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In the year after so many celebrations of Canada’s 150 th year of confederacy, a year that was difficult to reconcile for so many Indigenous peoples, the first few months have made it even more difficult. The Canadian justice system had not been just to our Indigenous citizens – first the Coulton Boushie case – from investigation to verdict, it is hard to reconcile the facts (read this Globe & Mail article to get an overview of the case). And last night, another not guilty verdict for the accused murderer of Tina Fontaine; a young girl failed by so many systems throughout her life. Let me spend a moment to locate myself in all of this. I come from ...
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So I haven’t done this in a while… Life has taken over but the verdict of this past weekend has brought me back.  Actually no the verdict didn’t bring me back let me explain… Honestly no Indigenous person ever thought that with an all white jury could we get a conviction in Saskatchewan.   We really didn’t.  However what we did buy into was reconciliation.  We bought into the idea that things were gonna be different. Indigenous people doubted over and over, we were assured by our government and leaders that no this time they would get it right.  With everyone taking Cultural competency courses, investments in capital, things were turning around especially ...
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It seems to be a seasonal tradition to have someone write a poor imitation of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" as a way of making their messaging seasonal.  Let me be one of the early contenders as we encourage people to submit early and submit often to present at SeaChange 2018, the joint CACUSS/ARUCC conference to be held in beautiful Prince Edward Island this year: Twas the night before <a seasonal feast> and all through the house The only creature stirring was my computer mouse. A new presentation on collab'ration and change, so accessible and clever. Only 4 weeks to go, miss a deadline? me? never! Seachange 2018 brings CACUSS and ARUCC to the Island ...
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I got a guy for that……   Dr. Eve Tuck just hosted @IndigenousXca, which features different Indigenous weekly hosts.  She was commenting on the current need in post-secondary to hire Indigenous peeps so lets dig into that a bit.  There has been a long list of Institutions in the last two years to put up postings for Indigenous faculty, well mostly faculty.  I actually get asked a lot, I mean A LOT, it usually goes something like this “Hey Mark, we have had a posting up for a while and can’t seem to attract any Indigenous candidates for the posting. Can you help us?” Well, what are you offering….  It is a buyer’s market out there.  At Seneca we had a ...
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Hi its me  We need to talk about Thunder Bay   Again we are early this week as I am off to attend a CiCan conference on Indigenous Education held in Thunder Bay.  Thunder Bay has a place in my heart.  I spent three years trying to get an MA, but for a variety of reasons ended up not finishing.  It is also where I have to fly into, then drive 4 hours to see my ten year old daughter.   Know that Thunder Bay is a sacred place for many Indigenous people.  Fort William First Nation has Mount McKay which I believe one of the first Jingle dress dances were ever done.  As well the sleeping giant , Nanabush and the sadness why he is sleeping. ...
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Man Who Walks Amongst the Stars Like many of us I was gutted then I heard that Gord Downie passed.  We all knew it was coming, but somehow we didn’t think it ever would.  What was to be the final concert of the Hip was very emotional, we saw him struggle , rally , and cry .  I trust you all watched it.  That night was important for me personally because he said this . And then he said this .  “Your gonna figure it out.”  Like many before and after my generation we all claim the hip as our generation’s band.  It personally touched me that he tasked us with this call.  We all knew that the nation was watching that night in Kingston.     Indigenous ...
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Reconcilation isn’t a Second chance at Assimilation  This week in Toronto we saw the clash of settler and Indigenous culture at its finest.  An Indigenous chef who owns a small restaurant in Toronto started serving seal meat.   This drew the ire of some people and they started a petition to have him stop serving seal.  If you have some time please watch Angry Inuk here to understand all aspects of the seal hunt.  The seal hunt isn’t just for food although the food is important, the money made by the community selling allows them to buy bullets, gas and repair their machines to provide for their families.   We also saw a similar conflict on Canada ...
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Trying to decide between two great options! The CACUSS Student Affairs and Services Competency Model and the NACADA Advising Core Competencies Model were both released relatively recently. For those of us who are involved in NACADA and CACUSS we are in the advantageous position of having two frameworks to work with when looking to implement training and development for our institutions.  On a personal note, the emergence of these competency models also mirrored my professional life. I work full-time at Ryerson coordinating university-wide projects for supporting academic advising.  As we begin to move forward with training programs I have ...
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So we are a bit early this week because my family and I are off to hunt camp this weekend.  I want to share with you some lessons that I have learned while at hunt camp that have shaped my leadership.  I am the only one on the Solomon side of my family that has graduated high school and progressed to post-secondary.  Yet the Solomon’s constantly teach me things that I use in my daily life both personally and professionally.  These times are about sharing and being.  WE are constantly sharing and learning.  WE rely upon each other and help.  All pictures are from our hunt camp taken by my wife @Amy Gaukel You Gotta Help On our way into hunt camp ...
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#takeaknee HAPPY ORANGE SHIRT DAY!!! I hope all of you are wearing Orange and please take some time to think about the story behind the day . This weekend in the States we saw #takeaknee all over social media.  Although some thought of this as a protest against the flag, however its roots are grounded in the relationship of the police and the Black and People of Colour communities.  In Canada this issue is familiar, to say this relationship is strained is to not even scratch the surface. The Indigenous population as had similar experiences.  In Canada we had the Starlight Tours , where Indigenous men were picked up by Saskatoon (it was famous in ...
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I Know Your Sorry   If you haven’t please click above and watch Leonard Sumners I Know Your Sorry .  I often hear non-Indigenous people express great sorrow for crimes committed against Indigenous people, then…. There is a pause.  The pause is followed by a statement of hopelessness, that they don’t know where to start, that they are afraid to offend, that somehow their expression of sorrow is enough shrug their shoulders and walk off. Can I tell you nothing infuriates me more than this?  I can handle racism more than I can handle apathy.  This is like a child dumping lego all over the living room floor and not cleaning it up.  But further telling ...
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I got a guy for that….. A while back One-Stop was all the rage in Student Affairs, then it was First-Stop now its…. Well I am not sure. I laughed a lot when I was invited to meetings to discuss the one-stop model. I used to begin by making the comment, go to any Aboriginal Student Services and you will see an organic one-stop model. Our Indigenous colleagues have cornered the one stop market. Often they are off-campus housing, academic advising, personal counseling, club advisor, advocate, social convener, personal counselor and on and on. Resources have always been scarce for Indigenous services and the staff always pulled through for their students. However ...
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Your Home on Native land . (Please listen to Red Bull Singers, this is amazing.  Its a Round dance and so great) Land recognition statements are the latest fad at conferences, convocations and political gatherings.  Once held in reverence by Indigenous people acknowledging the people before, has become a part of a script and feels stolen from us.  When I went to Indigenous gatherings years ago you would hear people talk about the land and their relationship to it.  Also as a guest I would acknowledge that I was a visitor to the traditional territory of where ever I was.  I would also state that I was happy to be there and give some sense of my relationship ...
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Meet Larry the Squirrel A while back I heard the story of Larry the Squirrel let me tell you about his meeting with Nanabush the trickster. Nanabush came across a bunch of squirrels preparing for winter.  He saw them frantically hiding food and preparing nests.  He saw them making multiple nests and having multiple food caches.  He stopped one and asked why duplicate everything? “Cause we forget where we put our nests and food so we have to have lots of spots” said one squirrel. “That seems ridiculous,” said Nanabush and he reaches down and touched the squirrel. “Hey! Hands off!” exclaimed the squirrel “Relax, I just gave you the ability to ...
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Introductions Boozhoo!  Welcome to what I hope will be a weekly guild/reflection to Indigenization/decolonization of Post-Secondary in Canada.  I hope to mention various authors, academics, artists and Student Affairs professionals.  Indigenization has really come to the forefront since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.  Seven to Eight Calls specifically are for Post-Secondary.  Interestingly, I find many Indigenization efforts are not addressing those calls but I am getting ahead of myself. Firstly why the title Summer of our Decolonial Love?  Well like any beautiful summer fling we see #septiscoming.  For the past two years ...
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