Collaboration and Community Engagement: The Six Seasons of the Asiniskaw Īthiniwak Roundtable at 2018 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences

On May 29, from 1:30PM to 3:00PM, members of the Six Seasons of the Asiniskaw Īthiniwak project will be participating in a roundtable at the Association for Research in the Cultures of Young People‘s session at the 2018 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Regina. This roundtable will take place in Room LC 215 at Luther College on the University of Regina campus.

Chair: Erin Spring (University of Calgary)
Participants: Warren Cariou (University of Manitoba); William Dumas (Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre); Mavis Reimer (University of Winnipeg); Helen Robinson-Settee (Indigenous Inclusion Directorate, Manitoba); Larissa Wodtke (University of Winnipeg); Doris Wolf (University of Winnipeg)

Over the past decade, SSHRC has increasingly been emphasizing interdisciplinary, collaborative, and community-engaged projects. One such project, Six Seasons of the Asiniskaw Īthiniwak: Reclamation, Regeneration, and Reconciliation, based at the Centre for Research in Young People’s Texts and Cultures (CRYTC) at the University of Winnipeg, received a seven-year SSHRC Partnership Grant in 2017. The overall goal of the project is to move forward the ongoing work of reclaiming Indigenous languages, histories, and knowledges among the Asiniskaw Īthiniwak (Rocky Cree people) of northern Manitoba, with a specific focus on addressing the young people of these communities through the development of a series of picture books, picture book apps, and teacher guides. Members of the Story, Production, and Curriculum Teams will explore the opportunities and the challenges of collaborative, community-engaged research across disciplines and sectors, paying special attention to the opportunities and challenges of working with Indigenous communities.


Warren Cariou was born into a family of Métis and European ancestry in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan. He has published works of fiction and memoir as well as critical writing about Indigenous storytelling, literature and environmental philosophy. He has also created two films about Indigenous communities in western Canada’s tar sands region, and he has written numerous articles, stories and poems about Indigeneity and petroleum. His visual art project, Petrography, uses tar sands bitumen as a photographic medium. He is a Professor of English at the University of Manitoba, where he directs the Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture. He is a Co-Leader of the Story Team for the Six Seasons of the Asiniskaw Īthiniwak project.

William Dumas is the First Nations Language & Culture Specialist (Cree) at the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre (MFNERC), an elder, and an acclaimed storyteller from O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation (OPCN). He is Co-Leader of the Story Team for the Six Seasons of the Asiniskow Ithiniwak project. Dumas is experienced as a Northern educator and administrator, having worked as a Cree Language and Culture Consultant in the Mystery Lake and Frontier School Divisions, as the Director of Education for Fox Lake Education Authority in Nelson House, and as the Executive Director for Northern Nishnabe Education Council. Dumas is the author of the award-winning picture book Pīsim Finds Her Miskanow (2013), which is the first book in the Six Seasons of Asiniskaw Īthiniwak series.

Mavis Reimer is Project Director of the SSHRC Partnership Project, Six Seasons of the Asiniskaw Īthiniwak: Reclamation, Regeneration, and Reconciliation. She is Dean of Graduate Studies and Professor of English at the University of Winnipeg. She was the Canada Research Chair in Young People’s Texts and Cultures between 2005 and 2015, lead editor of Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures between 2009 and 2015, and President of the International Research Society for Children’s Literature between 2011 and 2015. She is the founding director of the Centre for Research in Young People’s Texts and Cultures (CRYTC) at the University of Winnipeg and founding President of the Association for Research in Young People’s Cultures.

Helen Robinson-Settee
Tansi. Aniin. Boozhoo. I am currently the Director with the Indigenous Inclusion Directorate. I have been working with the Department of Education and Training since 1995. Some of my work includes representing Manitoba on the Council of Ministers Education Canada committees on Indigenous education. I also participate on community-based committees such as Ka Ni Kanichihk Inc. Council and the Indigenous Learning Circle. Previous to my work as Director, I was an education consultant and a teacher in Winnipeg School Division, which included teaching at the two Aboriginal inner-city schools – Children of the Earth and Niji Mahkwa. I was born and raised in the inner city of Winnipeg and always wanted to come back to teach in the schools where I was a student. I was convinced that with the racism I felt as a student in my adolescent years, in my adult years I had to somewhat influence change by being a role model and to be a change agent. I have come full circle and my office is located on Selkirk Avenue. I love working in the North End. Aside from being an educator, I am also the mother of two adult sons, Craig and Kevin and a grandmother to Ogimaabinens.

Erin Spring is an Assistant Professor in the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary. She holds a BA (Honours) in English from Trent University and a B.Ed from Queen’s University. She earned an MPhil and PhD from the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge. Between 2014-2017 she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Institute for Child and Youth Studies at the University of Lethbridge. Broadly speaking, Erin’s interdisciplinary research focuses on young people’s literacies, texts, and cultures. For the past three years, she has been working with the Blackfoot community in southern Alberta.

Larissa Wodtke is the Project Manager for the Six Seasons of the Asiniskaw Īthiniwak project and research coordinator at the Centre for Research in Young People’s Texts and Cultures at the University of Winnipeg. From 2009 to 2017 she was Managing Editor for Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, and now serves on its editorial board. Her own research has been published in the Review of Education, Pedagogy and Cultural Studies, Under My Thumb: The Songs That Hate Women and The Women That Love Them (Repeater 2017), Crowdfunding the Future: Media Industries, Ethics and Digital Society (Peter Lang 2015), and Seriality and Texts for Young People: The Compulsion to Repeat (Palgrave 2014), and she co-wrote the book Triptych: Three Studies of Manic Street Preachers’ The Holy Bible (Repeater 2017) with Rhian E. Jones and Daniel Lukes.

Doris Wolf is an Associate Professor in the Department of English and Faculty of Education’s Access Program at the University of Winnipeg. She researches and publishes in the areas Canadian Indigenous picture books and graphic narratives and memoirs of German childhoods in World War II. Her recent work includes “Changing Minds and Hearts: Felt Theory and the Carceral Child in Indigenous Canadian Residential School Picture Books” in Affect, Emotion and Children’s Literature: Representation and Socialisation in Texts for Children and Young Adults (Routledge 2018) and “Challenging Stereotypes by Restorying History in Canadian Indigenous-Authored Picture Books and Graphic Narratives for Middle Years Classrooms” in Finding New Voice and Vision in Literacy Learning (International Centre for Innovation in Education 2016). Doris has collaborated on the Six Seasons project since 2014.