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Special Events

R15(a) - Interdisciplinary Session - Decolonizing Canada: Critically Considering Settler Solidarity During Indigenous Led Efforts

Date: Jun 6 | Time: 08:30am to 10:00am | Location: ANGU 435

Joint Session / Séance conjointe : Canadian Sociology Association, Society for Socialist Studies

Organizer & Chair/Président/Présidente : Binish Ahmed (Ryerson University)

How have settlers practiced their relational responsibilities to decolonize Canada? What are the expressions of those practices? As Indigenous peoples determine their futures by leading the way to refuse as well as undo colonial systems and policies, expressions of settlers acting in solidarity have looked different across space and time in Canada. This session calls for papers which focus on moments of settlers organizing and acting in solidarity with Indigenous peoples, supporting efforts to build anti-colonial, anti-imperial movements and coalitions, and contributing to practices which center Indigenous pathways to self-government, self-determination and decolonization. This session is additionally seeking papers which explore the complexities that arise when settlers practice a politics of solidarity with Indigenous peoples and engage social movement work inspired by an anti-imperial and a decolonial praxis. Your paper may highlighting what solidarity work has been done, who is doing the work, who is not, and why not. Additionally, you can address what the different ways of doing the former work have been, as well as what can be learned from it. Your paper may address one or more of the former questions. Please ensure that you have described your research methodology in the abstract. This is a jointly sponsored session between Canadian Sociology Association, Canadian Political Science Association, and Society for Socialist Studies.

We Are Both Struggling: Yukiko Tanaka (University of Toronto)
Abstract: What does it mean for immigrants and refugees to “settle” in an ongoing settler-colonial project? What are the possibilities and limitations of solidarity between newcomers and Indigenous people in the process of immigrant settlement? To answer these questions, I focus on a case study of a settlement agency that brings together immigrant and Indigenous youth ages 18-30 in an employment program in Saskatoon, SK. Through participant observation and interviews, I highlight the ways this agency is working toward solidarity with Indigenous peoples. I find that immigrants very quickly internalize negative views of Indigenous people upon arrival in Canada and openly describe them as "bad people", suggesting a moral inferiority. Through the program, they learn to recognize the value of Indigenous cultures and individuals. However, solidarity is limited to intercultural understanding and mutual respect; it does not extend to political organizing or efforts toward decolonization. On an organizational level, the presence of Indigenous staff and clients in settlement agencies is important in overcoming negative stereotypes by providing immigrant clients with ready-made networks of mentorship and friendship. However, the institution is slowly and unevenly indigenizing, so disproportionate burden falls on Indigenous employees to ensure that the organization works toward solidarity with Indigenous people.


Decolonizing Bodies: An Indigenous Perspective on Health and Wellness in Canadian: Jacqueline Quinless (University of Victoria)
Abstract: The decolonization of research methods and Indigenous resurgence in the context of individual and community health and wellness is a growing, interdisciplinary field. In this discussion, I highlight key aspects of my forthcoming Book, Unsettling Conversations: Decolonizing Everyday Research Practices, University to explain how research design practices need to be culturally responsive, which means that researchers need to work in partnership with Indigenous peoples, communities and/or organizations in such a way to avoid misinterpretations and misrepresentations in the knowledge inquiry process. This will support the generation of research findings that are anchored in Indigenous knowledge systems and accurate cross-cultural representations of health outcomes that are better equipped to inform recommendations for health, healing and well-being. For me, the decolonization of research within social sciences is about relational allyship, partnership, honoring Indigenous ethical protocols, holding space for resurgence, and challenging power structures. These are the types of new relationships that will facilitate initial steps in reconciliation because Indigenous peoples, communities and organizations can re-story the historical trauma on a number of levels and to recreate new ways of understanding and contesting the deeply engrained structures of inequality.


Place-based Imperatives in Policy Participation: Critically Examining Racialized Settlers’ Relational Responsibilities to Decolonization in Canada: Binish Ahmed (Ryerson University)
Abstract: Racialized settler activists in Canada carry a range of intersectionally diverse political commitments to anti-racist, anti-colonial and anti-imperial social movement work. The former commitments lead to an undertaking of a 'place-based' public policy analysis and participation, where those distinct commitments result in formation of solidarity alliances with Indigenous led decolonization and self-determination efforts. In this paper, I draw on the literature to explore the racialized settlers' ‘relational’ responsibilities toward Indigenous peoples, non-human life, environment, land, and water while living on Turtle Island. I additionally consider the following questions: How are the racialized settlers’ locational presences, and political subjectivities different from those of white settlers in the settler-colonial Canadian state? How are they similar? Why does it matter to unpack the former? And what implications does it have on racialized settlers’ relational responsibilities in doing decolonization work. This exploratory working paper presents an analysis by working through the literature on decolonizing relations between the settler-colonial state and Indigenous peoples.


Settler Colonialism And Decolonization: Building Alliance Between Muslim Immigrants And Indigenous People: Sholeh Sharifi (Ryerson University)
Abstract: This paper will aim to explore and contrast the relationship between racialized immigrant groups, particularly those of Muslim minorities and Indigenous populations in the predominantly white settler-colonial society. While many of the Indigenous population and Muslim immigrants experience marginalization and exclusion in Canada, there still seems to be a lack of coalition among them. But why is this so? While tackling this question, I will also aim to highlight the inadequacies of the discourse that attains to multiculturalism in combating both colonialism and racism through literary critical reviews methodology. Furthermore, this paper will assess the existing Muslim organizations and communities that work in solidarity with indigenous people, and evaluate their current efforts, limitations, and future potentials in creating a relationship that rejects the ideologies of colonialism and white supremacy.