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U of R to host virtual Decolonization and Justice Conference

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: November 3, 2021 10:00 a.m.

Dr. Muhammad Asadullah, an assistant professor in the Department of Justice Studies, is one of the organizers of this week’s Decolonization and Justice Conference.
Dr. Muhammad Asadullah, an assistant professor in the Department of Justice Studies, is one of the organizers of this week’s Decolonization and Justice Conference. Photo courtesy of Dr. Muhammad Asadullah

On November 4, the Department of Justice Studies, ta-tawâw Student Centre and the John Howard Society of Saskatchewan are presenting a virtual conference on decolonization and justice.

The first conference of its type at the University of Regina, the 1st Decolonization and Justice Conference will bring together students, academics, community members, justice and government stakeholders for an important examination of current decolonization and justice practices. According to conference organizer, Dr. Muhammad Asadullah, an assistant professor in the Department of Justice Studies, the conference is designed to promote awareness and foster innovation and creativity in the field of decolonization and justice.

“This conference is unique because it brings attention to important justice issues that are prevalent in our communities,” he says. “The speakers and presenters will share innovative ideas and practices on the idea of decolonization and how it affects law, policing, justice, criminology and even how decolonization affects the mind.”

Campbell.jpg

Lori Campbell, Associate Vice-President
(Indigenous Engagement) will deliver
opening remarks at the first Decolonization
and Justice Conference on November 4, 2021.
Photo courtesy of Lori Campbell

Lori Campbell, the U of R’s Associate Vice-President (Indigenous Engagement), will provide opening remarks at the conference. Campbell says that the decolonization dialogue is important but adds it’s just the start of the work towards reconciliation.

“Colonization is a process that exploits original inhabitants who are required as labourers so that colonizers can advance their accumulation of wealth,” Campbell says. “Settler colonialism, which the land currently known as Canada is founded on, is a system that does not require Indigenous labour to build wealth, rather it requires the erasure of Indigenous peoples from the landscape to make it appear as though land was unoccupied, unmanaged, and therefore, free for the taking. Settler colonialism is not just an event that happened a long time ago as it has to continue to function as a tool to perpetuate the erasure of Indigenous peoples in order to justify the take-over of land and resources and implementation of colonials systems and institutions.”


The keynote speaker for the conference is Dr. Michael Yellow Bird, dean and professor of the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Manitoba. He is the founder, director, and principal investigator of The Centre for Mindful Decolonization and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba.  His research focuses on the effects of colonization and methods of decolonization, ancestral health, Indigenous mindfulness, neuro-decolonization and mindful decolonization.

The conference will also include undergraduate and graduate students from around the world presenting papers on how decolonization affects law, criminology and also address other forms of decolonizing justice practices from across the globe.

A community panel discussion is also on the agenda featuring Saskatchewan restorative justice proponents and Indigenous justice-led organizations.

Campbell says though discussions like those presented at the conference may be difficult, they are necessary to ensure a decolonized future.

“I am pleased to hear that there is a lot of buzz about decolonization,” Campbell says.  “This conference is definitely a start, but now comes the difficult and uncomfortable work. Now is when we will see just how willing people are to do the actual work. Making things more equitable for all can be seen by some as taking away from their privileges and quite challenging to understand or support.”

Registration fees are $10 for students and $25 for professionals. Subsidized conference fees are available.

To register, view the agenda or read the presenters’ bios click here. Due to an overwhelming response, registration closes at noon, November 3, 2021.

The University has committed to creating a healthy campus community and learning environment in its 2020-25 strategic plan All Our Relations, or kahkiyaw kiwȃhkomȃkȃninawak in Cree. Well-being and Belonging is one of the five areas of focus in the plan, with three interconnected objectives within it: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; Healthy Living; and Mental Health Literacy and Research.

 

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