Free to be Cree to focus on language, traditions and Indigenous knowledge

Thursday, June 15th, 2017 3:21pm


Free to be Cree, part of the Vibrant Communities Speaker Series in Edmonton, will focus discussion on historical Canadian policies that impact the lives of Indigenous peoples and the importance of Indigenous language, knowledge, traditions, ceremonies and the land.

The speakers include Susan Sinclair, a Cree teacher with the Young Indigenous Women’s Circle of Leadership (YIWCL); Joline Mearon-Bull, a PhD student and mother of YIWCL participants, as well as Rochelle Starr, the director of YIWCL, and Dr. Heather Blair, a professor in language and literacy education at the University of Alberta

The discussion will offer an understanding of why Indigenous young women need to be “Free to be Cree”.

YIWCL is a Cree immersion program that provides access to Cree language, Indigenous knowledge, traditions, and ceremony for young Indigenous women, ages 10 to 16. The teachers are both language and traditional knowledge holders, who provide participants with Indigenous knowledge about identity, leadership, and the value of young Indigenous women, reads a press statement about the event.

Sinclair is originally from Green Lake, Sask. and is a band member with the Canoe Lake First Nation. She works with the Edmonton Public School Board as a consultant and teacher, and has worked extensively with First Nations, Métis and inner-city schools for more than 21 years.

Starr is from Little Pine First Nation, Sask. and is a PhD candidate in Indigenous Peoples Education at the University of Alberta.

Blair teaches undergraduate and graduate courses at the University of Alberta in language and literacy theory, Indigenous languages revitalization, pedagogy, and research. She is a co-founder of the Canadian Indigenous Languages and Literacy Development Institute (CILLDI) and works with the leadership team for YIWCL.

The event on June 27 runs 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at 10229 105 St. Free admission, according to the Facebook page at

Reserve tickets on Eventbrite here,