Indigenous Literary Studies Association

5th Annual Gathering

Indigenous Literary Arts of Truth and Redress

Unceded Musqueam (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm) Territory

University of British Columbia, Vancouver BC

3-5 June 2019

as part of the

Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences


The Indigenous Literary Studies Association is delighted to host scholars, knowledge-keepers, writers, artists, and community members to explore Indigenous literary arts of truth and reconciliation and their connection to Indigenous sovereignty and redress in post-TRC Canada. We welcome participants to consider truth, sovereignty, resurgence, and redress in connection to Indigenous writings in their multiple and expansive dimensions, including discussions of literature, film, theatre, performance, storytelling, song, hip-hop, and other forms of narrative expression.


Monday, June 3:

8:30 am-9:50 am:

Welcome Gathering: Visiting, Breakfast, Registration, and Poster Session

(Breakfast and beverages provided)

LIU 130

Poster Sessions:

  • Rubelise Da Cunha: Reclaiming Indigenous Knowledge in the Literary and Academic Settings: Armand Garnet Ruffo’s Poem “The Land (Land Rights), 1976”

  • Joel Deshaye: Horsechild and the Genre of the Western in Garry Gottfriedson’s Whiskey Bullets

  • Simone Matthews: Truth, reconciliation and postmemory in Inuit Canadian and Greenlandic documentary film

  • Annie Ross: ‘i, delusional’ (portraits of supernaturals)

  • Indigenous Knowledge Organization and X̱wi7x̱wa library


10:00 am-11:20 am:                 Concurrent Session 1

Panel 1: Unsettling Textual Reconciliation

GEOG 201     

Chair: Linda Morra

  • Peter Turner: The Biopolitics of Reconciliation: A Foucauldian Analysis of Indian Horse and Reconciliation Discourses

  • Erin Akerman: Secrets Amidst Sentiment: Unsettling Anna Jameson’s Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada and Francis Bond Head’s “The Red Man” with the Stories of the Drummond Island Métis


Panel 2: Visioning our Ways and Knowledges: The Image, the Text, and the Map

GEOG 229     

Chair: Rajdeep Gill

  • Anna-Leah King and Heather Phipps: Dreaming a Beautiful World through the Truth of Âcimowin

  • Josh Manitowabi: Revitalizing Indigenous Knowledge Through Interactive Digital Maps

  • Marissa Magneson: Re-framing History: Flipping Artistic Perspectives of Indigenous Identity


Panel 3: Erasures and Restitutions: Indigenous Sovereignty Across Space and Time GEOG 147       

Chair: Margery Fee

  • Dallas Hunt: Benevolent Elision: Indigenous Narratives of Futurity and Redress contra Settler Narratives of Replacement

  • Ashley Morford: Digital Space as Sovereign Indigenous Territory: Restitution & Cyber-Decolonization in Joshua Whitehead’s full-metal indigiqueer

  • Pauline Wakeham: Truth and Reconciliation in a Post-Truth Age: Confronting Settler Amnesia in Contemporary Canada


Community Room

GEOG 214

The community room is a space for Elders, members, family, and friends to gather, visit, and rest. 

11:30 am -12:50 pm:               Lunch                                                            

(Not provided but feel free to bring your lunch to this space to visit with ILSA members)

LIU 130

1:00 pm-2:30 pm:                   ILSA/ CACLALS Indigenous Roundtable            

Choi Atrium

 Futures of Indigenous Literary Studies

Moderator: Jordan Abel

Speakers: Tenille Campbell, Smokii Sumac, and Joshua Whitehead

ILSA attendees are invited to the annual Indigenous Roundtable, co-hosted with CACLALS. This panel brings together emerging voices in Indigenous literatures to consider both where the field has come and what potential directions it may yet take. Featured speakers Tenille Campbell, Smokii Sumac, and Joshua Whitehead will respond to a range of questions, including the following: What is it that scholars working in the field of Indigenous literary studies need to hear? What does the field need to attend to better, or attend to less frequently? What are your visions for the futures of Indigenous literary studies within the academy and beyond? 


2:30 pm:

Community Room

(Afternoon beverages provided)

GEOG 214

2:45 pm – 4:15 pm:                 Concurrent Session 2

Panel 1: Voice, Image, Prose and Poetry from Indigenous Students 

GEOG 147     

 Chair: Ying Kong

  • Ying Kong: Voice, Image, Text from the Rez

  • Atoyebi Joseph: What does the Future Hold for Ingenious Student Writers?

  • Taylor Flett: A Copy Editor’s Point of View of Students’ Publication

  • Kassidy Burden: Inspiring Students’ Creativity as the Print Copy Designer


Panel 2: Testimony, Truth, and Transformation                                                  

GEOG 201     

Chair: Sam McKegney

  • Melanie Braith: Related Through Storytelling: How Testimony Restores Kinship Ties

  • Erin Soros: pawatamowin: Dreaming Justice, Translating Kin in Tracey Lindberg’s Birdie

  • Johannah Bird: “Surely our nation is not to be wiped out”: Edward Ahenakew, Truth-Telling, and Reconciliation


Panel 3: Spaces of tension / Espaces de tensions

ILSA/APFUCC Joint Panel #1                                           

GEOG 229     

Chair: Isabella Huberman

  • Paula Danckert: Reclaiming Historiography in The Edward Curtis Project: A Modern Picture Story by Marie Clements and Rita Leistner

  • Élise Couture-Grondin: The Book of Jessica: Narrating the Failures of Collaboration as (Anti)colonial Practice.

  • Sarah MacKenzie: “Indigenous Shakespeare” in Canada: Collaborative Development in Yvette Nolan’s The Death of a Chief


4:30 pm – 6:00 pm:                Concurrent Session 3           

 Wampum Teachings with Daniel Coleman and Mike Izzo                                             

GEOG 147

Chair: Pauline Wakeham

  • Daniel Coleman: The Good Mind in the Two-Row Poems of Mohawk Poet Peter Blue Cloud

  •  Mike Izzo (Workshop): Wampum Teachings! Using Traditional Indigenous Literacy Methods to Advance Truth & Reconciliation"


Truth and Redress in Pedagogy and Practice

ILSA/CASIE Joint Panel

GEOG 201

Chair: Anna-Leah King

  •  Christina Saunders & Antonino Giambrone: Aanse Memengwaanh: Truth and Indigenous Sovereignty in Urban Education Contexts,

  • Terry Wotherspoon & Emily Milne: Do Canadian Education Policy Frameworks and Directives Advance Reconciliation Objectives?

  • Marlin Legare, Carrie Bourassa et al, Morning Star Lodge: Use of First Nations Languages Apps Amongst Persons Living with Dementia


Community Room                                                                           

GEOG 214

Tuesday, June 4:                                                                     

8:30 am-10:00 am:                                                                             

Panel 1: Community Formations, Intersectional Interventions, Trans-Poetics, and Cultural Activisms


BUCH 210

Chairs: Lianne Moyes and Mathieu Aubin      

  • Gage Diabo: Listening and Speaking to Absence: Broken Dialogues and the Community in Porcupines and China Dolls

  • Jennifer Komorowski: Do We Have Feelings? Reclaiming Indigenous Women’s Affect Through Aesthetic Creation

  • Julia Polyck-O'Neill: Re-Poetics in Language, Image, and Community: The Kootenay School of Writing, Photoconceptualism, and Vancouver


9:00 am-10:20 am:                   Concurrent Session 4

 Panel 2: Futurity and Critique: Eden Robinson’s Decolonial Visionings

GEOG 147                                                                                                     

Chair: Svetlana Seibel

  • Hannah Skrynsky: From Dystopic to Decolonial: Deconstructing the Anxious Futurity of Eden Robinson’s “Terminal Avenue”

  • Cécile Heim: Some Truths about Social Welfare and the Racial Politics of Literary Criticism in Eden Robinson’s “Contact Sports”

  • Sam McKegney : De(v/f)iant Generosity: Gender and the Gift in Eden Robinson’s Blood Sports


Panel 3: Espaces Littéraires Souverains / Sovereign Literary Spaces                 

ILSA/APFUCC Joint Panel #2


Moderator: Élise Couture-Grondin

  • Sylvie Bérard: L’ethnologie à la première personne dans ma réserve dans ma chair et nta’tugwaqanminen : notre histoire

  • Isabelle St-Amand: Espaces textuels et évènementiels de collaboration en littérature autochtone francophone

  • Isabella Huberman: La collaboration au-delà du temps: revisiter les archives à travers les oeuvres des cinéastes autochtones contemporains


Community Room

(Morning Beverages provided)                                                                   

GEOG 214     

The community room is a space for Elders, members, family, and friends to gather, visit, and rest.

10:30 am-11:30 am:                 Keynote Speech 1

 Maria Campbell, Nicola Campbell

Sty-Wet-Tan Great Hall, First Nations House of Learning

Moderator: Allison Hargreaves   

Responding to Truth and Reconciliation through Indigenous Literatures:

A Conversation between Maria Campbell and Nicola Campbell

 This keynote address features revered Métis playwright, filmmaker, Elder, and activist Maria Campbell in conversation with award-winning children's author and poet Nicola Campbell (Nłeʔkepmx, Syilx and Métis). The author of six books, including Halfbreed and Stories of the Road Allowance People, Maria Campbell's work continues to transform Indigenous literatures and storytelling for current and future generations. She is joined by Nicola Campbell, author of Shi-shi-etkoShin-chi’s Canoe,  Grandpa’s Girls, and A Day with Yayah, and recipient of the 2009 TD Canadian Children’s literature award. Her doctoral research focuses on contemporary and traditional Indigenous storytelling practices.


This public event is made possible by ILSA. Further financial support for this session was provided by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. All are welcome to attend.


11:45 am -1:00 pm:                 Renate Eigenbrod Mentorship Lunch*

Sty-Wet-Tan Great Hall, First Nations House of Learning

(Lunch provided by Salishan Catering)     

*For registered participants of the lunch only

1:00 pm-2:30 pm:                   Concurrent Session 5                        

Panel 1: Embodying Dissent                                                                                               

GEOG 201    

Chair: Sarah Henzi

  • Marie-Eve Bradette: “Standing Up” as a Metaphor for Redress in Indigenous Francophone Poetry

  • Salma El Hankouri: Indigenous Women Writing as Performative Epistemology: Re-enacting Spiritual and Embodied Redress

  • Meghan Burry: “Dirty, dirty, dirty girls”: The Perpetuation of Shame and the Colonization of Traditional Menstrual Practices, Sexual Education, and Indigenous Womanhood


Panel 2: Seeing Truths: Visioning Redress in Indigenous Film                          

GEOG 229     

Chair: Renae Watchman

  • Svetlana Seibel: “A Legend Us Urban Indians Wished Was True”: Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers’ A Red Girl’s Reasoning and Popular Culture

  • Brahim Benbouazza and Sheila Petty: North African Amazigh Films as Narratives of Sovereignty and Redress

  • Brenda Vellino: Repatriating Buffalo Kinship and Michif Intergenerational Memory in Amanda Strong’s Stop Motion Animation, “Four Faces of the Moon.”


Panel 3: Redressing History, Imagining Otherwise: Provocations from Indigenous Cultural Production

GEOG 147     

 Chair: Allison Hargreaves

  • Margaret Boyce: Indigenous Metaphysics and Cognitive Reorientation in Lee Maracle’s Celia’s Song

  • Kaitlin Debicki: David Robertson’s When We Were Alone and the Shaking of the Silver Covenant Chain of Friendship

  • Amber Dean: Violence, Retribution, Redress: Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers’ A Red Girl’s Reasoning


Community Room                                                                                       

GEOG 214

2:30: First Nations House of Learning

(Afternoon Beverages provided) 

2:45 pm-3:50 pm:  

Moderator: Molly Cross-Blanchard

Marilyn Dumont and Armand Garnet Ruffo: 20+ Years in Conversation

Sty-Wet-Tan Great Hall, First Nations House of Learning         

Over two decades ago, in 1996, Marilyn Dumont published A Really Good Brown Girl and Armand Garnet Ruffo published Grey Owl: The Mystery of Archie Belaney. Since then, both have made numerous essential contributions to Indigenous literatures. Join us in celebrating these two great poets, whose thoughts on writing have been collected in the new anthology What the Poets are Doing: Canadian Poets in Conversation. The poets will each read from their work, and then participate in a conversation facilitated by Métis writer and editor, Molly Cross-Blanchard.


4:00 pm-5:00 pm:                   Vera Manuel Book Launch

Sty-Wet-Tan Great Hall, First Nations House of Learning         

Honouring the Strength of Indian Women: Plays, Stories, Poetry by Vera Manuel

Edited by Michelle Coupal, Deanna Reder, Joanne Arnott, and Emalene Manuel

Introduction by Emalene Manuel

Publisher: University of Manitoba Press

This critical edition delivers a unique and comprehensive collection of the works of Ktunaxa-Secwepemc writer and educator Vera Manuel, daughter of prominent Indigenous leaders Marceline Paul and George Manuel. A vibrant force in the burgeoning Indigenous theatre scene, Vera was at the forefront of residential school writing and did groundbreaking work as a dramatherapist and healer. Long before mainstream Canada understood and discussed the impact and devastating legacy of Canada’s Indian residential schools, Vera Manuel wrote about it as part of her personal and community healing. She became a grassroots leader addressing the need to bring to light the stories of survivors, their journeys of healing, and the therapeutic value of writing and performing arts. Join Emalene Manuel, Joanne Arnott, Deanna Reder, and Michelle Coupal as they discuss and read excerpts from this amazing collection of work.


7:00 pm-10:00 pm:                 2nd Annual Indigenous Voices Awards

Sty-Wet-Tan Great Hall, First Nations House of Learning         

Public Event: All are welcome to attend

The spring of 2017 was a difficult time for many Indigenous artists in Canada. Some in the Canadian media loudly denied the reality of cultural appropriation, brushing aside a history of Indigenous dispossession with cries of “free speech” and “creative freedom.” Hard-fought battles by an earlier generation of artists to demand space on the national stage and recognition of the specificity, complexity, and resilience of Indigenous knowledges were forgotten and rekindled. It was a time during which it was easy to become disheartened. But it was also a time of active, thoughtful, and uncompromising response — a time during which Indigenous and allied individuals reached out with generosity, understanding, and courage.

The Indigenous Voices Awards emerged from controversy and developed through collaboration, dedication, and generosity. They exist to support Indigenous literary production in its diversity and complexity, and to help build community among Indigenous artists. By requiring declarations of Indigenous identity from applicants, they are intended to reject cultural appropriation and affirm the continuing significance of Indigenous peoplehood. No series of awards will change the world. But we hope that the IVAs add breath to the sparks of inspiration felt by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit literary artists from coast to coast to coast.


IVA Judges:

  • Jeannette Armstrong

  • Joanne Arnott

  • Warren Cariou

  • Margery Fee

  • Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill

  • Francis Langevin

  • Jean Sioui


With many thanks to the founding donors and for this year in particular: Pamela Dillon, Penguin Random House, Scholastic Canada, Robin Parker, and a host of other donors.


Wednesday, June 5:

10:00 am-11:20 am:                 Concurrent Session 6

Panel 1: Re-Storying Histories                                                                                            

GEOG 147     

Chair: Allison Hargreaves

  • Shaina Humble: Re-Teaching: Using Rasmussen’s Ethnographic Materials to Re-Narrate The Journals

  • Keavy Martin: Government Agents, Literary Agents: “Developing” Indigenous Literatures in the Late 20th Century


Panel 2: Truth, Reconciliation, and Storytelling               

GEOG 201     

 Chair: Aubrey Hanson

  • Melanie Belmore: The Continuation of Indigenous Culture in the (Vision) Quest to Acceptance and Belonging: Storytelling and Cultural Teachings in Richard Wagamese’s For Joshua

  • Matthew Herman: The Truth of Value


11:30 am -1:00 pm                  Keynote Speech 2

Warren Cariou

GEOG 100

(Morning beverages provided)

Moderator: Michelle Coupal               

Breaking Colonial Circuits: Hydroelectricity in Indigenous Literature and Oral Stories


Warren Cariou has devoted much of his career to studying the storytelling traditions and the environmental politics of Indigenous communities in Canada, especially in Métis, Cree and Anishinaabe territories. He was inspired to study Indigenous stories by the example of his late father Ray Cariou, a gifted Métis raconteur.  Warren has worked with Omushkego Cree Elder Louis Bird for more than a decade, and recently he has begun working with knowledge keepers in the Rocky Cree communities of northern Manitoba. His films, photography and some of his writing have focused on the effects of tar sands oil extraction on Indigenous communities. His keynote is part of a companion project on Indigenous energy politics, focusing on hydroelectric development in northern Manitoba. He examines the ongoing harm to Indigenous communities that is being caused by hydro, but also focuses on the ways in which Indigenous people are utilizing stories—both oral and written—to break the circuits of colonial violence that are wired into the heart of western modernity.


1:00 pm -2:20 pm:                  Lunch                                                            

(Not provided but feel free to bring your lunch to this space to visit with ILSA members)

LIU 130

2:30 pm – 3:50 pm:                Concurrent Session 7

Panel 1: Elisions and Decisions: Editorial, Authorial, Colonial                           

GEOG 201     

Chair: Svetlana Seibel 

  • Alois Sieben: Distant Subjects: The Act of Search in Injun and Maliglutit

  • Andrew Law: “but before me lay an [un] country”: Considering Erasure as Precursor to and Justification of Land Theft in Jordan Abel's Un/Inhabited and Injun

  • Sara Humphreys: Why a New Edition of Mourning Dove’s Cogewea Matters


Panel 2: Staging Returns: The Infinite Theatres of Indigenous Sovereignty     

GEOG 229     

Chair: Heather Phipps

  • Christine Bold: Indigenous Performers, Vaudeville, and Building Relations of Research Exchange

  • Eugenia Sojka: Developing theatrical sovereignty. Resurgence of Indigenous knowledges, methodologies and aesthetics in the contemporary theatre and performance art in Canada

  • Shaun Stevenson: What Kind of Person is Water?: Granting Legal Personhood to a Body of Water and Indigenous Water Law in the Work of Darlene Naponse and Katherena Vermette


Panel 3: Indigenous Women and Water Governance: Traditional Roles and Current Policy  

Marlin Legare

GEOG 147     


Moderator: Michelle Coupal

The presentation will discuss the implications that traditional roles, storytelling, and knowledge sharing has on the current policies and practices of water governance within Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan. 


Community Room

(Afternoon beverages, Charcuterie platter, Fruit and cheese platter provided)

GEOG 214

The community room is a space for Elders, members, family, and friends to gather, visit, and rest.



Louis-Karl Picard-Sioui

LIU 130 

Moderator: Sarah Henzi

The Long Fight for Recognition and Legitimacy of Indigenous Literatures in Québec: 1976-2018    

For a very long time, Indigenous literatures in Québec were ignored by the French-language literary circle and by the Anglophone Indigenous literary studies milieu. Louis-Karl Picard-Sioui's talk will present the important moments of the fight for recognition and legitimacy of this very original literature, as well as a state of affairs.

Co-founder and director of Kwahiatonhk!, a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion and diffusion of Indigenous literatures in Québec, Louis-Karl Picard-Sioui is also a writer, poet, historian, anthropologist and curator of visual arts. He comes from and still lives in Wendake, small Wendat community bordered by Quebec City.


Additional information and activities:

Xwi7xwa Library invites Congress attendees to view selections from our extensive Indigenous film collection. A detailed list of the film schedule will be posted on

the Xwi7xwa Library website Monday May 27th, 2019.

Screenings will be held in the Seminar Room at Xwi7xwa Library, June 3-7th, between 10am and 4pm. 

(Complimentary West Coast Popcorn will be available)


The Indigenous Literary Studies Association Council 2018-2019

  • Michelle Coupal, President (

  • Allison Hargreaves, President Elect (

  • Daniel Heath Justice, Acting Past President (

  • Sarah Henzi, Secretary (

  • Aubrey Hanson, Treasurer (

  • Svetlana Seibel, Early Career Member (

  • Maddie Reddon, Graduate Student Representative (

  • Sandie Dielissen, Registrar (