On Monday, June 7, Michele A. Sam gave a presentation as part of the College of the Rockies Indigenous History Month Speaker Series. In her presentation, Sam went over one-hundred PowerPoint slides contextualizing and unpacking the place-based Indigenous peoples’ intellectual sovereignty and cognitive justice issues inherent to Indigenizing and decolonizing approaches.
Sam’s presentation was from a Ktunaxa perspective, according to Ktunaxa knowledge systems, relationships, responsibilities and roles and structures, as she experiences them.
Those in attendance of the virtual talk hosted over Zoom explored issues including intellectual imperialism, whiteness, intractable conflict and dysconsciousness. Sam encouraged while building their capacity to consider doing differently according to a Ktunaxa approach that enables more fulsome engagement locally, as proposed by a Ktunaxa land acknowledgement.
“We’re in a moment of time, history and future,” she said in an interview after her talk. “We have the opportunity to change. And when we talk about intergenerational trauma, it’s a broad brush. What are the finer details?” A significant theme of Sam’s discussion was reconciliation. “Reconciliation is a marathon,” she said. “Not a sprint.”
Sam has familial ties across all six Ktunaxa/Ksanka communities and is an official band member of –a“am. In the late 1990s, Sam returned home to the Ktunaxa homelands as a 60s Scoop survivor, having been adopted and raised in southern Ontario by a Dutch Catholic immigrant family to Canada.
Sam’s education credentials include graduate and undergraduate degrees in social work, English literature and Indigenous learning. She has completed coursework, comprehensive exams. She has completed a proposal defence for her Ph.D. focused upon Indigenous peoples’ place-based re-attachment to landscapes and waterways in light of the genocide of intergenerational trauma and stress.
Learn more about Michele’s work at michelesam.com.
James Rose, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Columbia Valley Pioneer