Honouring Our Sisters.

A panel discussion on social justice.

Great panel discussion today on social decolonization, reconciliation and a better shared future in Canada.

Join us for a panel discussion on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-spirit (MMIWG2). The event aims to bring awareness and continue dialogue around the topic.

On Saturday, March 30
At Eckhardt Grammatté Hall
(3rd Floor Centennial Hall at The University of Winnipeg)
From 10.30 AM – 2 PM

Free to attend | Child Minding Available | Lunch provided

Panelists include:

Bernadette Smith
Bernadette Smith is the NDP MLA for Point Douglas Constituency in the Province of Manitoba. Bernadette spearheads the No Stone Unturned Annual Awareness Concert for Missing and Murdered Persons, and the Drag the Red Initiative. Bernadette is proud to have co-founded the Manitoba Coalition of Families of Missing and Murdered Women in Manitoba, served on the Executive Board of Directors of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, and served as Co-Chairperson of Manitoba Moon Voices. Bernadette is Anishinaabe from Duck Lake and Pine Creek.

Nahanni Fontaine
Nahanni Fontaine is the MLA for the St. Johns constituency in the Province of Manitoba. She serves as the NDP critic for Justice, Status of Women, MMIWG and House Leader. Nahanni is Status Ojibway from the Sagkeeng Anishinaabe First Nation in southern Manitoba and is the proud mother of Jonah and Niinichaanis.

Lisa Forbes
Lisa Forbes is from Winnipeg and is a Cree/Metis/Scottish member of Peguis First Nation. She has worked for over 15 years in community development as a facilitator, writer, researcher, program developer, and advocate. Lisa is part of a team that implements the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations at her workplace.

Bob Chrismas, PhD
Dr. Chrismas is an author, scholar, consultant, passionate speaker and social justice advocate. He is a police professional with expertise in sex trafficking and exploitation, community engagement and crime prevention. His PhD dissertation was on Modern Day Slavery and the Sex Industry (2017).

Facilitated by Tammy Wolfe, Masters of Arts in Indigenous Governance.

Welcome speech by Meagan Malcolm, Indigenous Students’ Association Co-President.

Due to the triggering content discussed, the option to smudge will be available for attendees. Elders will also be present to speak with people in need of healing or guidance. A list of UWinnipeg support services will also be available.

Poster artwork by Cody Wolf | Cree and Ojibwe translations by Cameron Adams and Aandeg Muldrew

Please email accessibility requests like ASL interpreters, alternate formats, accessible seating information etc. to events@theuwsa.ca

You too can overcome Glossophobia (speech anxiety)

This is a book launch I participated in a month ago.

I overcame glossophobia and you can too. The most common of all social anxiety disorders, glossophobia, or speech anxiety, derives from the Greek, “glossa” meaning tongue, and “phobos” meaning fear or dread. For more than 75% of us it is a problem and for many, it is debilitating, career limiting, and causes great anxiety or even panic, from time to time as life inevitably challenges us to speak in front of other people. 

My glossophobia was severe, and I often forget how I’ve slowly worked to overcome it. I am here to tell you there is hope, and you can easily manage the fear and even come to enjoy speaking. In high school and when I returned as an adult to finish grade 12 and starting University, inevitably there would always be a time to introduce ourselves or worse, plan a class presentation! By the time my turn came to say my name, I’d be sweating, my voice would be shaking; if I got the course outline and it included a presentation, I would quit the course. By the time I joined the Police Service, at 27 years old, I’d been in several demanding professions, a soldier for five years, a Sheriff for five years, a department head in a major hotel, and had worked in a half-way house with federal inmates- all the jobs I did while finishing my first degree. Yet, in my police recruit class, when it came time to do a short five-minute presentation, it was tough for me and I stood there shaking and sweating, basically having a mild panic attack and certainly an uncomfortable experience. 

The anxiety feels like it is entirely beyond your control; you think about speaking in a group or public, and your palms sweat and your heart beats uncontrollably, sometimes more and sometimes less, but you cannot seem to manage it. That is because it is a physiological response to stimulus in your brain that you can’t control. But there is good news; you don’t have to master it. If you want to overcome the anxiety related to public speaking, you don’t have to master your body and control the responses, all you have to do is practice. Too many people think they can fix the problem and then go out and do a big speech. You have a best man or maiden of honour speech, or a presentation at work, and are freaked out about planning for it; many resort to drugs. For many of us these things come up and then we have a time crunch and we have no time to properly overcome the phobia before the event. You can get through these and do a fine job, but it may be extremely uncomfortable or downright terrifying, and you may lose sleep worrying about it for weeks leading up to the event; this pain is unnecessary. When this happens, the best thing you can do is know your stuff and plan the speech. But my advice is to start training now, and then when the big speech comes, and it will, you can do it comfortably and even enjoy the experience (seriously). Your body is sensing the public speech input as a threat and your autonomic nervous system is causing a fight or flight response to a perceived attack. You cannot control this, except to train your body to recognize that you are in fact not being attacked and do not need your heart-rate raised in order to fight/flee and survive. 

By starting small, very small, and often, you will condition your subconscious response to public speaking, so that your body will not respond to those events with anxiety. You don’t have to train your mind or body to stop the anxiety, all you have to do is practice. Start small, pipe up in the office or at home, say something and join the conversation in classes, ask a question at a public forum. Eventually, your body will stop responding as though it is under attack and allow you to speak without your heart-rate going up. I liken it to running. If you have a marathon coming up, you cannot train for it by thinking and worrying about it, learning tricks to run better or drugs to give you energy; the only way you can really train for running is to start off small, wherever you are physically, and increase your training slowly until you’re running the whole race. Similarly, with speaking, you have to start small and train so that you eventually have more to say and less anxiety about it. Once you start talking more, there are things that will help you a great deal. For one, know what you are talking about, so you feel confident in what you are saying. A second strategy to reduce anxiety is to be prepared. Bring some props and notes if they make you feel better. Thirdly, there are some tricks that you can naturally start to incorporate in your talks; you may notice that many people tell a joke at the start of their talks; this allows them to get going and loosen up, and also to relax the audience.  

I’ve been doing more and more speaking, public presentations, media interviews, teaching classes, and even planning whole courses, and have overcome much of the speech anxiety that I used to suffer. I say much because it is always there, and I am more nervous in front of some groups, but overall I can do it, and I’ve recently realized how far I’ve come. It is as simple as taking baby steps, and you can do it too; I urge you to get going on it now, and before you know it you will look forward to speaking rather than being terrified of it; get the most out of life, you can do anything you put your mind to. 


Experiential Voices National Knowledge Gathering on Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking

Inspiring and humbling today to participate in this unique gathering of experiential sex trafficking survivors from across Canada, and deeply touched and honoured to be presented by the grandmothers with a medicine pouch and to learn that my work is being read and appreciated much more widely than I realized. It is demoralizing to learn how our brothers and sisters have been hurt, and it could have been any of us; we need to stand together for a better Canada.

In collaboration with community partners in Manitoba, Ontario, and British Columbia, Clan Mothers Healing Village is hosting the first ever Experiential Voices National Knowledge Gathering. You as individuals are the experts with knowledge to collaboratively lead the way forward. We will be inviting culturally diverse persons as well as 2SLGBTQQIA survivors of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation to participate in this experiential-led project. The summit will take place a short distance from Winnipeg, Manitoba, from March 19-21, 2019. For far too long our Indigenous communities have been caught in a never-ending cycle of temporary fixes pertaining to our history of intergenerational trauma. We are taking a stance against the colonial approach which has affected all people, giving voices back to those who are the leaders of change – people with lived experience. We are opening this gathering to experiential persons that have exited the sex trade or who have been involved in sex trafficking and are currently contributing their knowledge as leaders in the field of sexual exploitation and sex trafficking. Our goal is to capture the expertise of lived experience leaders. This is to allow for real, meaningful change to happen. The gathering will offer a gentle spiritual ceremonial aspect led by Elders and experiential persons. A critical component of the project consists of digital interviews to be collected and distributed in accessible ways to privilege the voices of experiential persons who, for too long, have felt unheard. The project’s main objective is to exemplify a representative model of lived experienced leadership to maximize and guide priorities and policies across Canada and beyond. Finally, there is an important outcome piece of this gathering: an on-line digital media book and film that will be developed and designed to emphasis and ensure that the expertise of people with lived experience in the sex trade will have far-reaching, real-life impacts to inform concrete changes moving forward. 

Not Perfect

Here is my anti-sexist rant. Ed Sheeran’s song “Perfect”, rubs me wrong every time I hear the line, “I don’t deserve it, but you look perfect tonight”, I’m bothered that this popular song reaches millions with a sexist message, inferring that someone should “look perfect”, disregarding that she might be smart, driven, and skilled. Is it just me or is this an incredibly sexist message affecting peoples’ perspective on gender and relationships?

Violence: Analysis, Intervention and Prevention

What an honour, and stimulating experience this evening, presenting and leading a discussion on violence analysis, intervention and prevention for PhD Peace and Conflict students from five diverse countries, for Dr. Sean Byrne at the Mauro Center for Peace and Justice, University of Manitoba.

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New book chapter: Raising Voices….

Laura Forsythe & Contributors — Book Launch

Saturday May 04 2019 7:00 pm – Grant Park in the Atrium, Winnipeg

Laura Forsythe & Contributors -- Book Launch

Launch of Research Journeys in/to Multiple Ways of Knowing (DIO Press) hosted by Niigaan Sinclair and featuring guests Dr. Robert Chrismas, Iloradanon Efimoff, Naithan Lagace, and Belinda Wandering Spirit Nicholson 

This book is an interdisciplinary collection of Indigenous research and scholarship that pushes boundaries of expectation and experience. While the topics are diverse there are many points of affinity across the issues including themes of identity, advocacy, community, rights, respect, and resistance. The authors present counter-narratives that disrupt colonial authority towards multiple ways of knowing.

Laura Forsythe, co-editor of this interdisciplinary and collaborative project, is a Métis Ph.D. student at the University of Manitoba in the Department of Native Studies working in Métis Educational Sovereignty with a University of Manitoba Graduate Fellowship. Forsythe works as the Métis Inclusion Coordinator for the University of Manitoba.

Iloradanon Efimoff is a Haida and European Settler from the North West Coast of BC and a 2018 Vanier Scholar. As a Ph.D. student at the University of Manitoba in the Department of Psychology Efimoff focuses on creating anti-racist educational interventions to reduce racism directed towards Indigenous people on campus

Naithan Lagace is a Métis Masters of Arts in the Department of Native Studies whose research focuses on the complexities of Indigenous Peoples and their representations in video games. Currently, Naithan is teaching Indigenous focused courses at the University of Winnipeg as well as the University of Manitoba and will continue their academic career in a Ph.D. program in September 2020.

Belinda Wandering Spirit Nicholson is an Indigenous Ally and Master student in the Department of Native Studies whose research focuses on deconstructing the coded messages of whiteness found in missionary’s texts used with Indigenous children in the Great Lakes area. Wandering Spirit Nicholson is a mother of five and a long-standing teaching assistant at the University of Manitoba.

Dr. Bob Chrismas completed a Doctorate in Peace and Conflict Studies at the Arthur V. Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice at the University of Manitoba focused on interrupting sex trafficking and exploitation of Indigenous women and girls in Canada. Chrismas was awarded the University of Manitoba Distinguished Dissertation Award. With over thirty-five years of law enforcement experience in Manitoba, Chrismas started his career during Manitoba’s Aboriginal Justice Inquiry and has published widely on Justice issues in Canada.

Host Dr. Niigaan Sinclair is Anishinaabe (St. Peter’s/Little Peguis), a Winnipeg Free Press Columnist, and associate professor in the Department of Native Studies at the University of Manitoba.

Thank-you Jennifer and Laura, for adding my chapter on violence the Canada’s strong Indigenous women have contended with.

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Research Journeys in/to Multiple Ways of Knowing is an interdisciplinary collection of Indigenous research and scholarship that pushes boundaries of expectation and experience. While the topics are diverse, there are many points of affinity across the issues including themes of identity, advocacy, community, rights, respect, and resistance. The authors present counter-narratives that disrupt colonial authority towards multiple ways of knowing.

Regardless of worldview or specialization, the chapters in this book have something to offer. Like the whorl of a spiral, the curve can be observed as traveling inward or outward. At different points in the conversations, the assertions may be congruent or disparate from the reader’s perspective. The discussions may resonate on individual or societal levels. While tensions may arise, the push and pull of competing constructs demonstrates that the ideas are connected and held in relationship to one another—negotiating alterity is a space of reconciliation. Together the pieces contrast, blend, and broaden the landscape of Indigenous research and decolonizing discourse.

“I hope you enjoy the critical and creative gifts here and witness and participate in the vibrancy, dynamism, and beauty of Indigenous scholarship.” – Niigaan Sinclair, Associate Professor, Department of Native Studies, University of Manitoba, from the Foreword of Research Journeys in/to Multiple Ways of Knowing.

Cover art by: Jonathan Chin. The spiral image was drawn to represent the seven sacred teachings and honours the artwork of Dr. Joane Cardinal-Schubert. The art piece was created in winter 2016, as part of a final assignment in the EDUC 530 – Indigenous Education course, within the undergraduate teacher education program in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary.

2 Contents

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Do you have an academic side hustle?

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“Side hustle?”, I asked, as a younger work colleague mentioned hers. I learned it’s a new-age term, common among millennials. Times are tough, cost of living is high, and everyone has an extra job, a “side hustle” for extra income and, I presume, for experience and networking. I realized I’ve had multiple side hustles throughout my career, most recently volunteering on non-profit boards, and my graduate studies which have now morphed into a writing career.

Since finishing my dissertation, well actually long before, I’ve stewed about how to maximize my impact with this PhD; what social good can I do? Still in public service, now in my 30thyear of policing, I find myself fully engaged in a side career of writing and teaching, with guest lectures and courses, and a continuous cycle of research, writing, peer review, revision, and publication- all in my spare time. I guess it is the work ethic, curiosity and work habits I gained through years of grad studies, while maintaining my policing profession and doing my part at home, raising four kids. The drive has not been a problem; having quit school early and returning later in life to further my education, I’ve cherished the opportunity to work and learn, but I’ve often reflected on how much the education and publishing work helps or hinders my day job. The other bigger question is where I can get the best impact with my PhD credential and academic work. Should I move into academe or stay in the front line? I’ve come to realize that I have an academic career, as a side hustle. Should I continue my grassroots and frontline work, in policing or elsewhere, and continue pursuing academics on the side? Or should I seek a full-time professor role?

As a pracademic, a frontline practitioner with some academic skills- seeking praxis of my work- it feels fulfilling to publish and raise awareness about issues in my profession and community. My first book and all of my articles have influenced decision makers and practitioners in the far corners of the world- I know because they cite my work, and occasionally they tell me; those interactions are highly rewarding and inspiring. At the same time, I wonder where I can get the best bang for my efforts; for example, I’ve put a lot of effort into publishing in scholarly journals, but I’ve come to prefer open access journals that allow me to freely share the work and spread the word farther. Sometimes professional magazines and news pieces get much broader distribution, so they do a lot more to further my personal goals, of affecting some good by moving the public discourse on social issues; sometimes they inform decisions by difference makers in the community. So, I wonder what more I can do with this potential power of writing.

Of course, as a closet academic- I did some research on the question of whether my PhD serves the community and my work better inside or outside of academe. One of the volunteers in my office calls me “Doctor Bob Cop”, which highlights that in some people’s eyes I’ve become somewhat of a goyim (Yiddish for someone outside the community), a label I’m happy to bare because it also connotes, in my mind, breaking away from the pack with some unique accomplishments. But where best to use these new skills? My cursory research on the academic vs. practitioner role finds that the vast majority of published articles on the topic quickly move to the question of where the better jobs are. This is likely the question foremost on most people’s minds; analyzing whether pursuing the PhD or master’s degree is worth the effort- for job getting. I was in the opposite, and fortunate position of having my career already set, and doing graduate and post-graduate studies mainly for self fulfilment. But it still leaves the question of where to get the better bang for my efforts- (1) in the workforce and publishing as a side hustle, or (2) seeking to go head and heals into academic career. Some have written about the potentially stifling university bureaucracy that comes with professor jobs. The opposite side of that problem is the limited time available for research and writing while maintaining a 40 hours per week non-academic job. Some even argue that working in academe leaves little time for many, for research and writing, as teaching is highly labour and time demanding.

The other question about pursuing higher education is whether it’s worth the effort in relation to career advancement or rewards. In some professions higher education results in almost automatic advancement, or at least meets requirements for advancement. In other professions, not so much. In those cases, one must dig deep for motivation, because they are not likely to find it in the job. Some professions, like policing, are in a period of change over recent decades- so higher education is appreciated more by some than others, and achieving an advanced degree may or may not help one’s career. I’ve often said that the moment people ask me how the education helped my career- that I knew they don’t really understand it. The prospect of a promotion could not motivate me to do what I put myself through to complete the PhD. At the same time, I have to say, my education has improved my job skills on every level. More importantly it has enriched my life far beyond anything I could conceive of before I began. So, wherever my career takes me, regardless of what I am doing, I will always have my academic side hustle. How about you?

Canada’s Future

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Such a great experience today with my colleagues, touring students and teachers from the Freedom International School in downtown Winnipeg, around the Police Headquarters with Devon Clunis (retired Chief), These kids were so engaged and eager, the day went by in a flash and we wanted it to continue. Our future is in good hands.

“All the Flowers May Die, But the Thistles Will Live”: Sex Trafficking Through the Eyes of a Police Officer-Researcher

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Click HERE for the full article

Thank-you as well to Professor Donna Hughes, University of Rhode Island, for your guidance with this article.

Acknowledgements:

I am grateful to the many participants who agree to take the time to be interviewed for this research. I thank the survivors for opening their hearts and exposing their compelling stories for the greater good of preventing people from being exploited and assisting others to escape the sex industry. I also acknowledge and appreciate the professionals, researchers, police, social workers, and NGO staff who work tirelessly for social justice. The opinions expressed in this article are my own and not the Winnipeg Police Service. Dignity thanks the following people for their time and expertise to review this article: Robert Jensen, professor emeritus, School of Journalism, University of Texas at Austin; and Joan Reid, associate professor criminology, University of South Florida at St. Petersburg. Dignity also thanks Jody Raphael, DePaul College of Law, Chicago, Illinois, for her time editing this article.