Past Program

Indigenous Literary Studies Association

4th Annual Gathering:

Sovereign Histories, Gathering Bones, Embodying Land

First Nations University of Canada

oskana kâ-asastêki, Treaty 4 Territory

May 28 – 30, 2018

as part of the

Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences

Gathering Diversities

University of Regina, May 26 – June 1, 2018


For its 4th annual gathering, and 2nd time at Congress, the Indigenous Literary Studies Association invites scholars, knowledge-keepers, writers, artists, and community members to explore the connections between sovereignty, gathering, and embodiment in Indigenous literatures, and how these function as carriers of memory and knowledge.


ILSA's theme is related to the Congress 2018 theme, “Gathering Diversities / Diversités convergentes / mâmawihitotân nanâtohk-ayisiyiniwak,” which reflects the history of the Regina area as a traditional place of gathering, evoked in the city's original place name, Wascana, or oskana kâ-asastêki, the place where the bones are gathered. This refers both to the region's heritage as rich buffalo hunting grounds for a multitude of Plains cultures, as well as the clearing of the plains in the colonization of the lands and peoples.


ILSA seeks to respond to this history with the theme of “Sovereign Histories, Gathering Bones, Embodying Land,” as we question how such sovereignties might be remembered, embodied, or gathered through Indigenous literary writings, readings, and practices.



Monday, May 28:

8:30 am               Welcome Words and Smudge                                                                     Prayer Tipi

9:00 am               Poster Sessions                                                                                                       Front Green

                           (Coffee and Snacks provided)                                                                  or Multipurpose Room


  • Sam McKegney: Embodying Joy: Masculinity in Motion

  • Tamara Hansen Read, Listen, Tell: Teaching Indigenous stories to imagine a better future and develop our praxis

  • Alexandra Bournelis: Acts of Remembrance and Reclamation in Simpson’s “For Asinykwe” and Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves

  • Catherine Andre: Community Responsibility to Kinship and the Land in the Cross-Communal Spaces of Drew. H. Taylor’s Motorcycles and Sweetgrass

  • Deanna Reder, Alix Shield, and Treena Chambers: Introduction to The People and the Text

  • Alba Topan: The Wisdom of the river and the Genipa Leaf – autobiographies of two Brazilian Indigenous Writers


10:30 am            CACLALS & ILSA Annual Indigenous Roundtable                       Room 4015


Sovereign Solidarities:

Autonomy and Accountability in BIPOC Alliances


       Co-hosts:  Sam McKegney and Daniel Heath Justice

       Featured Speakers:  

  • Warren Cariou

  • Daniel Heath Justice

  • Lucia Lorenzi

  • Smaro Kamboureli

  • Jamie Paris


Addressing the topic of Black/Indigenous/People-of-Colour (BIPOC) Alliances, as David Chariandy and Phanuel Antwi have argued, “the foundational and still profoundly visceral colonizing practices directed towards Indigenous peoples [in Canada] frequently intersect with the long legacies of anti-Black and also anti-Asian prejudice. As a result, many Black Canadian writers and critics have concertedly sought to understand and engage with Indigenous decolonization movements and coalitional anti-racist initiatives, while also confronting a white and multicultural elite occasionally prepared to entertain token gestures of ‘diversity’ but unwilling to attend critically to the cultural and political specificity of blackness.”


This year’s Indigenous Roundtable invites participants to reflect on the complexities of BIPOC experiences of settler colonialism on Turtle Island to consider how these experiences urge forms of solidarity while complicating the parameters of alliance. We ask participants to think about the, at times, conflicted relationship between alliance and accountability in decolonial and anti-racist struggles (and their artistic expressions). In particular, we invite participants to consider the ways in which literary works by Black, Indigenous, and People-of-Colour provide tools for imagining and enacting solidarities with genuinely decolonizing potential, while laying bare the ethical dimensions such solidarities demand.


We further ask how Indigenous Studies methodologies and practices can be mobilized to engage actively and ethically with other BIPOC alliances.  Can struggles for cultural empowerment and an end to white supremacy in Canada constitute affirmations of Indigenous sovereignty?  Can institutional efforts toward “Indigenization,” in an era of supposed “reconciliation,” be leveraged to attend to BIPOC exclusion and generate space for creative and critical endeavours?


As in years past, the roundtable will begin by affording each of the featured speakers five minutes or less to offer initial thoughts on the event’s theme before building into an open dialogue to which members of the audience are welcome to contribute.

12:00 pm           Lunch  (provided)                                                                                  Multipurpose Room


1:30 pm               Concurrent Sessions 1                                                                                                                                                              

       Panel 1 – Kinships                                                                                                                               Room 3304

  • Chair: Aubrey Hanson

  • Keavy Martin: Treating As Buffalo: Kinship Observances and Appropriations

  • Brenda Johnston: Land, Kinship and Metis Identity in “Ayekis” and “Lost” by Lisa Bird-Wilson



       Panel 2 – Writing Resistance                                                                                                      Room 3305

  • Chair: Sarah Henzi

  • Lindsey Bannister: Resisting Voices: Buffalo Child Long Lance and Mike Eagle Speaker’s Autobiography

  • Melanie Braith: We Are Here Now: Fictional Residential School Diaries as Vehicles for Resistance

  • Catherine Eve Groleau: Liminality and Resistant Bodies in Thomas King’s “Borders”



Panel 3 – Engaged Theatre and Performance                                                            Room 4015

  • Chair: Skyler Anderson

  • Smaro Kamboureli: Opera in the Arctic: Inside and Outside Modernity

  • Ken Wilson: Performance as a Gesture Towards Reconciliation or Settler Decolonization


3:30 pm               Coffee and Snacks                                                                                                  Room 4015

3:45 pm               Jo-Ann Episkenew Series:                                                                                Room 4015

Women’s Role of Keepers of the Water


       Indigenous Women and Water Governance in Canada: Traditional Roles and Current Policy

                  Morning Star Lodge Lab, Health Sciences North Research Institute

  • Carrie Bourassa

  • Elder Betty McKenna

  • Danette Starblanket

  • Marlin Legare


       Women’s Treaty Histories and the Creative Process of Making Treaty 4

  • Erin Goodpipe

  • Skyler Anderson

  • Pete Kytwayhat

  • Teddy Bison

  • Jesse Archibald-Barber


5:00 pm               Dinner Break  (on your own – food available across U of R campus)

7:00 pm               Buffy Sainte-Marie Performance                                           Riddell Theatre

Note: this is an open Congress Event; seating is limited, so come early!



Tuesday, May 29:

8:30 am               Morning Words and Smudge                                                      Multipurpose Room


                                    (Coffee and Snacks provided)

9:00 am               Keynote Talk by Sky Dancer Louise Halfe                       Multipurpose Room

  • “Spirits and Ghosts”

It is an absolute honour for ILSA to welcome Sky Dancer Louise Halfe as our keynote speaker for this year’s gathering!  First published in Writing the Circle: Native Women of Western Canada (1990), Halfe soon became one of Canada’s foremost Indigenous poets.  She has since published Bear Bones and Feathers (1994), Blue Marrow (2004), The Crooked Good (2007), and Burning in this Midnight Dream (2016) – all amazing contributions to our literature!  We look forward to Halfe’s insights to our gathering’s themes of Sovereign Histories, Gathering Bones, Embodying Land, which are themselves drawn from the vast literary landscapes of her works.

10:00 am       Concurrent Sessions 2

       Panel 4 – Désir, approaches pratiques et théoriques                                          Room 2002
                              APFUCC – ILSA joint panel 1  *This panel will be in French


  • Chair: Sarah Henzi

  • Marie-Ève Bradette. « Du désir à la désirance : Création d’un cadre conceptuel pour l’étude des littératures autochtones actuelles »

  • Pierre-Luc Landry. « “the future is already over, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have anywhere else to go” : amour décolonial queer et recherche-création dans This Wound is a World de Billy-Ray Belcourt »

  • Élise Couture-Grondin et Isabella Huberman. « Conversation sur le désir : Collaborations dans la littérature autochtone et la critique littéraire »


       Panel 5 – Conversations about Teaching and Sovereignty                              Room 2003

  • Chair: Bridget Keating

  • Allison Hargreaves: Teaching Rhetorical Sovereignty in the Composition Classroom

  • Shaina Humble: Beyond the Literary: The Everyday of Fieldwork as Literary Studies Method

  • Brenda Vellino: Grassroots Honouring Projects and Indigenous Women’s Right to Presence: Embodied and Territorial Sovereignty in the REDress Project


       Panel 6 – The People and the Text: Indigenous Writing                                    Room 4015

                                    in Northern North America until 1992

                                    ACCUTE – ILSA joint panel


  • Chair: Daniel Heath Justice

  • Margery Fee: What’s Wrong with (Conventional) Literary History

  • Deanna Reder: Indigenous Protocols for Literary Scholars: Being a Good Relative

  • Alix Shield: Capacity Building in the Digital Humanities

  • Treena Chambers: Open Access Annotated Bibliography: What’s Wrong with Categorization Systems?



12:00 pm           Renate Eigenbrod Mentorship Lunch                                 Multipurpose Room

  • This lunch is held in honour of ILSA founding member, Renate Eigenbrod. Established academics and writers will be paired with emerging scholars and writers to share lunch and advice.


1:30 pm               Concurrent Sessions 3

       Panel 7 – Sovereign Readings                                                                                                   Room 2002


  • Chair: Sarah Henzi

  • Noele Natália Rodrigues: Sovereignty in Metade Cara, Metade Máscara by Eliane Potiguara

  • Élise Couture-Grondin: Reading as Reciprocity: Protocols, Embodied Criticism and Literary Relationships

  • Rémi Labrecque: Louise Bernice Halfe, a Plains Spoken Poet


       Panel 8 – Reclaiming Histories                                                                                                 Room 2003


  • Chair: Svetlana Seibel

  • Susan Paterson Glover : “‘Your Humble Servt’: Sakachuwescum /Henry Budd’s Letters from The Pas”

  • Kaitlin Debicki: “‘Going Back on their Tracks’: Refusing Dispossession and Reclaiming Sovereignty Through Readings of Ohnehta’kowa”

  • Sarah Kent: “all my relations water walking right next to me”: Grounded Normativity and Constellations of Co-resistance in Flint


       Panel 9 – Decolonizing Indigenous Spirituality                                                         Room 4015

  • Chair: Lynn Wells

  • Kathy Absolon-King: “The Spirit of the Land: Honouring the Sacredness of Life Embodies Our Relationship to the Land and Creation”

  • Chantal Fiola: “Re-connection to Ceremony: Metis-Specific Methodology and Manitoba Metis Spirituality”

  • Brian Rice: “Walking the Path of the Peacemaker: A Rotinonshonni Methodology for Doing Indigenous Land Based Education”

  • Blair Stonechild: “Taking Another Look at the Significance of Indigenous Spirituality”


3:30 pm               Break (refreshments provided in the Atrium)

4:00 pm               kisiskâciwan – Book Launch                                                                       Atrium

ILSA invites the public to the book launch of kisiskâciwan: Indigenous Voices from where the River Flows Swiftly.  This ground-breaking anthology explores some of the richest and oldest stories from the lands now known as Saskatchewan, including voices from Cree, Saulteaux, Dakota, Lakota, Nakoda, Dene, and Métis nations.  Here, you will find speeches and letters by Treaty Chiefs, early writings from spiritual leaders, traditional stories from Elders, archival discoveries, and contemporary works in all genres.

Featured Readers include: Noel Starblanket, Louise Halfe, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Warren Cariou, Solomon Ratt, Bevann Fox, Gregory Scofield, Randy Lundy, Jesse Archibald-Barber, Brad Bellegarde, Shannon McNabb, Blair Stonechild, Carol Daniels, Merelda Fiddler, Joely BigEagle, Joseph Naytowhow, Priscilla Settee, Rita Bouvier, Janice Acoose, Mika LaFond, Tenille Campbell, Kim Soo Goodtrack, Floyd Favel, Thomas Roussin, Erroll Kinistino, Kevin Wesequate, Margaret Reynolds, Gloria Mehlmann


6:00 pm               Dinner Break   (O’Hanlon’s Recommended)

7:00 pm               Indigenous Voices Awards Gala,                                                                O’Hanlon’s
                                        Book Launches, and Readings


  • MC: Brad Bellegarde – InfoRed

  • Music: Thomas Roussin

     Indigenous Voices Awards Gala


       Please join us for the announcement of the inaugural Indigenous Voices Awards!


We would like to thank Penguin Random House for the generous $20,000 contribution toward hosting the Indigenous Voices Gala and enabling the IVAs recipients and jurors to share in today’s events.


The IVAs were established in 2017 to support and nurture the work of Emerging Indigenous writers in the lands claimed by Canada.  Funds for the awards were initially raised through a crowd-funded campaign begun by Robin Parker, who partnered with the Indigenous Literary Studies Association for the awards’ administration, supplemented by funds raised by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.  This grassroots initiative plus a generous donation by Pamela Dillon and others raised about $125,000.  ILSA is working with the Ontario Arts Foundation, a national association, to manage the funds.  To make a donation and receive a charitable receipt go to:


To honour the spirit of the campaign and the generosity of its initial 1,563 donors, the IVAs will be devoted in their inaugural year of 2017 to “Emerging” Indigenous writers, with several awards totaling $25,000.  Subsequent to the 2017 award competition, the IVAs will offer fewer awards.


  • Announcers: IVA Co-Chairs, Sam McKegney and Deanna Reder

  • IVA Judges: Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, Richard Van Camp, Shelagh Rogers, Gregory Scofield, Rodney Saint-Eloi, Virginia Pésémapéo Bordeleau, Jean Sioui


Book Launches, Readings, and Open Mic

ILSA also invites members to launch or promote their exciting new works!  Below are confirmed presenters.  If you would like to share your work, please feel free to sign up for the Open Mic! 


  • Greg Younging, Elements of Indigenous Style

  • Randy Lundy, Blackbird Song

  • Daniel Heath Justice, Why Indigenous Literature Matters

  • David Gaertner, Sôhkêyihta: The Poetry of Sky Dancer Louise Bernice Halfe

  • Allison Hargreaves, Violence Against Indigenous Women: Literature, Activism, Resistance

  • Group Readers for Sharon Proulx-Turner’s creole métisse of french canada, me


Wednesday, May 30:

8:30 am               Concurrent Sessions 4

                                    (Coffee and Snacks provided)

       Panel 10 – Gathering Stories, Gathering Pedagogies:                                          Room 2002

                               Sovereignty through Indigenous Literatures


  • Chairs: Presenters

  • Aubrey Hanson: Gathering “buckets full” with Julie Flett’s Wild Berries / pikaci-mînisa

  • Anna-Leah King: How do we transmit story outside the book?

  • Heather Phipps: êwako ôma paskawâci-mostos kâ-kistêyimiht / Honouring the Buffalo: Connecting to Indigenous history through storytelling

  • Erin Spring: The possibilities of using Piisim Finds Her Miskanow in post-secondary classrooms



       Panel 11 – “the language of a strange country”:                                                        Room 2003

                  Reading Injun and The Place of Scraps in Dialogue with Jordan Abel


  • Chair: Michelle Coupal

  • Guest: Jordan Abel

  • Alois Sieben, Injun’s Intervention into the Field of Distant Reading

  • Andrew Law: “The Remaining and the Remains:” Jordan Abel’s Use of Erasure Poetry to Transform Settler-Colonial “History” in The Place of Scraps

  • Madeleine Reddon: Jordan Abel's Bone Courts: Figures of Sovereignty in The Place of Scraps


       Panel 12 – Ethics of Reading                                                                                                       Room 4015

  • Chair: Svetlana Seibel

  • Jillian Baker: Ethics of Representation / Ethics and Representation: Incarcerated Indigenous Writers and the Public Gaze

  • Johannah Bird: Intimacy, Land, and Ethical Responsibility in Jeannette Armstrong’s Breath Tracks Desired

  • Sarah Henzi: Taking Time: The Ethics of Reading, and Translating, Sovereign Stories

  • Candace Brunette and Pauline Wakeham: Teaching Indigenous Literatures Across Disciplines and Across Cultures: A Conversation-In-Process


10:30 am            Intro to Powwow – Teddy Bison and Dancers                               Atrium

Intro to Powwow features live dance performances and showcases the spiritual, physical, and cultural benefits of powwow.  These presentations provide a contextual and historical framework for powwow.  Along with providing information about the development and organization of powwow, this event is an opportunity to discuss the significance and meaning behind the songs and dances, and describes the different elements of the specific regalia associated with each style of dance. (Hosted by the University of Regina as a Congress Cultural Connections event.)


12:00 pm           Lunch and Visiting       (Food venues available across U of R campus)


1:30 pm               Saskatchewan Medicinal Plants and                                            Medicine Room
                                    Languages Traditional Knowledge Residency


The Medicine Room features medicinal plants and languages learning circles carried out by First Nations Elders and other traditional knowledge keepers, as organized by the FNUniv Regina Cultural Committee.  Medicinal plants of the southern Saskatchewan prairie and their traditional uses will be presented and discussed.  (Hosted by the U of Regina as a Congress Cultural Activity.)


       Elders and Knowledge Keepers:

  • Harold Lavallee

  • Margaret Reynolds

  • Irene Young

  • Archie Weenie

  • Betty McKenna

  • Harry Francis


3:00 pm               Concurrent Sessions 5


     Panel 13 – ᒫᒪᐓᐦᑲᒫᑐᐏᐣ  mâmawohkamâtowin (working together): Learning, Speaking, Sharing and Writing in nêhiyawêwin (the Plains Cree language)                                                           Room 2002                     

  • Chair: Miriam McNab

  • Dorothy Thunder

  • Marilyn Dumont

  • Brittany Johnson

  • Mackenzie Ground

  • Angela Van Essen



       Panel 14 – Embodied Stories and Sovereign Belongings                                   Room 2003

  • Chair: Sam McKegney

  • Nancy Van Styvendale and two Cree men who are incarcerated: It’s the Wind, That Jokester! Placing Incarcerated Bodies Back on the Land through Literary Production

  • Warren Cariou: Terristory and Narratio Nullius: Theorizing Cultural Belonging in Indigenous Storying

  • Adar Charlton: Homemaking: An Activity-Based Connection to Land in Ruby Slipperjack’s Novels



Panel 15 – Indigenous Popular Culture                                                                           Room 2007

  • Chair: Jordan Abel

  • Jade McDougall: Embodied Connections and Zines by Indigenous Women

  • Svetlana Seibel: Mythological Reversal: Decolonizing with Superheroes and Supervillains

  • Rain Prud’homme-Cranford: Blood, Marrow, Memory: Kinshipping Survivance through Settler-Colonial Dystopian Destruction


5:00 pm               Closing Words and Smudge                                                                           Prayer Tipi




Note: there are two more APFUCC-ILSA panels on Tuesday, May 29


1:30-3:30 pm  APFUCC-ILSA joint panel #2                                      U of R  AdHum 309


Désir, territoire, et êtres autres qu’humains

  • Chair: Hélène Destrempes

  • Carmen Azzalini: Au-delà du corps fragile : terre de plaisir

  • Sylvie Bérard: “Toutes les filles dont je tombais amoureuse… avaient une tête de cheval”. Le bestiaire queer d’Obom

  • Hilary Walton: Le rapport entre la sexualité autochtone et la terre natale dans L’amant du lac de Virginia Pésémapéo Bordeleau


4:00-6:00 pm  APFUCC-ILSA joint panel #3                                      U of R  AdHum 309


Amour, désir et intimité

  • Chair: Joëlle Papillon

  • Marianne Bouchard: Jouissance du territoire : la sexualité pour retrouver le Nord dans N’entre pas dans mon âme avec tes chaussures de Natasha Kanapé Fontaine

  • Mélissa Major: Désir et décolonisation dans deux nouvelles d’Amun

  • Hélène Destrempes: Poétique de l’intime et de la civilité dans l’œuvre de Bernard Assiniwi