People’s Symposium

In-Person at the Great Lakes Museum, 55 Ontario St, Kingston
29 February 2024
9 am–4:30 pm

Theme: Restorative Relationships with Land, Community and Archives

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The People’s Symposium is a platform for the dissemination of local and regional histories centering Indigenous, Black, People of Colour, queer and trans stories in Kingston, Wolfe Island and surrounding areas. Bringing community together, the People’s Symposium invites Indigenous knowledge keepers, local historians, independent researchers, academics and artists including Alejandro Arauz, Scott Berthelette, Maureen Buchanen, Nasrin Himada, Jennifer Dysart, Cathie Jamieson, JP Longboat, Jennifer Smith, Sheldon Traviss and Winsom Winsom together in a public forum to share and elevate knowledges typically erased from mainstream representations which tend to emphasize Eurocentric colonial histories of English and French settlement.

The theme of the inaugural People’s Symposium is Restorative Relationships with Land, Community and Archives.

We begin this first symposium by gathering as an urban community in this special place which was once known as Mississauga Point, a former Anishinaabe village. Today, we come together in partnership with the Great Lakes Museum to sit at the village site and share stories about the ancestors who lived here before us while imagining healthy futures for the next seven generations. We are living in the time of restoration and of transformation. Embedded in the words restoration and restorative is the word rest. Our Mother Earth is tired and working overtime to restore balance in our out of balance home.

What good lessons and teachings can we (re)visit and (re)learn from within the archives of natural law, our bodies, communities, and spirits?

Curated by Sebastian De Line, Associate Curator, Care and Relations

In partnership with the Great Lakes Museum. Supported by Queen’s University Faculty of Arts and Science EDII Fund
Watermark for People's Symposium. Designed by Vince Perez

Watermark for People’s Symposium. Designed by Vince Perez

As an ode to the first known Black-owned business owners in Kingston, James and Maria Elder, who opened the People’s Saloon on the Royal Mail Line Warf in 1844, the People’s Symposium is intended to become a platform for invited speakers and artists. An iteration of the People’s Saloon, a contemporary platform, today the People’s Saloon activates spaces of minority solidarity, visibility, joy and future thinking.

The People’s Saloon is an artistic platform surfacing from curatorial research on local Black history conducted by Qanita Lilla, Sebastian De Line, Emelie Chhangur, Tianna Edwards and Philip Monk in 2023. A series of socially-engaged artistic activations in public spaces will be performed at various sites.

People's Saloon logo. Designed by Vince Perez

People’s Saloon logo. Designed by Vince Perez

First Session

9 am: Doors Open

9:15 am: Sebastian De Line, Introduction to People’s Symposium

9:25 am: Maureen Buchanen, Welcoming by Anishinaabe elder

9:30 am: Cathie Jamieson (Talk and Q & A)

10:10 am: JP Longboat, Haudenosaunee water routes and Memories of Place

Morning Break

11 am: Lunch by Mohawk caterer, Terri Ward, three sisters’ soup, cornbread and cedar tea.
Tracing Kingston’s Solidarities, t-shirt printing with Alejandro Arauz. Bring your own T-shirt and make a print!

Second Session

11:45 am: Scott Berthelette, Haudenosaunee Slavery in the Mediterranean Galley Fleet of Louis XIV

12:25 pm: Maureen Buchanen, All Our Relations Land Trust: Caring for the Land in Perpetuity

1:05 pm: Sheldon Traviss, Rekindling the Past: Using Archival Knowledge to Generate Meaningful Actions

Afternoon Break

1:45 pm: Mohawk caterer, Terri Ward, maple bread and coffee.
Tracing Kingston’s Solidarities, t-shirt printing with Alejandro Arauz. Bring your own T-shirt and make a print!

Third Session

2:30 pm: Memory Keeper: A Conversation with Jennifer Smith and Jennifer Dysart, moderated by Nasrin Himada

3:10 pm: Alejandro Arauz,Tracing Kingston’s Solidarities: Activating Kingston’s early Black Histories

3:50 pm: Nasrin Himada in conversation with Dr Winsom Winsom

4:30 pm: Maureen Buchanen, Closing


JP Longboat's performance Relighting the Fires—a place of an ancestral Haudenosaunee Longhouse at Fort Frontenac on Thanksgiving Day. Photo: Sunny Kerr

JP Longboat’s performance Relighting the Fires—a place of an ancestral Haudenosaunee Longhouse at Fort Frontenac on Thanksgiving Day. Photo: Sunny Kerr


Alejandro Arauz is an interdisciplinary artist exploring issues of identity, diaspora and transplantation through the vernacular of print media, performance and video. Digital applications allow Alejandro to create bridges between mediums to expand on the lineage of his imagery. Alejandro is particularly interested in the Latin American Diaspora within Canada and the USA. Alejandro earned his Honors BFA from the University of Windsor in Canada and an MFA degree from Louisiana State University.

Scott Berthelette is Red River Métis and an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Queen’s University. He holds a PhD in History from the University of Saskatchewan. Dr Berthelette’s research and teaching centres on the history of New France, Indigenous peoples, the fur trade, and Euro-Indigenous relations in North America.

Maureen Buchanan is a founding member of a Kingston Indigenous Languages Nest (KILN), a grassroots group dedicated to revitalizing languages in the urban setting of Kingston. Maureen is a proud member of Batchewana First Nation and is Anishinaabekwe.

Emelie Chhangur is an artist, writer, and leading voice for experimental curatorial practice in Canada. Emelie is known for her long-term participatory projects performatively staged within and outside gallery contexts. Following a significant career at AGYU, Toronto, where she had the great honour of collaborating with Cathie Jamieson on three of her favourite projects ever (The Awakening / Giigozhkozimin, Ring of Fire, E-kaadengaadeg Jiibken / Trenzando raíces / Braided Roots), Emelie currently works as Director/Curator of Agnes Etherington Art Centre and advocates for a community-engaged architectural design process to reimagine new museum architectures (Agnes Reimagined).

Jennifer Dysart is an archive enthusiast with a deep love of found footage and experimental filmmaking. She was born in Alberta, raised in BC, currently lives in Hamilton, Ontario and has Cree roots on her Dad’s side of the family from South Indian Lake in northern Manitoba, Canada. She was an Artist-In-Residence for Archive/Counter-Archive at Library and Archives Canada (Ottawa, 2019) and presented Revisiting Keewatin at Nuit Blanche (Toronto, 2022) and at NYU’s Orphans Film Symposium at Concordia University (Montreal, 2022). In 2014, Jennifer won the MFA thesis prize at York for her graduate work with Kewekapawetan: Return After the Flood, which relies heavily on recovered archival film about large-scale hydro developments that have irreparably affected the north. Her film Kewekapawetan: Return After the Flood (2014) screened recently at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in a series called Let the Record Show: Archived Cinema (New York, 2023) and at the IAMHIST Conference (Montreal, 2023). Caribou in the Archive (2019) considers the value of decaying forms of home media and the absence of Indigenous women in colonial archives. Caribou in the Archive continues to screen around the world, most recently at the Winnipeg Film Group’s shorts program for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (Winnipeg, 2023). Her film projects represent a growing body of work that interrupts the power of colonial archives.

Nasrin Himada is a Palestinian curator and writer. Their practice is heavily influenced by their long-term friendships and by their many on-going collaborations with artists, filmmakers and poets. Nasrin’s recent project, For Many Returns, experiments with writing as an act dictated by love, and typifies their current curatorial interests, which foreground embodiment as method, desire as transformation, and liberation through many forms. Nasrin currently holds the position of Associate Curator of Academic Outreach and Community Engagement at Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

JP Longboat is Kanyen’kehà:ka (Mohawk), Turtle Clan, a Storyteller, Multi-disciplinary Artist. He grew up along the River Ouse, Haldimand Deed territory, Ontario. JP has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree through combined education at the University of Michigan and the Ontario College of Art and Design. He has extensive professional training and practice in traditional and contemporary forms of visual art and performance where he works with story traditions and place based history of his people. JP has trained, collaborated, and performed with many professional theatre and dance companies across Canada. His work emanates from the cultural ways of his people and his the legacy of First Nation’s artistic methodologies and practices. He is the founder and Associate Director of Circadia Indigena – Indigenous Arts Collective based in Algonquin territory, along the Kichi sibi at Akikodjiwan Falls. The collective creates full length performance works, and land-based Multi-disciplinary festivals. JP currently serves as the Chair of LodgePole Arts Alliance.

Cathie Jamieson is an Anishinaabe practising artist, from the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation with Haudenosaunee family ties to Six Nation. Served as elected political leader for the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation community from 2015-2021. Now living on Manitoulin Island in Wikwemikong Unceded Territory.

Education of Art and Art History joint degree program at the University of Toronto Mississauga and Sheridan College Oakville. Studio practice of painting, drawing, sculptures, photography, design, and print media, along with cultural awareness in craft making in sewing, beading, leather works. The themes throughout Jamieson’s artistic practice are based on storytelling from Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee identity. Themes formed in parts of history, dream realm, traditional dancing, clan systems, natural elements, landscapes, figures, sounds and abstract forms.

Jamieson has been incorporating a life practice of artwork and now applying known and learned concepts with land based living. Assisting her husband with land based living practice ad activities on Manitoulin Island and at Eureak Miwe’e Camp. Areas of Anishinaabe histories, traditional knowledge of the land and waters, seasonal medicine harvesting, hunting, trapping, fishing and cooking. The goal is to promote healthy lifestyles through an artistic lens and an Anishinaabe practice of living.

Jennifer Smith is a Red River Métis independent curator, writer, and arts administrator from Treaty 1 Territory/Winnipeg. Jennifer has curated exhibitions for Gallery 1C03, AKA artist-run, the Manitoba Craft Council, and was the Indigenous Curator in residence at aceartinc. in 2018 and works with the window winnipeg collective. Her writing has been published through galleries and art publications, as well as she was part of the 2022 Momus Emerging Critics Residency: Writing Relations, Making Futurities: Global Indigenous Art Criticism. Through her work as an arts administrator Jennifer works as the Executive Director of the National Indigenous Media Arts Coalition (NIMAC). Jennifer worked for twelve years in Media Art Distribution Centres, where she worked with and managed the archives associated with two distribution collections. Through this work she developed a great love for A/V preservation and understanding access to historical film and video collections.

My name is Sheldon Traviss and I am an emerging artist living in Kingston, Ontario. I grew up in Bancroft, Ontario before moving to this city some 35 years ago. Being of Mohawk descent I have spent the majority of my life attempting, as best as I can, to live a traditional life.

That pursuit has guided me over the years. Training as a firekeeper in my youth, a lifelong passion for Indigenous culinary tradition, community involvement and volunteerism, food sovereignty, and cultural revitalization. My artistic practice includes graphite and digital drawing, and ceramic and wood sculpture. Certain tenets have driven many of my activities and continue to drive me today, currently with the pursuit of cultural revitalization through the creation and use of traditional Haudenosaunee cooking vessels and pottery using locally sourced, self-processed materials.

I continue serving as a Vice-Chair for the All Our Relations Land Trust and a founding member of Cataraqui Longhouse Education & Archival Research (C.L.E.A.R.), and still joyfully participate in ethical research steering committees at Queen’s University while continuing duties as a traditional firekeeper for my local urban Indigenous Community. My dedication to my people has now led me to this new road in life and I look forward to what it may bring.

Dr Winsom Winsom is a Taino and Maroon multi-media artist who works in textiles, painting, video, installations, and puppetry. Her work explores human spirituality. Winsom believes that the spiritual and earthly experiences are deeply connected, and her art reflects that idea.

Born in Maroon land, she immigrated to Canada in the 1970s and lived in the Kingston, Ontario area from 1974 to 1989. As the co-founder of Kingston’s Black Women’s Collective she worked with the Mayor’s office on issues of racism and attracted many Black activists to Kingston, including Angela Davis, Odetta, Dr Mavis Burke and Lincoln Alexander. Entwined with her career as an artist and activist, Winsom has a longstanding history as an art educator. She influenced the emergence of several Canadian artists, such as Pamila Matharu and d’bi.young anitafrika.

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