Making places of our own: Canada's Indigenous Peoples

Organizer: Gabrielle Legault- PhD Candidate at University of British Columbia- Okanagan Campus

Outline: Not to be misunderstood as simply a setting or stage that pre-exists performances of identity, place is recognized as the contextual basis that forms identity (Entrikin 1997; Gregson and Rose 2000). The degradation caused by displacement has had a profound effect on indigenous peoples in Canada, disrupting kinship ties, intergenerational transfer of knowledge between youth and elders, community cohesion, cultural continuity, and traditional identities. 

For many of Canada's indigenous peoples, a community-based form of place-making has been a crucial component in strengthening local communities. Creating spaces for participation in cultural and spiritual activities is important in maintaining indigenous identities, while acting as “a process of spatial resistance that redraws the boundaries of identity and struggle” (Wilson and Peters 2005). For Canada’s urban aboriginal peoples, (re)claiming places and connecting to others with similar upbringings and worldviews are ways that displaced aboriginal people "make places".

Possible questions to be addressed within this session include:

  • Why do indigenous people in Canada have to 'make places'?
  • What are some examples of community-based place-making within the context of Canada's indigenous peoples?
  • What affect does place-making have on indigenous identities?
  • What are the barriers in place-making?
  • What role do geographers have in indigenous place-making?
  • How do collective memories, placelessness, diaspora, and mobility affect place-making?

If you are interested in presenting a paper, please submit your contact details, proposed paper title and abstract (200 word max) to Gabrielle Legault at by February 15, 2015.