Turtle Island Blanket Exercise: An Interactive Workshop on the Impact of Colonization on Indigenous Women and Girls

This workshop will be a unique way of examining Indigenous history and the progression of law. It responds to the 63rd Call to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation, focusing on education for reconciliation. Our workshop will be a Turtle Island Blanket Exercise adapted from the Youth Blanket Exercise established by KAIROS, which is a metaphor for colonization. Our exercise will have a focus on the impact of colonization on Indigenous women and girls.

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Shaké Sarkhanian

Shaké is the Editorial Chair of Inter Gentes: The McGill Journal of International Law and Legal Pluralism. Her experience in Indigenous Law comes from researching on violence against Indigenous women and girls worldwide and reporting on the 9th Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a Junior Policy Officer at the Canadian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva; advocating for the implementation of the TRC’s Calls to Action through membership on the McGill Faculty of Law’s TRC Task Force; and, as a summer law student, co-producing education materials about the Chief Coroner’s Office for Ontario for Ontario’s Family Information Liaison Units. In 2017, Shaké co-organized a panel with Inter Gentes on the Protection of Indigenous Cultural Property at the Rebellious Lawyering Conference at Yale Law School. Currently, her legal clinic placement is with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne. She believes in education for reconciliation and taking human rights approaches.



Bonnie Freeman

Bonnie Freeman, Ph.D. is Algonquin/Mohawk from the Six Nations of the Grand River.  She brings many years of experience with connections to Indigenous communities throughout Canada and the United States.  Bonnie has been involved with many Indigenous land-based journeys as a way of understanding Indigenous epistemology and Indigenous cultural activism. In 2010, she received the Native Research Network Honored Student Award at their annual conference in South Dakota, USA.   Bonnie is also certified in Equine Assisted Growth and Learning and has developed and implemented in collaboration with the Hamilton Métis Women’s Circle, Equine Assisted Growth and Learning programs to Aboriginal High School students and Native women. She currently serves on the board of Six Nations Polytechnic and chairs the Indigenous Education Council with Indigenous Studies, as well the Circle of Indigenous Social Work Action committee in the School of Social Work.

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romita sur

Romita is on the national executive of #LawNeedsFeminismBecause as one of the Education, Advocacy, and Awareness Co-Leads. Her experience in Indigenous law comes from her social work background; her research assistantship with Professor Colleen Sheppard on the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal case around Aboriginal Child Welfare; and her internship with the Canadian Centre for International Justice where she created a lecture series on International Treaty Implications on Canadian Indigenous Law. Romita has been the executive of many clubs and journals, most notably as the Co-President of the Women of Colour Collective of McGill Law. In that role, she worked with the Indigenous Law Association in creating a workshop for the 2018 Rebellious Lawyering Conference at Yale Law School on Systemic Discrimination of Indigenous Children: Ongoing Reflections in Canada and United States.