Release Date: May 1, 2006
Media Contact: Jim Duggleby, External Relations
Phone: (306) 585.5439
Mobile: (306) 536.4312
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Conference to examine the race/culture divide
Leading thinkers will explore different approaches to addressing racism in education, law and the helping professions at a national conference to be held May 4-6 at the University of Regina.

Carol Schick, U of R Canada Research Chair in Social Justice and Aboriginal Education, will chair the 5th Annual Canadian Critical Race Conference entitled “The Race/Culture Divide in Education, Law and the Helping Professions.” Schick says a growing number of professionals believe it’s important to address both cultural differences and issues of racism when speaking about equality in education, law and the social services. They maintain that paying attention to culture alone and notions of “cultural difference” carries the risk of avoiding issues of racism.

“There are many examples of inequality in areas of public practice that have been routinely attributed to simple misunderstandings or a lack of cultural awareness. One example is the inquiry into the freezing death of Neil Stonechild in Saskatoon. A recommendation of the inquiry was for more cultural awareness on the part of public safety workers and more recognition of “cultural difference,” rather than addressing the event as an example of systemic and on-going racism. This conference is devoted to exploring issues of racism and its displacement as “cultural difference” in education, law and the human services,” says Schick.

The conference is co-sponsored by Researchers and Academics of Colour for Equality (R.A.C.E.) and the Centre for Social Justice and Anti-Oppressive Education in the Faculty of Education, University of Regina.

The conference features 24 concurrent sessions, three key-note addresses, and a plenary panel session. A film festival will also run concurrently with paper sessions. Conference pre-registration is required; however, the public may attend a pre-conference workshop that uses ‘forum theatre’ as an interactive way to examine racism and other forms of inequality. The workshop fee is $25; pre-registration is required.

For details please go to:

Pre-conference workshop: “Standing theory on its feet: An interactive workshop dealing with issues of ‘race’ and ‘culture’ in the professions” Thurs., May 4, 1-5 p.m., Education Bldg., Rm. 222.2

Keynote presentations:
“How I Learned to Stop Talking about Culture” Thurs., May 4, 7:15 p.m., Education Bldg., Rm. 191
Verna St. Denis, associate professor, University of Saskatchewan College of Education; recipient of numerous scholarships and awards including a Fulbright Scholarship

“The Future of Native Studies” Fri., May 5, 11:30 a.m., Education Bldg., Rm. 191
Andrea Smith, assistant professor in American Culture and Women’s Studies at University of Michigan; Swiss Commission of UNESCO nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize

“Culturalization of All Things Aboriginal: Subtext of Racism and Its Social Consequences”
Sat., May 6, 1 p.m., Education Bldg., Rm. 191
Emma LaRocque, professor, University of Manitoba Department of Native Studies; 2005 recipient of the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards for Education

Pleanary panel:
“Indigenous Systems of Knowledge in a Colonial World: Confronting Culturalism”

Sat., May 6, 2:15-4 p.m., Education Bldg., Rm. 191
Val Napoleon, assistant professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Native Studies, University of Alberta (paper title: Simple Law for Simple Cultures); Rauna Kuokkanen, post-doctoral fellow, Institute of Globalization, McMaster University (paper title: The Responsibility of the Academy and the Gift of Indigenous Epistemes). Discussant: Sherene Razack, professor, Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.

The conference is funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s Aid to Research Workshops and Conferences in Canada, U of R President’s Fund, Humanities Research Institute Visiting Scholar fund, and the U of R Faculty of Education.