Native Studies is a community of scholars in pursuit of knowledge. We recognize that students and teachers can learn from each other, and we also accept our responsibility as teachers to guide that process. Our dialogues and debates allow us all to deepen our ideas, to sharpen our views, to hone our skills. We engage in conversations in a manner that is respectful of all participants. Whatever your views, whether you are Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal, you have a contribution to make and we invite you to join our circle.
Dr. Renate Eigenbrod has long been committed to an education that works toward social justice and decolonization. In her area of expertise, Aboriginal literatures in Canada, which represents in literary ways a whole range of experiences of Aboriginal peoples, she found out through students’ responses to the literature about the need for better education about the colonial history of this country and its legacy and also came to understand literature as an important field in the human rights education in the Department of Native Studies as it speaks to the humanity of people who have been de-humanized by the ideology of colonialism. Further, recognizing Aboriginal epistemologies and intellectual traditions as an important part of post-secondary education and understanding the significance of Aboriginal scholars as carriers of that knowledge and as important role models, she has been trying to - and continues to do so - create more space for Aboriginal scholars in the academe.
In the last two years she added a course on Residential School Literature to her research on the role of literature in redress and reconciliation discourses thus addressing a very specific aspect of colonial violations of human rights that had a cataclysmic impact on Aboriginal peoples.
Renate Eigenbrod has been doing outreach work with the Winnipeg School Division. Knowing about the importance of literature as one of the educational tools to make society aware of human rights violation through colonization and, at the same time, to offer ways toward change, she has been giving several workshops on the integration of Aboriginal literature into the high school curriculum.As a member of the Manitoba Aboriginal Justice and Equality Coalition (MAJEC) she connected with grassroots people who were especially concerned about racialized policing, a clear violation of human rights. As Research Associate for the Institute for the Humanities she worked on papers which brought together her experience with social activism in India (in particular in relation to tribal peoples) and her understanding of the Canadian society; the theme of reconciliation was a focal point. As Acting Director of the Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture she invited Aboriginal authors not only for visits to the UofM campus but also to a school on a reserve community as the many challenges faced by Aboriginal youth and the high rate of suicides needs to be addressed.
Tasha Hubbard is a Saskatchewan Cree filmmaker whose 2005 Gemini-award-winning documentary Two Worlds Colliding brought to light the Saskatoon police’s notorious starlight rides.
She was a sessional lecturer at First Nations University of Canada from 1995-1997 and then turned to casting and documentary filmmaking. Her film projects have been screened at festivals across North America and broadcast on CBC and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.
Her film and academic work focuses on Indigeneity, including themes of social justice, transformation through art, representations of the Buffalo, and the importance of “belief” in approaching Indigenous literatures.
Oral tradition says the buffalo chose to leave the Prairies because of the destruction brought by colonization, but will someday return. Just as the number of buffalo has increased in recent years, so has Indigenous peoples' creative expression grown across North America. Hubbard's University of Calgary dissertation explores themes of abundance, appropriation, loss, confinement, renewal and return.
In Native Studies, human rights and social justice issues are different from, yet also linked to Aboriginal rights as can be seen in Dr. Peter Kulchyski’s work. Peter Kulchyski's whole career is dedicated to the advancement of Aboriginal and treaty rights. He has published a collection of court cases on Aboriginal rights (Unjust Relations), his co-authored book Tammarniit won a prize for human rights and his award winning Like the Sound of a Drum is a defense of Dene and Inuit rights. He teaches issues pertaining to land claims and self-government in his undergraduate courses 'Native Politics and Communities' and 'Native Law', and makes frequent media appearances on issues related to resource use conflicts and Aboriginal rights especially in northern Canada.
Dr. Kulchyski is on the board of the hemispheric institute for performance and politics, which is strongly dedicated to human rights issues through the arts. Dr. Kulchyski is a founding member of the Friends of Grassy Narrows/Winnipeg Indigenous Solidarity Network and the Defenders of the Land, both Aboriginal rights community activist groups. Peter Kulchyski has also been president of the board of New Directions, which is a non-profit child and family services agency in Winnipeg.
Dr. LaRocque is a scholar, human rights advocate, poet, author and social and literary critic. A Plains Cree Métis from northeastern Alberta, she has been published more than sixty times, including the groundbreaking 1975 work Defeathering the Indian. Most recently, LaRocque published When the Other is Me, a powerful interdisciplinary study of the Native literary response to racist writing in the Canadian historical and literary record from 1850 to 1990 that recently won a Manitoba Book Award.
LaRocque teaches, researches and writes about colonization and how it impacts native/white relations, with a focus on cultural productions and representation. LaRocque’s work examines colonial interference and Aboriginal resistance strategies the areas of literature, historiography, representation, identity, gender roles, industrial encroachment on Aboriginal (Indian and Métis) lands and resources, and governance.
LaRocque was awarded the 2005 Aboriginal Achievement Award, was nominated for the University of Manitoba Distinguished Dissertation Award in 1999 and has been singled out three times as a “Popular Prof” in Maclean’s magazine’s Guide to Universities & Colleges
LaRocque is one of the most recognized and respected Native Studies scholars today. Her prolific career includes numerous scholarly and popular articles on images of "Indians" in the media and marketplace, Canadian historiography, Native literature, education, racism, and violence against women. Her poetry has appeared in national and international journals and anthologies.
Dr. Shore specializes in Métis history and political issues of the Iniut, First Nations and Métis people. He is executive director of the Office of University Accessiblity, after many years as an advocate for Aboriginal concerns on campus. He has also served as department head and graduate program director for Native Studies. He makes many presentations to community organizations, schools, and government.
Dr. Shore was born and raised in Montreal and spent most of his early years in Quebec, where he taught grade and high school. He moved to Manitoba with his family in 1977, where he worked for the Manitoba Métis Federation as senior housing development officer and later as employment development director. He was also elected to serve for one term on the federation's board in 1980.
Since 1980, Dr. Shore has been a student and teacher at the universities of Saskatchewan, Brandon and Manitoba. He graduated with a BA from Brandon University in 1982, an MA in history in 1983 from the University of Manitoba; and a PhD in history in 1991 from U of M. He joined the Native Studies department at the U of M in 1984.
Dr. Shore has been awarded the U of M Outreach Award, the Olive Beatrice Stanton Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the Dr. and Mrs. Sanderson Award for Excellence in Teaching 2005.
He is working with Dr. Warren Cariou on an anthology entitled Manitowapow: Aboriginal Writings from the Land of Water – a collection of writing by Manitoba Aboriginal peoples over the past three hundred years. In his view, the perception that Indigenous cultures were exclusively "oral" is a myth and a stereotype. Indigenous traditions have always utilized writing as a primary means of expression.
Sinclair is also preparing his dissertation project on Anishinaabeg narrative tradition and theory, as well as another collection of academic essays and stories entitled Centering Anishinaabeg Studies: Un-derstanding the World Through Stories, under review with Michigan State University Press and co-edited with colleagues Jill Doerfler (U of Minnesota – Duluth) and Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark (U of Victoria).
Sinclair is originally from St. Peter’s (Little Peguis) First Nation. His essays and short stories have been widely published. In 2009, he co-edited, with Native studies head Renate Eigenbrod, a double-issue of The Canadian Journal of Native Studies focusing on responsible, ethical and Indigenous-centred literary criticisms of Indigenous literatures.
Dr. Wuttanee (Cree, Red Pheasant First Nation, Sask.) researches Aboriginal economy, community economic development, participatory research methodologies, governance, social responsibilty and leadership. She is also director of the Aboriginal business education program, where her work examines the strength of the community and the gifts Aboriginal people bring to the business table.
Dr. Wuttanee is interested in the role of tradition, culture and gender in the decision-making process used by communities in developing and implementing their economic development strategies. Her work in the community includes board positions and committee work around issues of education, business and culture. She participated in the 2003 Commonwealth Study Conference in Australia for future leaders entitled People First in a Global Community. Her exploration of a community-based perspective of economic resilience is outlined in her recent book Living RhythmsL: Lessons in Aboriginal Economic Resilience and Vision.
Dr. Wuttanee's current research projects include sitting as co-chair of the financing node for the linking, leveraging learning social responsibility project, and as advisory committee member for the Urban Aboriginal Economic Development Network and for the Assembly of First Nations end First Nations poverty committee.