Join us this October for our Inaugural Gathering at Six Nations!

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We invite scholars, knowledge-keepers, artists, and community members to join us in generating new conversations about Indigenous literary arts and community engagement. Imagining literary creativity expansively, we welcome discussions of literature, film, theatre, storytelling, song, hip hop, and other forms of narrative expression.

Our inaugural gathering seeks to move beyond academic lip-service regarding “community consultation,” which too often replicates colonial power structures, and instead to build relationships among educational institutions and Indigenous groups based on reciprocity and respect. In so doing, we seek to foster collaborative discussions among creators, teachers, scholars, and readers of Indigenous literatures to better understand how research can become more accountable to the interests, concerns, and intellectual pursuits of Indigenous communities.

This gathering is conceived as a forum for discussion in this spirit and an occasion for celebrating the work of both established and emerging Indigenous narrative artists.

  • Confirmed keynote speakers include Jeannette Armstrong, Joseph Boyden, and Daniel David Moses.

For more information, see the Preliminary Program and Accommodation pages

Preliminary Program

ILSA's Inaugural Gathering

Arts of Community

Six Nations, Oct. 1 - 3

Gathering Locations:

  • Six Nations Polytechnic: 2160 4th Line, Ohsweken, ON
  • Chiefswood National Historic Site (E. Pauline Johnson Residence), 1037 Highway 54, Ohsweken, ON 
  • Mohawk Institute Residential School Building, Woodland Cultural Centre, 184 Mohawk St., Brandford, ON


Thursday, October 1st


Location: Six Nations Polytechnic - Grand River Room

5:00 - 6:30 pm     Welcoming Reception


Keynote Address

7:00 - 8:00 pm     Daniel David Moses  -  A Ride Like Miss Johnson's 'Wild Cat'

Introduced by Sam McKegney


8:15 pm                 Iroquoian Social



Friday, October 2nd


Location: Six Nations Polytechnic - Grand River Room

8:00 - 8:45 am     Registration


8:45 - 9:10 am      Opening Address and Words of Welcome

Rick Monture


9:10 - 9:20 am      Daniel Heath Justice  -  Clearing Our Own Path: The Road to ILSA


Concurrent Morning Sessions - Six Nations Polytechnic

9:30 - 11:00 am     Session 1 - Grand River Room

Haudenosaunee Material and Embodied Culture

  • Chair: Rick Monture
  • Kaitlin Debicki, "Okwire'shon:'a the First Storytellers: Reading the Land & Recovering Kenten:ron with the Earth"
  • Jennifer Loft, "Kaha:wi Means 'To Carry': Indigenous Dance Performance as Remembrance and Cultural Continuity"
  • Leticia McNaughton, "Tetewatskà:hons ne Sewatokwà:tshera (We Eat From the 'Dish with One Spoon') Revitalizing Haudenosaunee Food Traditions through Mohawk Language in the Greater Buffalo Native Community"


9:30 - 11:00 am     Session 2 - Classroom 1

Theorizing Position Comparatively

  • Chair: Aubrey Hanson
  • Hartmut Lutz, "Not 'Cogito, ergo sum' but 'Sumus, ergo sum': What European Academics need to learn from Aboriginal Knowledges"
  • Theresa McCarthy, "'Outside the Circle': Evictions, expectations, and not being the Iroquois you had in mind, in conversation with Audra Simpson's Mohawk Interruptus"
  • Pauline Wakeham, "Re-thinking Comparative Indigenous Studies in the Wake of Native Literary Nationalism"


11:00 - 11:15 am     Coffee Break - Grand River Room


Keynote Address  -  Grand River Room

11:15 - 12:15 pm     Jeannette Armstrong  -  Story: Creating Community

Introduced by Warren Cariou


Lunch and Book Launch - Grand River Room

12:15 - 1:30 pm     Lunch and New Books


Concurrent Early Afternoon Sessions - Six Nations Polytechnic

1:30 - 3:00 pm      Session 3 - Grand River Room

Pauline Johnson and Haudenosaunee Traditions

  • Chair: Niigaanwewidam Sinclair
  • Aiyyana Maracle, "Poetics, Politics, and Pauline"
  • Sasha Kovacs, "Renegotiating the 'most difficult thing in the world': The Histories of E. Pauline Johnson's 'Correct' Costume(s)"


1:30 - 3:00 pm       Session 4 - Classroom 1

Hip Hop and Spoken Word

  • Chair: Adar Charlton
  • Greer Brabazon, "From Lyrics to Land: Indigenous Rap Narrative within/as Decolonization"
  • Brad Bellegarde (aka InfoRed), "Rap as the New Buffalo: The Role of Hip Hop in Indigenous Education"
  • Carolyn McGee, "Indigenous Women's Spoken Word Poetry: Resistance, Self-Representation, and the Poet's Relationship to Audience and Community"
  • Michele Lacombe, "Relationships between Oral, Written, and Videographic Narrative Forms in the Work of Leanne Simpson"


1:30 - 3:00 pm       Session 5 - Classroom 2

Orality, Community, Poetics

  • Chair: Sam McKegney
  • Dallas Hunt, "Nikîkîwân: Contesting Settler-Colonial Archives through Indigenous Oral History"
  • Alana Fletcher and Marc André Fortin, "Adaptation or Appropriation? Retelling Indigenous Oral Histories in a Good Way"
  • Lesley Belleau, "Anaamibiig Dibaajomowin: Underwater Stories: Examining Sexuality in Indigenous Feminine Literature and Community"


3:00 - 3:15 pm      Coffee Break - Grand River Room


Concurrent Late Afternoon Sessions - Six Nations Polytechnic

3:15 - 4:45 pm       Session 6 - Grand River Room

Decolonizing the Digital

  • Chair: Jesse Archibald-Barber
  • Jon Johnson, "There's an App for That'TM?: Mapping Stories of Indigenous Knowledge and Heritage through The First Story Smartphone App"
  • David T. McNab, "Indigenous Garbage: The Significance of Digital Metis Journals in the Late 20th Century"
  • Dean Irvine, "Indigenous Networks: Salvage Ethnography, Traditional Knowledges, and Digital Repatriation"
  • Siobhan Senier, "Dawnland Voices 2.0: Building a Collaborative Online Literary Collection"
  • Sara Humphreys, "Indigenizing Video Games"


3:15 - 4:45 pm        Session 7 - Classroom 1

Kinships and Communities

  • Chair: Pauline Wakeham
  • Jasmine Spencer, "Animal Grammar: Here, Now, With You in Some Dene Tha' Narratives"
  • Brandon Kerfoot, "Isuma, Community, and Climate Change in Vanishing Point and Qapirangajuq: Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change"
  • June Scudeler, "wâkhotôwin / Kinship in the Kiss of the Fur Queen Movie Treatment"


3:15 - 4:45 pm         Session 8 - Classroom 2

Storying Lives

  • Chair: Warren Cariou
  • Amber Dean, "Moving Beyond Stock Narratives of Murdered or Missing Indigenous Women: Reading the Poetry and Life Writing of Sarah de Vries"
  • Jenna Hunnef, "Visualizing Cherokee Peoplehood in Robby McMurtry's Native Heart: The Life and Times of Ned Christie, Cherokee Patriot and Renegade"
  • Jessie Forsyth, "Accidental Kinship?: Conversations on Shared Scenes in Cherie Dimaline's Red Rooms"


5:30 - 7:00 pm  -  Dinner and Visiting - Grand River Room, Six Nations Polytechnic


Keynote Event  -  Grand River Room

7:30 - 9:00 pm       Inaugural Authors in Conversation Series:

Authors, Communities, Responsibilities: Conversation with Joseph Boyden

Introduced by Warren Cariou

Hosted by Rick Hill



Saturday, October 3rd


Location: Six Nations Polytechnic

8:00 - 8:30 am         Breakfast - Grand River Room


8:00 - 10:30 am       Session 9 - Grand River Room

Community-Based Scholarship in Practice

Part One: Roundtable: The Place of Community-Based Scholarship: Ethics, Location, and Academic Limitation

  • Chair: Tasha Hubbard
  • Participants: Tasha Hubbard, Tenille Campbell, Adar Charlton, and Nancy Van Styvendale

Part Two: Panel: Indigenous Youth Theatre and Community Engagement

  • Chair: Tasha Hubbard
  • Margot Francis, "'Bending the Light' Towards Survivance: Anishinaabec-led Youth Theatre on Residential Schools"
  • Jo-Ann Episkenew, "Acting Out! But in a Good Way: A Documentary"


10:30 - 10:45 am       Coffee Break


10:45 am - 12:15  pm     Session 10 - Grand River Room

Roundtable: The Publication of Series and Anthologies

  • Chair: Margery Fee
  • Participants: Armand Ruffo, Warren Cariou, Jeannette Armstrong, Deanna Reder, Daniel David Moses, Jesse Archibald-Barber, and Daniel Heath Justice


Renate Eigenbrod Mentorship Lunch - Grand River Room

12:15 - 1:30 pm        Mentorship lunch for both writers and scholars


1:30 - 2:45 pm         Session 11 - Grand River Room

Roundtable: Respect, Relevance, Reciprocity, Responsibility: Academic Research Acknowledging Unceded Coast Salish Territory

  • Chair: Deanna Reder
  • Participants: Jordan Abel, Margery Fee, David Gaertner, Carole Gerson, Sarah Henzi, Daniel  Heath Justice, Natalie Knight, Sophie McCall, Dory Nason, Alix Shield, and Michelle Nahanee


2:45 - 3:30 pm        Session 12 - Grand River Room

Roundtable: From Six Nations to Squamish: Building from Here to There

  • Chair: Warren Cariou
  • Participants: Rick Monture, Rudy Reimer, and all members of the Gathering


3:45 - 5:00 pm         Tour of Pauline Johnson's House and Remembrance of Our Storytellers - Chiefswood National Historic Site


5:30 - 6:30 pm         Tour of the Former Residential School Mohawk Institute - Woodland Cultural Centre, Brantford


Closing Dinner and Performance - Woodland Cultural Centre, Brantford

6:30 - 8:30 pm         Closing Dinner and Performance by Cheri Maracle, "The Paddle Song"


9:00 pm                     Open Mic  -  with Featured Performer InfoRed