FM Salter Lecture a Thought Provoking and Thrilling Success

On November 22 Keavy Martin, this year's Salter lecturer, thrilled a packed house in the Humanities Centre Lecture Theatre.

Dr Patricia Demers - 29 November 2013

On November 22 Keavy Martin, this year's Salter lecturer, thrilled a packed house in AV Lecture 3.

"A treaty. A shadow. Rethinking Relationships through Indigenous Literary Studies" began with Keavy's deft reading of "The Dissertation" by Métis poet and activist Gregory Scofield. The source of her title and the articulation of the dynamic for this lecture on language, "The Dissertation" confronts the issue of annexation in its image of "the academic, / prodding and jotting, / jotting and prodding" and the scholar's choice of "Indian words" to give "her own language authenticity." With remarkable candour Keavy reviewed her own linguistic practice as student and scholar. Drawing on her expert knowledge of Inuktitut and her experience with the Pangnirtung Summer School run by the University of Manitoba Native Studies Program in Nunavut, she shared her surprise when students in the North did not respond as eagerly to the standard critical thinking question of why, which had proven to be so successful with undergraduates in the South. The losses and gains of translation were in evidence as she related the guiding principles of Inuit "Qaujimajatuqangit" as rendered in English: "respecting others, fostering good spirit, serving and providing for family, making decisions through discussion, developing skills through practice, working together, being resourceful in seeking solutions, and respecting and caring for the land." Adjusting her pedagogy and scholarship to accommodate the cultural freight of languages and learning to be a guest in this land are hallmarks of Keavy's work, on exciting display in this lecture.

Students and faculty in Arts and Native Studies joined in the celebratory, high-spirited reception which followed.