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

September 2021 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:

  • Congratulations to Karl Hele on his Promotion to Full Professor
  • Orange Shirt Day 2021 Virtual Programing and Events, from the Woodland Cultural Centre
  • Ontario Treaty Educational Resources, from the Anishinabek Nation
  • Seeking Participants for Indigenous SNAC Edit-a-thon October 11-12, 2021, from the SNAC Project Team
  • Away From Home and Close to Home, from the Dennos Museum Center
  • Indigenous Arts Project Grants, from the Ontario Arts Council
  • Call for Indigenous Art and Other Creative Works, from Kitatipihitamak Mithwayan
  • Postdoc Vacancies: Pressing Matter - Ownership, Value and the Question of Colonial Heritage in Museums
    from the Research Center for Material Culture
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Portrait photo of Dr. Karl Hele
Image from Mount Allison University
Congratulations to Karl Hele on his Promotion to Full Professor

Karl S. Hele (PhD History McGill, 2003), member of Garden River First Nation, was promoted to the rank of full Professor at Mount Allison University on July 1, 2021, where he is also the current Davidson Chair in Canadian Studies.  Dr. Hele teaches Indigenous Studies, Canadian Studies, and History at Mount Allison University. He is a long-time GRASAC contributor.
Someone wearing an "Every Child Matters" t-shirt in front of a brick wall.
Image from the Woodland Cultural Center
Orange Shirt Day 2021 Virtual Programing and Events
from the Woodland Cultural Centre

Our team at Woodland Cultural Centre is working hard to organize virtual programming for all grades this year as well as the public at home. We are asking you to take 4 minutes to pre-register your class or organization, as our scheduling team has started booking for September, 2021.
Click Here to Pre-Register
Screenshot of the Anishinabek Nation Education Resources website
Ontario Treaty Educational Resources
from the Anishinabek Nation

As the new school-year starts up, teachers may be interested in this range of educational resources and lesson plans about treaty relationships in Ontario, developed by the Anishinabek Nation.
Access Here

Seeking Participants for Indigenous SNAC Edit-a-thon October 11-12, 2021
from the SNAC Project Team

Hello everyone!
We are seeking contributing editors and peer reviewers for an Indigenous SNAC (Social Networks and Archival Contexts) edit-a-thon being planned for the Fall of 2021. The edit-a-thon event will be held on October 11th and 12th as a celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.  This edit-a-thon aims to improve discovery of Indigenous archival material that has been dispersed to multiple repositories, and to begin exploring best practices around entities in SNAC for Indigenous, Native American, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, or First Nations individuals and Nations, as well as for colonial actors and institutions whose records hold relevance for Indigenous researchers. No prior experience participating in an edit-a-thon or working with the SNAC platform is required.
We invite archivists, librarians, and scholars/practitioners in related fields at any career stage to participate. We especially encourage MLIS students (and other graduate students) and early career professionals to participate!
We especially welcome, and have funding for, participants who identify as Indigenous, Native American, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, or First Nations (we have funding available to provide a $450 honorarium to up to 30 participants). Non-Indigenous participants with expertise in these areas are welcome to participate as editors or peer reviewers on a volunteer basis.
Time Commitment for the SNAC Edit-a-thon and Training Dates
We estimate that the time commitment will be around 17 hours over the Fall. This includes a 6-hour SNACSchool training over 2 days in August or September (see below), SNAC practice time, review of event protocols and resources, and participation on October 11th or 12th during the edit-a-thon event.

The edit-a-thon will be held Monday, October 11th and Tuesday, October 12th, 2021 (with the option to participate on either day). We ask that all participants who have not previously attended SNACSchool training participate in one of the two trainings prior to the edit-a-thon. There are two options, one in August and one in September are listed below. You are only required to attend one.

SNACSchool training dates are:

Option 1: Monday August 23rd and Tuesday August 24th (the training is over 2 days, each day at 1-4pm Eastern / 10am-1pm Pacific / 7am-10am Hawaiian)

Option 2: Wednesday September 22nd and Thursday September 23rd (the training is over 2 days, each day at 1-4pm Eastern / 10am-1pm Pacific / 7am-10am Hawaiian)

SNACSchool training is free, and just requires registration (which will be handled by the project team). Both the training and edit-a-thon can be done remotely.
What is SNAC

SNAC is a free, online resource that helps users discover biographical and historical information about persons, families, and organizations. The platform is designed to connect distributed archival records held at cultural institutions around the world. See the SNAC website for free training materials and other information about the SNAC cooperative
Goals of this Edit-a-thon

  1. Facilitate discovery of archival material that has been dispersed to multiple repositories, and connect related Indigenous, Native American, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, or First Nations people. 
  2. Create more and fuller records for Indigenous people and their histories, and utilize decolonizing methodologies to create more accurate records.
  3. Facilitate knowledge sharing of related archival material through a community effort.
  4. Develop recommendations, protocols, and best practices for SNAC to better represent and accurately describe Indigenous records.
  5. Community capacity-building through training more Indigenous editors of SNAC.
Basic Requirements of Participants
  • Access to a computer
  • Access to internet and ability to stream live video
  • Basic English fluency
  • Participation in SNACSchool training, including:
    • Access to major internet browsers (Firefox or Google Chrome)
    • Google-compatible email address for login (You may be asked to create one, if you do not have one)
  • Adhere to edit-a-thon code of conduct and protocols created by the project team

Sign Up!

To register for the event, fill out this participant registration by September 10. If you have any additional questions please feel free to reach out to Lydia Curliss at

Please feel free to share this call with anyone who would be interested in participating.

Thank you for your consideration!

- The Project Team
Project Team

The project is being collaboratively organized by Lydia Curliss (University of Maryland iSchool), Irene Gates (New School), Dina Herbert (NARA), Diana Marsh (University of Maryland iSchool), Katherine Meyers Satriano (Peabody Museum at Harvard), and Jerry Simmons (NARA), in partnership with an Indigenous Advisory Board comprised of Marge Bruchac (University of Pennsylvania), Stephen Curley (National Native American Boarding School Coalition), Taylor Gibson (Gāhsronih); Eric Hemenway (Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians), Keahiahi Long (University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa), and Melissa Stoner (University of California at Berkeley).

A group of Indigenous students drawing at easels. They are copying several classically-inspired plaster models and still life arrangements at the front of the room.
F. Johnston, Miss Forester’s art class at Carlisle Indian School, ca. 1901; photograph, variable size; Courtesy of Cumberland County Historical Society, Carlisle, PA.
Away From Home and Close to Home
from the Dennos Museum Center

These two exhibitions will be on view from September 1 - October 20, 2021, at the Dennos Museum Center on the campus of Northern Michigan College in Traverse City, MI.

Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Stories

Beginning in the 1870s, the US government attempted to educate and assimilate American Indians into “civilized” society by placing children—of all ages, from thousands of homes and hundreds of diverse tribes—in distant, residential boarding schools. Many were forcibly taken from their families and communities and stripped of all signs of “Indianness,” even forbidden to speak their own language amongst themselves. Up until the 1930s, students were trained for domestic work and trade in a highly regimented environment. Many children went years without familial contact, and these events had a lasting, generational impact.

Native Americans responded to the often tragic boarding school experience in complex and nuanced ways. Stories of student resistance, accommodation, creative resolve, devoted participation, escape, and faith in one’s self and heritage speak individually across eras. Some families, facing increasingly scarce resources due to land dispossession and a diminishing way of life at home, sent their children to boarding schools as a refuge from these realities. In the variety of reactions, Ojibwe historian Brenda Child finds that the “boarding school experience was carried out in public, but had an intensely private dimension.”

Unintended outcomes, such as a sense of “Pan Indianism” and support networks, grew and flourished on campuses, and advocates demanded reform. Boarding schools were designed to remake American Indians but it was American Indians who changed the schools. After graduation, some students became involved in tribal political office or the formation of civil rights and Native sovereignty organizations. The handful of federal boarding schools remaining today embrace Indigenous heritage, languages, traditions, and culture.

This exhibition explores off-reservation boarding schools in its kaleidoscope of voices. Visitors will explore compelling photographs, artwork, interviews, interactive timelines, and immersive environments, including classroom and dormitory settings. Objects such as a period barber chair and a young Seminole girl’s skirt, as well as reproduction elements poignantly illuminate first-person accounts. Stories of tragedy and familial love and friendships intersect. Experiences of gaining things useful and beautiful out of education, despite a formidable, fifty-year agenda that mostly maligned Native American capabilities, call us closer; each trial, each turning of power seeded in human survival, strengthening Indigenous identity.

This exhibition is made possible by NEH on the Road, a special initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities. It was adapted from the permanent exhibition, Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Stories, organized by The Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona.

Resources compiled by Eric Hemenway for the Holy Childhood Boarding School Exhibit can be found here.

Close up view of the top of a round box, quilled with undyed quills to form a geometric underwater panther design
Yvonne Walker Keshick, Underwater Panther. N.d., Birch bark, porcupine quills. Detail.
Close to Home: Contemporary Anishinaabek Artists

Close to Home: Contemporary Anishinaabek Artists is an exhibit of works from Anishinaabek artists in our region, supplemented by objects in the Dennos Museum Center’s collection. Artists include Kelly Church, Reneé Dillard, Jamie John, Yvonne Walker Keshick, and Jenna Wood. The exhibition represents current trends and connections to traditional practice by contemporary, working artists.
Ontario Arts Council / Conseil des arts de l'Ontario logo
Indigenous Arts Project Grants
from the Ontario Arts Council

The program supports Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, Inuit) artists to research, develop and create new work and engage with their communities, as well as opportunities for Indigenous organizations and communities to strengthen their relationships with the arts. There are three categories:

  • Individuals (maximum $15,000)
  • Ad hoc groups and collectives (maximum $20,000)
  • Organizations (maximum $25,000)

Grants help cover the costs of:

  • research and development that will lead to the creation of new work. Artistic research, exploration and experimentation, including workshops and residencies, are also eligible. All emerging, mid-career and established artists (including curators) working with all art forms are welcome to apply
  • creation and production of new work in any art form (film, video, visual arts, new media, cultural arts, dance, theatre, music, pottery, fiction, spoken word and storytelling, etc.). All emerging, mid-career and established artists working in all art forms are welcome to apply
  • presentations, exhibitions, publications and festivals in which the primary purpose of the project is the presentation, promotion and distribution of art made by Indigenous artists. Examples include exhibitions, individual and series presentations, publications, tours, festivals and innovative audience development projects
  • connections and partnerships that bring artists together through conferences, workshops, gatherings, delegations, exchanges or other activities that will foster artistic relationships, connections and partnerships that strengthen the Indigenous arts community
Deadline: September 15, 2021, 1 pm
Learn More and Apply
Text saying Kana Wain Ndida: Stories of Caring and Resilience During COVID-19
Call for Indigenous Art and Other Creative Works
from Kitatipithitamak Mithwayan

We at Kitatipithitamak Mithwayan would like to highlight a new and upcoming project called Kana Wain Ndida: Stories of Caring and Resilience during Covid-19.

While the pandemic has impacted us all in different ways, we continue to see how Indigenous communities have faced the COVID-19 pandemic with resilience and perseverance. The Kana Wain Ndida project is a celebration of the resilience Indigenous communities and individuals.

Learn More Here
Research Center for Material Culture logo
Postdoc Vacancies: Pressing Matter - Ownership, Value and the Question of Colonial Heritage in Museums
from the Research Center for Material Culture

The four-year research project “Pressing Matter - Ownership, Value and the Question of Colonial Heritage in Museums” is collaborative across five academic institutions and five Dutch museums, working together with national, and international partners from across the world. The project is situated in the Faculty of Humanities at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, led by Prof. Dr. Susan Legêne (Project Leader) and Prof. Dr. Wayne Modest (Programme Leader), and funded by the Dutch Research Agenda (NWA).

Pressing Matter responds to the growing contestation over what to do with the colonial heritage held in museums. This growing controversy reveals the need to account for the polarised positions of these debates, ranging from scholars, activists and community members championing the return of objects to correct historical wrongs, to those who contend that objects should be retained irrespective of circumstances of acquisition by museums in light of their (universal) cultural and scientific value. In the middle are advocates of more relational heritage practices, comprising dialogue and sharing in how objects are distributed. Pressing Matter has identified various approaches to this problem, and to the different categories of collections in collaborating museums that will be the starting points for research.

Researchers start from this shared research framework, while doing research for their own individual research output, including a PhD thesis. While developing their own views and insights, they commit themselves to the overall programme through collaborative multidisciplinary approaches, based in shared access to research findings and result based research. Pressing Matter has been developed within the context of the National Science Agenda of the Netherlands. A large team of PhD candidates, postdocs, provenance researchers, museum staff, and senior academics will be organized across 8 work packages, hosted in five different universities and collaboration with five museums and several societal stakeholders.

Learn More Here
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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