Indigenous Week 2021

Indigenous Week 2021 banner

February 22-26, 2021

Enji giigdoyang, the Office of Indigenous Initiatives, organizes Indigenous Week annually. This event welcomes students, staff, faculty and community to engage in a series of talks, workshops, and film screenings by Indigenous knowledge holders, professionals, writers, scholars, artists, and filmmakers.

Registration for individual events below.

Speakers Biographies

Brenda Lee portrait

Brenda Lee

Brenda Lee is a Plains Cree First Nations woman from the Treaty Six Territory, born and raised in Maskwacis Alberta. Brenda was fortunate enough to have spent her formative years with her grandmother: Nancy Oldpan (Roasting), who taught her how to sew, bead, harvest and learn the cultural teachings. Brenda developed the interest and knowledge in these art forms exploring her culture through art.

Brenda has worked in different areas over the years in Cultural Camps, Universities, High Schools, Health and Wellness Organizations, Friendship Centers and Museums, she’s taught beading techniques, Tanning hides, tipi making, moccasin making, harvesting porcupine quills and techniques, regalia making , ceremonial articles and producing items for private collections.

Brenda’s focus is on restoring our cultural heritage through the arts, specializing and working primarily within the cultural arts programs. She is able to deliver a step by step instructional workshop to develop a superior quality product, to expand and enhancing creativity and reclaiming our pride as First Nations peoples. It is important for Brenda to teach individuals who are willing to learn about the creation of the product and what it takes to construct it.

Brenda resides in the beautiful Nipissing First Nation located in Ontario and continues to instruct with natural and contemporary materials and is becoming a sought after Artisan.

Perry McLeod-Shabogesic portrait

Perry McLeod-Shabogesic

Perry McLeod-Shabogesic of the "Crane Clan" is an Ojibway Anishinabe from N'biising (Nipissing) First Nation (NFN). He is the Manager of Cultural Services for the “Niinjaansinaanik Child & Family Services. He is an Elder/Helper/Resource Person for our Member First Nations of Wasauksing, Shawanaga, Magnetawan, Henvey, Dokis and Wahnapitae First Nations. In this role he has been assisting Children & families and First Nation staff in the area of traditional medicine, teachings, ceremonies and workshops. Perry also acts in an advisory capacity to other organizations and First Nations in the area of cultural and traditional development. 

Perry’s spirit name is "Anzoked", which means "Story Teller" in Anishinabemowin.  He is a “Helper/Oshkabewis” of the Anishinabek Nation Eagle Staff & Bundle.  He is also a recognized Traditional Helper/Oshkabewis/Pipe Carrier assisting and facilitating ceremonies and traditional activities such as sharing circles, pipe ceremonies, sweats, medicine wheel teachings, western door/funeral ceremonies/teachings, medicine walks/workshops, traditional art, harvesting game & wild medicines and one on one or group counseling for individuals and families upon request. 

Dr. Tasha Hubbard portrait

Dr. Tasha Hubbard

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Tasha Hubbard is a filmmaker and an associate professor in the Faculty of Native Studies/Department of English and Film at the University of Alberta. She is from Peepeekisis First Nation in Treaty Four Territory and has ties to Thunderchild First Nation in Treaty Six Territory. She is also the mother of a fourteen-year-old son. Her academic research is on Indigenous efforts to return the buffalo to the lands and Indigenous film in North America. Her first solo writing/directing project Two Worlds Colliding, about Saskatoon’s infamous Starlight Tours, premiered at ImagineNATIVE in 2004 and won the Canada Award at the Gemini Awards in 2005. In 2016, she directed an NFB-produced feature documentary called Birth of a Family about a 60s Scoop family coming together for the first time during a holiday in Banff. It premiered at Hot Docs International Film Festival and landed in the top ten audience choice list. It also won the Audience Favourite for Feature Documentary at the Edmonton International Film Festival and the Moon Jury prize at ImagineNATIVE. Her latest feature documentary is called nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up, a personal exploration of the impact of the death of Colten Boushie that premiered in the spring of 2019. It opened the Hot Docs International Film Festival and won the top Canadian documentary prize. It has won numerous awards, including the Colin Low Award for the top Canadian film at the DOXA International Film Festival and the Canadian Screen Award for Best Feature Documentary.

Leona Stevens portrait

Leona Stevens

Leona Stevens lives within her home community the First Nation of Mississauga #8 Ontario, located approximately 170 kms west of Sudbury. She is a grandmother to nine and a great-grandmother to three with a fourth one on the way.

Leona has experienced an incredible healing and learning journey spanning several decades. She has dedicated herself to re-claiming the sacred Teachings, Ceremonies, and Healing practises of the Anishinabe Midewin of the Three Fires Society. She has earned extensive knowledge of women’s ceremonies.

Leona is a very kind and caring person and she generously shares her skills and knowledge base. She works tirelessly for the betterment and healing of others.

Her Spirit name is Ogiimah Quay. She is a member of the Bear Clan family. She is 4th degree Midewin and is recognized as the Chief Women of the Three Fires Midewin Lodge.

Wes-Whetung portrait

Wes Whetung

Wes Whetung originates from the First Nation community of Curve Lake Ontario. He resides in the community of Mississauga #8 with his wife Leona Stevens.

Wes has pursued a long and productive career of social work and has consistently engaged in helping improve the quality of life for First Nations people.

His training is extensive, but he openly acknowledges his most valuable skills are derived from the Sacred Teachings, and ceremonial healing practises of the Anishinabe Midewin. He has actively supported the Three Fires Society Midewin Lodge for 40+ years.

Wes is a highly respected ceremony maker, Knowledge Keeper, teacher, and helper. He is currently providing cultural resource services to the Correctional Services of Canada, working with Indigenous men at Beaver Creek Institution.

His Spirit name is Nowakwegeesis and he is a member of the Moose clan family.

Gina-Starblanket portrait

Gina Starblanket

Gina Starblanket is a Canada Research Chair in the Politics of Decolonization and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Calgary. Gina is Cree and Saulteaux and a member of the Star Blanket Cree Nation in Treaty 4 territory.

She is the Principal Investigator of the Prairie Indigenous Relationality Network, and her research takes up questions of treaty implementation, prairie Indigenous life, gender and Indigenous feminism.

Dallas Hunt portrait

Dallas Hunt

Dallas Hunt is Assistant Professor in the Department of English Language and Literatures at the University of British Columbia. He is Cree and a member of Wapsewsipi (Swan River First Nation) in Treaty 8 territory in Northern Alberta, Canada.

He has had creative and critical work published in the Malahat Review, Arc Poetry, Canadian Literature, and the American Indian Culture and Research Journal. His next book, CREELAND, will be available through Nightwood Editions in March 2021.

Schedule of Events

Monday, February 28, 2022

  • Mon
    On campus

    The office of Indigenous Initiatives will be hosting Indigenous Week from February 28th - March 3rd. We will be celebrating Indigenous cultures through a variety of events, gatherings and teachings.