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The Language of Ceremony

The Language of Ceremony
170 St. George St., Room 100
Time: Jan 17th, 5:00 pm End: Jan 18th, 7:00 pm
Interest Categories: Women/Gender, Religion, Study of (FAS), Music, Faculty of , Linguistics (FAS), Indigenous, History (FAS), Historical Studies (UTM), Historical and Cultural Studies (UTSC), Diaspora/Transnational, Critical Theory, Canada, Anthropology (UTSC), Anthropology (UTM), Anthropology (FAS), 2000-, 1950-2000, 1900-1950, 1800-1900, 1500-1800
Workshop on Aboriginal language featuring Leanne Howe

The Centre for Aboriginal Initiatives and the Aboriginal Studies Program, with the Jackman Humanities Institute Program for the Arts on Translation and the Multiplicity of Languages are pleased to present the second (of four) events in the series

Speech Acts and Joyous Utterances: Translating, Teaching, Learning, and Living, Indigenous Tribalographies

(Winter): The Language of Ceremony


Download flyer [pdf]

Download event information and speaker bios [pdf]

These events are all free, and most are open to the public without registration.  The workshop on Saturday from 2-4 pm is limited to registered participants.  For further information, please contact the Centre for Aboriginal Initiatives at (416) 978-2211.


Event Information & Speaker Bios

Keynote Address & Reception with LeAnne Howe

Embodied Tribalography: First Installment

Friday, January 17th, 5pm-7pm
How Indigenous Peoples embody their homelands is at the core of this lecture. LeAnne Howe suggests that it is through games, songchants, and stories that Choctawan peoples have maintained their connection to Mother Mound, Nanih Waiya, and the greater Southeast.  By tracing the history of Choctawan ball games at Earthworks sites, Howe shows how “America’s favorite pastime” is indeed an indigenous game and a story that Choctaws embody.

The keynote address will be followed by a reception with light refreshments. This event is free of charge and open to all!

Book Reading: Granny’s Giant Bannock, by Brenda Wastasecoot
Saturday, January 18th, 10am-11am

Granny’s Giant Bannock is a story which highlights some of the hilarity in the mis-communication between a grandmother and her grandson. The wrong ingredient in her bannock makes it grow and take over the town. Coffee and bannock will be served. The reading is free of charge and open to all!

Workshop: Brenda Wastasecoot: Nikis (My Little House) Memory Map
Saturday, January 18th, 11am-1pm

This workshop teaches about memory mapping and provides a process of storytelling and community sharing to build trust, love and unity.  This process can be used as a self-care component for students, educators, social workers and service providers. The workshop is free of charge and open to all!

Workshop with Gloria Oshkabewisens-McGregor: Sweetgrass Braid and Ancestral Identity
Saturday, January 18th, 2pm-4pm

This workshop will look at the three gifts within our  being that awaken and work the memory of identity connecting to Language, Culture and Spirituality. Workshop participation is free of charge, registration is limited to 12 participants. To register please email taylor.maclean@alum.utoronto.ca.

Book Launch for Choctalking on Other Realities by LeAnne Howe
Saturday, January 18th, 5pm-7pm

This event is free of charge and open to all!

The collected stories/essays in Choctalking on Other Realities, by Choctaw author LeAnne Howe, depict, with wry humour, the contradictions and absurdities that transpire in a life lived crossing cultures and borders. The result is three parts memoir, one part absurdist fiction, and one part marvelous realism. The collection begins with Howe’s stint working in the bond business for a Wall Street firm as the only American Indian woman (and ‘out’ Democrat) in the company, then chronicles her subsequent travels, invited as an American Indian representative and guest speaker, to indigenous gatherings and academic panels in Jordan, Jerusalem, Romania, and Japan.  Most importantly, the stories are framed by two theoretical essays on what Howe has named “tribalography.” Here she explores the complex way memories travel in generations of Native storytellers, which culminates in an original literary contribution in how to read indigenous stories. In his foreword, prominent Native American scholar Dean Rader—besides comparing Howe’s humor to fellow Oklahomian Will Roger’s—writes, “I believe it [tribalography] is the most significant theory of American Indigenous writing to emerge in the last 20 years—maybe ever… It bridges the gaps between the most significant approaches to American Indian Studies—nationalism, sovereignty, issues of land and place, history, and culture.”

Acclaim for Choctalking on Other Realities
“…In this extraordinary collection, LeAnne Howe does for Choctaw storytelling what The Hunger Games does for archery—makes something seemingly traditional and archaic feel edgy, new, and necessary.”
- Dean Rader, author of Engaged Resistance: American Indian Art, Literature and Film, From the Foreword

Choctalking is LeAnne Howe at her very best. Who else can mix hard-hitting social commentary with wicked wit and good old fashioned storytelling? Howe is a true citizen of the world and the relative at the party who can’t stop telling the truth. This is a book that belongs in classrooms and book clubs, too. Everyone should read this book. Everyone.”
- Tayari Jones, author of Silver Sparrow

“LeAnne Howe is a mound builder of story.  Like earthworks that gather far-flung nations and connect worlds above and below, these exquisite tales of travel and cross-cultural encounter align across geographies and generations, across embodied research and archival adventure, across wry humor and speculative analysis to reveal unexpected pattern, relationship, theory.  What emerges is sophisticated and complex, engineered not simply to endure but to spark future performance, to provoke story building of the reader’s own.”
- Chadwick Allen, author of Trans-Indigenous: Methodologies for Global Native Literary Studies

“This collection of LeAnne Howe’s demonstrates the power, compassion, and at times riotous American Indian humor of a master storyteller. With a deep commitment to Southeastern American Indian perspectives on tribalography and tradition, Choctalking on Other Realities spans indigenous worlds from New Orleans to Amman, Jordan. The words throughout these pages illuminate deeper histories of embodied indigenous knowledges, and tribal practices. With Howe as a guide, readers are invited to confront the global ironies of Indianness with wisdom, laughter, and grace.”
- Jodi A. Byrd, author of The Transit of Empire: Indigenous Critiques of Colonialism

Speaker Biographies

LeAnne Howe

LeAnne Howe is the author of novels, plays, essays, screenplays and poetry. Her latest book, Choctalking on Other Realities, Aunt Lute Books, 2013 is a memoir about her travels abroad.  She is co-editor of Seeing Red, Hollywood’s Pixeled Skins: American Indians and Film, MSUP Press, 2013.  An enrolled citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, her first novel Shell Shaker, Aunt Lute Books, 2001 received an American Book Award in 2002 from the Before Columbus Foundation. The French translation Equinoxes Rouge was the 2004 finalist for Prix Medici Estranger, one of France’s top literary awards.  Evidence of Red, Salt Publishing, UK, 2005 won the Oklahoma Book Award for poetry in 2006. Howe’s second novel, Miko Kings: An Indian Baseball Story, Aunt Lute Books, 2007 was chosen by Hampton University in Virginia as their 2009-2010 Read-in Selection.  Her short fiction has appeared in literary journals and has been translated in France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark.  Her recent awards include: the 2012 USA Artist Ford Fellowship, a 50,000 award from United States Artists, a not for profit organization. In 2012 she was also the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas.  LeAnne and five other Native performers and theater scholars have been awarded a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant of Canada for Indigenous Knowledge, Contemporary Performance.  The project culminates in a new play, Sideshow Freaks and Circus Injuns, co-authored by Howe and Monique Mojica.  Production, 2015.  In 2010-2011 Howe was a J. William Fulbright Scholar at the University of Jordan, Amman.  Her new novel-in-progress, Memoir of a Choctaw in the Arab Revolts 1917 & 2011 is set in Bilaad ash Sham, and Allen, Oklahoma. She’s a Professor in the MFA program in English, and in American Indian Studies, and affiliated faculty in the Theatre Department at the University of Illinois.

Brenda Wastasecoot
Brenda Wastasecoot is a member of the York Factory Cree Nation. She is the youngest of ten children all born along the Hudson Bay railway line of northern Manitoba. Brenda was raised near Churchill, Manitoba and was the only child in her family who did not attend a residential school. She is a mother, aunt, great aunt and author of Granny’s Giant Bannock. The children’s story is dedicated to her mother who spoke only Cree, while her children went away to learn English. After teaching at Brandon University for nine years in the First Nations & Aboriginal Counselling Degree program, Brenda moved to Toronto in 2008 to do her PhD in the Adult Education & Community Development program at OISE, University of Toronto. In seeking culturally inclusive healing strategies her study explores the use of memory mapping as storytelling, individual healing, community building and education. Currently she teaches at George Brown College and is a Teaching Assistant at the University of Toronto in the Aboriginal Studies program. Brenda also teaches at Anishnawbe Health Toronto since 2009.

Gloria Oshkabewisens-McGregor
Aanii Boozhoo Mshiikenh Mnido Mkwa Shkiizhigo Kwe ndaaw Mkwa Ndoodem
My English name is Gloria my family name is Oshkabewisens-McGregor I was born on Mnido Mnising (Manitoulin Island) and raised on Wikwemikong Unceaded Reserve. For the past 39 years I have lived in Whitefish River First Nation, with my husband and family. I am a mother of two daughters, one stepson, twelve grandchildren, and one great grandchild. I was an Educator for nineteen years in our community delivering a strong Cultural and Native Language based curriculum to our children. I went on to work as Elder /adviser/instructor in Residence for Native Language Instructors Program at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario; Cambrian College in Wabnode Institute in Sudbury, Ontario; and Kenjgewin Teg Institute, Mchigeeng First Nation. Delivering Medicine Wheel teachings as part of the curriculum and providing Traditional support to students and staff. I am also one of fifteen elders that sit on an advisory Council of Mnido Mnising supported by The United Chiefs and Council of Mnido Mnising. For the people, I currently provide traditional healing and wellness supported by Health Centers of Mnaamodzawin on Mnido Mnising and Shkagmik Kwe Health Center in Sudbury, Ontario.

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