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

February 2022 Newsletter

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

Welcome to GRASAC's first newsletter of the new year!  In this issue's stories we look forward to developments and opportunities in GRASAC and beyond for 2022.

Stories in this issue:
  • Looking to 2022
  • Help Improve the GKS
  • “Indigenous Voices of Today: Knowledge, Trauma, Resilience” at the McCord Museum
  • American Philosophical Society Library & Museum 2022-2023 Short-Term Fellowships and Grants for Indigenous Research
  • Mother Tongue Film Festival
  • Nations by Artists Podcast Release
  • Recognition and Access: Indigenous Curatorial Practice
  • Indigenous Data Sovereignty Workshop
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Looking to 2022
by Bradley Clements

GRASAC is doing exciting things in 2022! Projects that got underway in 2021 will continue to be developed, many with the aim of completion in the coming year.

The GRASAC Knowledge Sharing System (GKS) is transitioning to an updated platform as the existing one is phased out. The shift allows GRASAC to further the goals of making the GKS publicly accessible, and establishing an experience where "Indigenous users ... feel like they are reading about a relative when they meet a heritage item online," as Cara Krmpotich wrote last August. Although future, more substantial improvements to the GKS are anticipated, this year’s work will position the GKS well to continue to evolve. More on this, and how you can contribute, below.

I will be assisting with GKS project management over the coming year. In the meantime, we are delighted to welcome back Shenella Charles to take my place in administering the GRASAC newsletter and other communications. Shenella is a PhD candidate in the University of Toronto Department of History and has worked with GRASAC since 2016 as a coordinator, steering committee member, and research assistant. Thank you Shenella for taking on this role!

The new Mobile Community Research Kits are being used in pilot projects, as described in GRASAC's last newsletter. Soon, forms to request kits will become public on In the meantime, you can request kits by contacting

As always, GRASAC will work to keep you up to date on these and other developments through this newsletter. Also as always, we are excited to share news about your 2022 projects! Please share any stories that you would like to include in future newsletters here.

Best wishes to you and your relations for the coming year.

Help Improve the GKS
by Richard Laurin

Bonjour, Hello, Tansi, Aniin, She:kon,

In August 2021, Dr Cara Krmpotich wrote a post briefly outlining the current push to transform the GKS database into a more public-focused and inviting space to introduce the incredible knowledge and heritage items hosted on our digital platform.

These future upgrades will be developed gradually through an iterative process that requires regular testing. This is where we hope we can count on the GRASAC community to help us! We will need individuals who are willing to visit the site and provide feedback on their experience with the upgrades. Your participation can be catered to your interests and the amount to time you are able and willing to give to the project. For example, we will need people who are interested in testing things as simple as navigating from one section of the site to another and feedback on the 'look and feel' of the site. More advanced testing will focus on the search function, new interactive features, keyboard navigation and screen reader behaviour. If any of this sounds interesting to you (and I hope it does), please fill out our 'GKS tester' form and we will reach out shortly with more details on how you can help with this important work.

Website Upgrade Goals: Accessible, Intuitive and Inviting

The next generation of the GKS/GRASAC website aims to be a more accessible and intuitive website that can showcases the GKS heritage items in more compelling and diverse ways. Accessibility in this scenario represents upgrading the way the website responds to keyboard navigation, screen reader software and other components that are part of incorporating accessibility best practices into the site. For most sighted users, understanding a texts like a list, form, or menu  is facilitated by visual cues. We will be reviewing the site for proper html element ‘tags’ so that screen reader software can properly identify these distinctions and label how the text is structured. These improvements will allow more visitors an equitable experience of the site by allowing screen reader users to make specific actions which greatly reduce the time spent searching for information.

Another important redevelopment goal is to make the site more intuitive.  We plan to rethink how the site behaves based on who we hope will use it. To do so, we will need to make adjustments to how content is accessed and displayed. One of the strategies we are looking into is creating a new set of user 'types' that will allow the site to know how to customize its options to best suit specific user needs. Ultimately providing us the opportunity to open a version of the site to the public, while retaining advanced tools and display options for GRASAC members. We hope that minimizing complexity for the casual visitor while delivering powerful tools to more advanced users will make the site a more engaging space for everyone.

Last but certainly not least, we expect the redevelopment of the GKS/GRASAC websites to be more inviting to Indigenous community partners, researchers as well as new visitors to the site. We are currently investigating ways we may integrate automated site design changes based on seasonal shifts, ideas around maps as a collection search tool, as well as finding a more seamless way of combining the GKS database with the GRASAC website. One of our driving redesign imperatives on thinking about the heritage items as relatives and asking ourselves: “if I was creating a website for family members, how would I want them to be showcased and presented to my colleagues, community members and the larger public?”

I look forward to working on these important site upgrades and I sincerely hope you are inspired to participate in this process in any way you can. If you have any questions, comments or concerns about any of this, feel free to reach out and send me an email at:

Participate Here
Cradleboard, Kanien’kehá:ka, 1890-1910. M10992 © McCord Museum

“Indigenous Voices of Today: Knowledge, Trauma, Resilience” at the McCord Museum
by Jonathan Lainey

The McCord Museum in Montreal recently launched its new permanent exhibition title “Indigenous Voices of Today: Knowledge, Trauma, Resilience”.

The hundreds of objects that are on display are combined with powerful inspiring stories from members of the 11 Indigenous nations of Quebec, shedding light on their knowledge and philosophies. They speak out about their suffering as well as their dreams and plans for a better future to help restore their health, which has been undermined by colonization.
The objects on display include a wampum belt, pipe, bandolier bag, roach, cradle-board, trade silver, jewels, drums, tools and an extremely rare original copy of the Royal Proclamation of 1763. They were carefully selected from the Museum’s Indigenous collection by the Innu Jean St-Onge, of the Maison de la transmission de la culture innue Shaputuan, in Uashat (Qc), using an approach inspired by Indigenous ways of understanding the world through observation and allowing the objects to speak to him.
Fully beaded bandolier bag featuring colourful floral designs on a white background
Bandolier bag, Anishinaabe, 1865-1880. Gift of the Estate of Marc and Gilberte Cinq-Mars, M2005.115.17 © McCord Museum
This exhibition was curated by Élisabeth Kaine, Huron-wendat, and Co-Holder of the UNESCO Chair at Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (Qc), titled “The Transmission of First Peoples’ Culture to Foster Well-Being and Empowerment”
The McCord Museum offers free admission to Indigenous Peoples – Inuit, Métis and First Nations.
Learn More Here
Image of Haa'yuups (Hupacasath) Research Fellow reading.

2016 APS Indigenous Research Fellow, Haa'yuups (Hupacasath), at the APS Library.

American Philosophical Society Library & Museum  
2022-2023 Short-Term Fellowships and Grants for Indigenous Research
By Brian Carpenter
The American Philosophical Society’s (APS) Library & Museum are offering a round of short-term fellowships and grants for 2022-2023 to support archival and related research on Indigenous-related topics, particularly those that are community-based or community-directed.
The APS Library & Museum is one of the largest archives in North America of materials relating to the languages, cultures, histories, and continuing presence of Indigenous peoples of the western hemisphere, particularly North America. Its Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR) assists people and communities seeking to access and utilize the collections.
For information on archival materials at the APS Library & Museum, see the Indigenous Subject Guide and contact the Curator of Indigenous Materials, Brian Carpenter (
For inquiries regarding these grants and fellowships, please contact Adrianna Link ( 

People may apply to more than one fellowship, but must submit a different application for each position (unless otherwise noted). Successful applicants who apply for more than one fellowship will only receive one fellowship award.
Residents of any country may apply.
Indigenous Community Research Fellowships
These fellowships support research by Indigenous community members, elders, teachers, etc., regardless of academic background, seeking to examine materials at the APS's Library & Museum in support of community-based priorities. Applicants may request up to $5,000. Deadline: March 4, 2022
Native American Scholars Initiative: Digital Knowledge Sharing Fellowships
(3rd listing down on page)
These fellowships support people working on digital projects that connect archives and Indigenous communities. They are open to people at whatever stage of their careers, regardless of academic background. Stipends are $3,000 plus the costs associated with visiting the APS for the summer workshop with other DKS fellows. Deadline: March 4, 2022
Short-Term Resident Research Fellowships
These funding opportunities provide a stipend of $3,000 per month, awarded for 1-3 months, for researchers in residence and are open to scholars in all fields who show a demonstrated need to visit the Library & Museum’s collections for their project.  Deadline: March 4, 2022
Phillips Fund for Native American Research
The Phillips Fund provides grants for research in Native American linguistics, ethnohistory, and the history of studies of Native Americans, in the continental United States and Canada. Applications are accepted from PhDs and from graduate students. Average award is $3,000, with a maximum of $3,500. Deadline: March 1, 2022
Banner image with text reading: "Mother Tongue Film Festival: I Ka Wā Ma Mua, I Ka Wā Ma Hope: Through the Past Is the Future. February 17 - March 4, 2022"
Mother Tongue Film Festival: I Ka Wā Ma Mua, I Ka Wā Ma Hope
from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

The Smithsonian’s Mother Tongue Film Festival celebrates cultural and linguistic diversity by showcasing films and filmmakers from around the world, highlighting the crucial role languages play in our daily lives. Since 2016, the annual festival has celebrated International Mother Language Day on February 21. The seventh annual festival offers acclaimed feature films, short films, and other forms of digital storytelling, including roundtable discussions with filmmakers, scholars, and Smithsonian staff.

With the 2022 Mother Tongue Film Festival, we reflect on the legacies of our ancestors, whether they are manifested in the words we speak, songs we sing, land and sea we continue to use, documents we read, or the audiovisual recordings we watch. While acknowledging the burdens of the past, we focus on its gifts and its lessons to help us to build more equitable futures.

When: February 17 - March 4, 2022
Where: Online
Learn More
Banner image with text saying "Nations Artists"
Nations by Artists Podcast Release+Listening Party
Presented in conjunction with the exhibition 
Nations by Artists
from Art Museum at the University of Toronto

Join us for an online listening party celebrating the release of the Nations by Artists podcast series! The four-episode podcast invites artists, activists, and scholars to deliver a state of the nation on nations, interrogating ideas of nationhood, borders, power, and dissent. At this listening party, we’ll livestream the first episode, Monuments, followed by a live Q&A with hosts and exhibition curators Mikinaak Migwans and Sarah Robayo Sheridan.

Episode 1: Monuments explores the different ways that nations are both officially symbolized and contested, whether through monuments, flags, passports or federal parks. Hosts Mikinaak Migwans and Sarah Robayo Sheridan talk to artists, collectives, and activists IRWINWill KwanShawna Dempsey & Lorri Millan, and Life of a Craphead. Together, they follow an equestrian monument as it floats down a river, explore a collection of flags made entirely of press images of flags burning, meet with two rangers from the Lesbian National Parks and Services, and pass through an unusual passport office regulating citizenship in a nation based not on geographic boundaries but on a state in time.

The Nations by Artists podcast is produced by Aliya Pabani and hosted by exhibition curators Mikinaak Migwans and Sarah Robayo Sheridan.

When: Wednesday, February 2, 2022, 6:30pm–7:30pm EDT
Where: Online
Register Here
Banner image with information about an event
Recognition and Access: Indigenous Curatorial Practice
from Archive/Counter-Archive

Join us for another online iteration of the Archive/Counter-Archive Working Papers Series, which brings together PhD students from different Universities to hear about exciting doctoral research in the area of archival studies. Our next speaker is Linda Grussani, who is a doctoral candidate in the Cultural Studies program at Queen’s University. Linda’s talk will be followed by a Q&A with the audience, moderated by our student organizers, Emily Barton and Elisa Arca Jarque.

Linda Grussani (Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg/Italian ancestry) is a curator and art historian born and raised on unceded Anishinàbeg Akì in the Ottawa area. Grussani has spent over two decades working to change the colonial structure from within by advancing the presence and representation of Indigenous ancestral and cultural belongings in settler-colonial cultural structures of the Canadian-nation state imposed on Anishinàbe Akì. This presentation will discuss recommendations, policies, and methodologies that have influenced institutional access to the traces of our Indigenous histories in museums collections and galleries.

When: Tuesday, February 15, 2022, 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM EST
Where: Online


Learn More and Register Here
Banner image with information about an event
Indigenous Data Sovereignty Workshop
from University of British Columbia

Indigenous data sovereignty is the principle that Indigenous peoples have the right to ownership and access of their data no matter where it is stored or who claims ownership of the information. Yet, due to issues with Canadian copyright and power imbalances in cultural heritage institutions, many Indigenous peoples are denied the right to both protect and access their own data. This session explores through the use of Cree principles and laws wahkohtowin, miyo-wîcêhtowin, and keeoukaywin, how we can begin to interact differently with data and learn to kisâkihitin data.

When: Wednesday, February 16, 2022, 12:30pm - 1:15pm
Where: Online

Learn More
Miigwech, nia:wen, thank you, merci: we hope you have enjoyed these stories!
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GRASAC · 140 St. George St. · Toronto, On M5S 3G6 · Canada

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