Powerful speakers coming to final FES, Indigenous group series

Marie Battiste (left) and James (Sákéj) Youngblood Henderson (below, right) are the two final speakers in the Sovereignty, Indigenous Knowledges and Environment Seminar Series, sponsored by York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies and the Indigenous Leadership Working Group. Powerful speakers, they will make their presentations on Thursday, April 15, in 306 Lumbers Building.

Henderson will speak from 12:30- to 2:30pm on “Postcolonial Indigenous Sensitivities: Ecological Sovereignty and Therapeutic Jurisprudence”; and Battiste will speak from 5:30 to 7pm on “Animating Sites of Decolonization: Indigenous Knowledge and Their Humanities”.

More about James (Sákéj) Youngblood Henderson

Henderson, who was born to the Bear Clan of the Chicksaw Nation and Cheyenne Tribe in Oklahoma, is research director of the Native Law Centre at the College of Law, University of Saskatchewan, and has been appointed by the government of Canada to the Experts Advisory Group on International Cultural Diversity. As a legal expert and key thinker on cultural policy, he will be providing advice on Canada’s approach to the international cultural diversity agenda, including the elaboration of a new International Instrument on Cultural Diversity (NIICD). The new convention will attempt to set a foundation for ground rules to enable Canada and other countries to maintain policies to promote cultural diversity while respecting the rules governing the international trading system and ensuring markets for cultural exports.

In 1974, Dr. Henderson received a Juris doctorate in law from Harvard Law School and became a law professor who created litigation strategies to restore Aboriginal culture, institutions and rights. During the constitutional process (1978-1993) in Canada, he served as a constitutional advisor for the Mikmaw nation and the NIB-Assembly of First Nations.

Henderson has written Aboriginal Tenure in the Constitution of Canada (Carswell 2000); and Protecting Indigenous Knowledge and Heritage (Saskatoon: Purich Press 2000) with Marie Battiste, which received a Saskatchewan Book Award that year. In addition, he has been working on “Treaty Rights in the Constitution of Canada”.

More about Marie Battiste

Battiste is a Mi’kmaq educator, professor in the College of Education at the University of Saskatchewan, and coordinator of the Indian and Northern Education Program within the university’s Department of Educational Foundation. Her historical research of Mi’kmaq literacy and education as a graduate student at Harvard University and later at Stanford University, where she received her doctorate degree in curriculum and teacher education, provided the foundation for her later writings in cognitive imperialism, linguistic and cultural integrity, and decolonization of Aboriginal education.

A recipient of two honorary degrees from St. Mary’s University and from her alma mater University of Maine at Farmington, she has worked actively with First Nations schools and communities as an administrator, teacher, consultant, and curriculum developer, advancing Aboriginal epistemology, languages, pedagogy, and research. Her research interests are in initiating institutional change in the decolonization of education, language and social justice policy and power, and postcolonial educational approaches that recognize and affirm the political and cultural diversity of Canada and the ethical protection and advancement of Indigenous knowledge.

A technical expert to the United Nations, she has most recently written Protecting Indigenous Knowledge and Heritage (Saskatoon: Purich Press 2000) with James (Sákéj) Youngblood Henderson; edited the collection Reclaiming Indigenous Voice and Vision (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2000); and was senior editor with Jean Barman for First Nations Education in Canada: The Circle Unfolds (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1995). She has published widely, presented internationally, and is an active researcher and contributor to many Indigenous community projects.

For more information about this seminar series, contact Dianne Zecchino at diannez@yorku.ca.