An Interrogation of ‘Reconciliation’

This is a podcast about ‘reconciliation’ in Canada. We’re thinking about reconciliation in quotation marks because we want to critically analyze the narratives, power dynamics, potential pitfalls, practices, and consequences unfolding around us. (Full episode, 67 minutes)

Panelists

Joe Anton is from the Oneida Nation of the Thames. He is a counselor at the Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre.

Summer Bressette is from the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation. She is the Indigenous Legacies Project Manager at Museum London.

Cindy Smithers Graeme holds a PhD in Indigenous Health from Western University.

Segments

If you are looking to reference or listen to a topical segment, here are the broad themes we discussed.

A critique of land acknowledgements

What do we make of the increasingly common practice of non-indigenous people publicly acknowledging the traditional territories of indigenous people before public gatherings? (7 minutes)

The personal and the political

What could and should it look like for non-indigenous people to engage politically with reconciliation? (19 minutes)

Let’s talk ‘truth’ before we talk ‘reconciliation’

We consider some ways that the reconciliation narrative can be a tool for the ongoing colonization of people, land, and culture. (12 minutes)

Spaces, power, tokenizing, and colonizing

We think critically about the power and privilege that resides in capacity to create spaces and galvanize attention. (14 minutes)

Follow up

Do you have thoughts, perspectives, or input to add to the conversation? Please leave a note in the comment section below or send me an email at contact@jamesshelley.com. To read more, this site has a number of further discussions about the topic of reconciliation for reflection as well.

What is the Future of Gender in Canadian Society?

What is on the horizon for feminism? How has a heightened awareness of LGBT2Q+ experiences shifted our understanding about the nature of gender? Does the men’s rights movement reflect coherent concerns about masculine identity? What have been the ongoing consequences of movements like #metoo? This is a conversation about the future of gender in Canada. (Recorded live at Curious Public at Central Library on Monday, April 9, 2018.)

The Panelists

Greta Bauer is Professor in the Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics at Western University and an Affiliate Member of Women’s Studies & Feminist Research.

Michael Kehler is Research Professor in Masculinities’ Studies in Education at the University of Calgary, Werklund School of Education.

Nicole Nussbaum is a lawyer based in London, Ontario. She has a particular focus on, and extensive experience with, law and policy issues related to gender identity and gender expression.

AnnaLise Trudell is Manager of Education, Training & Research at Anova (formerly Women’s Community House & Sexual Assault Centre London).

Alcohol to Opioids: Part 2

Curious Public goes on the road to visit the Middlesex-London Health Unit to talk with Christopher Mackie (Medical Officer of Health) and Ana Ning (Associate Professor in Sociology) about psychoactive substances in our community.

In this episode we ask…

Are we in collective denial about the health impacts of alcohol?

Why are we removing tobacco displays from convenience stores and putting alcohol into grocery stores?

Will legalizing cannabis be a net gain or a net loss for society?

What are public health officials thinking about as they prepare for the legalization of cannabis?

Users, doctors, big pharma — who is to ‘blame’ for opioid crisis?

(This conversation is the second installment of Alcohol to Opioids — an occasional series about drug use and society. You can also listen to the first discussion with Tara Bruno and Robert Solomon for more background.)

Guests

Christopher Mackie (@Healthmac) is the Medical Officer of Health for Middlesex-London and is the Chief Executive Officer of the Middlesex-London Health Unit. He previously served as the Associate Medical Officer Health for the City of Hamilton for four years. Dr. Mackie has published peer-reviewed papers and abstracts on a number of public health related issues, including vaccination policy, emergency planning, environmental health and child and youth mental health.

Ana Ning is an Associate Professor in Sociology at King’s University College. Her research includes addiction treatment and harm reduction interventions, as well as the integration of complementary/alternative medicine (CAM) in mainstream healthcare. She also studies traditional Chinese medicine and issues of evidence-based medicine model.

What was your experience of reading ‘Brother’ by David Chariandy?

For a second year, London Public Library invites the community to a massive, virtual ‘city-wide bookclub’ by proposing a book to read and discuss together. This year the title is Brother by David Chariandy. As many of us have discovered, this little book punches far above its weight class in size. It is concise, paced, and courageous. Set in housing complex in Scarborough in the summer of 1991, Brother weaves together a story about identity, family, and masculinity. Questions about the experience of immigration, criminiality, racism, poverty, precarious employment, and housing fill in the margins. In a very short and accessible read, Chariandy weaves together a story that is worthy of everyone’s attention.

In this discussion, four community leaders join Curious Public at Central Library to share their experiences and reactions to reading Brother.

The Panel

Melanie-Anne Atkins is the Wellness Coordinator at the Wellness Education Centre at Western University.

Kristen Caschera (@librariankris) is a Librarian at London Public Library. She is a program coordinator for the One Book One London initiative.

Marcel Marcellin (@MarcellinMarcelis the Director of Organizational Strategy at the City of London. He previously served as a Sergeant for the London Police for over 20 years.

Anaise Muzima (@anashakyss) is a Master of Laws graduate from Western University and is currently a settlement worker at Collège Boréal.

 

 

 

A Story Behind Every Street

Question: What are your favorite streets or public spaces in your city?

Behind every street and public space there is a story. A long story. How was the zoning approved? Which developer won the contract? What are the health and safety implications? How has the history and heritage of the space been preserved, modified, erased, or retold over time? How has the built environment affected the surrounding ecology? What mode of transportation is most favored by the design of the street — and who, as a consequence, does the street ultimately serve and prioritize first?

Does the street ‘fit’ into the kind of city where people would want to move?

And this is only the beginning… how do internal city politics between the Planning, Development Services, and Engineering departments work? How informed and involved are elected officials in the outcome of the street project?

Everything about every street is the result of human decisions. Who makes these decisions? Who holds these people accountable? How can we be a city with an urban design that works for everyone — both today and into the future?

The Panel

Shawn Adamsson (@late2game) is a local force of nature when it comes to civic engagement. He was a principle architect of the Pints & Politics series run by the Urban League.

Sara Bellaire is a Professor in the Bachelor of Environmental Design & Planning and Landscape Design programs at Fanshawe College. Her projects focus on blending the ecological and cultural attributes for creating sustainable design solutions.

John Fleming (@jmfplan) is the Managing Director of Planning and City Planner for London, Canada.

What do people mean when they say, ‘Science’?

What is science, exactly? Today we talk a lot about ‘evidence-based policy’ in government, academia, and in the media, but is there a widening gap in the way we define ‘evidence’ as a society?

Is ‘science’ just another segment on the evening news? How do we, as a general public, decide when to trust science? Do you believe the studies that say chocolate and coffee are good for you…or the other ones? How do you validate your beliefs about immunizing children?

Nadine Wathen (@nadinewathen) is a Full Professor in the Health Information Science Program in the Faculty of Information & Media Studies at Western University. She is a Research Scholar at the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children in Western’s Faculty of Education. Nadine holds an affiliate appointment in Western’s Department of Women’s Studies and Feminist Research and is also cross-appointed to the Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing. Her research develops and evaluates interventions for women and children experiencing violence, and seeks to enhance the science of knowledge translation and exchange (KTE) to ensure that new knowledge emerging from research is made available, in appropriate ways.

Has the Canadian government done due diligence in responding to the opioid crisis?

In this episode, debaters from the UWO Debate Society take to the mics to argue about the efficiency and efficacy of the Canadian government’s response to the opioid crisis. Has Canada done enough, quickly enough, to be considered ‘responsible’? The motion: the Canadian government has not done its due diligence in responding to the opioid crisis.

The Debaters

Seth Kibel is the current President of the University of Western Ontario Debate Society, as well as the Executive Director of the Canadian Universities Society for Intercollegiate Debate. He has eight years of competitive debating experience and for the past two years, has has ranked in the top eight debate teams in the country. Seth represented Western at the World Universities Debating Championships in Mexico earlier this year.

Cassandra Cervi is the current President of the Canadian Universities Society for Intercollegiate Debate, as well as the Training Director of the University of Western Ontario Debate Society. Last year, she was part of the top ranked debate team in the country, and won the Canadian Public Speaking Championship. She has twice represented Western at the World Universities Debating Championship.

Selina Li has been debating since High-School, where she won the Western, Queens, and Mcgill Debating Tournaments and placed Top-Speaker at the International Competition for Young Debaters. Since coming to Western, she has been a Semi-Finalist at the Guindon Cup and Central Canadian Novice Championship. Selina represented Western at the World Universities Debating Championship in Mexico earlier this year.

Ethan Curry is a second year Philosophy and Political Science student at Western with five years of competitive debating experience. Most recently, he ranked fourth debate team in the country, and represented Western at the World Universities Debating Championships in Mexico earlier this year.

Drug policy in Canada: from alcohol to opioids

Beginning with the history of alcohol and tobacco regulation, this conversation explores some big questions about how and why psychoactive substances are used and controlled in Canadian society.

The Panel

Tara Bruno is an Associate Professor in Sociology at King’s University College. Her research interests include addictions, mental health, criminology, homelessness, youth and families, and research methods. Tara’s new book, The Drug Paradox: An Introduction to the Sociology of Psychoactive Substances in Canada, will be released in the Summer of 2018.

Robert Solomon is on the Faculty of Law at Western University, where he holds the rank of Distinguished University Professor. He has been engaged in research on alcohol and drug policy, and tort, criminal and health law for over 45 years and has published widely in these areas. He has served as the National Director of Legal Policy for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD Canada) for 20 years and has frequently appeared as an expert before various Parliamentary Committees.

#MeToo and the Presumption of Innocence: how can we believe victims and protect the legal rights of accused at the same time?

This conversation was born from a question: does assuming that the accused is innocent mean assuming that accusers are liars? And, in contrast, does believing a victim’s story without an investigation mean denying the accused of their presumed innocence? Does ‘innocent until proven guilty’ inherently favour the protection and rights of one gender above the other?

In this podcast, we explore the apparent gender-based differences in the ways that people experience the legal system. We question who has the power to define a ‘credible victim’ in the eyes of the law and in the broader community. We also wrestle with the fundamental question of how ‘sexual harassment’ and ‘sexual assault’ are defined (and are being redefined?) by society.

Truth be told, I don’t think we were able to definitively answer the question, “How can we believe victims and protect the legal rights of accused at the same time?” But hopefully the ideas and perspectives shared here can contribute to the broader discourse. This is a topic I am sure deserves further analysis, and it is one to which we will doubtlessly return again. As always, if you have perspectives to add to this dialogue, please get in touch or, better yet, share in the comments below. Curious to hear your thoughts.

The Panel

Kelsey Adams (@kelskadams) is a Social Media Coordinator at ANOVA, which provides safe places, shelter, support, counselling, and resources for abused women, their children, and all oppressed individuals.

Lesley Bikos (@lbikos) is a former police officer and PhD candidate in Sociology at Western University. She researches the intersection of gender and workplace culture with a current focus on policing and police reform.

Mark Henshaw (@MarkHenshaw) completed his Master’s thesis on the topic of engaging high school boys on the issue of violence against women.

Leah Marshall is a social worker and the Sexual Violence Prevention Advisor at Fanshawe College.

Whose version of the past counts? Do the residents of Utopia have a history? What makes time invisible?

The past, it seems, does not exist anymore. It is inaccessible and unalterable. Once the egg is scrambled and fried, it can no longer be reshaped and reconstructed into its oval shell. As far as human perception goes, the arrow of time goes decidedly in only one direction.

But the past also seems very much a part of every moment. The chair you are sitting on came from somewhere in history, but now it is inexplicably part of your present reality. When we react to the past — whether to heal from its scars or celebrate its highlights — we find our immediate priorities being shaped by a history we can no longer access.

The past, even though it is gone, always seems to be part of the present. As T.S. Eilot wrote,

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future
And time future contained in time past.

For humans, time is about much more than eggs and chairs. Time becomes inseparable from our identities and the narratives we use to orient ourselves in the world. Does our position or role in society shape the way we think about time? Why do different people and different cultures have such distinct differences in the way they think about their history and lineage? After we recorded the podcast, Jasmine minded me of this quote from James Baldwin’s Notes of a Native Son:

social affairs are not generally speaking the writer’s prime concern, whether they ought to be or not; it is absolutely necessary that he establish between himself and these affairs a distance which will allow, at least, for clarity, so that before he can look forward in any meaningful sense, he must first be allowed to take a long look back. In the context of the Negro problem neither whites nor blacks, for excellent reasons of their own, have the faintest desire to look back; but I think that the past is all that makes the present coherent, and further, that the past will remain horrible for exactly as long as we refuse to assess it honestly.

The Panel

Jeremy Nathan Marks is a writer, researcher, podcaster. His podcast, ‘Talking to Canadians’ (co-produced with historian and PEI-based writer Ryan O’Connor) debuted in January of 2017. Jeremy is also a published editorialist, essayist and poet and his work has appeared in the United States, Canada, the U.K. and Europe.

Jasmine Jasani (@_jasminejasani) thinks time is fascinating. Both tangible and abstract, time exists within spaces of paradox, intrigue, science, and folklore. Jasmine does not question whether time is real, but the ways in which it is constructed at different times to be real, and the impact it has on our imagination and existence. She has time, or is it hers to have? Either ways, she will be making the time to talk about time, hoping that in time she will understand time.

Thomas Peace (@tpcanoe) is an assistant professor in the Department of History at Huron University College. His research focuses on the diverse ways in which Indigenous peoples in the northeast and lower Great Lakes engaged with colonial schooling and colonial colleges at the turn of the nineteenth century. He is also one of the founding editors of ActiveHistory.ca.

Art Changes People and People Change the World

According to the quote meme on the internet, the musician John Butler once said, “Art changes people and people change the world.” It also seems evident that events in the world inspires the art that people create. This reciprocal nature of society and human expression has mesmerized artists, researchers, activists, historians, and ethnographers for a long time.

So, let’s talk about art and society. How are artists of all kinds describing the world right now? How are art-based strategies helping researchers better understand the experiences of individuals and groups? How does the present shape art, and how does art shape the future?

The Panel

Eugenia Canas (@EugeniaCanas) co-coordinates the Centre for Research on Health Equity and Social Inclusion (CRHESI). She is a Health Information Science PhD Candidate, where she uses critical, participatory and art-based research approaches to understand issues of epistemic justice in the engagement of vulnerable populations. Eugenia holds clinical experience as an art therapist in child/adolescent oncology, working in hospital and community settings. She is a Doctoral Fellow with the ACCESS Open Minds Network at the Douglas Institute of Mental Health. She serves as mentor and facilitator in local and national research and knowledge translation initiatives, including the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s SPARK Program, the Wisdom to Action Network, and the Collaborative RESearch Team to study psychosocial issues in Bipolar Disorder (CREST.BD) .

Tom Cull (@waltercull) is the current Poet Laureate for the City of London. He grew up in Huron County alongside the Menesetung (Maitland) River. He teaches creative writing and American Studies at the University of Western Ontario, and runs Thames River Rally, a grassroots environmental group he cofounded with his partner Miriam Love. Tom has also served on the boards of the Urban League, Poetry London, and WordsFest. His chapbook, What the Badger Said, was published in 2013 by Baseline Press and his first full length collection of poems, entitled Bad Animals, is forthcoming from Insomniac Press (Spring, 2018). His writing has appeared in journals, anthologies, and he is the co-publisher of WordsFest Zine, an “instant” zine of occasional poetry celebrating London’s literary festival, Words.

Holly Painter (@HollyPoetry) is a spoken word artist, public speaker, and certified teacher. She is passionate about sharing her stories, inspiring audiences, and advocating for important causes through poetry. Holly has spoken to over fifty thousand youth in school and community settings and performed on stages across the country. She is the National Director of Spoken Word Canada, Director of London Poetry Slam, and a former Artist in Residence with Thames Valley District School Boad and London Arts Council.

Is Hate a Public Health Emergency?

On Monday, December 11, Christopher Mackie (@Healthmac), Michele Manocchi (@manocchimichele), Jennifer O’Brien (@JeninLdnont), and myself discussed the question, Is Hate a Public Health Emergency? Does the metaphor of a medical emergency accurately depict our social climate? Or is calling racism and xenophobia a “public health emergency” simplistic, journalistic sensationalism that distracts us from the real work of understanding causes and solutions?

To get the conversation going, we read these three articles ahead of our time together:

Thanks once again, and always, to London Public Library for providing this program.

Notes