TRU hosts female Indigenous storytellers for webinar series

The second webinar of the Rematriation of Indigenous Women series focuses on female Indigenous storytellers

Expert female indigenous filmmakers and storytellers will be the next speakers in TRU’s Rematriation of Indigenous Women series.

The four-part webinar series focuses on the Rematriation of Indigenous Women in Canada and how indigenous women play a vital role in their communities and home life.

Dr. Shelly Johnson is the Canada Research Chair in Indigenizing Higher Education and the Rematriation series facilitator at TRU. 

“There’s a movement across Canada currently looking at the rematriation and the role of women that has been negatively affected in our communities by colonization,” Johnson said. “The rematriation of programs, policies, and organizations is looking at the role of women, how to revitalize our leadership role in these types of events and in our communities across the country.”

When choosing to create the series, Johnson asked herself, “how do we help other people in post-secondary and outside of post-secondary know the work of these women and how it’s different from the role and the work of men?”

The Rematriation series aims to educate people on why Indigenous women are important in communities and how they are often sub-tuned.

“There’s such a lack of education … about the role of Indigenous women, traditionally and in contemporary times,” Johnson said. “The larger organizations that receive a lot of the federal funding are primarily male-headed.” She added that only 20 per cent of chief and council positions are held by women.

On Feb. 5, 2021, the upcoming webinar will focus on Indigenous women who are storytellers and filmmakers. There will be three speakers at the webinar, including Dr. Dorothy Christian, Dr. Jules Arita Koostachin, and Doreen Manuel.

Johnson said, “I approached Dorothy Christian, who is an Indigenous woman filmmaker who’s Secwepemc and she’s from Splatsin First Nation out by Enderby, but she works at Simon Fraser University in an Administration role.”

The second speaker is “Doreen Manuel who works at VIU, in North Vancouver, and she’s also a Secwepemc woman and Documentary filmmaker, and she runs the documentary department there.”

Johnson said that Christian and Manuel both recommended the last speaker, “Jules Koostachin who is from Attawapiskat First Nation in Ontario who is a highly celebrated Indigenous woman, a documentary filmmaker.”

“They’re going to be speaking to documentaries that they’ve made that run the gamut from pregnancy and stories about that through to menopause.”

The third webinar will take place on April 2, 2021, and will discuss the B.C. foster system and leadership in politics, health and philanthropy. The final webinar will take place on June 4, 2021, and is titled “returning the sacred to the Mother,” which will ask the nine previous speakers what topic the last webinar should surround.

Students are encouraged to participate in the webinar to help bring the Rematriation of Indigenous Women movement to the foreground.

“Students can do a lot. That was one of the reasons why we wanted to record all of the webinars, so they’re available to anyone on our website,” Johnson said. “It’s really important to think about how your particular organization highlights and calls attention to the issues that Indigenous women or Indigenous women students are bringing forward.”

The first webinar in the series took place in December and is available to watch on the TRU Education and Social Work section of TRU’s website under Indigenizing Higher Education. Anyone wishing to attend the filmmakers and storytellers webinar on Feb 5, 2021, from 1 – 2:30 p.m. can register here.

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