Arts Working Group for Indigenous Initiatives

The Faculty of Arts has created the Arts Working Group for Indigenous Initiatives (AWGII) in light of the continuing responsibilities as well as benefits that flow from our presence on a traditional gathering place for diverse Indigenous peoples including the Cree, Blackfoot, Métis, Nakota Sioux, Iroquois, Dene, Ojibway/Saulteaux/Anishinaabe, Inuit, and many others. This is part of our commitment to participating in respectful relations amongst all peoples and is a reply to the 94 Calls to Action detailed in the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

The committee members of AWGII are listed below. Kisha Supernant and Marie Carrière are co-chairs of this committee and will be happy to answer any of your questions related to AWGII and the work they will be doing throughout the Faculty of Arts. Inquiries can be directed to

Laura J. Beard is a Professor (and former department chair) in the Department of Modern Languages & Cultural Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Associate Vice President (Research) at the University of Alberta. She served as Co-Chair of the Faculty of Arts Committee in Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action from 2015-2017 and is honored to continue supporting the work of AWGII. She serves on the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Scoping Group and the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Action Group at the University level. Her research interests include women writers of the Americas, Indigenous literatures, and life narratives.

Marie Carrière is Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Arts, Professor in the Department of English & Film Studies, and Former Director of the Canadian Literature Centre/Centre de littérature canadienne (CLC). She researches, writes, and teaches in the fields of Canadian and Québécois literatures, with a particular interest in contemporary fiction and poetry, Indigenous writing and feminisms, intersectionality, comparative approaches, and feminist ecologies. She is the author of several books, edited collections, and articles, with two works forthcoming in fall 2020, including the single-authored book, Cautiously Hopeful: Metafeminist Practices in Canadaand a co-edited collection of essays with Ursula Mathis-Moser and Kit Dobson titled All the Feels: Affect and Writing in Canada/Tous les sens: Affect et écriture au Canada.

Jordan Lachler
Ceilidh Morrissette is a nehiyaw iskwew (Cree woman) whose family is from the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. Ceilidh earned her Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Saskatchewan and has been with the Faculty of Arts and the University of Alberta for over 2 years. Her passion is to create and support in the development of institutional culture, space and processes that nurtures access and success for First Nation, Metis and Inuit students. She is uplifted by sharing her culture and knowledge with non-Indigenous Canadians who are also working toward fulfilling the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In the summer, you can find her on the Pow Wow trail and enjoying the river valley with her 2 pugs, Alvin and Joey.
Lindsay Sorell (she/her) is an artist and MA student of both Métis (from kistapinânihk) and mixed European descent learning in the department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at University of Alberta, grateful to be living in and a pupil of amiskwaciwâskahikan. Her focus of research is on coalition-building between diverse people groups through artmaking - how can we use art to generate learning and listening spaces that radically empower Indigenous sovereignty and facilitate decolonization in our present? Lindsay served as the founding editor of Luma Quarterly journal for Western Canadian media art and film, has written for Canadian Art, Akimbo, and the Independent Media Arts Alliance's Perspectives, and has exhibited her paintings, performances, and media art in various spaces such as Contemporary Calgary, Untitled Art Society, and Illingworth Kerr Gallery.
Kisha Supernant is Métis and an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Alberta. She was a Research Fellow for the Rupertsland Center for Metis Research in 2017-2018. An award-winning teacher, researcher, and writer, Her research interests include the relationship between cultural identities, landscapes, and the use of space, Métis archaeology, and heart-centered archaeological practice. Her research with Indigenous communities in Canada, including explores how archaeologists and communities can build collaborative research relationships. She specializes in the application of mapping methods to the human past and present, including the role of digital mapping and GIS spatial analysis in archaeological research. Her current research project, Exploring Métis Identity Through Archaeology (EMITA), takes a relational approach to exploring the material past of Métis communities, including her own family, in western Canada. She has published in local and international journals on GIS in archaeology, collaborative archaeological practice, and indigenous archaeology in the post-TRC era. She is currently a co-director of a new interdisciplinary research project on Métis kinscapes of Lac Ste Anne with a team of Indigenous scholars and a co-investigator on Cartographies of Deep Time, a recently funded SSHRC Insight Grant project that explores the complexities of history and different ways of knowing with Tsimshian communities in British Columbia. She is also the current president of the Academic Women's Association and sits on the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Scoping committee.

Ashley is an English, Irish, Scottish, Nehiyaw and Papaschase First Nation descendant. She was born in Slave Lake, Alberta and was raised in amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton, Alberta). She is a third-year Native Studies undergraduate student and currently working towards the Aboriginal Governance and Partnership Certificate as well. She is a member of Bigstone Cree Nation and has contributed to their Urban committee as administration staff and as a volunteer. She is committed to serving her communities she is a part of and has served as the Native Studies Student Association' Vice-President Academic in 2017-2018 and President in 2019. Ashley is passionate about decolonizing spaces. Her research interests include Indigenous restorative justice, gender role inequalities, and Crown/ Indigenous relations. She enjoys educating individuals regarding traditional and contemporary Indigenous methodologies in Canada. Ashley has worked as a Reconciliation Intern and in the Aboriginal Consultation Unit respectively at Natural Resources Canada and Transport Canada. She plans to attend Law school, but for now her focus is completing her undergraduate degree.


Kenneth T. Williams is a Cree playwright from the George Gordon First Nation in the Treaty 4 Territory. He is the first Indigenous person to earn an M.F.A. in playwriting from the University of Alberta, where he now teaches in the Drama Department. His plays In Care,Café Daughter, Gordon Winter,Thunderstick, Bannock Republic,Suicide Notes and Three Little Birds have been produced across Canada.

He tweets about drama, Indigenous peoples and climate change under his handle, @feralplaywright. He lives in Edmonton with his partner, Dr. Melissa Stoops, and their hamster, The Grand Duchess Minnie Blackbear, and their cat, Augustus Caesar McFuzzyboots.