On Friday, January 9th, our Second Fridays partnership with the Sandy Saulteaux Spiritual Centre continued as we welcomed Niigaan Sinclair as our guest speaker. Niigaan spoke about the need to move past rigid, boxed-in “OR” thinking toward open and inclusive “AND” thinking if Christians want to join Indigenous peoples in creating a fair and just Canada.
We’ve broken Niigaan’s presentation into 4 bite-size pieces for you, but watch them all, because the themes tie together.
Part 1: A Moment of Opportunity – Acknowledgment of some of the people in the room, and a bit of background on Idle No More.
Part 2: The Problem with Christianity is Christians – The story of Peter Jones, one of the first Ojibwe missionaries, and the importance of relationship in theology.
Part 3: Two Centers to Creation – A traditional story about what is central.
Part 4: Commitment to the Land – The recent issue in Winnipeg of an MCC event being postponed/relocated because the Pentecostal church where it was to be held didn’t allow smudging, and a discussion of smudging as commitment to the land.
Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair is Anishinaabe (St. Peter’s/Little Peguis) and an Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba. He has been active with Idle No More, is a regular commentator on Indigenous issues on CTV, CBC, and APTN, and his written work can be found in the pages of The Exile Edition of Native Canadian Fiction and Drama, newspapers like The Guardian, and online with CBC Books: Canada Writes. Niigaan is the co-editor of the award-winning Manitowapow: Aboriginal Writings from the Land of Water (Highwater Press, 2011) and Centering Anishinaabeg Studies: Understanding the World Through Stories (Michigan State University Press, 2013), and is the Editorial Director of The Debwe Series with Portage and Main Press.
Niigan obtained his BA in Education at the University of Winnipeg, before completing an MA in Native- and African-American literatures at the University of Oklahoma, and a PhD in First Nations and American Literatures from the University of British Columbia.