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Sept. 21, 2016

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Sept. 21, 2016
For Immediate Release

BRANTFORD –A free public lecture by Mapuche educator, advocate and activist, Silvia Ancan Painemilla will kick off the Third Annual Social Justice Forum at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford campus. Ancan Painemilla, who hails from the Mapuche territory of Llaguepulli in the country that is now called Chile, will present a talk titled, “Indigenous Sovereignty and Solidarity: Taking Action for Indigenous Sovereignty, Standing in Solidarity with Indigenous Communities”, on Monday, Sept. 26 at 11:30 a.m. She will share her experiences leading peaceful initiatives to decolonize by building economic and institutional sovereignty for the preservation of Mapuche land and culture.

"It’s important for the Laurier community to hear from Silvia Ancan about her own and many other Indigenous communities’ continued fight for culturally relevant education that centres around language and culture,” said Kandice Baptiste, Laurier’s manager of Aboriginal Initiatives. “Through learning about local and international Indigenous movements, we can all better understand our roles in reconciliation in Canada today.”

The Social Justice Forum continues on Tuesday, Sept. 27, with two interactive sessions. The first will be a Wampum Circle Decolonization Exercise, led by Bonnie Whitlow, Aboriginal student support co-ordinator at Laurier’s Brantford campus. The event takes place at 10 a.m. at the Brantford Public Library. The same afternoon at 1 p.m., a Kairos ™ Blanket Exercise will be held in downtown Brantford’s Harmony Square. The exercise is a teaching tool used to share the historic and contemporary relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada, and will be co-led by Baptiste and Hayley Moody, a sexual violence advocate and counsellor.

The Social Justice Forum is led by Laurier’s Society, Culture and Environment program, and is presented with support from: Social Justice and Community Engagement Master’s Program; Canadian Institutes of Health Research; the Faculty of Liberal Arts; the Faculty of Social Work; the Laurier Brantford Grants Program; the Sexual Assault Centre of Brant; the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada; and the Women’s Faculty Colleague (Brantford). All are welcome to attend the Social Justice Forum sessions, and admission is free.

"The Social Justice Forum brings together the interwoven themes of sovereignty and solidarity in order to center Indigenous voices in critical conversations about the preservation and protection of land, culture and language,” said Laurier faculty member and event coordinator Vanessa Oliver. “The events in the community provide excellent interactive opportunities for non-Indigenous people to come together to learn about colonialism, treaty obligations and collective accountability."

Forum Schedule:

Silvia Magaly Ancan Painemilla: Indigenous Sovereignty and Solidarity: Taking Action for Indigenous Sovereignty, Standing in Solidarity with Indigenous Communities

  • Monday, Sept. 26: 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Odeon Building, Room 110
  • Admission: Free

Wampum Circle Decolonization Exercise

  • Tuesday, Sept. 27: 10 a.m. - noon
  • Brantford Public Library, 173 Colborne St.
  • Admission: Free

Kairos™ Blanket Exercise

  • Tuesday, Sept. 27: 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
  • Harmony Square, 89 Dalhousie St. (Outdoor public square)
  • Admission: Free

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Vanessa Oliver, Assistant Professor
Youth and Children’s Studies

T: 519.756.8228 x5690


Beth Gurney, Associate Director
Communications and Public Affairs
Wilfrid Laurier University

T: 519.756.8228 x5753



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