Buffalo Hat Singer mesmorize attendees at the celebratory launch of the Indigenous Studies Program.
Kahnawake rapper Will E. Skandalz with Program chair, Allan Downey at the launch of the Indigenous Studies Program.
Montreal-based Pow-Wow group, Buffalo Hat Singer, at the Indigenous Studies Program launch.
Indigenous Studies presented a public screening of the acclaimed documentary, “The Pass System”, at Indigenous Awareness Week, 2016. 
 Alex Williams, Ellen Gabriel, Sandra-Lynn Kahsennano:ron Leclaire, and Orenda Boucher-Curotte discuss silenced Indigenous histories during Indigenous Awareness Week, 2016.

Past Events




February 21st, 2018: Books That Matter-"Indigenous Writes"

"Delgamuukw. Sixties Scoop. Bill C-31. Blood quantum. Appropriation. Two-Spirit. Tsilhqot’in. Pass and permit. Numbered Treaties. Terra nullius.” 

 Chelsea Vowel presented her national-bestseller Indigenous Writes, in which she opens an important dialogue about these (and more) concepts and the wider social beliefs associated with the relationship between Indigenous peoples and Canada.
Chelsea Vowel is Métis from manitow-sâkahikan (Lac Ste. Anne) Alberta, currently residing in amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton). She is a public intellectual, writer, and educator whose work intersects language, gender, Métis self-determination, and resurgence.

February 22nd, 2018: OTIPÊYIMISIW-ISKWÊWAK KIHCI-KÎSIKOHK: Métis in Space Liveshow

Molly Swain and Chelsea Vowel landed their spaceship at McGill for a live show of their podcast Métis in Space. They are "unapologetically Indigenous, unabashedly female & unblinkingly nerdy". Their podcast aims to review a sci-fi movie or television episode featuring Indigenous people, tropes and themes from a decolonial perspective. They screened an episode of a classic science fiction show gave some insightful commentary on the Indigenous tropes that came up in the plot.

Molly Swain is Métis from Calgary, living in amiskwaciwâskahikan and studying in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. She is a member of the Student Worker Action Group (SWAG), and tries to spread the joys of anarky wherever she goes. Her favourite science fiction is Star Trek: The Original Series, much to the chagrin of her family, who have resigned themselves to the fact that she's "a huge nerd." Follow her on Twitter @otipemsiw. 

Chelsea Vowel is Métis from the Plains Cree and Michif speaking community of Lac Ste. Anne, Alberta. Capable of transforming into a pigeon, but vaguely embarrassed to do so, she holds a BEd and an LLB and is developing Cree language curricula at the University of Alberta. Her favourite Science Fiction is all the movies yet to be adapted from Octavia Butler's work. Also, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Follow her on Twitter @apihtawikosisan and check out her blog.

Poster for Public Talk and Q&A with Veldon Coburn: Anti-Indigenous Racism and Justice in Saskatchewan: Challenges and Impediments to Reconciliation (art by Aylan Couchie, photo credit: Liz Cott)February 16th, 2018: Anti-Indigenous Racism and Justice in Saskatchewan: Challenges and Impediments to Reconciliation

Across the country, the Stanley trial verdict has been the subject of intense discussion which gave rise to protest, calls for solidarity, and demands for changes to the justice system. Hostile debate, racist behaviour, and mounting tensions surrounding the case have, as a result, exposed large cracks in Canada's projected image of progress towards reconciliation, casting doubt on the existence of improved relations between settlers and Indigenous communities.

In an effort to address the anti-Indigenous sentiment that has surfaced following the verdict, Professor Veldon Coburn will open his CANS 306: Issues in Native Studies class with a public talk followed by a Q&A session on justice & race in Saskatchewan. All members of the public are welcome to attend; however, as space is limited, we recommend sending an RSVP to misc.iecm [at] mcgill.ca. Seating will otherwise be given on a first-come, first-served basis.


Erica Violet Lee at McGill: The McGill Debating Union PresentsFebruary 7th, 2018: Erica Violet Lee's David A. Freedman Lecture 

The McGill Debating Union invited Erica Violet Lee as the David A. Freedman Speaker for 2018. Erica previewed some of her forthcoming work. Her lecture focused on respectability politics, indigenous resurgence, and pedagogy of introduction to Indigenous studies classes.

Erica Violet Lee is an Indigenous feminist, community organizer from Saskatoon, author of the blog Moontime Warrior, and currently a graduate student in Social Justice Education at University of Toronto.

Poster for Feb. 2, 2018 ISP event - Biopolitics and Beyond: New Directions in Indigenous Studies, lecture and panel discussionFebruary 2nd, 2018: Biopolitics and Beyond - New Directions in Indigenous Studies

From climate change, to pipeline protests and environmental justice movements, to conceptualizations of kinship with living and non-living beings, emerging scholarship from Indigenous Studies is broadening visions of how to live in the twenty-first century. This keynote lecture and panel discussion featured the work of scholars who are pushing the boundaries of science and technology studies.


Lecture: "Caretaking Relations, Not American Dreaming: #IdleNoMore, #BlackLivesMatter, and #NoDAPL"


Keynote Speaker: Dr. Kim TallBear, Associate Professor, Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta, and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience & Environment

Jennifer Brown
Rico Chenyek
Kristen Simmons

Moderated by Rosanna Dent, organizer.


Find more information about the speakers on the event page here.



November 17th, 2017: "Early French Tortuga, 1630-1665: The Native American Contribution"

This talk highlighted Dr. Arne Bialuschewski's most recent research on how the relationship between buccaneers and indigenous groups in the early French Tortuga has played a role in shaping the colonial world, both culturally and politically. 

Dr. Bialuschewski teaches Atlantic History at Trent University. He has published extensively on cross-cultural relations involving non-state actors such as pirates and slave traders in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. His latest published work, an Ethnohistory issue titled "Native American Slavery in the Seventeenth Century", sheds new light on the role of Native American slavery in the development of colonial economies.

Banner: "Two-Spirit Artists, Activism, and Healing", a presentation by Albert McLeodNovember 7th, 2017 : "Two-Spirit Artists, Activism, and Healing"

This was a presentation by Albert McLeod aimed to shed light upon the fundamentally different ways in which Indigenous—and, in particular, Ojibwe peoples—conceived their identities prior to European contact, and how these ways of being were impacted by colonial measures. It focused specifically on gender identities while also exploring the work of various Two-Spirit artists, McLeod recounted the history, journey, vision, and progress of the indigenous LGBTQ2+ rights movement.

Albert McLeod is a Status Indian with ancestry from Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation and the Metis community of Norway House in northern Manitoba. He has over thirty years of experience as a human rights activist and is one of the directors of the Two-Spirited People of Manitoba. Read more about his work on his website.


February 24th, 2017: "The Colonial Problem: An Indigenous Perspective on Crime and Injustice in Canada"

The Indigenous Studies program hosted a presentation and book launch with author and criminologist Lisa Monchalin.  Dr. Monchalin received a Doctorate in Criminology from the University of Ottawa in 2012 and is the first Indigenous woman in Canada to hold a Ph.D. in Criminology.


Dr. Monchalin recently published her first sole-authored book of the same name as her presentation published by the University of Toronto Press. She speaks nationally and internationally on her academic work in an effort to effect change and seek justice for Indigenous peoples. This includes her international book tour of "The Colonial Problem".


January 19th, 2016: We Can't Make the Same Mistake Screening

Presented by the School of Social Work to welcome Dr. Cindy Blackstock the film "We Can't Make the Same Mistake Twice" by Abenaki filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin’s was screened to a full-house at Cinema du Parc.

The film documents the nine-year legal saga pitting the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations against the Canadian government. Arguing that Indigenous children on reserves and in Yukon received subpar services due to the government’s discriminatory practices, the plaintiffs eventually won the trial in 2016.

 After the film there was a panel discussion moderated by Allan Downey, Dakelh, Nak’azdli Whut’en, Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Classical Studies, and Chair of the Indigenous Studies Program. Panelists included: Amal Elsana Alhjooj, PhD Candidate, School of Social Work & Executive Director, International Community Action Network; Carlee Loft, Kanien'kehá:ka, 3rd Year, Psychology major with a double minor in Indigenous  Studies and Behavioural Science; Anna McIntosh, Year 3, B.C.L./LL.B. program, Faculty of Law; and Christian Quequish, Saulteaux, Year 3, Major Political Science, Minor Indigenous Studies.



poster for the public screening of "the Pass System"September 19th, 2016: The Pass System Screening

The Indigenous Studies Program, in partnership with First People's House, the McGill Social Equity and Diversity Education Office, the Department of History, and the Faculty of Law, presented a free public screening of Alex Williams' acclaimed documentary, The Pass System. Shedding light upon our nation's hidden history of racial segregation, the film captures stories of resistance against the Canadian government, which for over 60 years, denied Indigenous peoples the basic freedom to leave their reserves without a pass.


The screening was followed by a lively panel discussion featuring Alex Williams, Winona Wheeler, Katsi'tsakwas Ellen Gabriel, Orenda Boucher-Curotte, Sandra-Lynn Kahsennano:ron Leclaire, and Allan Downey as moderator. Photos are available here.



December 10th, 2014: Launch of the Indigenous Studies Program

With the collaboration of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada and First People's House, a special event was organized to mark the creation of the Indigenous Studies Program at McGill. Indigenous leaders featured at the launch included Elder Jean Stevenson of the Peguis First Nation, Montreal-based pow wow group the Buffalo Hat Singers, and Kahnawake rapper Will E. Skandalz. Photos may be viewed here.