WRITE 494 A1: A Poetics of Treaty

C. Stewart

This is a creative research course that responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action to respect and honour Treaty relations (10 vii). In this class, we will study ideas of treaty, in part, through nêhiyawêwin (the Cree language), and from the perspective of Indigenous scholars and Elders. During the term, students will be introduced to the syllabic system (or spirit markers) by local nêhiyawêwin language instructor, Reuben Quinn from the Centre for Race and Culture in Edmonton. Through the spirit marker teachings and our other research, we will consider the ways in which concepts of good relations are imbedded in nêhiyawêwin and in the very land on which we live. We will also consider treaty relations with the context of the Mêtis Nation. Without eliding the fact that the Métis were denied treaty by the Crown in the majority of the numbered treaties, we will study the perspectives of Métis scholars, such as Adam Gaudry, who argue that the Métis historically engaged in crucial nation-to-nation agreements. Additionally, if we are able to secure funding, field trips are planned to visit several significant historical sites where land negotiations took place.

In this course, we will be engaging in methods of creative research or research creation. * Understanding that creative forms are integral to serious research and essential for expanding thought, developing different habits of reasoning, asking questions, and attending intently to the world, we will consider the capacity for creative expression and research to make us more attentive to the land and its histories. Might methods of creative research help us relocate modes of learning, thinking and expression that will help us honour our relations to this land and to each other, beyond the pervasive and harmful narratives of colonization?

In addition to smaller assignments, students will produce a final creative project that engages with the course work. This course a will also be offered as Community Service Learning class (CSL). Please see below for formation about CSL.


*Research-creation as defined by SSHRC: An approach to research that combines creative and academic research practices, and supports the development of knowledge and innovation through artistic expression, scholarly investigation, and experimentation. The creation process is situated within the research activity and produces critically informed work in a variety of media (art forms). Research-creation cannot be limited to the interpretation or analysis of a creator's work, conventional works of technological development, or work that focuses on the creation of curricula.