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 of Indigenous Studies - June 2021

Department Highlights

conor-snoek-2019

From ‘clubs’ to ‘clocks’: lexical semantic extensions in Dene languages

An open access article by Dr. Conor Snoek

This study examines the semantics of a root form underlying a wide range of Dene lexical expressions. The root evolved from a simple nominal denoting “club” to expressions lexicalizing the movement of stick-like objects and the rotation of helicopter blades. These semantic extensions arise through sourcein-target and target-in-source metonymies. Drawing on Cognitive Linguistics, especially the theory of metonymy, offers a method of describing the range of meanings expressed by this root in a concise manner. Focusing on the results of metonymic meaning extensions also opens the way to addressing questions in the history of Dene languages. This study contributes to increasing the typological scope of Cognitive Linguistic approaches and argues for the usefulness of the theory in addressing problems in Dene linguistics.

Advancing Indigenous ways of knowing

On September 30, 2021, Canada solemnly paused in recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Throughout the week, the ULethbridge reflected on a painful, unjust part of Canadian history on the …

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Congratulations to the Class of 2021 from the Faculty of Arts & Science

Congratulations to the class of 2021! We wish you all the best of luck in your future endeavours and can't wait to see what you do next. We are so proud of …

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Faculty Friday | Dr. Inge Genee, linguist

Reflecting on our history and actively working on the Calls to Action set out by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission cannot be a once a year event. We connected with someone who, as part …

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Career Bridge: Centre for Work-Integrated Learning and Career Development

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