Bâtir des liens : Mobiliser les histoires autochtones pour le changement social – Building Connections: Mobilizing Indigenous Histories for Social Change

Co-Applicants: Stanley, T., & Ng-A-Fook, N., & Lemay, D.

Duration: 2020-2021

Funding: Social Science and Humanities Research Council Connection Grant

Announcement: https://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/results-resultats/recipients-recipiendaires/2020/connection_connexion-eng.aspx

Bâtir des liens : Mobiliser les histoires autochtones pour le changement social | Building Connections: Mobilizing Indigenous Histories for Social Change is a two-and-one-half-day symposium exploring promising practices to support the efforts of Indigenous communities to collect, preserve and mobilize their oral and written histories, and to advance the efforts of both Indigenous and settler K-12 schools and post-secondary institutions to incorporate these histories into their history education programs. The Institute of Indigenous Research and Studies (IIRS) and the Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa, are organizing the symposium in collaboration with the Histoire au Canada: Perspectives des Premiers Peuples project, initiated by the C gep de l’Outaouais, the Kiuna Institute, the Kitigan Zibi First Nation Cultural Education Centre, the Avataq Cultural Institute and La Bo te Rouge VIF.

Challenges or Issues Addressed by Project: Most historical research and teaching reflects the ideas and interpretations of the dominant society and does not connect to the lives of many young people. However, historical understanding can be transformational when it is linked directly to people’s lives and those of their communities. In this respect, as part of their processes of revitalization, many Indigenous communities have developed their own history and memory projects including building keeping houses and creating mapping projects, while other communities are just beginning this work. Equally, some settler educational institutions have sophisticated understandings of how to respectfully engage with these histories, while others are only beginning to consider how to engage at all. This conference is intended to mobilize the knowledge and experience of both Indigenous communities and settler institutions so as to identify promising practices for the development of transformational approaches to Indigenous histories and history education.

Potential Contributions to Research: Through a knowledge synthesis of promising practices, the symposium will further respectful engagement with Indigenous research methodologies, oral histories, digital archiving and curricular co-development. The symposium will feature approximately 120 participants, including international keynote speakers on Indigenous research methods (Shawn Wilson from Southern Cross University in Australia) and social memory technology projects (Karen Worcman, Museum of the Person, Brazil), an Elders’ panel on ceremony and memory practices, workshops delivered by experts drawn from Indigenous communities with developed memory projects and history education programs, as well as Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars from post-secondary institutions who specialize in oral histories, historical thinking/education and curriculum development. The key audiences for the symposium are Indigenous community members, teachers and students, as well as historians, history educators and students drawn from post-secondary institutions. Participants will have the opportunity to workshop key ideas and challenges. The conference will also be webcast. An on-line knowledge synthesis of the promising practices identified through the symposium will be hosted by uOttawa and the Histoire au Canada project.

Wider Potential Benefits: The symposium will enhance the revitalization of Indigenous communities and facilitate broader projects of reconciliation and decolonization. This conference has the potential to help strengthen the cultural resurgence that is taking place in many Indigenous communities by supporting these communities in taking control over their own histories. At the same time, it promises respectful and collaborative strategies for promoting broader understanding.

*This project is supported by Social Science and Humanities Research Council Connection Grant with Stanley, T., & Ng-A-Fook, N., & Lemay, D. as co-applicants.