2013 Indigenous Women's Symposium
Friday February 8, 2013
First People’s House of Learning - Trent University
1600 West Bank Drive
The Call Out:
In her 2000, article entitled, Godi’Nigoha: The Woman’s Mind and Seeing Through to the Land, Deb Doxtator shares her reflections about the Creation of the world offering that “in all versions of the Haudenosaunee Creation Story, the world began with an unsettled, restless, mind searching for a solution to some sort of unresolved problem.”
She goes on to say that, “this dissatisfied mind becomes the catalyst for a creative act.” That original woman who had fallen from the Skyworld, and who had been saved by Sky Beings and helped onto the back of the great turtle, took the dirt given to her by Water Beings and placed it beneath her feet and danced the Earth into existence. As she danced, creative energy flowed out from her womb and into the ground all around her. The Earth grew and grew. Since that time, women and the earth have been intimately connected. That creative energy continues to flow today between women and the Earth, maintaining the constant cycles of life on this planet.
Leanne Simpson’s critically acclaimed text, Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back, published in 2011 continues this important discussion arguing that we need to critically engage with Indigenous intellectual traditions as a mechanism to restore Anishinaabe consciousness. The text addresses the need for reconciliation between settler societies and Indigenous Nations but differs from many similar discussions because of its firm grounding in Anishinaabe culture and language.
Leanne contends that “reconciliation must be rooted in the political and cultural resurgence” and that we “need to renew family ties and relationships and restore our Indigenous intellectual traditions as peoples”. Like Deb Doxtator, Leanne’s work challenges us to reconnect to our specific cultural, spiritual, and linguistic contexts; restore our relationships with our homelands, and ground our resurgence in our original intellectual traditions.
This scholarship also speaks about a specific need to restore Indigenous women’s knowledges as a first step toward resurgence and the survival of Indigenous Nations into the future. Women and women’s knowledges are intricately tied to the Earth and are important for understanding the complexity of Indigenous intellectual traditions and Indigenous relationships with specific homelands.
The 2013 Indigenous Women’s Symposium is dedicated to that creative energy that is embedded in women and which is reflected in womens knowledges. As women we come from various nations and cultural traditions and backgrounds, some urban, some reserve, some rural, but we all have creative energy embedded in our consciousness and being that emanates from Creation itself. We work in a variety of jobs and professions, are sisters, aunties, mothers, grandmothers, and life long learners in a relationship with our mother the Earth.
As women we continue to dance on our turtles back and to use our mind’s as a catalyst for creative acts that facilitate the continuation of our families, communities and nations into the future as distinct peoples.
As a way to honour this creative energy, and support Indigenous women’s scholarship, the symposium committee has chosen Leanne’s text Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back as the featured book for the symposium. There is a link on the symposium page with more information about Leanne and the book. The book will be available for sale at the symposium.