The following is a list of activities and initiatives taking place during the Year of Indigenous Action.
Opportunities and supports for Indigenous students
Emma Hassencahl-Perley serves as the University’s Indigenous affairs co-ordinator.
Chris Metallic Prize in Indigenous Leadership
Named in honour of former Mount Allison student Chris Metallic, this prize recognizes the student who makes the greatest contribution to the indigenization of campus.
Mount Allison will continue to intensify activities aimed at recruiting more Indigenous students to study here. This will primarily focus on New Brunswick and the Maritime region.
Indigenous Support Group
The Indigenous Support Group is a forum for Indigenous students and allies to share their experiences and discuss concerns about Indigenous issues on campus. The group meets regularly during the year.
Indigenous Mentorship Program
The Indigenous Mentorship Program pairs upper-year Indigenous students or allies with first-year students to offer support during their transition from high school to university. Mentors welcome new students into the Mount Allison community and ensure they know how and where to access available supports and resources on campus.
Indigenization of the curriculum
Professional development and connections
Mount Allison has introduced cultural awareness training and professional development related to Indigenous culture and traditions. Faculty have also engaged in understanding the needs of Indigenous learners and approaches to assessing their learning and connections have been made with local communities including Fort Folly.
The Indigenous affairs co-ordinator is an active member of the Association of Atlantic Universities' subcommittee on Aboriginal Education and maintains regular contact with the Indigenous education advisors in the school districts. Mount Allison also participated in the third annual building reconciliation conference held in Winnipeg.
Indigenization Resource Guide
Part of the R.P. Bell Library's Teaching and Learning Subject Guide, the Indigenization Resource Guide provides links to many useful resources for faculty.
The Blanket Exercise is an interactive activity where participants gain an introduction to Indigenous issues in Canada by tracing of the historical relationship between Europeans and Indigenous peoples in Canada. Approximately 300 students who are taking the introduction to sociology course will participate in the exercise and prepare a reflection assignment to facilitate greater awareness of Indigenous issues.
Course — Social Research: Decolonizing Methodologies
This sociology field course explores the impact settler colonialism continues to have on Indigenous peoples, with a specific focus on Mi'kmaq, Passamaquoddy, and Wolastogey nations. The class will spend several days in the field under the supervision of Wabanaki ceremonial elders. Chris T. George of Ugpi’ganjig (Eel River Bar) will co-teach and help students understand the critical importance of the land, Indigenous languages, ceremony, and cultural traditions.
Course — Colonialism, Racism, and Indigeneity in Canada
This sociology course explores the position of Indigenous people in Canadian society by focusing on the social dimensions of race, ethnicity, and aboriginality. The course also considers the extent to which racism, patriarchy, capitalism, power, privilege, and access to resources contribute to the marginalization of Indigenous peoples and focuses particularly on socially constructed relationships that emphasize and perpetuate social inequality and stratification.
Course — Introduction to Indigenous Studies
Offered in the winter term, this course introduces key topics in Indigenous history, culture, and social, political, and environmental concerns. It consists of three four-week modules in history, Canadian studies, and geography and environmental studies. One class each week will incorporate an experiential component.
This course explores Indigenous Canada from an interdisciplinary perspective. Topics include: Indigenous history in Canada, the development of Indigenous arts and culture in Canada, Indigenous philosophy and ethics, and the politics of self-government among various Indigenous communities.
Additional courses with Indigenous content include:
- Canadian Studies senior seminar — a multidisciplinary look at Indigenous Canada (Idle No More movement; the resistance at Kahnesatake; Indigenous perspectives of Canada's 150)
- Introduction to Canadian Literature — Indigenous works (novels, poetry, plays) are always part of the required reading
- Anthropological Perspectives on Development — looking at development issues at the global and local levels, with emphasis on gender and Indigenous peoples
- Indigenous Knowledge Systems: Theoretical and Methodological Issues — explores the systems of knowledge of Indigenous peoples throughout the world
- Arctic Ethnography — a survey course examining the diversity of the circumpolar regions: Siberia, Alaska, Greenland, Scandinavia, and the Canadian North
- Gender in Canada — an interdisciplinary course exploring how gender experience in Canada has been shaped by various factors
- Environment and Development — analyzing current thinking on the relationship between environment and development
- Gender, Race, and Environmental Movements — examines the ways in which environmental inequalities reproduce gendered and racial inequalities
- The Expansion of Europe Abroad — focuses on the expansion of Europe after the 15th century and the impact of that expansion on both Native peoples and on European civilization
- Introduction to Music in Canada — surveys music in Canada from the beginning of the 17th century to the present from historical and social perspectives
- Contemporary Canada: an Introduction — key focus is on Canada as a colonial society, truth and reconciliation, and the link between Indigeneity and ecological issues
- Cultural Diversity in Canada — studying plurality and diversity in Canada, including a consideration of the place of Indigenous peoples in Canada
Indigenous Gathering Space – Mawita’mkw (a place where we can gather)
Located centrally in the Wallace McCain Student Centre (Room 130), this designated space, which opened in September 2016, will continue to serve as a learning and gathering space for Indigenous students and community members. The space has been furnished with a donation of Aboriginal art and an Indigenous book collection.
Elder Gilbert Sewell, from Pabineau First Nation in New Brunswick, will continue his work as Mount Allison’s first elder-in-residence. Based in the Indigenous Gathering Space, Sewell will be available to meet with students, faculty, and community members and will take part in Indigenous initiatives on campus through the year.
President’s Speakers Series
This year we will bring a number of noted guests to campus, including Dr. Niigaan Sinclair, assistant professor at the University of Manitoba and a regular commentator on Indigenous affairs; Ian Campeau, founding member of A Tribe Called Red; Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde; Roberta Jamieson, President and CEO of Indspire; and Naiomi Metallic, Chancellor’s Chair in Aboriginal Law and Policy at Dalhousie University’s Schulich School of Law. We are honoured to have these prominent Indigenous Canadians at Mount Allison. Full details can be found at mta.ca/pss
Indigenous Advisory Circle
The University has established an Indigenous Advisory Circle, made up of University and Indigenous community representatives, to provide guidance on institutional initiatives.
Ceremonies and flag raising
Smudging ceremonies have been introduced in residences and an Indigenous land acknowledgement is read at the beginning of key University events. The Oct. 1 Treaty Day is also recognized on campus by raising the Mi'kmaq flag. Plans are currently underway to permanently fly the Mi'kmaq flag on campus.
The final Mansbridge Summit will focus on Indigenous Action — addressing how members of the Mount Allison community can best contribute to processes of enacting change with Indigenous peoples. During a day of collaborative group engagement in activities and discussions that embody Indigenous ways of knowing, being, and doing, participants will work to address these issues in a supportive, welcoming environment.
Aboriginal storytelling carpet
The R. P. Bell Library has installed an Aboriginal storytelling carpet on the main floor of the library. The carpet depicts symbols that are important to various First Nations in Canada. A copy of the guide to the symbols is available on an adjacent bookshelf and at the service desks. One of the first to use the new carpet was a group of preschoolers who visited the library and read a Mi'kmaw story there.