York University has launched a new organized research unit (ORU) that is the first at the University to focus on Indigenous and decolonizing scholarship.
The Centre for Indigenous Knowledges and Languages (CIKL) is led by inaugural Director Deborah McGregor, an associate professor at York and the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Environmental Justice at Osgoode Hall Law School. The new ORU will host Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers and students engaged in these areas of scholarship, and aims to facilitate knowledge production and dissemination that re-centres Indigenous knowledges, languages, practices and ways of being. Moreover, CIKL will support research involving both traditional and contemporary knowledges, as care-taken, shared and created by Indigenous scholars at the University and from Indigenous knowledge holders in the community.
Cross-appointed between Osgoode Hall Law School and the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, McGregor is Anishinaabe from Whitefish River First Nation, Birch Island, Ont. She has an extensive research background focusing on Indigenous knowledge systems and their applications in water and environmental governance, environmental and climate justice, and sustainable self-determined futures.
McGregor notes that “the Centre for Indigenous Knowledges and Languages offers a generative space within and beyond York University to advance Indigenous scholarship, research theories, methodologies and practices that supports a keen understanding of the goals and aspirations of Indigenous Peoples. CIKL will foster collaborations and partnerships with Indigenous Peoples and others that create ethical space for dialogue on how research relationships can be envisioned, negotiated, practised in support of Indigenous futurities. Creating this ethical space in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples and our colleagues across the University also creates opportunities for critical dialogue, reflection and change to take place in addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges.”
Joining McGregor as a research leader is York University Professor Sean Hillier, who will become CIKL’s associate director. Hillier has recently been appointed a York Research Chair in Indigenous Health Policy & One Health. He is a queer Mi’kmaw scholar from the Qalipu First Nation, and an assistant professor at the School of Health Policy & Management. His collaborative research program spans themes of aging, living with HIV and other infectious diseases, and antimicrobial resistance, all with a focus on policy affecting health-care access for Indigenous Peoples in Canada.
“Having dedicated Indigenous research resources and space, as offered by the new CIKL, which is run by and for Indigenous Peoples on campus, is a critical first step,” says Hillier. “This centre will assist York in becoming a research-intensive institution and serves the principals of the Indigenous Framework and University Academic Plan.”
Amir Asif, York’s vice-president of research and innovation, says, “The establishment of CIKL creates a vital space for Indigenous researchers and all those engaged in decolonizing scholarship at York and beyond. The centre will play an important role in invigorating and disseminating groundbreaking, Indigenous-centred research taking place at and beyond York University.”
Stay tuned for upcoming events and initiatives at CIKL.