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Episode 14: Revolutionary Gatherings We Remember with Chris Creighton-Kelly, Lenore Keeshig, and Lillian Allen

Dec 8, 2020


This panel, entitled “How We Used to Do It: Anti-Oppression/Revolutionary Gatherings We Remember” featuring Chris Creighton-Kelly, Lenore Keeshig, and Lillian Allen was recorded during a TIA House symposium called Wisdom Council in September 2019. Wisdom Council recognized the imperfect knowledge transmission methods of the colonial system, and particularly the ways it has tended to fragment non-Western knowledges and privilege the textual over the oral. Using a combination of traditional and contemporary practices, it brought together a small council of mostly BIPOC senior practitioners in the contemporary arts to sit in council over three days to discuss such topics as what our communities need now; memory and forgetting; care of elders in racialized communities; stories of the past, present and future; stories in cyclical time; community formations they’ve experienced; community formations they remember; how they understand the work that needs to be done; and practices and strategies that might be of use or interest in the present moment. This panel was recorded as part of the gathering’s work.


Lenore Keeshig is a citizen of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation on the Saugeen Bruce Peninsula, and resides on Neyaashiinigmiing (home to the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation). Lenore is a storyteller, poet, award-winning author, naturalist, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. Her long-awaited first collection of poetry Running on the March Wind was published in 2015. Currently, she works delivering programs that teach about the natural and cultural history of the peninsula and the Great Lakes and helps area visitors to better understand their connections to the land and water.

Chris Creighton-Kelly is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and cultural critic who was born in the UK of South Asian/British heritage. His artworks have been presented across Canada and in India, Europe, and the USA. Chris is persistently interested in questions of absence in the art discourses of the Western world: whose worldview is unquestioned; who has power; who does not? Chris also works as a consultant to many of Canada’s art organizations, institutions, and agencies. He is currently co-director of Primary Colours/Couleurs primaires.

Lillian Allenfrom her website— Lillian Allen is a professor of creative writing at Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCADU). Multi-disciplinary and experimental, Allen’s creativity crosses many genres including radio, theatre, music, and film; as a writer, featured artist, and producer/director and national radio show host. Allen is a recognized authority and activist on issues of diversity in culture, cultural equity, cross-cultural collaborations, and the power of arts in education and has worked locally, nationally, and internationally in this capacity. Her eclectic, insightful, and inspiring lectures and performances have taken her as far as Jamaica and Switzerland. She has also held the post of distinguished Writer-in-Residence at Canada’s Queen’s University and University of Windsor.

* Unfortunately, this panel’s recording was cut short due to technical problems with our equipment. There is more to the conversation, and if you are interested we highly recommend staying tuned for our forthcoming panel discussions.


8:18—Canada Council for the Arts (CCA)

9:10—Joyce Zemans (ED)

13:28—Multiculturalism Committee (CCA)

14:05—Native Arts Advisory Committee (CCA)

14:11—Richard Fung

14:28—Advisory Committee for Racial Equality in the Arts (CCA)

16:50—Alanis Obamsawin

17:38—Tom Hill, Margot Kane

19:38—Chris refers to France Trepanier’s concept of the passeur

20:25—Lenore Keeshig refers to Basil Johnston’s Indian School Days

25:05—Day School: St. Mary’s Nawashgaming (sisters of St. Joseph)

28:00—Daniel David Moses (The Writers Union of Canada)

29:20—Committee to Reestablish the Trickster

33:26—Racial Minorities Writers Committee (The Writers Union of Canada)

43:12—Lillian refers to Marlene Greene (“The Third World in the Dominant Western”) and Fran Endicott (who worked on the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education’s [OISE] Third World Project)

43:48—The Black Education Project

45:28—The Warren Commission

49:06—Immi-Can youth project

49:23—Parachute Club

51:20 Ayanna Black: https://thecwse.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/ayanna-black-a-poets-reflection/


Power of remembering/re-membering

Communities vs. institutions

Canada Council (Eurocentrism)


Language defining positionality

Sites of resistance can be anywhere

Indigenous literary sovereignty in CanLit

Cultural appropriation

The story of Mouse in Anishinaabemowin (only one to stand up and confront the monsters)

The fear of the “blank page” in creative writing

Liberation of grad students

Political “schooling” in historic moments of civil rights contexts

Transformation of Toronto into a cultural hub

TIA House recognizes the generous support of the Canada Research Chairs program and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. We also appreciate the support of the Faculty of Arts and the Department of English at the University of Calgary, where our offices are housed, as well as the guidance of Marc Stoeckle at the Taylor Family Digital Library. TIA House is run by Larissa Lai, Mahmoud Ababneh, Rebecca Geleyn, Paul Meunier, and Joshua Whitehead.


Our Intro/Outro music is Monarch of the Streets by Loyalty Freak Music, accessed from the Free Music Archive.


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