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INSPIRING EDUCATION | oise.utoronto.ca
Indigenous Education Network

SMIGS 2018 Keynote Speakers:

Dr. Rob Innes (University of Saskatchewan)

A photo of Rob Innes

“What the Hell is That?”: The Process of Becoming a ‘Mentor’ to Indigenous Graduate Students

Like many Indigenous people, I nor anyone in my family, or anyone I knew graduated high school.  Nonetheless, when I was 28 years old I enrolled in the Transitional Year Programme at University of Toronto. Like other Indigenous students I wanted to do well in school to make a difference of some sort to our communities. Though I had the desire, as a mature student I hadn’t acquired the necessary skills required to be successful in university. Nor did I know people who could assist me to navigate through the academic terrain. However, as an undergrad at the University of Toronto and then as a graduate student at the University of Saskatchewan and University of Arizona, I was fortunate to have interacted with many mentors who showed me how to be a student and eventually to be an academic. I was not supposed to be an academic. Yet, 11 years after obtaining my PhD and securing a faculty position, here I am. My transformation from a teenage high school dropout to a professor who supervises and mentors Indigenous graduate students was a process that has taken over 30 years – and still counting. The way in which I approach graduate students is informed by my personal and academic experiences and on the belief that one of my jobs as a supervisor and mentor is to provide the same kind of support I was given. This presentation will outline my transformation highlighting some of my experiences that shaped my approach, which is rooted in the confidence I have of Indigenous students’ abilities to be successful and make meaningful contributions to their communities.

Dr. Robert Alexander Innes is a member of Cowessess First Nation and an associate professor in the department of Indigenous Studies at the University of Saskatchewan.  He is the author of Elder Brother and the Law of the People: Contemporary Kinship and Cowessess First Nations (University of Manitoba Press, 2013) and the co-editor of Indigenous Men and Masculinities: Legacies, Identities, Regeneration (co-edited with Kim Anderson, University of Manitoba Press, 2015). He has published in the American Indian Quarterly, American Indian Culture and Research, Oral History Forum, Aboriginal Policy Studies, and has co-edited with Winona Wheeler a special issue of the Engaged Scholars Journal on Indigenous community engagement.

Dr. Zoe Todd (Carleton University)

a photo of Zoe Todd

"Tending tenderness and disrupting the myth of academic rock stars - mentoring students beyond the capitalist colonial euro-american academic model"

This talk will explore methods and approaches for disrupting the colonial and capitalist precepts of individual academic achievement by fostering anti-racist, collaborative, co-conspiratorial approaches to mentoring and supporting students in academia in Canada. Reflecting on my own experiences as a graduate student in the UK, and the work of myself and my colleagues in teaching and mentoring Indigenous students in Canadian academe, I will examine ways that we can collectively disrupt the violent tendencies of academia and homo academicus (Bourdieu 1988). I offer instead a reciprocal and collective approach for supporting students, peers, and colleagues as we build a local manifestation of Achille Mbembe's (2015) pluriversity.

Dr. Zoe S. Todd is Métis/otipemisiw from amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton), Alberta, Canada. She writes about fish, art, Métis legal traditions, the Anthropocene, extinction, and decolonization in urban and prairie contexts. She also studies human-animal relations, colonialism and environmental change in north/western Canada. She holds a BSc (Biological Sciences) and MSc (Rural Sociology) from the University of Alberta and a PhD (Social Anthropology) from Aberdeen University. She is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University. She was a 2011 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar.


Dr. Stephanie Waterman (OISE, University of Toronto)

A Photo of Stephanie Waterman

"Students are people, too: Supporting students by honoring the person"

My experience as an Indigenous student in non-Native University settings without Indigenous classmates nor faculty informs how I support students now as a faculty member. The western academy pushes and rushes us. Faculty and administrators are under serious time constraints that inhibit relationship-building and care. Settler colonial constructs of time, distance/objectivity, and academic pipelines de-humanize students. External stereotypes and uncontested master narratives can inhibit student support. Indigenous faculty and students push back against these forces to earn their degrees. In this talk, I share how I treat students as people, in a good way.

Dr. Stephanie J. Waterman, Onondaga, Turtle Clan, is an Associate Professor at OISE, the University of Toronto and coordinates the Student Development/Student Services in Higher Education program. Before moving to Tkaronto she was a faculty member at the Warner Graduate School. She is a cisgendered female, faculty member in student affairs, mother, grandmother, auntie, and sister. Her research interests are First Nations/Native American college experiences, First Nations/Native American Student Affairs units, the role staff play in student retention, Indigenous methodologies/ pedagogy, college transition, and critical race theories. She is a co-editor of Beyond the Asterisk: Understanding Native Students in Higher Education, (Stylus) with Dr. Heather J. Shotton and Shelly C. Lowe published in 2013, and Beyond College Access: Indigenizing Programs for Student Success expected in March 2018.