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Great Lakes Research Alliance
for the Study of Aboriginal Arts and Cultures

June 2022 Newsletter

Aanii!  She:kon!  Yiheh!  Welcome!  Bienvenue!

In this newsletter you will find news from, about, and of interest to GRASAC members and subscribers.

Stories in this issue:
  • Nations to Nations Publication
  • GKS Updates for GRASAC Members
  • Recognition of Research Assistants
  • Great Lakes Diplomacy through Cultural Heritage Panel
  • Support the Woodland Cultural Centre in the Great Canadian Giving Challenge
  • Art Canada Institute: The Making of a Masterpiece
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Nations to Nations Publication
by Taylor Gibson

Nations to Nations: Indigenous Voices at Library and Archives Canada is a new free interactive multimedia e-book featuring 28 essays and over 140 images. Indigenous staff at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) wrote the essays to offer personal interpretations of collection items such as journals, maps, artwork, photographs, publications and audiovisual recordings. This e-book provides unique perspectives of First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation, and it shows the diversity of the histories, languages and cultures of Indigenous peoples. Where possible, text or audio is provided in one of the following Indigenous languages and dialects. English and French are also available.

Nations to Nations: Indigenous Voices at Library and Archives Canada is free of charge and can be downloaded from Apple Books (iBooks format), or from Library and Archives Canada’s website (EPUB format). An online version can be viewed on a desktop, tablet or mobile web browser without requiring a plug-in.

Learn More Here

GKS Updates for GRASAC Members 
by Cara Krmpotich

GRASAC’s Knowledge Sharing System, what we all affectionately call the GKS, is 17 years old. It’s on the verge of adulthood! And with that comes change and a maturing. And if it’s true that it takes a village to raise a child, it is indeed taking a village to support the GKS through this change. 

GRASAC Co-Directors Heidi Bohaker and Cara Krmpotich are joined by Project Manager Bradley Clements, Web Design Consultant Richard Laurin, Drupal Developer Victor Tarcenco, IT Manager Priya Murugaiah and IT Director Sotira Chrisanthidis as we migrate the GKS from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9.  

Much more than a technical upgrade, this work builds on user focus groups led by Ricky Punzalan and his team of research assistants at the University of Michigan, and on-going dialogues with GRASAC members. We are working toward a GKS that provides greater public access to the rich knowledges, images, and language facilities within the database. Building on the interdisciplinarity and sense of responsibility for knowledge sharing that is at the core of GRASAC and the GKS, the upcoming GKS will continue to be a platform that seeks to model possibilities for living and working in alliance, and Indigenizing people’s understanding of the Great Lakes. 

One way we are doing this is by centring kinship and generational approaches in our work. Inspired by GRASACers methods of “visiting” when in collections, when people meet Great Lakes heritage items online in the GKS, we want them to be able to spend time with those items in what feels like a familiar space, with familiar language, and imagery they can be proud of. We want the records in the GKS to be places that nurture life and encourage good things to grow. We are working to centre on-going relations to the waters, lands, beings and seasons of the Great Lakes. And we are inspired by the enduring alliances of the Great Lakes, that span generations. 

The migration from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9, and its presentation through an updated interface, will take another year to complete. In the interim, a team of research assistants continues to update records, reconsidering how we describe heritage items, building up the connections between heritage items and language items, and considering how people are likely to search and browse for relatives within the GKS. 

Recognition of Research Assistants
by Heidi Bohaker

With the end of another school year we end one work-study RA program and start another for the summer. During the 2022-2023 fall/winter term, Autumn Epple (PhD student, History, York University), Amelia Healey (MA student, History, U of T),  and Aidan Mitchell-Boudreau (3rd year Undergraduate, U of T) worked on record clean up in the GKS in preparation for the migration of our data to Drupal 9. Sheila Wheesk (MA student, History, U of T) and Lisa Owl (4th year Undergraduate, U of T) researched the use of Anishinaabemowin terms, to link heritage items with appropriate language items.  

Continuing on with us this summer are Amelia and Sheila, joined with returning RA Carlie Manners. The summer team will work on expanding the treaty resources on the main GRASAC page, and planning our next GRASAC gathering. Amelia is also assisting with the University of Aberdeen’s collections. Meanwhile, Aidan will be investigating existing and emerging standards of ethical protocols for the care of Indigenous digital data. She has received a prestigious Summer Undergraduate Fellowship in Critical Digital Humanities (supervised by Heidi) and she will use that to support her work with us. We look forward to her report in the late summer!

Nia:wen, miigwech to our amazing Research Assistants who contribute so much to this project.

More About GRASAC RAs Here
GRASAC Panel at the Cultures of Indigenous Diplomacy Conference
Great Lakes Diplomacy through Cultural Heritage Panel
by Bradley Clements

Several GRASAC members and friends participated in the Cultures of Indigenous Diplomacy Conference on May 19th. This hybrid conference was hosted at the American Museum in Bath, UK, and organized by Treatied Spaces, a research group based at the University of Hull, UK. The conference took place in conjunction with Professor Celeste Pedri-Spade’s exciting exhibition Dress to Redress at the American Museum.

The conference opened with prayer, song, and teachings from Rob Spade. This was followed by a cooking demonstration by Chef Rick Powless, a discussion of growing partnerships and health through Haudenosaunee plant cultivation with Ken Parker, a reflection on asunjigun (hunting caches) as a theory and practice of Anishinaabe cultural recuperation by Professor Damien Lee, and a presentation by Professor Dale Turner on the roles of Indigenous languages and spiritualities in challenging the terms of Canadian law. The GRASAC panel, titled “Great Lakes Diplomacy through Cultural Heritage,” was presented by Doctoral RAs Autumn Epple and Bradley Clements with responses from founding members Professors Alan Ojiig Corbiere and Heidi Bohaker. This was followed by a talk by Alex Jacobs-Blum, a Haudenosaunee and German artist, about reconnecting with her ancestral culture, land, and family through photography. The conference concluded with an engaging trans-Atlantic discussion between participants and audience members, virtually and in-person.

Stay tuned for a recording of the full conference, to be released in the coming month. In the meantime, the GRASAC panel recording is available to view on YouTube. Miigwetch, nia:wen, and thank you to all of the conference participants and organizers

Screenshot from the plenary session of the Cultures of Indigenous Diplomacy Conference 

Screenshot from the plenary session of the Cultures of Indigenous Diplomacy Conference 

Support the Woodland Cultural Centre in the Great Canadian Giving Challenge
from Woodland Cultural Centre

Woodland Cultural Centre is excited to announce they are participating in the Great Canadian Giving Challenge in the hopes of winning the grand prize of $20,000 for the development of new curriculum-based outreach education programs. Funds raised will go to support schools in Six Nations of the Grand River, Wahta Mohawks, and Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte communities, as well as school boards, and Universities and Colleges.

Woodland Cultural Centre is honoured and grateful to announce the support of an anonymous matching donor, who will match the first $5,000 of your donations. 

This June, the Woodland Cultural Centre staff are thrilled to offer the chance for a classroom to win a free virtual tour or workshop! Every $1 donated to the Woodland Cultural Centre Great Canadian Giving Challenge donation page is an entry to win a virtual experience for a classroom from K-University/College. Enter to win this amazing opportunity for your classroom or to nominate a classroom you know.

One of the Woodland Cultural Centre’s strategic priorities is to advance life-long learning initiatives to continue the dialogue and understanding of Hodinohsho:ni culture, language, history and the arts.  The donations raised during the Great Canadian Giving Challenge will assist Woodland in developing more education programming that is integral to deepening the relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. – Janis Monture, Executive Director.

The Making of a Masterpiece
from Art Canada Institute

Tuesday, June 7, 2022, 7:00 p.m. (Lecture)
Koerner Hall, The Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto, Ontario
Kent Monkman’s epic 2019 two-painting commission for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Great Hall, mistikôsiwak (Wooden Boat People), was a historic moment, both for his career and for spotlighting Indigenous and Canadian art on the international stage. For the first time in a live interview the artist will reveal how he used the techniques of a modern atelier to create monumental paintings that boldly address North America’s legacy of colonialism while referencing, subverting, and critiquing Western art history.
Learn More
Miigwech, nia:wen, thank you, merci: we hope you have enjoyed these stories!
Copyright belongs to authors, artists, and photographers credited above.

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