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Keynote Speakers

S’TEṈISTOLW̱ welcomes our internationally renowned keynote speakers.

Kathy Absolon (Minogiizhigokwe)

Dr. Gregory Cajete

Anishnaabe, Flying Post First Nation
MSW (WLU), PhD (OISE, Toronto)

Kathy Absolon (Minogiizhigokwe) is Anishinaabe kwe from Flying Post First Nation. She grew up close to the land in Anishinaabe territory. Currently, she is the Associate Dean of the Aboriginal Field of Study MSW Program in the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University. She received her PhD in 2008 from OISE, University of Toronto and her MSW in 1991. Kathy teaches courses steeped in Indigenous knowledge such as Culture Camp, Indigenous research methodologies, holistic healing practices and Indigenous thought. Her practice experiences are in child welfare, Native mental health, youth justice, and wholistic community practice.  She was an assistant professor in the Department of Indigenous Studies at First Nations University of Canada (2003-2007) and assistant professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Victoria (1992-1996) where she co-designed and delivered decentralized community based Indigenous social work programs to a variety of Indigenous territories across British Columbia. Kathy's research interests are in the many facets of Indigenous methodologies and worldview in Indigenous research. She is the author of Kaandossiwin: How We Come to Know (2011, Fernwood Publishing) in which she examines the academic work of Indigenous scholars who utilize Indigenous worldviews in their search for knowing, challenging how Indigenous methodologies have been silenced and obscured by the Western scientific means of knowledge production. She is currently working on a film of gathering stories of resistance and resilience from her mother. She is a researcher with  a SSHRC Partnership grant titled: Walking the Prevention Circle: Building knowledge mobilization through violence prevention education. Kathy derives much of her knowledge and teachings from the land and carries the spirit of the land in all areas of her work and life.  

Gregory Cajete

Dr. Gregory Cajete

Tewa, Santa Clara Pueblo
PhD (International College, New Philosophy), MA (New Mexico), BA

Professor Cajete is a Native American educator whose work is dedicated to honouring the foundations of indigenous knowledge in education. He has served as a New Mexico Humanities scholar in ethno botany of Northern New Mexico and as a member of the New Mexico Arts Commission. In addition, he has lectured at colleges and universities in the U.S. Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, England, Italy, Japan and Russia.

He worked at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico for 21 years. Currently, he is Director of Native American Studies and an Associate Professor in the Division of Language, Literacy and Socio-cultural Studies in the College of Education at the University of New Mexico. Professor Cajete has authored a number of influential books including Look to the Mountain: An Ecology of Indigenous Education (Kivaki Press, 1994), Ignite the Sparkle: An Indigenous Science Education Curriculum Model (Kivaki Press, 1999) and Native Science: Natural Laws of Interdependence (Clearlight Publishers, 1999 and 2000).

Linda Tuhiwai Smith

Dr. Linda Tuhiwai Smith

Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Porou
PhD (Auckland), MA Hons (Auckland), BA, DipT

Professor Smith is the Pro-Vice Chancellor Māori and Professor of Education and Māori Development at the University of Waikato. She was an inaugural Co-Director of Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga, New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence; established the Te Kotahi Research Institute for Innovation and was the former Dean of the School of Māori and Pacific Development at the University of Waikato. Professor Smith has worked in the field of Māori education for many years as an educator and researcher and is well known for her work in Kaupapa Māori research. Her publication Decolonising Methodologies, Research and Indigenous Peoples (Zed Books, 2nd edition 2012) continues to be an international best seller in the Indigenous world since its publication in 1998. Professor Smith is a Fellow of the American Association for Research in Education and a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Graham Hingangaroa Smith    

Dr. Graham Smith

Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Apa, Ngāti Kahungunu, Kāti Mamoe
PhD (Auckland), MA Hons (Auckland), DipT, D Litt (Hon Causa); LLD. (Hon Causa)

Distinguished Professor Smith is an internationally renowned Māori educationalist who has been at the forefront of the Māori initiatives in the education field and beyond. His academic background is within the disciplines of education, social anthropology and cultural and policy studies, with recent academic work centered on developing theoretically informed transformative strategies for intervening in Māori cultural, political, social, educational and economic crises. He is involved in the development of Tribal Universities and had worked extensively with other Indigenous peoples across the world, including Canada, Hawaii, USA mainland, Taiwan, Chile, Australia and the Pacific nations.

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