Keynote speakers learning with

Keynote Speakers


Isabel Altamirano-Jiménez

Isabel Altamirano-Jimenez. Photo

Professor Isabel Altamirano-Jiménez (University of Alberta, CA)

"Resource Extraction, Relationality and Resurgence: Towards a Body Land Pedagogy"

November 16, 2020

My presentation explores the nexus resource extraction, embodied experiences, and Indigenous resurgence. Focusing the anti-mining struggle of the Zapotec community of Calpulalpan in Oaxaca, Mexico, I examine how Indigenous women challenge and imagine the resurgence of Indigenous communal practices in transformational ways. Learning with Indigenous women, I outline a body land pedagogy that centers the ontological relationship between the human and non-human worlds but also the present, conscious, and engaged actions that uphold and maintain Indigenous relationality.

Watch Isabel Altamirano-Jiménez´s lecture here

Isabel Altamirano-Jiménez is Binizaá (Zapotec) from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mexico. She is a Professor of Political Science and Canada Research Chair in Comparative Indigenous Feminist Studies at the University of Alberta. Her CRC research program examines the connections among body, land, dispossession and Indigenous refusal in Western Canada and Southern Mexico. Her SSHRC project "Body, Land and Consent" documents how Indigenous women experience the impacts of resource extraction and explores how what happens to the land intersects with what happens to their bodies. She teaches Indigenous Political Thought and Decolonization, Indigenous Politics in Canada and Indigenous Feminisms. Among her books are: Living on the Land. Indigenous Women Understanding of Place (co-edited with Nathalie Kermoal); The Neoliberal State, Recognition and Indigenous Rights. New Paternalisms to New Beginnings (co-edited with Deirdre Howard-Wagner and Maria Bargh) and Indigenous Encounters with Neoliberalism. Place, Women and the Environment in Canada and Mexico.


Erin Soros

Erin Soros. Photo

Dr. Erin Soros (Cornell University, US)

"‘Kiwehtahiwew’: Coming Home, Transforming Carceral Care with Birdie"

April 21, 2021 (10am MST /18pm GMT+1)

Registration for the webinar with Dr. Erin Soros

Tracey Lindberg has stated that Birdie is a narrative teaching of Cree law. How does a novel teach law? And how do such teachings create possibilities for reclamation and redress? My method as I address these questions will weave together legal and ethical frameworks with a close literary examination of key turning points in the story. I will focus on how visionary states themselves communicate legal teachings and how these teachings challenge us to reconsider current settler practices of carceral psychiatric care within the province of British Columbia where Birdie is set.

The title character of the novel survives the settler psychiatric system, an encounter narrated in staccato lines: within the white walls of an institution, her language has itself neared its breaking point. In contrast to the treatment Birdie receives there, and the way her mental state would be understood, the novel portrays a very different possibility. Birdie’s visions are not pathology, but rather a form of testimony. She travels in her mind to a past she has survived—and to the past, present and future of her culture’s ancestral knowledge. While she initially makes this journey alone, by the end of the novel she has gathered her kin, both biological and chosen. These women tend to her. They offer their company, their food, their humour and their own stories. Through this circle of care, the novel presents decolonial possibilities for responding to people experiencing threshold mental states and it reveals how these states can lead in fact to transformation: collective redress through individual psychic journey.

A settler born in Vancouver, Erin Soros is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Society for Humanities at Cornell University and a writer of fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Her research has been published in The Canadian Journal of Women and the Law and differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies. An essay on madness in Indigenous Literature appeared in the anthology Literatures of Madness. Essays weaving narrative, philosophy and psychoanalysis have appeared in Writing Creative Non-Fiction and Women and the Psychosocial Construction of Madness, with new work forthcoming in The Futures of Neurodivergence. Her nonfiction has appeared in Room, The Malahat, Geist, Prism, The Puritan and The Fiddlehead, the latter essay a finalist for a National Magazine Award. She received The Malahat’s long poem prize, was a finalist for the CBC Literary Award for poetry and her long poem “Weight” was included in Best Canadian Poetry 2020. Her stories have appeared in international journals and were aired on the CBC and BBC as recipients of the CBC Literary Award and the Commonwealth Award for the Short Story.


Sherry Farrell-Racette

Sherry Farrell-Racette. Photo

Professor Sherry Farrell-Racette (University of Regina, CA)

“Let Me Tell You a Story: Lifting Children Up Through Indigenous Literature”

May 19, 2021 (10am MST /18pm GMT+1)

Registration for the webinar with Professor Sherry Farrell-Racette

This summer an entrepreneur 'lifted' an illustration from The Flower Beadwork, a children's book I wrote and illustrated. Within moments of posting on social media, they faced a wave of criticism from dozens of members who identified it as my work. They had all read the book. They had all read the book to children. The power of illustrated text on Indigenous readers—whether they be children, teachers or parents—continues to be a relatively undervalued phenomenon and one deserving of respectful consideration. Yet such power carries responsibility as we create a visual world for children to enter. This session will weave stories, personal narrative and initiate a conversation around pedagogy, ethics, and love when creating art for children and families.