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Taking Care of Our Land Symposium

gdo akiiminaan ganawendanaan - May 6-9, 2019

Theme This Year: Climate Change and the Four Elements

The symposium creates opportunities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars, as well as traditional knowledge keepers, to engage in dialogue about Indigenous thought while providing mentorship for students who are in the early stages of their engagement with research. It aspires to foster a supportive learning community inclusive of all participants. New this year, we are inviting communities to reserve a booth to showcase their land projects. Public and private organizations and craft vendors can also reserve a display table at the Symposium.

Registration will be closing on April 30, and discounted rooms at the Delta hotel are only available until April 10.


View the Symposium Program

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Symposium Slideshow

Participant registration is now closed. Entertainment only tickets are still available for purchase.

Unsettling Urgency with Traditional Knowledge: Indigenous Time, Land and Climate Justice 

Keynote speaker: Kyle Whyte

Climate change activism and scientific assessments often emphasizes that humans must grasp the urgency of taking swift and decisive actions to address an environmental crisis. Yet many such conceptions of urgency obscure the factors that Indigenous peoples have called out as the most pressing concerns about climate justice. This obfuscation explains, in part, why climate change advocacy remains largely unrelated to Indigenous efforts to achieve justice and engage in decolonial actions. I will show why a politics of urgency can be based in assumptions about the relationship among time (temporality) and environmental change that are antithetical to allyship with Indigenous peoples. I will contrast the time of urgency with some Indigenous traditions of time that center moral qualities of kinship relationships, such as consent, trust and reciprocity, and suggest that such Indigenous traditions articulate crucial conditions for climate and environmental justice, moving forward.


Introducing Yellowhead Institute: Research for our Relations

Keynote speaker: Hayden King

Launching in June 2018, Yellowhead Institute is the first First Nation-led national think-tank and university research centre in Canada. With the aim of supporting First Nations in their pursuit of self-determination, Yellowhead’s emerging research model is community grounded and committed to supporting the expansion of First Nation jurisdiction. While Yellowhead’s analysis on federal, provincial, territorial law and policy comprises a significant element of the organization’s approach, the first annual “Red Paper” (launching in June 2019) considers First Nation strategies to assert responsibilities to the land and waters, from consent protocols and environmental monitoring to blockades. Much of this work is obligation-based, undertaken in the service of our non-human relations and to ensure enduring rights of future generations. In this presentation, Dr. King will introduce Yellowhead Institute, elaborates on the Yellowhead research model, and offer an early overview of Yellowhead’s first Red Paper.

  • Carly Armstrong, Director of Education and Training, National Aboriginal Lands Managers Association (NALMA)
  • Nairne Cameron, Associate Professor, Dept. of Geography & Geology, Algoma University
  • Rose Cameron, Associate Professor, Dept. of Social Work, Algoma University
  • Courtney Fiacconi, Honours Geography Student, Algoma University
  • Richard Fleming, Research Scientist, Great Lakes Forestry Centre
  • Cheryl Jamieson, Vice-President, Shingwauk Anishinaabe Students’ Association, Algoma University
  • Skip Jones, Elder, Garden River First Nation
  • Deborah McGregor, Associate Professor & Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Environmental Justice, Osgoode Hall Law School/York University
  • Allister Morrison, Indigenous Services Canada
  • William Osei, Professor, Dept. of Geography & Geology, Algoma University
  • Patricia Owl, Director of Lands and Economic Development, Batchewana First Nation
  • Jessica Pickett, Ontario Aboriginal Lands Association (OALA)
  • Clayton Ralph, MNDM
  • James Roach, National Aboriginal Lands Managers Association (NALMA)
  • Joe Tom Sayers, Director, Anishinaabe Initiatives Division, Algoma University
  • Judy Syrette, Elder
  • Chunhua Zhang, Associate Professor, Dept. of Geography & Geology, Algoma University

• Academics – faculty, students (undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral)

• Practitioners – economic development, land management, community planners, community engagement, land claim negotiators

• Non-governmental organizations – Indigenous lands, environment or economic development organizations

• Government departments (municipal, provincial, federal)

• Band Council members and Community members (youth, women, and elders)

• Anyone else who is interested in climate change

The Call for Presentation Proposals is now open (until Dec. 31, 2018). Please submit your proposal. Climate Change topics can be focussed on plans, policies, and/or actions. For topics apart from Climate Change, please associate your proposal with one of the Four Elements (Earth, Air, Fire, or Water).

Exhibitors Registration

  • Industry and Government (Federal, Provincial or Municipall):  $300 (1 exhibitor with meals and 1 booth provided)
  • Community:  $225 (1 exhibitor with meals and 1 booth provided)


Arts and Crafts Vendor Registration

Vendor Fee: 


Are you interested in being a vendor or exhibitor at this year’s symposium? To register, we’ve included a section for vendors and exhibitors on the main participant form. Enter your contact information and scroll down to view the exhibitor and vendor questions. Please skip the questions that do not apply to you.


Fill out my online form.

View the 2017 symposium program (PDF)

View the 2015 symposium program (PDF)




Presentations are listed alphabetically according to the last name of the presenter. An exact time schedule will be released in the next couple of weeks.

  • Lauren Bell, Invasive Species Centre, “Invasive Species of Algoma” (Workshop)
  • Laura Boisvert-Marsh, Great Lakes Forestry Centre, “Integrated Assessment of Canadian Forest
    Vulnerability to Climate Change” (Presentation)
  • Ryan Bullock, University of Winnipeg, “Indigenous business leaders’ perspectives on renewable
    (bio)energy: benefits, opportunities, risks, and barriers” (Poster)
  • Kerry Ann Charles, Cambium Aboriginal Inc., “Adaptation Planning within First Nations in Ontario”
  • Sue Chiblow and Deb McGregor, York University, “Decolonizing Anishinabek Inaakonigwin (law) and
    Gikendaaswin (knowledge) Research” (Presentation)
  • Robin Clark, Michigan Technological University; Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan; Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, “Gathering Giizhik on a Changing Landscape” (Presentation)
  • Tracey Cooke, Invasive Species Centre, “Invasive Species, Climate Change, and Community Action”
  • Pete Cott, Department of National Defence, “Environmental Clean-up of Abandoned Military Fuel
    Caches in the High Arctic” (Presentation)
  • Robert Croll, Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC), “A Tribal Adaptation Menu for Culturally Relevant Climate Adaptation Planning” (Presentation)
  • Eriel Deranger, Indigenous Climate Action (Keynote Presentation, Wednesday, May 8)
  • David Flood, Wahkòhtowin Development, “Toward Full Participation – Wahkohtowin” (Learning Circle)
  • Sheila Gruner, Algoma University, “Land Rights and Governance in the Context of Land Use and
    Development Policy” (Presentation)
  • Don Jackson, “Shingwauk’s Teaching Wigwam: Crucible for Cross-Cultural Synthesis” (Presentation at
    Algoma University)
  • Hayden King, Ryerson University (Keynote Presentation, Thursday, May 9)
    Shauna Lapatak, Atikameksheng Anishinabek, “Developing Indigenous Environmental Keepers” (Panel)
    Kathy-Lynn Morrish and Brad Cole, Zhashagi/Blue Heron Environmental (Workshop)
  • Wayne Penno, Stantec Consulting Ltd and Stan Kapashesit, Moose Cree First Nation, “Assessing Climate
  • Change Impacts on Community Infrastructure and Developing a Community-Based Adaptation Plan” (Workshop)
  • Raymond Ruhaak, University of Liverpool, England, “The Development of the European Knowledge
  • Economy and Systems and Institutions of Early Globalisation and Landscape Change” (Presentation)
  • Linda Savory Gordon, NORDIK/Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains/Northeastern Ontario Rail Network, “The Iron Horse Travels Lightly on the Land” (Mi’kmaq VIA Rail Employee) (Presentation)
  • Dorothee Schreiber, “Bringing ecology back in: a panel discussion with the TEK Elders” (Panel)
  • Deondre Smiles, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Geography, The Ohio State University, “Niwiidosemaa Aanikoobijiganag-Walking with Ancestors: Anishinaabe Bodies in the Settler Colonial State” (Presentation)
  • Isabell Souliere, Missinabie Cree & Mushkegowuk Council, “Environmental Steward Monitoring on Climate Change Impacts & Adaptations” (Presentation)
  • Paulette Steeves, Algoma University, “Caring for Relations on the Land: Respect and Reciprocity in Handling Artifacts” (Presentation)
  • Kyle Powys Whyte, Michigan State University (Keynote Presentation, Tuesday, May 7)
  • James Wilkes and Ian Attridge, Trent University, “Toward the Land’s Return” (Panel)

Download List of Presenters PDF 

Download this year’s symposium poster (PDF)

*Please note that presentation content represents the views of the author




  • Gathering Giizhik on a Changing Landscape, Robin Clark, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa, Ph.D. Student, School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, Michigan Technological University (presented Wednesday, May 8)




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Algoma University has been given a very special mission, one that connects to its place on this historical site.

Algoma University is committed to being a welcoming, inclusive, safe, and respectful learning community; one that values the opportunities to learn from and with students, staff and visitors from all parts of the world. This is what makes Algoma University such a special place.