EventsReclaiming Indigenous Names: A Panel Event

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Reclaiming Indigenous Names: A Panel Event

6:00 PM – 7:30 PM


There are ongoing conversations about reclaiming Indigenous placenames, dialogue about historical figures and their relationship to the colonial project, and increased visibility of Indigenous languages. This panel of Indigenous thought leaders will speak about the naming and renaming projects they have been involved in which include City of Edmonton Indigenous Ward Naming, the Uncover Oliver Project, the Ogimaa Mikana, Project, and the ongoing movement to rename Ryerson University (X-University). Panelists will talk about cultural processes and protocols around naming both people and places. What kind of power do names hold? How is the movement to reclaim names or rename part of a larger Indigenous rights movement?


Hunter Cardinal, Moderator

Hunter is an actor and Indigenous myth-architect. He is Co-Founder and Director of Story at Naheyawin. Last year, he was recognized by his community as Edmonton's Best Actor and awarded a place in Edmonton's esteemed Top 40 Under 40 class of 2018.

In early 2019 his first play, Lake of the Strangers, co-written with his sister and co-produced with Fringe Theatre, premiered to critical and popular acclaim including receiving the Sterling Award for Outstanding New Play. When he isn't welcoming people into ancient worldviews and ways of being, he can be found connecting with his culture in ceremony or adapting his favourite songs to the mandolin.

Leona Makokis, Panelist

Leona Makokis is an Elder and member of the Kehewin Cree Nation and has dedicated her life to supporting the growth of programming that balances iyiniw language and worldview with contemporary experiences. Dr. Makokis is a former president of the University nuhelot’įne thaiyots’į nistameyimâkanak Blue Quills. Throughout her tenure at Blue Quills she transformed the College from being only a host campus for other institutions to becoming the first independently accredited Indigenous institution to offer its own degrees. Being told as a child that she would never amount to anything, Makokis continues to travel internationally spreading the message of self-determination through Indigenous knowledge.

Terri Suntjens, Paneist

wapekihêw iskwew, Terri Suntjens (she/her), is from Saddle Lake Cree Nation in Treaty 6 Territory. Professionally, Terri is the Director of Indigenous Initiatives & kihêw waciston at MacEwan University. She has previously worked in First Nations communities developing and implementing cultural programming for Indigenous families while mentoring front line workers in the Health and Social Work field. Terri acknowledges her learning and connection to Cree Worldview from the University nuhelot’įne thaiyots’į nistameyimâkanak Blue Quills where she completed her first two degrees (BGS & IBSW). She recently completed her clinical MSW specializing in trauma with the University of Calgary and begins her PhD in the Fall. Terri research and passion focuses on ceremony is healing, Indigenous social work, identity and Indigenous land-based learning.

In her aspirations, she had co-created the film “ahkamêyimok” an Indigenous social work resource and is a co-author in published articles. She advocated and co-led the City of Edmonton Indigenous naming committee in 2020. Terri is the co-host and co-creator of “2 Crees in a Pod”, a Podcast that amplifies Indigenous voices to honor Indigenous helping practices. In addition, along with her colleague she delivers nêhiyaw trauma informed practices workshops for front line workers. She sits as a member of the Social Work National Indigenous Accreditation Board and the external Indigenous Advisory Council for Edmonton Public Schools. She chairs the Indigenous Advisory Council for MacEwan University and has led Indigenous focused lectures internationally. She is always humbly inspired by many mentors, Elders and knowledge keepers who support her work through their kindness, love and compassion for our future generations.

Hayden King, Panelist

Hayden is Anishinaabe from Beausoleil First Nation on Gchi’mnissing in Huronia, Ontario. He is the Executive Director of the Yellowhead Institute and Advisor to the Dean of Arts on Indigenous Education at Ryerson University. King has been teaching Indigenous politics and policy since 2007 at McMaster, Carleton and Ryerson Universities. Hayden’s analysis and commentary on Indigenous nationhood and settler colonialism in Canada is published widely. He is a prolific thinker and contributor to the national conversation on Indigenous issues.

Jacquelyn Cardinal, Panelist

Jacquelyn Cardinal is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Naheyawin, as well as Co-President and Director of Social Awareness Group. Jacquelyn was nominated for Edmonton's Top 40 Under 40 class of 2018, and received an Esquao Award for Achievement in Business and a SHEInnovates Award from the UN Women's Global Innovation Coalition for Change.

In early 2019, her first play, Lake of the Strangers, co-written with her brother and co-produced with Fringe Theatre, premiered and received the Sterling Award for Outstanding New Play. When she isn't using ancient tools to solve contemporary problems, she is learning all she can about emergent technologies and exploring her love for film.

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