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Bringing to Light IRSS, Reconciliation, Indigenous Matriarchy, and Cultural Abundance

Featuring Speakers Aimée Craft, Elder Marlene Gallagher, and Kaila Johnston
Moderated by Angeline Nelson
February 1, 2023
2:30 – 3:45 pm on Zoom
Event Recording with ASL Interpretation

Presented in partnership with the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

ASL interpretation will be available.

In conjunction with Jaimie Isaac’s exhibition Brings to Light, which addresses the legacy of residential schools and Indigenous knowledge and language repatriation, Gallery 1C03 is pleased to partner with the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation to host a special public presentation by three distinguished individuals. Professor, lawyer, artist and changemaker Aimée Craft will speak about the importance of matriarchy in traditional Indigenous communities which was negated by colonialism but is now seeing a resurgence. Elder Marlene Gallagher is a residential school survivor and educator who will speak about cultural abundance and learning from the land. Educator Kaila Johnston will speak about residential schools and reconciliation on Treaty One Territory. Following their presentations there will be an opportunity for questions from the audience.


Aimée Craft is an award-winning teacher and researcher, recognized internationally as a leader in the area of Indigenous laws, treaties and water. She prioritizes Indigenous-lead and interdisciplinary research, including through visual arts and film, co-leads a series of major research grants on Decolonizing Water Governance and works with many Indigenous nations and communities on Indigenous relationships with and responsibilities to nibi, water. She plays an active role in international collaborations relating to transformative memory in colonial contexts and relating to the reclamation of Indigenous birthing practices as expressions of territorial sovereignty.

Prof. Craft is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Common law, University of Ottawa and an Indigenous, Anishinaabe-Métis lawyer from Treaty 1 territory in Manitoba.  She is the former Director of Research at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the founding Director of Research at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. She practiced at the Public Interest Law Centre for over a decade and in 2016 she was voted one of the top 25 most influential lawyers in Canada.  In 2021 she was awarded the prestigious Canadian Bar Association President’s Award.

Breathing Life Into the Stone Fort Treaty, her award-winning book, focuses on understanding and interpreting treaties from an Anishinaabe inaakonigewin legal perspective. Treaty Words, her critically acclaimed children’s book, explains treaty philosophy and relationships. She is past chair of the Aboriginal Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association and a current member of the Speaker’s Bureau of the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba.

Elder Marlene Gallagher is an Anishinaabe Ikwe from Sagkeeng First Nation. Marlene attended residential school and has a good understanding of the Child Welfare System in Manitoba and its long-term impacts on children and families. She speaks Anishinaabe Ojibwa and takes part in various cultural practices and ceremonies.

Marlene possesses a Bachelor of Arts; Bachelor of Education degrees with double majors in History & English; a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in History from the University of Winnipeg; and a Masters of Education degree from the University of Manitoba. Marlene has been a Regent for the University of Winnipeg Board of Regents and a Board member for the St. Norbert Behavioural Health Foundation.

Marlene previously worked as an Education Consultant for the Province of Manitoba. In this position, Marlene’s portfolio included working closely with schools throughout Manitoba to support Aboriginal Education, Cultural Awareness and Community Partnership Initiatives. Marlene is currently an Independent Consultant and a current member of the speaker’s bureau for the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba.

Kaila Johnston is the Supervisor of Education, Outreach, and Public Programming at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR). In this role, Kaila oversees matters related to the support of educators, development of resources, establishment of outreach initiatives, as well as public engagement on residential schools and their legacy. Prior to joining the NCTR, Kaila worked with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) as a statement gatherer and coordinator to support statement gathering activities. She holds a BA (Hons.) in Criminal Justice from the University of Winnipeg and a MSc in International Crimes and Criminology from Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam.

Gallery 1C03 is on Treaty 1 Territory. We are located on the territories of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota and Dene peoples, and the homeland of the Métis Nation. Our water is sourced from Shoal Lake 40 First Nation.

This event is supported by the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. Gallery 1C03 acknowledges financial assistance for Brings to Light from the Manitoba Arts Council.