Members of the Brock University and Niagara communities are invited to an information session on the Decolonial Reading Circle (DRC), a discussion group to examine issues related to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, on Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 7 p.m.
As proceedings get underway this week to certify a class-action lawsuit against the Government of Canada and the RCMP for a lack of progress in the cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG), and as the government’s plan to respond to the Inquiry’s final report remains on hold due to COVID-19, the launch of the DCR couldn’t be more timely.
“This lawsuit is a call for justice,” says Robyn Bourgeois, Associate Professor in Brock’s Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies. “The National Inquiry into MMIWG issued 231 such calls a year ago and the Government of Canada has yet to respond.”
Bourgeois is the driving force behind the DRC at Brock, which she formed last fall to allow members to engage with the Inquiry’s final report.
“We need to make sure this report doesn’t sit on a shelf,” says Bourgeois. “The lives of Indigenous women and girls are worth more than this.”
This year, the DRC will include two circles — one to address the final report of the Inquiry and a second circle, hosted in conjunction with the Centre for Pedagogical Innovation, to examine decolonial readings by Indigenous writers.
Meetings will take place from October to March and will be held online, a move Bourgeois hopes will improve the accessibility of the DRC.
“Last year, the pandemic actually circumvented what I feel was the most important of the DRC — a final session where we started working through the calls for justice and developing an action plan for Brock,” says Bourgeois.
Reaching this step will be a priority this year, as will discussions about how the decolonization of Canada relates to the anti-racist activism that has grown so urgent in 2020.
“I hope that the DRC can become a space where we talk about the events of this spring and help people better understand why Indigenous and Black folks have had enough and are demanding meaningful change,” says Bourgeois. “The DRC is a great way for folks to explore decolonization through an Indigenous lens and a safer/braver space where hard discussions can be had.”
Those interested in attending the information session can contact Robyn Bourgeois for details.