So, apparently Lakehead University is situated on Métis territory…
by waaseyaa'sin Christine Sy
Sometime during binaakwe giizis, I learned over social media that Lakehead University was–and still is—advertising a job posting in which it states its Faculty is situated in Anishinaabe and Métis territory.
To my knowledge, Lakehead University is situated in Anishinaabeg territory, only. After conferring with others, who in turn conferred with their relations, we confirmed that none of us had ever heard of “Métis territory” in the area before. In light of this matter, while some continued researching this claim, I sent a query to the email indicated in the job posting asking what was meant by “Métis territory”. After receiving no response to a first and second email, I chatted with those in the know about university hierarchies about how to proceed in this silence. I sent a third email with no response. However, unexpectedly, a few days ago, Dean EagleWoman from the Faculty of Law at Lakehead University responded. Unfortunately, the questions I posed seeking clarification on the meaning of Métis territory were not answered with any clarity.
Today, in consultation with my relations, I responded to Dean EagleWoman and cc’d to Lakehead University’s Truth and Reconciliation Chair, Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux. Attached to this response was a letter that was written with care and feedback over the course of a few weeks by a few of us. We’ve written it in consideration of the latest information we have. Several people who are also concerned with this claim have also signed.
I want to say this: all the elements that make up Anishinaabe life include, in more modern times, resisting continual encroachment into Anishinaabeg life in ways that do not include our say-so. All the elements that make up Anishinaabe life also continue to inspire many of us to uphold who we are in accordance with our inaakonigewin–our laws–and our hearts, spirits, responsibilities, relations, and care for the past, present and future. This letter is just one of many expressions of this. Please read to become informed on how some Anishinaabeg are carrying ourselves out in Anishinaabe aki. We know we are a small reflection of the many who love aki and our Anishinaabe lives with all our relations. We know we are a small reflection of the many who are committed to ensuring something beautiful and life-affirming for our descendents. We hope this step will be utilized by institutions and people to consider how to live correctly when living in our home or, when having veered from that trail, how to come back to it correct.
Please click below to read, “Anishinaabe and Métis Territory”?: An Ice-Breaker:
nahaaw, mii sa iw.