Indigenous Awareness Week

IAW BannerWestern's 7th Annual Indigenous Awareness Week will take place February 1 to 6, 2021.

Indigenous Awareness Week (IAW) seeks to celebrate Western's Indigenous presence, nurture relationships, and facilitate collaborations between indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. IAW seeks to educate and share information about Indigenous perspectives in a myriad of areas and disciplines and engage the local London and regional Indigenous communities with campus communities.

This year, IAW will be virtual!

Visit us on Facebook and Instagram throughout IAW and remember to tag your IAW experiences with #WesternuIAW!

Here is this year's list of events!

Check out our IAW 2021 schedule!

Monday February 1 2021

SOGS IAW Indigenous Graduate Fair

Scholarship@Western

The Research Fair is organized by Western’s Indigenous Student Centre, Western Libraries (Scholarship@Western), and the Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) and will take place throughout the 2021 IAW. The Fair will feature Indigenous Graduate Students at Western and their research hosted on Scholarship@Western, making their research accessible to a broad worldwide audience and demonstrating these students' contributions to academic excellence in their field. Check out the Grad Fair and see what our Indigenous graduate students are working on!

Wake Up Western: featuring Joy SpearChief-Morris

Instagram: @westernstudentexperience

Joy SpearChief-MorrisWake Up Western is an Instagram TV series run by Western Student Experience where students and staff share entertaining and informative content related to Western. Today features Joy SpearChief-Morris, the Student Opportunities Coordinator at the Indigenous Student Centre.


Radio Western "You Are Power" IAW Episode

2:00pm to 3:00pm via fm94.9 Radio Western

event information to come

Indigenous Student Association Social

6:00pm to 9:00pm via Zoom

Join the ISA in a social to meet one another, while de-stressing through icebreakers, games and fun activities. Join the social here.


Tuesday February 2 2021

SOGS IAW Indigenous Graduate Fair

Scholarship@Western

The Research Fair is organized by Western’s Indigenous Student Centre, Western Libraries (Scholarship@Western), and the Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) and will take place throughout the 2021 IAW. The Fair will feature Indigenous Graduate Students at Western and their research hosted on Scholarship@Western, making their research accessible to a broad worldwide audience and demonstrating these students' contributions to academic excellence in their field. Check out the Grad Fair and see what our Indigenous graduate students are working on!

Digitizing Smoke Signals: An Interview with Dan and Mary Lou Smoke and Serena Mendizabal

9:00am to 11:00am via fm94.9 Radio Western

Dan and Mary Lou Smoke

Smoke Signals has aired on Radio Western for over 20 years, hosted by Indigenous Knowledge Keepers, Dan and Mary Lou Smoke. Recently the archives have been digitized, in collaboration with FIMs and Western students. Join one of the students on the project, Serena Mendizábal, as she interviews Dan and Mary Lou about Smoke Signals, the digitization process, organizing the archive, and what they’ve all learned and been reminded of along the way.

Airing on CHRW as part of Indigenous Awareness Week.

Click here for more information.


Wednesday February 3 2021

SOGS IAW Indigenous Graduate Fair

Scholarship@Western

The Research Fair is organized by Western’s Indigenous Student Centre, Western Libraries (Scholarship@Western), and the Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) and will take place throughout the 2021 IAW. The Fair will feature Indigenous Graduate Students at Western and their research hosted on Scholarship@Western, making their research accessible to a broad worldwide audience and demonstrating these students' contributions to academic excellence in their field. Check out the Grad Fair and see what our Indigenous graduate students are working on!

Wake Up Western: Featuring Emily Anderson

Instagram: @westernstudentexperience

Emily AndersonWake Up Western is an Instagram TV series run by Western Student Experience where students and staff share entertaining and informative content related to Western. Today features Emily Anderson, a undergraduat student in the Media, Information and Technoculture (FIMS) Department.


GradCast IAW Episode

11:00am to 12:00pm via fm94.9 Radio Western

GradCast is the official podcast and radio show for the Society of Graduate Students at Western University. GradCast highlights graduate student life and research with interviews done once a week and at various events. Podcast available on iTunes, Google Play and Spotify. For IAW, GradCast will feature a special IAW Episode in two parts featuring two Indigenous graduate students, Victoria Bomberry and Riley Corbin.

Part 1: The Role of Housing in Enhancing Access to Post Secondary Education for Indigenous Learners  

Victoria BomberryVictoria Bomberry is a Mohawk from Six Nations of the Grand River.  A mother and mature first-generation graduate student, Victoria is an Indigenous Geographer concentrating on the housing and homelessness experiences of Indigenous Peoples.  She is in her first year of the MA Geography program here at Western.

Victoria Bomberry (MA Geography Candidate) chats about her research on enhancing understandings of the unique housing needs of Indigenous learners at Canadian post-secondary institutions.  Victoria’s research contributes to ongoing work to improve access to post-secondary education for Indigenous Peoples as well as efforts to address rising unaffordability of housing in Canadian urban centres. She is joined with co-hosts Yousuf Hasan and Elizabeth Mohler from GradCast (SOGS official radio-show and podcast) and producer Gavin Tolometti.


Part 2: Reconciliation – in progress?

Riley CorbinRiley Corbin is from Thunder Bay, Ontario. He is a French Canadian and a member of Biigtigong Nishnaabeg. He loves the outdoors and sports.

Riley Corbin (MA French Candidate) discusses how he wants to use the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s, TRC, 94 calls to action to explore whether or not these calls had any effect on Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada.  He is also joined with co-hosts Yousuf Hasan and Elizabeth Mohler from GradCast  and producer Gavin Tolometti.  


Mbwaach’idiwag: They Visit With Each Other - Walking along Deshkan Ziibing with Summer Bressette

9:00am to 11:00am via fm94.9 Radio Western and Instagram: @westernu_indigenous

If we could gather together, Summer Bressette of Kettle Point First Nation would lead us on a campus walk to reconnect us to the land as part of Indigenous Awareness Week.

Alternatively, walk with us virtually, as Summer takes us alongside Deshkan Ziibing, as known as the Thames River, and visits with Sara Mai Chitty, Indigenous Curriculum and Pedagogy Advisor.

Summer BressetteSummer Bressette is Anishinaabe from Kettle and Stony Point First Nation, she is a community animator and organizer, educator, public speaker, storyteller, and an active member of London’s creative community. She has volunteered with the Forest City London Music Awards and the London Junos Host Committee. Summer has also worked as a consultant for the Grand Theatre’s recent production of Honour Beat in 2020 and coordinated the Indigenous Legacies Project for Museum London. Summer has been a featured panelist for the London Community Foundation’s Vital Conversation series, the London Public Library’s presentation of “Land, Language, and Governance”, as well as the School of Hip Hop’s annual FemJam event in celebration of International Women’s Day.

Summer also freelances as an independent contractor and consultant and has worked with organizations such as the Pillar Foundation, London Environmental Network, and the Thames Valley District School Board. Summer is a current instructor at the Anishinaabek Educational Institute and teaches the course “Indigenous Arts and Cultural Expression”. She is also a recent team member of the London Arts Council and has also been a guest curator at Museum London in September of 2020 for an exhibit to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the events in Ipperwash in 1995, and has also produced a show for the Forest City London Music Awards for their annual Sound Check event. Summer hopes that the pandemic is a time when the community can safely reflect on the ways in which they can incorporate creativity in their lives to help with their mental health and personal growth, and to also remember the ways in which the arts and artists have helped us to endure throughout global upheaval. 


Thursday February 4 2021

IAW Playlist on Radio Western

12:00pm to 2:00pm via fm94.9 Radio Western

Listen to Radio Western on fm94.9 to hear a curated playlist specially for IAW!

Land Protectors Panel

3:00PM to 4:00PM via Zoom

Join the Indigenous Student Centre, Society of Graduate Students, and Western Sustainability for a virtual Local Land Defenders Panel on Thursday, February 4, 2021 from 3-4pm on Zoom, with panelists Awâsis, Shawn Johnston and Camille Di Iulio. The panel will discuss local land issues such as energy justice, pipeline resistance, the Idle No More movement, O:se Kenhionhata:tie, also known as Land Back Camp, treaty rights and land sovereignty issues. Catch the Panel here!

Panelist Bios

AwasisAwâsis is a Michif, Anishinaabe, and Ukrainian two-spirit writer and spoken word artist from the pine marten clan. She is a Lecturer in the Centre for Global Studies at Huron University College and PhD candidate in the Department of Geography and Environment at Western University who studies energy justice and Indigenous rights in Anishinaabeg pipeline resistance.


Shawn JohnstonShawn Johnston (they/them) is a Two Spirit Anishinaabe originally from Couchiching First Nations. They are a community organizer with the Idle No More movement and a co-organizer for O:se Kenhionhata:tie also known as Land Back Camp. This space created for Two Spirit and queer Indigenous youth brought about several changes within Kitchener-Waterloo in the summer of 2020. Shawn's leadership and dedication has allowed them to become the recipient of numerous community awards, most recently the Atlohsa Peace Award.


Camille Di IulioCamille Di Iulio is a doctoral student in Education (EdD) at Western University with a focus on Indigenous education from a culturally informed perspective. Her research interests include curriculum reform within a community-based framework and the potential impacts on Indigenous students. She is a Professor at Seneca College in Toronto, ON where she teaches various courses in English and Indigenous Studies.


More Than Words - Land Acknowledgments

4:00PM to 6:00PM via Zoom

Sara Mai ChittyMore than ever, land acknowledgments are considered standard practice before meetings, events and classes – but what are they and what do they really mean? Join the Office of Indigenous Initiatives’ Curriculum and Pedagogy Advisor to explore land acknowledgments in a local context, and for tips on creating more meaningful acknowledgments. Feel free to bring land acknowledgments you’ve written, for feedback. This is an interactive workshop, 2hrs.

Register in advance for this meeting here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


Friday February 5 2021

Indigenous Student Association Global Health Speakers Series

11:00am to 2:00pm via Zoom

The Indigenous Student Association (ISA) Global Health Speakers Series will feature Dr. Danielle Alcock, the Indigenous lead at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at Western University and Dr. Diana Lewis, Assistant Professor for the Department of Indigenous Studies and Department of Geography.

Register for the Series here.

Wake Up Western: Featuring Sara Mai Chitty

Instagram: @westernstudentexperience

Sara Mai ChittyWake Up Western is an Instagram TV series run by Western Student Experience where students and staff share entertaining and informative content related to Western. Today features Sara Mai Chitty, the Indigenous Curriculum and Pedagogy Advisor in the Office of Indigenous Initiatives.


REAIR: Land Protectors Panel

10:00am to 11:00am via fm94.9 Radio Western

Missed the Land Protectors Panel on Thursday? Not to worry! Hear the full panel again on Radio Western fm94.9 today!

REAIR: Mbwaach’idiwag: They Visit With Each Other - Walking along Deshkan Ziibing with Summer Bressette

time tdb via fm94.9 Radio Western and Instagram: @westernu_indigenous

Missed the Mbwaach’idiwag: They Visit With Each Other on Tuesday? Not to worry! Listen again on Radio Western fm94.9 today! Also catch it on our Instagram and Facebook.


Saturday February 6 2021

Auntie's Table Live Show!

4:00PM to 6:00PM via Zoom

The Indigenous Student Centre (ISC) and Housing at Western are collaborating to bring you the virtual "Auntie's Table Live Show" on Saturday, February 6, 2021 from 4-6pm.

The staff of the Indigenous Student Centre with in the Office of Indigenous Initiatives at Western University want to acknowledge the generous sharing of this beautiful and perfect name for the program, of Aunties Table. In this we want share the origin of this name from the Shkagamik-kwe Health Centre in Sudbury, Ontario, that there are difficult conversations that need to take place and often our Aunties kitchen tables provide that safe space, that place of love, kindness, food, creativity, laughter and tears. It is with our hearts that we say miigwetch to Shkagamik-kwe and the good work they facilitate. 

Auntie's Table Live Show will feature our two hosts, Lacey Hill and Darren Sutherland, and involve a discussion on Indigenous health and well-being, and include games and prizes for participants. The event will take place virtually over Zoom. Register for Auntie's Table Here or use the QR code below!

Our Hosts!

Lacey HillLacey Hill is Oneida of Six Nations, Wolf Clan. She is a singer/songwriter and inspirational speaker. Lacey went solo launching her debut album titled 528, independently, in 2013, which put her in the music scene and opened up the stage to perform her original songs. 2017 Her sophomore album 528 Volume II M has taken Lacey across Canada and on to international stages. 2018-19 Lacey traveled to New Zealand, Australia and UK, stage managing and providing original compositions for Tara Beagans' theatre production DeerWoman. 2020 Lacey released and premiered "The Shiner" as a single for APTN's Amplify series. 

Find Lacey on Facebook, Spotify and Instagram.


Darren SutherlandDarren Sutherland is Cree, a member of Fort Albany First Nation, who has lived in beautiful Algonquin territory (Ottawa) for the better part of his life. From there he hosts The Circle on CHUO, a radio program dedicated to highlighting stories, music and art from the Indigenous community. Darren dabbles in stand-up comedy and has had the pleasure of performing with comics such as Don Kelly, Ryan McMahon, and the late Charlie Hill.

Darren looks forward to co-hosting Auntie’s Table alongside Lacey Hill for this year’s Indigenous Awareness Week. Attendees can look forward to good conversation, witty banter and big laughs.



Auntie's Table Live Show QR Code