Department of Indigenous Studies

HISTORY. CULTURE. RESILIENCE.

Welcome to the Department of Indigenous Studies

 

The World Council of Indigenous Peoples define Indigenous peoples as ”people, living in countries which have populations composed of differing ethnic or racial groups, who are descendants of the earliest populations living in the area and who do not as a group control the national government of the countries within which they live.” ​

Indigenous Studies at the University of Lethbridge is dedicated to community-engaged scholarship, and research of the priorities and aspirations of Indigenous peoples in Canada and throughout the world. Within the department, Indigenous and non-Indigenous students have the opportunity to learn and think about Indigenous knowledges in creative, transformative and critical ways. The department offers courses that engender a rigorous and respectful understanding of Indigenous peoples’ languages, knowledges, cultures, histories, politics, arts, intellectual traditions, and research methodologies.

 

Statement on Residential School Discoveries

Faculty and staff in the Department of Indigenous Studies acknowledge that no statement will ever feel truly adequate, as there really are no words. We offer our deepest condolences to the Indigenous families and community in Kamloops and Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc after the remains of two hundred fifteen children of various ages were found there in Tk’emlups te Secwepemc territory, and to the families and community of the Cowessess First Nation after the discovery of 751 unmarked graves at the site of the former Marieval Residential School.  

These discoveries, and the inevitability that there will be yet more at other sites across Canada, expose yet more of the horrors of Canada’s Residential School system. This news should remind Canadians that this legacy of cultural genocide is not a legacy of the distant past, but a personal and devastating reality, not just to the families whose loved ones lie in the graves that have now been uncovered, but to Indigenous families across Canada and the United States. The residential school system was ongoing from the 1820’s to as recently as 1996. This is a history that carries an inter-generational legacy of trauma, as Indigenous communities continue to be traumatised by settler-colonialism.     

To honour the 215 children in Kamloops, the 751 at Cowessess, and the other not yet revealed burials​​​​, Canada needs to acknowledge​ these, and yet to be revealed losses, and begin to listen, and act accordingly. Indigenous communities have been telling us of these losses for years, yet Canada refused to listen. We also welcome the Alberta government’s commitment to provide funding for Indigenous communities to search for similar undocumented burial sites at Residential School sites across the province. We caution that this commitment cannot stop at simple funding. The provincial government must commit also to the hard, and painful work of true reconciliation with the past and present reality of its relationship with Indigenous communities. The government can no longer whitewash the past or maintain a policy of 'least effort is enough effort' when it comes to Indigenous Peoples.

The nation, and provinces, need to push forward with stronger purpose in properly Indigenizing and decolonizing the education system across Canada.  There needs to be more funding, an honest and truthful curriculum, more Indigenous educators, stronger support for Indigenous language revitalization, more rigorous structural support for reserve, and urban, Indigenous communities, and a commitment to the social, political, and cultural, truth of Indigenous sovereignty. We owe that, not just to the memories of these children, but to all Indigenous children who were driven through this system, and their descendants who still bear the scars of their experiences today. This is a particular responsibility for those of us involved in education in Canada today, including all of us who work in postsecondary education. We must remain committed to uncovering and telling the truth about the pasts, present, and futures – not just the trauma, but also pay tribute to the ingenuity, creativity, and brilliance, of Indigenous Peoples across Canada.   

We again offer our condolences to Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, to Cowessess, and to the families of those communities yet to reclaim their stolen ancestors.  

 

Department Highlights

Dr. Leroy Little Bear

PUBlic Professor Series | Dr. Leroy Little Bear

Join Indigenous Studies professor, Dr. Leroy Little Bear, as he explores

The Comeback: The Parallel Experiences of the Blackfoot and the Buffalo

Thursday, October 28, 2021 - 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Event Location:
Sandman Signature Lethbridge Lodge, 320 Scenic Dr S, Lethbridge, AB

Photo credit: The Alberta Order of Excellence

Dr. Michelle M. Hogue (MEd '04): International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Dr. Michelle M. Hogue holds a bachelor of science, a masters in science education and a PhD in Indigenous Curriculum. She has taught at the the University of Lethbridge for more than 20 years. She began her U of L career in chemistry and biochemistry and is now an associate professor and the coordinator of the Indigenous Student Success Cohort. She finds balance through her passion for running and sees her three daughters as real-life superheroes.  Click the link below to read full article.

University officially dedicates Carola (Napiakii) Calf Robe Elders and Ceremony Room

The University of Lethbridge has renamed its Elders Room, dedicating the space as the Carolla Calf Robe Elders and Ceremony Room at a ceremonial event in University Hall.

Carolla (Napiakii) Calf Robe was an Elder in Residence at the University for 11 years until her untimely passing in May 2019. As an Iniskim Elder, Calf Robe would spend time on campus offering support and guidance to the campus community.

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