Nehiyaw (Cree) Syllabics and Decolonizing Archives Online
Join us in a conversation about the Nehiyaw Syllabics housed at Victoria University Library. We aim to use itas a case study related to the broader topic of decolonizing settler archives. Our panel includes Carmen Miedema and Walter Strong.
The syllabics are a Nehiyaw (Cree) language system of writing that uses symbols to represent syllables. We will discuss Nehiyaw early and original accounts of how the syllabary was given to the community as a sacred gift. In addition, we will also discuss accounts that credit James Evans with developing the syllabary. The James Evans fonds at Victoria University Library currently houses syllabics and copies of a printed Nehiyaw syllabic hymn book.
Our panel includes Carmen Miedema and Walter Strong. Their biographies are provided below.
To provide background information and allow for an informed conversation, you may wish to review the following sources prior to the event:
- Bak, Greg, Tolly Bradford, Jessie Loyer, and Elizabeth Walker. "Four Views on Archival Decolonization Inspired by the TRC's Calls to Action." Fonds d’Archives 1 (2017), pp. 1-21.
- Hutchinson, Gerald M. “Evans, James,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 7, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003.
- Stevenson, Winona. “Calling Badger and the Symbols of the Spirit Languages: The Cree Origins of the Syllabic System.” Oral History Forum, 19-20 (1999-2000): 19-4.
- Strong, Walter. "A Question of Legacy: Cree Writing and the Origin of the Syllabics." . Accessed Feb 1, 2022. https://newsinteractives.cbc.ca/longform/a-question-of-legacy-cree-writing-and-the-origin-of-the-syllabics.
In a spirit of reconciliation and learning, this event is part of a series of conversations presented by Victoria University Library on Indigenous-Settler Collections and Relations: A Learning Series at Victoria University. Participants will engage with significant nineteenth-century archival documents and rare books associated with Indigenous-settler relations in Canada and at Victoria University.
Carmen Miedema is a Nehiyaw woman and mother of four from the Peepeekisis Cree Nation in Southern Saskatchewan. Carmen worked as a Digital Archive Assistant at the NCTR where she concentrated predominantly on the care of the Centre’s material object collections. Carmen holds a B.A. (Hons) in History and Anthropology from Brandon University; a M.A. in Archival Studies from the University of Manitoba, and is in the third year of her Ph.D. program through the Native Studies department at the University of Manitoba. Her master’s thesis looked at the need for settler archives to build relationships with Indigenous communities, and how relationships have the potential to benefit not only the archives but more importantly, the communities.
Walter Strong is an assignment producer for CBC North in Yellowknife. He was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., but now calls the Northwest Territories home. Before becoming a producer he was a general assignment reporter privileged to report stories from the lands of the northern Dene, Inuit and Inuvialuit.
Note: this is an online event. A link for the session with be sent to you upon registration.
First 10 registrants who attend will receive free coffee cards.
- Friday, April 29, 2022
- 2:30pm - 4:00pm
- Time Zone:
- Eastern Time - US & Canada (change)
- St. George (Downtown) Campus
- This is an online event. Event URL will be sent via registration email.