Anishinaabe scholar Hayden King discusses reconciliation with York students

Hayden King. Photo by Maggie Quirt
Hayden King. Photo by Maggie Quirt

Students in MIST 1050: Introduction to Indigenous Thought, York’s introductory Native Studies course, recently had the chance to discuss reconciliation with visiting guest speaker, Professor Hayden King, director of the Centre for Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University.

An Anishinaabe scholar, writer, and educator from Gchi’mnissing (Beausoleil First Nation/Christian Island), King is a regular contributor to the CBC and the Globe and Mail on the subject of Indigenous self-determination, governance, and the political economy of reconciliation. His guest lecture, “Aboriginal Title Fight: Settler Colonialism and Indigenous Self-Determination in an Age of Reconciliation,” drew an audience of approximately 50 students and faculty from various programs across Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.

Focusing primarily on the “reconciliatory turn” in recent court decisions, King considered the ways in which legal discourse has opened up a space to discuss Indigenous-settler co-existence in a way that rejects the elimination of Indigenous peoples on the one hand, and the rejection of settler society on the other.

King observed that recent cases like the 2014 Tsilhqot’in decision have produced a measure of progress in terms of Indigenous self-determination. Some Indigenous groups are asserting greater control over their lands and resources; government ministries, such as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and private corporations increasingly respect this jurisdiction and in doing so recognize the primary importance accorded Aboriginal title.

Founders College hosted King’s talk and provided a reception in the Senior Common Room following the event, which took place on March 21. The talk was funded through the Office of the Vice Provost Academic as part of York University’s commitment to supporting Indigenous knowledge in the University curriculum and recognizing the work of Indigenous scholars.