Abstract: The goal of my research was to contribute to the decolonization of education by demonstrating how the practice of Indigenous storywork, according to Principles of Indigenous Storywork: Educating the Heart, Mind, Body and Spirit by JoAnn Archibald, Q’um Q’um Xiiem (2008), can be used as a pedagogical tool. For this study, I have focused on the Mi’kmaw People of Atlantic Canada and their traditional Mi’kmaw territory known as Mi’kma’ki. The Indigenous storywork approach opens the door for non-Indigenous people to become allies with Indigenous Peoples by “restorying,” or retelling from an Indigenous perspective, the historical narratives that have dominated the official view of the region’s history. This technique introduces decolonizing space to make room for the inclusion of the history and narrative of the L’nu or Mi’kmaw People (Regan, 2010). For this research, general historical Mi’kmaw and settlers (non-Indigenous people who settled Mi’kmaw territory) versions of a specific Eurocentric oral narrative known as “The Island with The Bloody Hand” have been collaboratively shared and analyzed. Through this Indigenous storywork, a truer, more balanced, and just story has emerged. My investigation has demonstrated how specific components of Eurocentric traditions, as well as stereotypical perceptions of Indigenous Peoples, are heavily tied to the roots of colonization in Canada (Regan, 2010). My work included an examination of the myths and stereotypes common in the 18th century, as perpetuated by Europeans, who portrayed the Mi’kmaq as savage warriors in need of civilizing by benevolent settlers (Paul, 2008). As with Battiste (2013, p. 92), my ultimate objective was to provide a basis for “educational reform that synergistically combines Mi’kmaw and Eurocentric epistemologies, ontology, methodology, and axiology.


Description: Since Justin Trudeau’s election in 2015, Canada has been hailed internationally as embarking on a truly progressive, post-postcolonial era—including an improved relationship between the state and its Indigenous peoples. Shiri Pasternak corrects this misconception, showing that colonialism is very much alive in Canada. From the perspective of Indigenous law and jurisdiction, she tells the story of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, in western Quebec, and their tireless resistance to federal land claims policy.

Grounded Authority chronicles the band’s ongoing attempts to restore full governance over its lands and natural resources through an agreement signed by settler governments almost three decades ago—an agreement the state refuses to fully implement. Pasternak argues that the state’s aversion to recognizing Algonquin jurisdiction stems from its goal of perfecting its sovereignty by replacing the inherent jurisdiction of Indigenous peoples with its own, delegated authority. From police brutality and fabricated sexual abuse cases to an intervention into and overthrow of a customary government, Pasternak provides a compelling, richly detailed account of rarely documented coercive mechanisms employed to force Indigenous communities into compliance with federal policy.

A rigorous account of the incredible struggle fought by the Algonquins to maintain responsibility over their territory, Grounded Authority provides a powerful alternative model to one nation’s land claims policy and a vital contribution to current debates in the study of colonialism and Indigenous peoples in North America and globally.


Rationale: The lands on which Australian urban centres continue to be built are located on the unceded territories of distinct, sovereign Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who continue to exert and practice their laws, cultures, rights and interests. Beyond such broad recognition statements as this, there has been remarkably little effort made to figure out what this means and how this acknowledgement fundamentally unsettles the categories and knowledges by which we claim to understand the Australian city.   Decolonising Settler Cities seeks to create a space to talk about issues that are difficult to define, but are also essential for justice and our collective futures. While it is clear that urban areas in settler colonial countries have always been Indigenous, the implications of this understanding for the future of our cities is unclear. We invite scholars and practitioners to share their questions and critiques, experience and knowledge of decolonising possibilities and obstacles in urban locations. Our hope is to find ways to think through and beyond ‘whitestream’ categories of knowing, thinking and imagining the Australian city, and appropriately centre Indigenous experiences, theories, knowledges and perspectives.    We are particularly interested in perspectives that draw on contemporary Indigenous experiences and knowledge to unsettle the categories that underlie urban governance and often make Indigenous peoples’ aspirations impossible to achieve.  These categories include but are not limited to property, health, development, education, work and family.  The corollary of this negative set of experiences is the way that Indigenous Australians find ways to claim rights, practice culture, enact laws and act in their interests in urban locations.  These are the practices of Indigenous urban citizenship.    We invite participants to contact us with a short statement explaining their interest in participating. For those participants wanting to make a presentation, please indicate the topic area and the type of medium (whether a paper, film, performance, reading, or another format).  We welcome approaches from people with a variety of backgrounds, experiences and expertise.  Decolonising Settler Cities will have a limited number of speakers and will seek a diverse set of presenters with a large Indigenous presence.

Principles: Our guiding principle for the symposium is to practice ways that support a decolonising politics by: 1. Finding ways to appropriately centre Indigenous experiences, theories, knowledges and perspectives on the Australian city; 2. Creating spaces for conversation and mutual learning that are respectful, honouring, critically aware and diverse; 3. Working to de‐centre colonialist whitestream categories of knowing, thinking and imagining the city; 4. Identifying how mutual learning and delicate, respectful, collaborative imaginings between different streams of understanding in cities (including Indigenous and whitestream) can be cultivated and encouraged; and   5. Co‐designing respectful methods for producing knowledge, teaching and learning about urban Australia. 6. Developing a set of practical outcomes and actions that participants in the symposium will take forward both individually and as a group.

Timeline: Submissions due (300 words): 1 June 2017.    Notification of acceptance: 15 June 2017 Materials (whether film, paper, photographs, art work or something else) due –17 July 2017 The materials will be circulated before the symposium. We will discuss publication of papers and other materials at the symposium.

Contacts: Please email your submissions to either Tod Jones at Curtin University (T.Jones@curtin.edu.au) or Libby Porter at RMIT (libby.porter@rmit.edu.au).