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Indigenous Education Network

Dr. Martin Cannon, PhD


Photo of Dr. Martin Cannon

Martin Cannon is Associate Professor of Social Justice Education at OISE/UT and a member of the Oneida Nation of Six Nations at Grand River Territory. His research has focused on injustices related to Canada’s Indian Act and the colonial politics of state recognition; specifically, combined and interlocking histories of (hetero-) sexism and racialization. He is also concerned with educational strategies centered on settler-Indigenous relationships rejuvenation and nation-to-nation building; including reform-based, programmatic initiatives concerned with restitution and colonial reparations on Turtle Island. He co-edited a book with Dr Lina Sunseri (Oneida, University of Western Ontario by Oxford University Press entitled "Racism, Colonialism, and Indigeneity in Canada.”

Courses: I teach two graduate seminars that I researched, developed, and had regularized since my appointment at OISE in 2007. They are: SES 1930: Race, Indigenous Citizenship, and Self-Determination: Decolonizing Perspectives and SES 1931: Centering Settler-Indigenous Solidarity in Theory and Research. Each year, I also teach two sections of “EDU 3508: School and Society”, the mandatory “diversity education component” of the Initial Teacher Education program at OISE/UT.

Research: I have a very active program of research involving the mobilization of theories of race and colonialism. I am currently collaborating with a group of twenty race scholars, community partners and filmmakers to develop film and new media projects. Our goal, as scholars, is to develop a set of published and visual resources on racism and colonialism to be mobilized for use in university, social services, and community-based settings. In 2012, we were awarded SSHRC funding for this project entitled Building and Mobilizing Knowledge on Race and Colonialism in Canada. I am formally a collaborator on this project.

Collectively, our work stands to both develop –and mobilize –the knowledge that is, and has been, produced regarding racism, colonialism and Indigeneity in Canada. I am responsible for researching and developing resources related to the “educational chapter” of this project. The “educational chapter” is responsible for the development and production of a new film documenting the history of colonialism and education in Canada, including the history of residential schools. The work we are doing will change the conversation that is had about settler colonialism and education in Canada. I am committed to producing scholarly publications related to this project.

Record of Funding Application: I have a very active program of research. The following are some examples of funded research that I have been engaged in:

1. Changing the Subject in Teacher Education: Indigenous, Diasporic, and Settler Colonial Relations. The goal of this research is to discuss the development of curricula and pedagogy aimed at colonial reparations, settler-Indigenous relationships building and rejuvenation, and the transformation and invigoration of teacher education programming with a focus on “alliances building”. The Canadian Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences solicited me to provide a short reflective piece about my ideas related to this project in May 2011. A full-length version of this piece will appear in the peer-reviewed journal Cultural and Pedagogical Inquiry in 2013.

2. Undoing Citizenship Injustice: Discourses of Belonging and Indigeneity in Canada. This is an ongoing research program focused on the experience of Indigenous peoples whose lives have been impacted by Canada’s Indian Act. The objective is to address and shed light on the research question: how are Indigenous peoples and political organizations traversing, rejuvenating and/or providing new ways of conceiving of identity, belonging and nationhood outside of colonial-based definitions? The project is intent on mapping contemporary political resurgences and mobilization effected by legal inequalities, illuminative of the ways in which Indigeneity is being understood, maintained, and reinvented in Canada.

3. Race, Belonging, and Indigeneity in Canada: An Analysis of Discrimination in the Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act (2010). In February 2011, I was awarded a SSHRC Institutional Grant to investigate residual discrimination in Canada’s Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act. Some of this research appears in a book I wrote for University of Toronto Press entitled Undoing Citizenship Injustice: Racialized Injustice, Sexism and Indigenous Peoples in Canada. The research is also presented in a forthcoming publication entitled Race Matters: Sexism, Indigenous Sovereignty, and McIvor v The Registrar. This paper was accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed journal Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, a special volume dedicated to Patricia Monture.

4. Centering Indigeneity in Citizenship Education. In February 2010, I was awarded a SSHRC Institutional Grant ($3,000) to develop an already established research partnership with the Union of Ontario Indians.  In this project, I investigated Ontario Secondary School curriculum guidelines, including The First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework (2007). I believe that more must be understood about the history of colonialism among everyday Canadians. Teachers are vitally important in this regard. I have identified resources available to educators, as well as a review of scholarly literatures, including policy documents aimed at citizenship education and curricular reform. Some of this research is presented in a forthcoming publication entitled “Changing the Subject in Teacher Education” which will appear in the journal Cultural and Pedagogical Inquiry.

5. Rebirthing Aboriginal Communities. This research explores the right of Indigenous peoples to be born in their own communities –and the sense of belonging and collective identity that this makes possible where birth, identity and wellness is concerned. This work is part of an ongoing research program that combines the thinking I have done in published work concerning histories of colonial displacement and matters involving the Indian Act with matters involving midwifery, childbirth, and territorial connectedness.

6. Rebirthing Aboriginal Communities: Wellness, Belonging and Childbirth in Northern Saskatchewan Now complete, this research gathered descriptions about midwifery, birth, and belonging in northern Saskatchewan. I am especially interested in matters involving birth, identity, belonging, and midwifery in northern and remote communities on Turtle Island.

7. Revisiting Histories of Gender-Based Exclusion and the New Politics of Indian Identity. Now complete, I was commissioned by the National Centre for First Nations Governance to write a paper in 2007. The paper is available online, and under the title noted, at: http://fngovernance.org/publications/research The paper explores the history of injustice surrounding the 1985 Indian Act amendments as these have attracted the attention of policy makers, Native women's organizations, and demographers who have predicted the legal assimilation of status Indians and Crown lands in Canada. The paper provides an important and significant backdrop to my current program of research concerning sexism and the Indian Act.

8. Revisiting Histories of Legal Assimilation in Indian Policy. Now complete, this research was funded by the Department of Indian and Northern Development (DIAND) in 2006. I spoke with 10 people about Canada’s Indian Act in this research project. Their views reflected a diversity of experiences based on age, gender, spirituality, knowledge, and political orientation. The interviews illuminated a preference by individuals to talk of identity in nation-specific terms. The interviews revealed that legal assimilation is being furthered by the inability of governments (deliberate or inadvertent) to transfer knowledge concerning legal inequalities to status Indian communities. The results of my research were published in a peer-reviewed article in August of 2007 entitled ‘Revisiting Histories of Legal Assimilation, Racialized Injustice, and the Future of Indian Status in Canada’ (in Jerry P. White, Erik Anderson, Wendy Cornet, and Dan Beavon (eds.) Aboriginal Policy Research: Moving Forward, Making a Difference, Volume V. Toronto: Thompson Educational Publishing, 2007).

9. Exploring the Opportunities and Challenges of Community-Based Health Research Advisory Boards. The Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre (IPHRC) funded this research through its Partnership/Network Development Grant program in September, 2005. The purpose of this grant was threefold: to establish a research advisory council consisting of academics and members of the Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) in Saskatchewan, to hold a workshop, and to establish an inventory of existing health research. Now complete, an advisory council was established in October 2005. The Honouring Our Elders Gathering took place in November 2005. The gathering brought together academics and community members, and a report was later produced for circulation to PAGC constituent communities.

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