Carole Brazeau appointed Indigenous Initiatives program manager
Carole Brazeau has spent her entire life serving the aboriginal peoples of Quebec. She continues this service as Program Manager of McGill’s Indigenous Initiatives, the latest recruit to the program administered by the Office of the Principal and Vice-Principal (Academic) to “Integrate Indigeneity into University Life and Activities.” “.
Several of the 52 calls to action contained in the 2017 final report of the Provost Indigenous Studies and Indigenous Education Working Group commit to developing more Indigenous university programs and introducing more Indigenous content into the curriculum. studies.
These are two of the main tasks on its agenda, said Brazeau, who began work on March 15.
“I’m also looking to do Indigenous programming for McGill’s bicentennial as well as Indigenous Awareness Weeks.
Indigenous bicentennial programs have been extended until September 2022. Planned activities include educational videos on McGill’s long history, an overview of the history of the University’s interaction with Indigenous peoples, highlighting the Indigenous community bonds that McGill has forged and is in the process of forging, a celebration of the growth of Indigenous scholars and highlighting how Indigenous research methodologies and ethics are being integrated by the University.
The 2020 Indigenous Awareness Weeks (IAW) celebrations have been sharply curtailed due to COVID-19, and this year’s events in September will likely be a hybrid of in-person and virtual events, she added.
The Weeks promote Indigenous voices on campus, providing a better knowledge and understanding of Indigenous peoples in Canada. They aim to raise awareness and initiate an exchange of ideas on subjects concerning the First Nations, the Inuit and the Métis within the McGill community.
At the IAF’s last loose dress, in 2019, it featured 15 free events downtown and on Mac campuses, including a panel discussion on Reclaiming Traditional Childbirth Practices, a celebration of the authors of 2Spirit. , a presentation on Aboriginal architecture and a panel on harm reduction. .
“We are looking for an Indigenous Education Advisor [and other posts] for now, ”Brazeau said,“ but for now, I’m filling and doing that – and a bit of everything until all the positions are filled. McGill is in the process of hiring Indigenous staff to fulfill one of the task force’s goals, “to establish and support active, innovative and equitable recruitment strategies that respect and support Indigenous peoples”.
12 years old in Kahnawà: ke
Algonquin Anishinabe from Kitigan Zibi, near Maniwaki, Brazeau has worked in the Montreal area for three decades and has campaigned for equity in funding for Native women’s shelters for many years.
“Only 41 are funded by Indigenous Services Canada (ISC), but we have about 642 communities” – a much lower funding rate than provincially funded shelters.
It bothered Brazeau, whose mother, Madeleine, is a survivor of the harsh residential school system that forced Indigenous children to leave their families, homes and culture.
She worked at the Native Friendship Center of Côte-des-Neiges from 1991, and was also a front-line worker at the Native Women’s Refuge of Montreal for 17 years, until 2008. Over the past 12 Brazeau was in Kahnawà: ke for years, where his last position was as the Victims of Crime Research Coordinator for the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà: ke (MCK).
For seven of those 12 years, she was a project coordinator at the National Indigenous Circle Against Family Violence, working with Indigenous women in Quebec.
As she was negotiating her second contract as research coordinator for MCK, she was forced on a “pandemic sabbatical”.
Not much rest, however.
“I stayed with my mother in Kitigan Zibi for two months because she needed open heart surgery – double bypass. And then there was the [Joyce Echaquan] problem, which my daughter was facing when my mother went to the hospital the next day.
Brazeau’s daughter Jennifer is the executive director of the Native Friendship Center in Joliette, where Echaquan, an Atikamekw mother of seven, died at a nearby hospital after videotaping staff shouting racist epithets at her.
The importance of physical representation
When Carole Brazeau started her new role, she jumped into the race – even though she had to install an internet connection at home for the first time in her life.
“I am very proud to be at McGill,” she said. “I graduated from Concordia in Women’s Studies and went to Carleton Graduate School in Ottawa, where I did my internship on fishing rights and lobster trapping in the community of Listuguj.
“Right now,” Brazeau said, “I’m facilitating Indigenous engagements for projects like the New Vic [proposed multidisciplinary research centre on the former site of the Royal Victoria Hospital], Fiat Lux [large-scale library renovation project] and quadrangular landscaping with the Office of Campus Planning and Development. “
She also promotes the United Nations International Decade for Indigenous Languages which begins in 2022 and coordinates Indigenous Awareness Weeks to coincide with the Pow Wow, a free and public annual event celebrating First Nations, Inuit cultures. and the Métis this fall – although details are still pending due to the pandemic.
Her duties include developing a communications plan, strengthening relationships with Indigenous media, “liaising closely” with Indigenous faculty and staff “and managing numerous internal committee meetings to ensure participation and appropriate stakeholder consultations ”.
“I want the ground to be fertile for more Aboriginal students,” added Brazeau. “The target of the Calls to Action is to double the Aboriginal student body to 1,000 by 2022.”
“McGill has put resources in place for their success. It is important to be physically present, to have a physical representation. Behind us, they are all young and I hope that it will be a welcoming place, so that their gifts and their capacities develop fully. Then they will be able to do what they can for their families, themselves, their communities, their nations and society in general.