There are hundreds of Indigenous communities in Canada, and many are in rural or remote locations. But the majority of Indigenous people in Canada live in towns and cities.
“What would you say if I asked you what percentage of the 375,000 Indigenous people who live in Ontario live in urban centres (or off reserve)?” poses David Newhouse, professor and director at the Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies.
“You might be surprised to know that it’s 85 per cent.”
This year’s Urban Aboriginal Knowledge Network-Canadian Indigenous/Native Studies Association (UAKN-CINSA) conference will examine some of the unique challenges faced by Indigenous people living in urban areas.
CINSA 2020: For the 7th generation imagining and creating Indigenous futures
Trent University and the Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies will co-host the 33rd annual edition of the conference with the Urban Aboriginal Knowledge Network, a national network of researchers who are seeking to close the knowledge gap about Indigenous people living in urban areas.
Trent hosted the inaugural CINSA conference, and this year’s event celebrates the 50th anniversary of Indigenous Studies at the university, which was the first in Canada to establish a department dedicated to the study of Indigenous peoples and Indigenous knowledges.
CINSA 2020 will bring together Indigenous and Native Studies scholars, playwrights, humourists and journalists to reflect upon where Indigenous people have been, are, and will go in the future.
This conference serves as an opportunity to look toward the future – and a new generation of Indigenous leaders who will be prepared to fully assert Indigenous rights.
“There have been remarkable achievements over the last half century, and this has been achieved by Indigenous peoples speaking, organizing and pushing hard for their own ideas and winning in the public debates of courts, legislatures, policy fora and through the creative use of political allies,” says Newhouse.
“There is a confident, aggressive, savvy, educated, experienced Indigenous leadership that has emerged over the past two decades who know how to push hard and get what they want. These leaders and students see self-government within their grasp: they will have experienced aspects of it: in education, in health care, in economic development, in social work, in housing, in cultural programs, in language training and education. Trent’s embrace of Indigenous Elders and Indigenous Knowledges has contributed to cultural revitalization.”