Couchiching Connects: June 2013


In this Issue:

The President's Message
2013 Summer Conference
Conversations and Roundtables
The Big Picture
Couchiching Alumni In The News
Our Members Write
Calling All Readers


The President's Message

Dear Couchiching Community:
The time has come to register for our most important 2013 Summer Conference – “Coming Together as One: Navigating the Relationship between Indigenous Peoples and Canada”.
In its history, Couch has never put on a conference that mattered this much or that drives as deeply at the heart of what it means to be “Canada.”
Every Conversation we have put on this year – with Hayden King, with Buffy Ste. Marie, with Bob Watts, and with Mark Douglas – has made clear that there is a hunger for discussion between and among Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians, a hunger to reframe the relationship, a hunger to recognize that we are all treaty peoples and that we need to rethink the way we constitute ourselves if we are to move forward as a country. Too much depends on it to ignore it.
Register now, while early bird rates are still in effect. Don’t leave it – because this Summer Conference is going to sell out.
If you know students or folks who can’t afford to come on their own steam, have them check out our scholarships.
I look forward to seeing you there.

The 2013 Summer Conference "Coming Together as One: Navigating the Relationship between Indigenous Peoples of Canada and Canadians" Geneva Park, August 8-11, 2013

Amanuel Melles and Leon Thompson
Conference Coordinator, Nicholas Constantine
Meet three remarkable leaders who will speak at the 2013 Summer Conference.
Founder and Artistic Director of Red Sky Performance, Sandra Laronde is an award-winning director, producer, choreographer, actor, and dancer. She is originally from the Teme-Augama-Anishnaabe (People of the Deep Water). Sandra's vision for Red Sky is to create a leading international company that shapes contemporary world Indigenous performance and to make a significant contribution to the artistic vibrancy of Canada and the world. She is also the Director of Indigenous Arts at The Banff Centre. Sandra will speak on our Saturday night panel, focusing on The Plurality of Indigenous Identity. 
A special note: Conference delegates will be treated to a unique dance performance by Red Sky artists.
Glenn Nolan is Vice President of Aboriginal Affairs and President of Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), which has represented the interests of the Canadian mineral exploration and development industry since 1932. As elected Chief of the Missanabie Cree, he served three consecutive terms, from 2001 to August 2010. Glenn has advised a number of exploration and mining companies on Aboriginal engagement strategies and has provided information to Aboriginal communities on partnership, development, and opportunities related to resource development. He is committed to continuing the creation of greater dialogue between communities and the mineral industry. Glenn will participate in the Saturday morning panel on Rights and Resources: Seeking a New Conversation.
Heather Watts will take part in our Sunday morning panel, The 7th Generation and Passing on the Flame. She is a member of the Mohawk Nation from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory and is currently a master’s student attending Teachers College, Columbia University, in New York City, working toward her degree in the Literacy Specialist program. Last May, she received a Bachelor of Science degree from Syracuse University in the Inclusive Elementary and Special Education program. She works for an after-school program in Brooklyn, N. Y., as the Inclusion Specialist. Heather was recently inducted into the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in the Field of Education and is serving as a Fellow for the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. She hopes to work with other educators in reforming Indigenous education and incorporating inclusive pedagogy into classrooms. She also wishes to one day open her own elementary school where all learners can thrive and be challenged intellectually while maintaining a strong connection to culture and language.
Join Us! Register now! 
Readings and Viewings
For a complete list of Readings and Viewings, visit

Conversations and Roundtables

News about Conversations Held

May 21 Toronto Conversation: For the first time, a Couchiching Conversation formed a partnership with Amnesty International Canada and Toronto’s Tibetan Community to present a memorial lecture entitled “Shedding Light on China’s Rule in Tibet”. The Conversation revealed important developments in Tibetan-Chinese relations and what the future holds for this politically sensitive region. 
May 28 Montreal Conversation: Couchiching`s second Youth and Spirituality Conversation, in partnership with Inspirit Foundation, took place in Montreal during the Bridging the Secular Divide Conference. The event was sponsored by the Baha`i Community of Canada and McGill University. Entitled "Spirit of Social Change", the Conversation attracted many conference participants and took place immediately after a workshop on youth empowerment. The conversation was facilitated by Dr. Robert Joustra, an assistant professor at Redeemer University College. 
News about Upcoming Conversations
June 19 Toronto Conversation: Jordy Gold, Campaigns Director for in Canada, will lead a Conversation on what the digital age means for citizen-based social action. was launched in 2007 and by 2012 it had a reported 10 million members. Currently is the fastest-growing social action platform with hundreds of new petitions being uploaded every day. What does all of this mean for grassroots campaigns, the evolving roles of the media, government, and business? Join us at the Baha'i Centre on 288 Bloor St. West, on Wednesday, June 19, from 6pm-8pm to find out more about this revolution in social mobilization. 
July 11 Toronto Conversation: Join us for a Conversation with author and broadcaster Eric Koch on the hype of the swinging 60s. "The Golden Years: Rediscovering Canada in the 1960’s: Will We Experience Such Transformation Again?" will shed light on the defining moments of the 1960s: the Quiet Revolution in Quebec, the introduction of social medicine in Saskatchewan, the groundbreaking Royal Commission on the Status of Women, Trudeaumania, and more. The event will be held at the Academy of the Impossible on Thursday, July 11, from 7pm-9 pm. More details to follow.

The Big Picture 2013, April 25, 2013: Couchiching's Signature Fundraising Event

Leslie de Meulles, Co-Chair, Gala Committee
Photos coming soon! 



 “The Institute is saddened by the passing on May 29th of Dr. Henry Morgentaler, who won the Couchiching Award for Public Policy Leadership in 2005. Dr. Morgentaler exemplified the award’s recognition of “exemplary actions taken by an individual to formulate and implement policy that has had a positive impact on Canada or a community within Canada, often in the face of public opposition.” He worked tirelessly and bravely, against great odds, to ensure that Canadian women have a right to control their own sexuality and reproduction, without interference by the state. We are extremely proud to have recognized Dr. Morgentaler’s achievements.” — Rima Berns-McGown
Former Prime Minister Paul Martin, an honorary witness at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's hearings, has accused residential schools of "cultural genocide," using unprecedentedly frank language. Mr. Martin is speaking at the Conference this summer. You are going to want to be there.

Couchiching Alumni in the News

Nathalie Des Rosiers will leave the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in July to become dean of the University of Ottawa’s common law program. She led the civil law program from 2004 to 2008 and was the interim vice-president (governance) from 2008 to 2009. She was the president of the Law Commission of Canada from 2000 to 2004 and also worked as a private lawyer. (The Ottawa Citizen, May 11, 2013). She was a speaker at the 2011 Summer Conference, “From the Ground Up: Civic Engagement in Our Time”.
Hon. Paul Martin, a 2013 Summer Conference keynote speaker, was presented with the 2013 Lincoln Alexander Outstanding Leader Award on May 29th by the University of Guelph’s College of Management and Economics. The late Lincoln Alexander was the 2009 Couchiching Public Policy Award recipient. Mr. Martin will also receive an honourary doctorate during the University of Ottawa’s 2013 Spring Convocation.
A Global News feature interview entitled Lunch with Elizabeth May: on shrimp, the Senate and why the prime minister is “not Canadian” was published on June 5th. Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party, was the 2006 Couchiching Public Policy Award recipient.
Commentary on the untimely death of Elijah Harper on May 19th mentioned that he, Phil Fontaine, who will speak at the 2013 Summer Conference, and Ovide Mercredi, a speaker at the 2011 Summer Conference, formed a ”native association” while students at the University of Manitoba.

Our Members Write

Writing in the Daily Maverick on June 7th, Jay Naidoo said “A global debate needs local voices...the planet is on a trajectory of destruction, and the only way we can change course is by changing our leadership. Leaders have to learn to listen, for the survival of us all.” He is the founding General Secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, a former minister in the Nelson Mandela government, and chair of GAIN, a global foundation fighting malnutrition. He delivered the opening keynote address at the 2011 Summer Conference. Visit his Facebook Page or 


Calling all readers of Couchiching Connects!

Please send us information on Newsmakers, Couchiching Alumni in the News, and Opinions: Our Members Write... to Sheila Robertson, Vice-Chair, Marketing and Communications,

2016 Summer Conference

The Canada Project

Identity, Citizenship, and Nationhood in a Changing World

August 5-7, 2016
The YMCA Geneva Park Conference Centre, Orillia, ON

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Couchiching Connects
April 2017
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