In June 2017, MA student Angie Tucker attended the annual meeting of Native American and Indigenous Studies Association in beautiful Vancouver, BC on the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.
Angie had this to say about her experience:
"2017’s annual NAISA conference (Native American and Indigenous Studies Association) was held at UBC June 22-24. In an environment where Indigenous topics are the central theme of the conference, I was able to submerge myself in contemporary Indigenous academia. The electric empowerment among the speakers and their audiences was evident and I felt able to speak from my heart in a vulnerable way - in words that I knew would be felt by many attendees to my panel, Rewriting Salish, Métis, and Mohican History chaired by Brian Klopotek, University of Oregon. I joined the panel with Angelique Tardivel, University of Saskatchewan, Rose Miron, University of Minnesota, and Adam Gaudry, University of Alberta. I spoke about the complexity and diversity of recognition within contemporary Métis bodies. As an ancestral Métis ally, I often have difficulty in recognizing self in both the political and academic definitions of ‘being’ Métis despite my connection to both Métis genealogy and an ancestral territory. What caused a generation of my family along with countless others to disassociate with being Métis?
In my paper, I argued that colonization created the need for culturally destructive adaptive strategies among many Métis families in the prairies. These strategies included silencing of ethnicity and the refusal of Métis connection, internalized oppression and the rejection of Indigenous groups. These refusals were neither spontaneous or natural rather a direct response to the unequal power relationships in society where Métis were not only critiqued for their ‘otherness’ but often subjected to assimilative actions by the State. Over time, these refusals have resulted in a group of Métis without connection to the languages, culture, and kinship that once informed their grandparents. This history has ultimately shaped the connections and interactions between the members of the Métis Nation and acts to further divide the group. Some of the attendees to the panel were able to relate to this topic, and one described how she held her breath during the paper, letting out a sigh of relief at the end knowing that she was not alone. These complexities are real, and felt among many Indigenous people; including many Non-Status urban Indigenous people who have lost their own connections over time. Following my panel, I was introduced to the Native Studies faculty from University of Alberta by Adam Gaudry, and further explained my Master’s project, Awana niyanaan?/Who are we?. This project further examines the role of community and land-base in the development and perpetuation of generational Métis culture and identity. NAISA will be held in Los Angeles, California in 2018, and I am looking forward to sharing my research with the many wonderful scholars at NAISA."
Congratulations on a great paper, Angie! And here's to many more years of wonderful experiences at NAISA!