Young Indigenous women leaders to share stories about resurgence, activism and decolonizing research

York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) will welcome youth leaders from the Young Indigenous Women’s Utopia project – Gabrielle Daniels and Kalan McKay, along with their mentor Jennifer Altenberg – who will be travelling from Treaty 6 and the traditional homelands of the Métis (a.k.a. Saskatoon) in March. Once at York University, they will share their knowledge and stories about resurgence, youth activism and decolonizing research with the University community. Over the course of their four-day stay, they will facilitate workshops with students to share their work and approach to Indigenizing research and challenging gender-based and colonial violence.

Young Indigenous Women’s Utopia
Young Indigenous Women’s Utopia

On March 2 the crew will visit FES Professor Sarah’s Flicker’s qualitative research methods class (ENVS 3010) and share their award winning “cellfilm” that imagines a world free of violence. They will be sharing how and why they decided to make the short film as part of the Networks for Change research project, funded by Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, which links Indigenous girls in Canada and South Africa who are fighting for change. They will also be doing a reading from their self-published book at the Lunch-time-Launch of the FES Eco-Arts and Media Festival later that day.

For another event as part of the Eco-Arts and Media Festival, the group will lead an open workshop on March 3 with students in Professor Lisa Myers’ Community Arts for Social Change class (ENVS 2122) exploring “Red Ribbon Skirts and Cultural Resurgence.” Participants will have a chance to learn the teachings of the ribbon skirts and sew their own mini-versions. Making and wearing red ribbon skirts is a way to celebrate and acknowledge survival, resilience and resistance to colonial and gender-based violence. This workshop will give students the opportunity to experiment with form, narrative and storytelling, and learn about the rich symbolism of this Indigenous cultural practice as a social change strategy.

The visit is funded in part by a grant Flicker and Myers received from the York University Indigeneity in Teaching and Learning Fund, and in part by the More Than Words research project.

Additional details on the Eco-Arts and Media Festival can be found on the festival’s website. A calendar of events hosted by FES can be found on the faculty’s website.