Plenary 10/05/19: Intergenerational Activism & Sustaining the Struggle featuring Geraldine “Gramma” Shingoose, Niigaan Sinclair, Sarah Fontaine-Sinclair, Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair & Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie. Opening remarks by Steve Heinrichs (Mennonite Church Canada)
Saturday, October 5th, 2019 at 12:30-2:00PM | Riddell Hall at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg City, Manitoba, CA
Saturday Plenary for 2019 Annual Peace and Justice Studies Association Conference | Hosted with Peace and Conflict Studies Association of Canada (PACS-Can) at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) & Menno Simons College (MSC) | October 4th-6th, 2019
About the Speakers:
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.
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.
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.
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.