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Aboriginal Education Research Forum 2011

Keynote Speakers

Photograph: Maria Campbell

Maria Campbell

Maria Campbell is a Métis of First Nations, Scottish, and French ancestry. She was born in northern Saskatchewan and grew up near Prince Albert National Park. She is best known for her autobiography, Halfbreed (1973). She has also written other works, such as the play, Jessica, as well as Stories of the Road Allowance People, and a number of children's books, including Little Badger and the Fire Spirit. She has also written and directed documentary films. She has received many awards for her writing, including Honorary Doctorate degrees from the University of Regina, York University and the University of Ottawa. Her community work has been recognized with the Gabriel Dumont Medal of Merit from the Métis Nation. In 1996, she received a National Aboriginal Achievement Award in the category of Arts and Culture.

In awarding the Molson Prize in the Arts to Maria Campbell, the jury stated: "For her contribution to Canadian and Aboriginal literature and significant impact on the cultural evolution of Canada, the jury was unanimous in its choice of Maria Campbell for the 2004 Molson Prize in the Arts. The brilliance of her breakthrough memoir, Halfbreed, which changed perceptions of the Métis experience forever, has been followed by other significant work, making a profound contribution to Canadian theatre, film, television and radio. Her status as a teacher, mentor and inspiration to Aboriginal people and all Canadians is unparalleled. Maria Campbell; Author, Storyteller, Children's author, Playwright, Award Recipient.

Photograph: Dr. Brian Rice

Dr. Brian Rice

Dr. Brian Rice is an enrolled member of the Mohawk Nation. He has taught in the Dept. of Native Studies at the University of Sudbury; Dept. of Religious Studies at University of Winnipeg; Dept. of International Development Studies at Menno Simons College; Dept. of Continuing Education at University of Manitoba where he was the director of an Aboriginal Governance Program in Sakgeeng First Nation; and is presently faculty in the Dept. of Education at the University of Winnipeg. He has taught courses in Aboriginal History and Culture both National and Global. He graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy in Traditional Knowledge at the California Institute of Integral Studies. This was the only Indigenous Ph.D. program in existence in the world and holds one of the few terminal degrees in this area of study. He has written two books Encounters between Newcomers and Aboriginal Peoples in the East for educators at a conference put on by the Historica Society and Seeing the World with Aboriginal Eyes used in several academic institutions, along with various chapters and articles in other books concerning Indigenous history and culture. More recently he has written a chapter in The Handbook of Conflict Analysis and Resolution which includes some of the leading scholars in the field of Peace and Conflict studies and co-authored an article featured in the book From Truth to Reconciliation which was handed to the Prime Minister of Canada during his apology to residential school survivors, as well as being on a committee of academic advisors to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He has done presentations in Guyana, Hawaii, Ireland, Senegal, Mexico, Israel, Palestine, Thailand and Australia. He wrote the Aboriginal history series for the National Library of Canada Kid’s- Site of Canadian Settlement. His dissertation is entitled The Rotinonshonni through the Eyes of Taharonhiawako and Sawiskera: A Traditional History of the Iroquois People for Modern Times with one of its central themes being the Great Law of Peace which is the traditional governing structure of Rotinonshonni society. This included a 700 mile walk through traditional Rotinonshonni territory before writing his dissertation in order to earn the right to write his dissertation. Before beginning his walk he was put through a ceremony by elder and hereditary chief, the late Jacob Thomas. His dissertation has been used by members of the Rotinonshonni in making their own journeys back to their homeland in Eastern Ontario and Central New York three of which he helped facilitate. It is now undergoing second review at Syracuse University Press where half the proceeds will go to the Jacob Thomas learning centre. Finally, he holds certificates in survival skills and animal tracking from both the Ndakinna Education Centre in New York and A Naturalists World from Gardiner Montana outside of Yellowstone National Park.