Guest Speaker's Topics/Abstracts/Bios

Stretching Toward Multidisciplinary Research

Guest Speaker:  Dr. Dena McMartin

Abstract: Working across disciplines and learning beyond our academic training and expertise can feel like a stretch, even to the point of learning to use shared language to facilitate healthy and robust discourse. In my own research program, I have both benefited and been challenged to stretch beyond science and engineering approaches to defining and approaching research and scholarship. And those experiences have been some of the most rewarding and impactful work I have done. Through the Liberal Education Symposium, I will share some of my learning – the struggle, the stretch, and the successes.

Bio: Dr Dena McMartin is the Vice-President (Research) at the University of Lethbridge and both a professional engineer and professional agrologist. Her research includes applied treatment systems for rural, remote and reserve potable water production, advanced design and testing of oilsands tailings pond water treatment, and impacts and intersections of freshwater climate extremes in communities.

School Curriculum: A Complicated Conversation

Guest Speaker:  Dr. Amy von Heyking

Abstract:  Our official K-12 school curriculum embodies the state’s answer to the question: What must children learn so they can function appropriately as adults in our society? Answering this question is complicated because it is an expression of what we, and value as a society. It requires critical consideration of the nature of knowledge, children, teaching, learning and society. Historically, it has often been informed by frameworks that have differing goals, values, and understandings. The past decade, however, has seen public and professional discussion around curriculum reform descend into ideologically-driven, partisan conflict in Alberta and in other parts of the world. What makes curriculum development so complicated? How did it become so contentious? How might we move forward to ensure that Alberta students get the high-quality curriculum they deserve?

Bio:  Amy von Heyking is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education. Her PhD in Educational Policy Studies focused on the history of Alberta school curriculum, particularly citizenship education. She has published books and articles on the history of Canadian schooling, and history teaching and learning. She served on the Minister of Education’s Curriculum Advisory Panel in 2019-20.

Piinaat’stikaanookiinan: A Call to Decolonize Nursing Practice

Guest Speaker:  Dr. Chloe Crosschild

Abstract:  Indigenous Peoples Health has long been defined through settler-colonial notions of health and wellness that represent a Eurocentric bias resulting in an array of missed opportunities to understand the complexities of Indigenous Peoples Health. In the Liberal Education Symposium, I will share my experiences as an Indigenous nurse working in colonial health care institutions to encourage ways that decolonize nursing practice and improve care for Indigenous peoples. The purpose of this talk is to privilege Indigenous voice and challenge the structural inequities that disadvantage Indigenous Peoples in health care.

Piinaat'stikaanookiinan:  A Blackfoot word from the Kainaiwa dialect that loosely translates to a general statement of warning to do no harm. Translation provided by Dr. Deborah Pace

Bio:  Iitaapiit’saanskiakii (Singing Bird by the Shore Woman), Chloe Crosschild is a member of the Blackfoot Confederacy from the Blood Tribe (Kainai Nation). Chloe holds a Bachelor and Master's degree in Nursing from the University of Lethbridge and is currently completing her PhD in Nursing at the University of British Columbia. Chloe’s research background is in Indigenous women’s health, gendered violence, health equity, and racism in health care system. Chloe is a registered nurse and has worked in community health settings, both on and off reserve as a public health nurse, community health nurse, and community health clinical instructor. Chloe was recently hired as an Assistant Professor at the University of Lethbridge through the Faculty of Health Sciences.

Changing paths, Decolonizing your world

Guest Speaker:  William Singer III

Abstract:  In most First Nation communities there are two forms of "thought" one of which is Western Knowledge and the other is of the Blackfoot Worldview. The latter is the original knowledge created and used by the Niitsitapi since time immemorial. "Decolonizing" has been used as a shift or change (mentally or physically) and will be discussed as many Indigenous peoples are going back to their traditional ways of thought and finding a balance between Traditional and Western.

Api’soomaahka (Running Coyote) – William Singer III is a member of the Kainai Nation of the Blackfoot Confederacy.  

Named after his great, great, great uncle who was a Blackfoot warrior, Api’soomaahka carries on his legacy through land stewardship and maintaining the Blackfoot worldview. An artist/illustrator with over 40 years of experience, his work is deeply rooted in the Blackfoot worldview and uses painting to teach. Along with his art, He devotes a lot of time being an entrepreneur and an environmental and political activist, utilizing Blackfoot Ecological Knowledge and protocol. Other areas of interest include food security and sovereignty, Blackfoot science and physics, watershed health and grassland restoration. Api’soomaahka has been involved in many spiritual, cultural events and activities and has always been an advocate for First Nations rights, knowledge and wellness. He currently operates Naapi’s Garden and Katoyiss Seed Bank and is a member Kainai Ecosystem Protection Association (KEPA) and the Oldman Watershed Council (OWC) .