Courageous Conversations: November 18

Anti-Racism and Decolonization in the university

About the speakers

Dr. Verna St. Denis is a Professor of Education in the Department of Educational Foundations and Special Advisor to the President on Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression at the University of Saskatchewan where she has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in critical and intersecting anti-racist education since 1992. She identifies as both Cree and Metis and is a member of the Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation.

Her research has explored the knowledge and experience of Indigenous teachers practicing in Canadian public schools. Working extensively with public school divisions both provincially and nationally in the promotion of anti-racist education. Her current research examines ‘how school leaders narrate their engagement with anti-racist education. On June 21, 2021, National Aboriginal Day, she launched a coproduced Social Science Research Council funded film, titled “Understanding and Finding Our Way: Decolonizing Canadian Education,” which is available on YouTube. The Saskatchewan Teachers Federation is in the process of developing a teacher and staff discussion guide for the film. Along with two colleagues, they anticipate the release in spring 2022, through Fernwood Publishing, an edited book titled: White Benevolence: Racism and Colonialism in the Helping Professions.

Dr. St. Denis’ works include: “Silencing Aboriginal curricular content and perspectives: ‘There are other children here’,” Review of education, pedagogy, and cultural studies, 33, 4 (2011): 306-317; “Aboriginal education and anti-racist education: Building alliance across cultural and racial identity,” Canadian Journal of Education, 30, 4 (2007), 1068-1092; and with Carol Schick, “What makes anti-racist pedagogy in teacher education difficult? Three popular ideological assumptions,” The Alberta Journal of Educational Research, XLIX, 1 (2003), 55-69.

Dr. St Denis has received many awards for her scholarship, teaching and professional practice.

Dr. Shirley Anne Tate is a Professor and Canada Research Chair Tier 1 in Feminism and Intersectionality in the Sociology Department, University of Alberta, Canada. Her area of research is Black diaspora studies broadly and her research interests are institutional racism, the body, affect, beauty, hybridity, 'race' performativity and Caribbean decolonial studies while paying attention to the intersections of 'race' and gender. Her current research project is on antiracism and decolonization in universities. Previously she was a Professor of Race and Education and the Founding Director of the Centre for Race, Education and Decoloniality in the Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett University in the United Kingdom. She is an Honorary Professor at the Nelson Mandela University in South Africa.

Dr. Tate’s works include Decolonising Sambo: Transculturation, Fungibility and Black and People of Colour Futurity (2019), Building the Anti-Racist University, edited with Paul Bagguley (2018), Black Skin, Black Masks: Hybridity, Dialogism, Performativity (2017), Black Beauty: Aesthetics, Stylization, Politics (2016), and Caribbean Racisms: Connections and Complexities in the Racialization of the Caribbean Region, with Ian Law (2015).


Oki nistowaok Sipiyanatohkomia”ki. Colleen Sitting Eagle is Siksika Language Instructor at Siksika Outreach School located in Siksika Nation, teaching in Siksika since 2009. Having previously worked as a researcher with Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park, Colleen has been employed with Siksika culture and heritage since 1992, and knowledge of Siksika history was taught to her by her late parents and knowledgeable elders whom she had the honor of working with. She was one of the first groups from Siksika to be integrated to start her schooling in Strathmore, AB. She previously attended and continues to take courses from the University of Calgary. She is the proud mother of three children and eight grandchildren.

Dr. Verna St. Denis
Dr. Shirley-Anne Tate
Colleen Sitting Eagle

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Upcoming Courageous Conversations

Courageous Conversations speaker series presents: Human Rights Day - Ableism, Disability Justice and Accessible Futures in Post-Secondary Education. To mark Human Rights Day 2021 at the UCalgary, the Vice Provost and Associate Vice President Research (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion), Dr. Malinda Smith, is pleased to host this Courageous Conversation with two internationally renowned disability studies scholars, Dr. Laverne Jacobs of the University of Windsor and Dr. Jay Dolmage of the University of Waterloo.