Dear Alumni and Friends,
Welcome to our summer 2016 newsletter! As you may have noticed, the Centre for Aboriginal Initiatives has been renamed the Centre for Indigenous Studies, which is home to the newly renamed undergraduate program in Indigenous Studies. When the program began in 1994, the general consensus among staff and faculty was to use “Aboriginal” as a way of referring to all Indigenous nations across Canada. Since this time, there has been a general shift towards the term “Indigenous,” and faculty and staff agreed that this was an appropriate time to make this change.
There has been a lot of exciting activity and news at the Centre recently, but before we get to that, I’d just like to mention a few things here. We said a sad farewell to Deborah McGregor, who has taken up a position at York University. We wish her the very best, thank her for all that she did to make the Centre thrive, and recognize how much she is will be missed. We also would like to thank Alana Johns, who served as Interim Director of the Centre for two years. Alana taught Inuktitut for many years. Many thanks to Alana for her work. She too is missed. Finally, Dawn Antone, who taught Oneida for several years, is moving on and we will miss her, as well.
In other news, we welcomed Rauna Kuokkanen back from her sabbatical, and are very pleased that she is teaching again. Alex McKay continues with his teaching and his efforts to sustain and strengthen the Anishinaabemowin language, and Cheryl Suzack continues to teach literature courses. We thank the many wonderful sessional instructors who joined us this past year, and wish them the best in their future endeavours. And we are pleased to welcome back Brenda Wastasecoot and Melanie Jeffrey for the 2016-17 academic year.
I would also like to thank Jennifer Murrin, the administrator for the Centre. Jennifer has been the steady presence at the Centre through times of great change. It is hard to imagine how it could have survived these past few years without her.
After several years of being only peripherally involved with the Centre, I am very pleased to be engaged with it again as Interim Director. I was the first director of Aboriginal Studies back when it began in the early 1990s and was deeply involved with it until about eight years ago. This year gave me the opportunity to see how much it has grown. With committees at the university responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations, we see increased attention to Indigenous issues, and the Centre is playing an active role in responding to them. We welcome your input with ideas of things that the Centre could do.
Please read the newsletter to get a glimpse of what has been happening in the Centre this year. If you have any feedback, please send it to Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you.
Centre for Indigenous Studies