30 P.M.
Chancellor Day, Room 314, 3644 rue Peel

A film screening of the NFB documentary Qimmit: A Clash of Two Truths, which addresses allegations of an organized dog slaughter in Nunavut’s Baffin region as well as the changes experienced in the Arctic from the 1950s to the 1970s.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with Ole Gjerstad, co-director of the film, and with someone involved in the Qikiqtani Truth Commission, which explored this issue over several years and released its final report in 2010. We have also invited an Inuit Elder who has experienced firsthand the changes that have occurred in the Arctic over the last six decades.

Some light refreshments will be provided.

Hosted by the Aboriginal Law Students’ Association.

=> Thursday March 15, 2012

5:30 P.M. – 7:30 P.M.
Stewart Biology, Room S3/3, 1205 Docteur Penfield Ave.

Inuit living in the Arctic who want to attend post-secondary education most certainly have to leave home: there are few opportunities to pursue post-secondary education in the Arctic. The impetus for discussing the relationship between Montreal and the north is to deconstruct the many stereotypes and misconceptions regarding the Indigenous peoples of the Arctic that live, work, study, and visit Montreal. We will be hosting a panel discussion on what it actually means to be an Arctic northerner moving/living in Montreal in an effort to confront these stereotypes and validate individual experiences. Inuit students and staff from John Abbott College will be discussing their experiences in Montreal as people who have moved here from the Arctic.

Included in the panel will also be a presentation and introductory lesson about the language of Inuktituk provided by Inuktituk instructor, Jason Annahatak. Jason is from Kangirsuk, located in the Nunavik region of Quebec. He is fluent in Inuktitut and speaks it at every opportunity. He is currently an Inuktitut instructor to Inuit students at John Abbott college and Cegep Marie-Victorin. He also teaches introductory Inuktitut to the employees of Makivik Corporation.

Hosted by KANATA, Undergraduate Journal of the Indigenous Studies Community of McGill.

=> Friday March 16, 2012

4:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M.
Native Friendship Centre of Montreal, 2001 St. Laurent Blvd

Join us in celebrating the end of Arctic Realities with a fun filled evening at the Inter-Tribal Youth Center! The evening will showcase various Inuit activities; throat singing; demonstration of traditional Inuit games; and drumming.

KANATA will be hosting a bake sale and providing coffee and tea.

Hosted by the Inter-Tribal Youth Centre of Montreal.

“Crime and the Law: the Future of Justice in Canada” – Conference Calling for Art Submissions

On March 15th-16th, the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada will be hosting a conference, “Crime and the Law: The Future of Justice in Canada.” The conference will focus on crime, policing, and justice in Canada, and will be accompanied by an exhibition of student art. We will be accepting art submissions, in any medium, that relate in some way to the conference theme(s). If you are interested in submitting artworks, please email for more information. They will be accepting submissions until February 29th. Feel free to submit as many pieces as you like as long as they fit into the theme(s) of the conference; this is a wonderful opportunity to have your artwork seen!

SEDE’s 2012-2013 “Rethinking Community” Calendar Project Needs Submissions!

Call for submissions!

The McGill Social Equity and Diversity Education (SEDE) Office is now accepting submissions from McGill researchers, community groups and artists for the 2012-13 SEDE Calendar.

This year’s calendar will feature research by faculty and students at McGill, paired with community-building efforts of groups and organizations at McGill and beyond. In keeping with SEDE calendar projects over the past five years, the calendar will be illustrated with artwork from emerging and established McGill-affiliated artists.

The SEDE calendar is one way in which the McGill community celebrates and values social equity and diversity and contributes towards the development of strong collegial bonds and mutual respect among its members. This will mark the fifth year the SEDE calendar is published and distributed on the McGill campus, and they look forward to hearing from all those interested in being a part of the SEDE calendar in 2012-13.

Wondering if you’re eligible? How to send in art work? Visit for more information or email Jorge Espinosa at

Deadline for submissions in 27th January 2012

McGill Community Comes Together for an Attawapiskat Benefit Concert

The Aboriginal Sustainability Project invites all to attend and donate funds for the Red Cross relief effort for Attawapiskat. This event is taking place on Monday December 5th from 6-9pm in the SSMU Ballroom.

More details from the Aboriginal Sustainability Project’s facebook event page: 

Raising awareness of the housing issues that First Nations communities face, and to provide supplies for a community in need.The event is dedicated to Aboriginal people who share their stories, through song, music, poetry and storytelling

We have four wonderful performers:

• DJ Mad Eskimo,
• Joey Shaw,
• Demiel Pepin,
• Cod Sent Flute,

Sharing their stories :

• Michael Loft, Mohawk, McGill Professor
• Trudy Blumstein, Advisor of Indigenous Access McGill
• Elma Moses, Cree, McGill PhD Candidate
• Mary Shem, Cree, McGill Student
• Natasha Latter, Cree from Montreal Lake Cree Nation


Donate What You Can, Suggested Donation $5.00
100% of the proceeds will go to the Red Cross.

There are ways that you can help if you are unable to attend the concert. Until Friday, December 9th, the First Peoples’ House and SEDE will be accepting monetary donations.

Please feel free to collect donations from friends, family, and work colleagues.
The First Peoples’ House is located at 3505 rue Peel, and SEDE at 3610 Mctavish, Suite 12,
Office Hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm.

KANATA Conference Celebration ROOM CHANGE

Please note that KANATA’s Celebration Evening will be taking place in Room 5001 Brown Building, 3600 McTavish Street NOT SSMU cafeteria. Thank you for understanding.

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