Lecture: Decolonizing Education and Affirming Mi'kmaw Rights, October 2

World-renowned Indigenous scholars present keynote talk at UPEI
Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Leading Indigenous scholars Dr. Marie Battiste and Dr. James Youngblood (Sa’ke’j) Henderson will each present a keynote talk at the University of Prince Edward Island on Monday, October 2, beginning at 6:30 pm in the Alex H. MacKinnon Auditorium, Room 242, Don and Marion McDougall Hall. The lecture is open to the public as well as a component of the new Indigenous Philosophies course being offered at UPEI.

In her talk, “Decolonizing Education: Indigenizing the Academy,” Dr. Battiste will speak about the importance of decolonizing teaching practices and curriculum in schools and universities, and what it involves. Describing Mi’kmaw consciousness, language and worldview, she will explore what it means to respect Indigenous knowledge, and why this is a pressing ethical obligation for Canadian educational institutions at every level.

Dr. Battiste has done award-winning work in Mi’kmaw cultural revitalization and in decolonizing and indigenizing educational institutions at all levels, elementary to post-secondary, for the past 40 years. From the Potlotek First Nation in Nova Scotia, she is a professor of education at the University of Saskatchewan.

Dr. Henderson’s talk, “Affirming Mi’kmaw Treaty, Human Rights and Humanity,” will explore what was involved—and what was compromised—in the drafting and passage of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He will answer the question of what is involved in respecting the humanity and basic human rights of Indigenous peoples, and why it remains problematic for nation-states today, including Canada.

An award-winning legal scholar from the Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma, who has served as constitutional advisor for the Mi’kmaw nation and the Assembly of First Nations, Dr. Henderson helped develop the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He is a Research Fellow of the Native Law Centre of Canada at the University of Saskatchewan.

Battiste and Henderson have collaborated on two books, Protecting Indigenous Knowledge and Heritage: A Global Challenge (Purich Press, 2000) and Decolonizing Education: Nourishing the Learning Spirit (Purich Press, 2013).

The lecture is sponsored by the Office of the Vice-President Academic and Research, the Faculty of Arts, and the Faculty of Education at UPEI. Parking and admission is free. Everyone is welcome! For further information, please email Pamela Courtenay-Hall at pcourtenay@upei.ca or David Varis at dvaris@upei.ca.

Dr. Marie Battiste is a Mi'kmaw educator and professor in the Department of Educational Foundations at the University of Saskatchewan. With graduate degrees from Harvard and Stanford, and four honorary degrees, she is a senior Indigenous scholar in Canada, whose work in advancing Indigenous knowledge and pedagogies, decolonization, and indigenizing the academy has opened new areas of research and inquiry. She is an elected member of the Royal Society of Canada, a Canadian organization of over 2000 Canadian scholars, artists, and scientists, peer-elected as the best in their field. She is a recipient of the Distinguished Academic Award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers, the Distinguished Researcher Award at the University of Saskatchewan, and an INDSPIRE Award for her contributions in education. She has published widely, including her most recent book Visioning Mi’kmaw Humanities: Indigenizing the Academy (CBU Press, 2017).

Dr. James Youngblood (Sa’ke’j) Henderson is a Research Fellow of the Native Law Centre of Canada at the College of Law, University of Saskatchewan. He served as a constitutional advisor for the Mi’kmaw nation and the Assembly of First Nations (1978-1993), was one of the strategists that created Indigenous diplomacy and the existing UN Declarations, and is the author of several award-winning books. He was elected a fellow of the Native American Academy (1985), received the Indigenous Peoples’ Council Award (2005) and the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Law and Justice (2006), was conferred an honorary Doctorate of Laws from Carleton University (2007), and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (2013).

About the University of Prince Edward Island

The University of Prince Edward Island prides itself on people, excellence, and impact and is committed to assisting students reach their full potential in both the classroom and community. With roots stemming from two founding institutions—Prince of Wales College and St. Dunstan’s University—UPEI has a reputation for academic excellence, research innovation, and creating positive impacts locally, nationally, and internationally. UPEI is the only degree granting institution in the province and is proud to be a key contributor to the growth and prosperity of Prince Edward Island.  UPEI is located on the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People.


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