Idle No More calls for U of R to cancel lecture on MMIW and reconciliation

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Idle No More calls upon the University of Regina to cancel upcoming Woodrow Lloyd Lecture invitee

To:
President Vianne Timmons
Richard Kleer, Dean, Faculty of Arts
The Woodrow Lecture Selection Committee
University of Regina

Idle No More and its supporters are calling on the University of Regina to cancel the upcoming Woodrow Lloyd Lecture entitled “Truth and Reconciliation versus the Murdered and Missing: Examining Indigenous Experiences of (In)Justice in Four Saskatchewan Poets” to be held on January 23rd, 2020*.

Through the efforts of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous members of the University of Regina community, it has been revealed that the guest invited to do the lecture has an ongoing working relationship with Steven Kummerfield, a former University of Regina student and convicted killer of Pamela George. It has also been revealed that these concerned campus members, including members of the selection committee itself, have respectfully asked for the Woodrow Lloyd Lecture to be reconsidered, but that the administration refuses to acknowledge the hurt that the lecture will cause and cancel the talk.

The University of Regina has publicly rejected the numerous calls for cancellation, highlighting its commitment to “open, civil, and robust discussion on controversial issues.” We urge the university not to misuse the language of free speech and academic freedom to absolve themselves of the responsibility to ensure that a critical lens is brought to its planning and organizing efforts. 

Furthermore, it has been brought to our attention that no members from the Indigenous community were consulted on the decision to host the guest, despite the title of his talk. This is in direct violation of the University of Regina’s Statement of Commitment in Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission made in December 2018, which includes the call to “come together to form mutually respectful relationships and transform practices that exclude Indigenous peoples and knowledge systems, a practice that creates barriers to respect and mutuality.”

When the community’s concern was relayed to the invitee’s attention, the guest lecturer doubled down on his topic, and explicitly threatened that he “may or may not” read the work of his friend Steven Kummerfield, one of Pamela George’s killers, which in turn, denies the trauma and anxiety it may bring to the family members and the Indigenous community in Treaty 4 Territory. 

Idle No More and the signatories strongly urges the University of Regina to cancel the January 23 Woodrow Lloyd Lecture out of respect to the memory of Pamela George, her children, parents, family and community.

We stand with all missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit folks and their families, and invite you to sign this petition in solidarity with us.

Signed,
Idle No More
Sylvia McAdam
Sheelah McLean
Nickita Longman
Alex Wilson
Dodie Ferguson 
Randy Lundy
Alicia Elliott
Marilyn Dumont
Eden Robinson
Thirza Cuthand
Kateri Akiwenzie Damm
Cherie Dimaline
Audrey Huntley
Rob Innes
Shaista Patel 
Shaun Murphy
Kim Wheeler
Erin Morton 
Jordan Wheeler
Kenneth T. Williams
Dallas Hunt
Tasha Hubbard
Gina Starblanket
Priscilla Settee
Dawn Dumont 
Cheryl Ward
Tennille Bear
Chelsea Vowel
Triny Finlay
Gwen Benaway
Janet McVittie
Marc Spooner
Emily Eaton
Leanne Betamasoke Simpson


*Please note that this petition was first sent to the family of Pamela and approved.