"Land as Pedagogy" : an intimate story-telling experience

 

Thursday, January 31, 2019

On the evening of Friday, January 18th, the Faculty & Curriculum Development Centre (FCDC) proudly hosted renowned Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar, writer and artist Leanne Betasamosake Simpson who has been widely recognized as one of the most compelling Indigenous voices of her generation. Simpson, who is a member of Alderville First Nation, came to OCAD U to present a talk on “Land as Pedagogy,” followed by a question and answer period with students, faculty and staff in attendance.

Over 250 people filled the OCAD U auditorium, and listened intently as Simpson transformed the space into an intimate story-telling experience. Simpson’s work is known to break open the intersections between politics, story and song—bringing audiences into a rich and layered world of sound, light, and sovereign creativity. Simpson’s talk Friday evening did just that. Audience members cheered as Simpson dropped, in her words, “truth bombs” amidst her animated re-telling of three adaptations of a Nishnaabeg story about maple sugar.  

FCDC’s Nadia McLaren opened the event with a land acknowledgement and shared “I wish to also acknowledge there is still much work needed to be done to uncover the history and original names of this Land. I stand here, grateful for the wisdom of all who came before me, keeping in heart and mind our relations from the North – Giiwedinong, East – Waabanong, South – Zhaawanong and from the West – Ningaabi’anong.”

The evening culminated with a mesmerizing screening of Biidaaban (The Dawn Comes), a 19-minute stop-motion animation film, inspired by the poetic words of Leanne Simpson and directed by Vancouver based filmmaker, Amanda Strong. The short film, which made its screen debut at TIFF 2018, tells the story of Biidaaban, a non-binary character, who is accompanied by a 10,000-year-old shapeshifter and guide known as Sabe. Together they set out on a mission to reclaim the ceremonial harvesting of sap from maple trees.

All three stories shared by Simpson during the evening centered around this harvesting of sap from trees (something that Indigenous people have done since time immemorial) and all three centered Indigenous knowledges and relationships to land; a reclamation of land as pedagogy.

In an effort to facilitate respectful knowledge engagement and build meaningful and lasting relationships, Simpson’s lecture was part of a series of public education events being organized by the FCDC during the 2018-19 academic year to foster important and necessary dialogue across the university and support its goals around Indigenous curriculum development. The next event in the series is a screening of Muffins for Granny 

 

 

 

Auditorium, people looking at a projection
Screening of Biidaaban, photo by Arash Safavi

Shot of the audience, including President Sara Diamond
Audience, photo by Arash Safavi

People looking at a film projection
Screening of Biidaaban, photo by Arash Safavi

Dr. Caroline Langill, photo by Martin Iskander
OCAD University has appointed Dr. Caroline Langill as Vice-President, Academic & Provost, effective April 1, 2019. Reporting to and working closely with the President and Vice-Chancellor as a member of the executive team, Langill is responsible for the overall academic enterprise of the university, including academic planning and the ongoing implementation of the university’s Academic Plan.
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Suzanne Simoni, a fourth year student in OCAD University’s Sculpture/Installation program, is the winner of the 2019 First Capital Realty Public Art Competition.
As part of our mission to change the culture of waste in our department Drawing and Painting now have an upcycling DRPT RE-USE DEPOT.  Items can be dropped at the RE-USE DEPOT for all to use for free!
In 2019, in coincidence with the 49th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Italy, in order to ignite different coloured sparks between the Eastern and Western cultures, the Suzhou Tiger Hill Management Office hosted  the International Invitational Poster Exhibition: Two Leaning Towers as a joint contribution to creating an urban culture between China and Italy.
This afternoon, March 19, the Ontario Government released a summary of data collected from the Student Voices on Sexual Violence survey.
Group photo - student leaders; photo by Mathisan Paramanathan.
Student leaders from across the university community were honoured for their contributions as peer mentors, student groups leaders and for leadership excellence in diversity and equity, as student employees, and as Indigenous student leaders.
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It is a joint effort between FoD and FoA for the 2019 Scotiabank Contact Festival. Posters have been placed around campus, but it would be great if faculty could advertise to their students. Submissions are for students only.
Woman at a podium facing an audience
Thursday, January 31, 2019

On the evening of Friday, January 18th, the Faculty & Curriculum Development Centre (FCDC) proudly hosted renowned Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar, writer and artist Leanne Betasamosake Simpson who has been widely recognized as one of the most compelling Indigenous voices of her generation. Simpson, who is a member of Alderville First Nation, came to OCAD U to present a talk on “Land as Pedagogy,” followed by a question and answer period with students, faculty and staff in attendance.

Over 250 people filled the OCAD U auditorium, and listened intently as Simpson transformed the space into an intimate story-telling experience. Simpson’s work is known to break open the intersections between politics, story and song—bringing audiences into a rich and layered world of sound, light, and sovereign creativity. Simpson’s talk Friday evening did just that. Audience members cheered as Simpson dropped, in her words, “truth bombs” amidst her animated re-telling of three adaptations of a Nishnaabeg story about maple sugar.  

FCDC’s Nadia McLaren opened the event with a land acknowledgement and shared “I wish to also acknowledge there is still much work needed to be done to uncover the history and original names of this Land. I stand here, grateful for the wisdom of all who came before me, keeping in heart and mind our relations from the North – Giiwedinong, East – Waabanong, South – Zhaawanong and from the West – Ningaabi’anong.”

The evening culminated with a mesmerizing screening of Biidaaban (The Dawn Comes), a 19-minute stop-motion animation film, inspired by the poetic words of Leanne Simpson and directed by Vancouver based filmmaker, Amanda Strong. The short film, which made its screen debut at TIFF 2018, tells the story of Biidaaban, a non-binary character, who is accompanied by a 10,000-year-old shapeshifter and guide known as Sabe. Together they set out on a mission to reclaim the ceremonial harvesting of sap from maple trees.

All three stories shared by Simpson during the evening centered around this harvesting of sap from trees (something that Indigenous people have done since time immemorial) and all three centered Indigenous knowledges and relationships to land; a reclamation of land as pedagogy.

In an effort to facilitate respectful knowledge engagement and build meaningful and lasting relationships, Simpson’s lecture was part of a series of public education events being organized by the FCDC during the 2018-19 academic year to foster important and necessary dialogue across the university and support its goals around Indigenous curriculum development. The next event in the series is a screening of Muffins for Granny 

 

 

 

Poster: 
Auditorium, people looking at a projection
Shot of the audience, including President Sara Diamond
People looking at a film projection