Theme & Keynote Speaker

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Sheelah McLean

Keynote: “Writing as writing. writing as rioting. writing as righting. On the best days all three.” – Teju Cole

This keynote address will interrogate the ways in which universities reproduce and maintain whiteness through mechanisms such as the construct of academic disciplines, curriculum &  resources, pedagogical praxis and the codes and conventions of writing in ‘standard’ English. How can Writing Centers become spaces that foster transformative change?

Dr. Sheelah  McLean completed her PhD in Anti-Racist education from the University of Saskatchewan. She has worked in adult education and taught both graduate and undergraduate courses in the College of Education for 15 years. Sheelah  is also an organizer with the Idle No More network. As an educator, scholar and community organizer, Sheelah’s  work has focused on research and projects that address inequality, particularly focusing on the legacy of oppression experienced by Indigenous Peoples within a white settler society. Sheelah has received many honors for her work in social justice including the University of Saskatchewan’s Alumni of Influence Award (2013), the Council of Canadians Activist of the Year Award (2014) and the Carol Gellar Human Rights Award (2015).


Special Speaker: Gregory Younging

Gregory is the author of Elements of Indigenous Style: A Guide for Writing By and About Indigenous Peoples

May 24th, 7: 15-7:45pm, Louis’ Memorial Union Building

“Elements of Indigenous Style offers Indigenous writers and editors — and everyone creating works about Indigenous Peoples — the first published style guide to common questions and issues of style and process. Everyone working in words and media needs to read this important new reference, and to keep it nearby while they’re working.” -Brush Education Inc.

Gregory Younging is a member of Opaskwayak Cree Nation in northern Manitoba. He has an MA from the Institute of Canadian Studies at Carleton University, an MPub from the Canadian Centre for Studies in Writing and Publishing at Simon Fraser University, and a PhD in educational studies from the University of British Columbia. He has worked for the Assembly of First Nations and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. From 1990 to 2004, he was managing editor of Theytus Books, and currently is its publisher. He was a member of the Canada Council Aboriginal Peoples Committee on the Arts from June 1997 to June 2001, and the British Columbia Arts Council from July 1999 to July 2001. He was assistant director of research for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. He was on the faculty of the Indigenous Editors Circle at Humber College, Toronto, until 2017, and currently teaches in Indigenous Studies at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan.


Closing Plenary Speaker: Jack Saddleback

Keynote: Diverse Students, Diverse Approach

Jack will share some insights in navigating and advocating for the intersectional identities of service users and how to best support students.

Jack Saddleback is a Cree Two-Spirit Transgender gay man from the Samson Cree Nation in Maskwacis, Alberta. As the former President for the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union (USSU), Jack was the third Aboriginal person and  first Transgender person to hold the role. While in office, Jack was successful in working with the various educational communities to lobby for Indigenous engagement, mental health, and a culture of consent in institutions across Canada. Jack also sat on the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s youth council as the Saskatchewan representative, a role he held for six years; within this time, he, along with his fellow council members have been able to lobby political figures, policy makers, and community members alike to bring youth mental health to the forefront. Including his mental health activism, Jack advocates for Indigenous engagement, gender and sexual diversity issues, two-spirit issues, sexual health and HIV & AIDS.