Interviews for

Spirit of the Island:  Manitoulin’s People

Ezhi-minidoowang Minis:  Minidoo-wining Bemaadizijig


Thursday, June 19, 2014, Peterborough

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In honour of National Aboriginal Day on Saturday, June 21, part of National Aboriginal History Month, Trent University recognizes and celebrates its history as a leader and innovator in Indigenous education. Trent Indigenous Studies faculty are available for expert commentary about the University’s extensive contributions to Aboriginal education.

Spirit of the Island: Manitoulin's People; Ezhi-minidoowang Minis:  Minidoo wining Bemaadizijig discusses first-person histories on Manitoulin Island in both English and Ojibway.

Revitalizing Indigenous Languages: Rhonda L. Paulsen, Professor of Indigenous Studies at Trent has published a new book that will be an important contribution to Ojibway culture and literature, entitled Spirit of the Island: Manitoulin’s People;  Ezhi-minidoowang Minis:  Minidoo-wining Bemaadizijig. Prof. Paulsen hopes that the book will help to revitalize the study of Indigenous languages in Canada, and change the context through which the general public views and understands Indigenous cultures.

“It seems to me that teaching and research by and for the Indigenous peoples is fundamental to our understanding about Canada.” - Dr. Tom Symons, founding president, Trent University.

 “Manitoulin Island is an excellent place to learn about the diversity of Indigenous languages – it is a microcosm of all of the issues that have affected Aboriginal Nations in Canada, including forced relocation, the uprooting of existing cultures and languages, and the resilience and strength needed to survive,” said Prof. Paulsen. “It inspires me endlessly.”

Spirit of the Island also represents an important development in the Indigenous Studies program, a discipline in which Trent is a leader. The book will be required reading for the Introduction to Indigenous Studies course offered to first-year students.

Prof. Paulsen wishes to express her gratitude to the Symons Trust Fund for Canadian Studies for its support during the creation of the book.



Column  'Dream, learn and love' with New Books

By Bonnie Kogos, Special to Sudbury Star

Sunday, June 1, 2014 Dr. Paulsen's book Spirit of the Island: Manitoulin’s People features a photograph taken while canoeing at Dominion Bay

A fascinating new book, in two languages, is "a combination of personal and professional connections,” author Dr. Rhonda Paulsen says. Its title is Spirit of the Island:  Manitoulin’s People - Ezhi-minidoowang Minis:  Minidoo-wining Bemaadizijig.

A Doctor of Education from the University of Toronto, Paulsen teaches in the Indigenous Studies Department at Trent University in Peterborough.  Her family's home was on Dominion Bay [Manitoulin Island] for thirty years.

“I’m thrilled to be the recipient for the Trent Symon’s Award for Canadian Studies in support of Spirit of the Island: Manitoulin’s People - Ezhi-minidoowang Minis:  Minidoo-wining Bemaadizijig.”

“Spirit of the Island” is translated into Ojibwe by Shirley I. Williams-Pheasant and Isadore Toulouse, and distributed by Ningwakwe Learning Press.

“I’m passionately involved with the need for continuous emphasis of the revitalization of Indigenous languages,” Paulsen tells me. "In the book, we relate academic information about the history and contemporary situations of Indigenous peoples, specifically of Manitoulin Island."

The book includes personal stories of experiences in the residential school system, the treaty legacy, and living with the Indian Act, Paulsen explains.

Contributors are Doreen Bailey, Ann Elizabeth Carson, Margo Little, Pamela McLaughlin, Shirley Williams-Pheasant, Karyn Recollet, Zoey Wood-Salomon and Linda Willson.

Professor D. Newhouse, Chair of Indigenous studies at Trent, says Paulsen has "exquisitely captured the spirit of the island in her book through the biographies, personal stories, maps, poems, pictures and works of art by local artists. This is a book about the sustaining power of love."

Paulsen will be on hand with copies of her work at the Wikwemikong Cultural Festival in August and says she is looking forward to meeting people.