2019 Featured & Invited Speakers

We will continue to update this page as our plenary and keynote speakers confirm.

Please check back frequently for updates as our 2019 conference takes shape!

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Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie


Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie
is an Anishinaabe Two-Spirit from Sagkeeng First Nation. They graduated in 2017 with a BA in Indigenous Studies and Political Science at the University of Winnipeg. They are currently the Community Coordinator at Wa Ni Ska Tan: An Alliance of Hydro-Impacted Communities, and Co-Founder of Red Rising Magazine, which gives Indigenous youth a platform to share their perspectives and experiences to a broad audience without censorship. Sadie-Phoenix goes by They/Them pronouns. Sadie-Phoenix formerly was the National Executive Representative of the Circle of First Nations, Mètis and Inuit Students; the Vice-President of External Affairs on the University of Winnipeg Students' Association; Aboriginal Student Commissioner for the Canadian Federation of Students MB; and  Co-President for the UW Aboriginal Student Council. Sadie-Phoenix worked on numerous on student led initiatives including the Indigenous Course Requirement and the Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign, as well attended the UN COP22 in Marrakech, Morocco on behalf of the Canadian Climate Youth Coalition. They were also one of the 100 youth arrested on Parliament Hill protesting the Kinder Morgan Pipeline, and have been on the front line of Standing Rock. Sadie-Phoenix has participated and organized numerous community events, rallies, marches with a focus around Indigenous rights, systemic racism and colonialism, Indigenous climate justice and youth empowerment.

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Geraldine “Gramma” Shingoose

Geraldine 'Gramma' Shingoose, 60, is a familiar face in Winnipeg's Indigenous community as an activist and elder. When there's an important event in Winnipeg's Indigenous community, Gerry Shingoose is there — often at the front, with a prayer, a pipe, a drum, an open heart and exactly the right words. Geraldine Shingoose was just five years old when two cars pulled up to her home near Hudson Bay, Sask. One was a police car and the other carried people from the Muskowekwan residential school who had come to take her, her older sister, Darlene, and their older brother, George, to the residential school near Lestock. Shingoose, who testified twice before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and has visited schools to share her story with students, was finally able to escape residential school when she was 13. Gerry Shingoose eventually reconnected with her father, who revived her awareness of her culture. It was the Idle No More movement, though, that Shingoose said helped her reconnect to her culture and find her strength when she was faltering. Since then, Gramma Shingoose has been fielding phone calls and social media requests for her presence at events.

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Sarah Fontaine-Sinclair's Anishinaabe name is Nimizhien-nibikwe, meaning "the light that dances on the water." She is an award-winning speaker who advocates for our environment, participating in the Lake Winnipeg Water Walk and marches for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women as well as is a leader in the #FridaysforFuture education for climate change movement. She also plays the flute, soccer, and performs in improv and musical theatre productions. When she has time, she is a grade eight student in Winnipeg School Division.

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Niigaan Sinclair

Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair is Anishinaabe (St. Peter's/Little Peguis) and Professor in the Department of Native Studies at the University of Manitoba. He is a regular commentator on Indigenous issues nationally on CTV, CBC, and APTN and internationally in The Guardian and Al-Jazeera America. His written work can be found in the pages of The Exile Edition of Native Canadian Fiction and Drama, newspapers like The Guardian, The Globe and Mail and The Winnipeg Free Press, and online with CBC Books: Canada Writes. Niigaan is the co-editor of the award-winning Manitowapow: Aboriginal Writings from the Land of Water (Highwater Press, 2011) Centering Anishinaabeg Studies: Understanding the World Through Stories (Michigan State University Press, 2013) and The Winter We Danced: The Past, the Future, and the Idle No More Movement (Arbeiter Ring, 2014). He is also the Editorial Director of The Debwe Series with Portage and Main Press.

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Margo Tamez

Margo Tamez is a Lipan Apache author of the Hada'didla Nde' (“Lightning Storm People”), Konitsaii Nde'(“Big Water  People”) and an enrolled member of the Lipan Apache Band of Texas. Tamez is an Associate Professor of Indigenous Studies, in the Community, Culture, and Global Studies Department at the University of British Columbia, unceded Syilx territory, Okanagan campus. She is the author of Naked Wanting (2003), Raven Eye (2007) and numerous chapters, essays, and scholarly articles. Her poetry has been anthologized in the U.S., Mexico, Columbia, and France.  

A scholar, poet, and human rights defender, Tamez grew up in South Texas, the Lower Rio Grande Valley and along the Texas-Mexico border. Her 2007 work, Raven Eye, is considered the first Apache-authored literary work which 'indigenized' the post-modern American poetry form known as the 'long poem'. Her prose reflects the critical understanding of historical processes and on-going effects of historical erasure on Indigenous peoples, making crucial links between history and present forces (colonization, militarization) impacting Indigenous peoples from the region bifurcated by the U.S.-Mexico border who remained in traditional places but largely ignored by the state. A long-time advocate and proponent in the Ndé Indigenous self-determination movement she has opened space for Nde' women to participate and reclaim key roles in asserting Indigenous rights to land, protection, defense, cultural revitalization, land based economies, freedom of movement, freedom from all forms of oppression, freedom from colonialism and settler colonial violence, and the rights of Nde' River Peoples to autonomous self-governance. 

On the front edge of self-determination of Rio Grande Indigenous River Peoples' water and land defense against US and international corporate dispossession, Tamez became lead strategist and coalition builder between relative Apache Indigenous Rights activists who then collectively intervened with her in global legal systems. As the lead international representative for the Nde' Chief and Council at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Inter-American Commission/Organization of American States, the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Geneva), and the 3rd Seminar on Treaties, Agreements and other Constructive Arrangements of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Tamez not only reclaimed, but innovated new forms for advancing push-back against the illegality of 'non-recognized' Indigenous peoples as a legacy of necropolitics at the heart of settler colonialism.

She is currently working on three books: a poetry retrospective; an edited volume about the El Calaboz resistance against dispossession, under the Bush-Obama-Trump attack on Nde' women's land-based resistance; and a historical monograph focused on Indigenous women's  decolonize and anti-genocide resistances to dispossession, militarism, misogyny, radicalization, and erasure in the Rio Grande Valley since the 15th century, as recalled and memorialized by Nde' women in El Calaboz.

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Ynestra King (forthcoming)

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Conference Year: 

  • 2019