Innovative teacher brings skateboarding into class

New program allows students to create their own skateboard brand and business for high school credit

Innovative teacher brings skateboarding into classUniversity of Alberta grad Kristian Basaraba, ’01 BEd, has been skateboarding for over 30 years. But the high school teacher never thought he’d be leaning so heavily on the sport in the classroom. In 2019, he started the Sk8trepreneur program at Salisbury Composite High School in Sherwood Park, Alta., challenging students to create their own…

Rethinking the history of the Lakota of the Great Plains

Governor General’s Gold Medal winner Claire Thomson is challenging settler narratives

Rethinking the history of the Lakota of the Great PlainsGrowing up on a ranch in the Wood Mountain Uplands of southwestern Saskatchewan, Claire Thomson’s family history was always important to her. That interest led her to pursue graduate studies in History, where she couldn’t help noticing that previous histories of the Lakota of the Wood Mountain Uplands all end with Sitting Bull returning to…

U of A launches Indigenous-led strategic plan

Plan ensures Indigenous identities, languages, cultures and worldviews are reflected at the U of A

U of A launches Indigenous-led strategic planThe University of Alberta is launching a strategic plan to respond to the calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Final Report. Braiding Past, Present and Future: University of Alberta Indigenous Strategic Plan aims to dismantle colonial structures in the university that have long “disenfranchised Indigenous Peoples of their legal, social, cultural, religious…

Beloved professor leaves a legacy of scholarship and support

James Dempsey played a key role in the U of A’s early ethics discussions around Indigenous engagement

Beloved professor leaves a legacy of scholarship and supportAs a first-year student at the University of Alberta years ago, Melanie Dene was understandably nervous. But when she got to James Dempsey’s class, she instantly felt better. “To see him I would never have guessed that he was a professor. He had long bushy hair and he wore a Native Pride hat, dark glasses,…

Irish lead the way in the push to decolonize

Language and culture played a big role in helping the Irish survive and fueled their cultural renaissance

Irish lead the way in the push to decolonizeDecolonization is a word we often hear in Canada. In essence, it means to remove the colonial. That can mean different things to different people, and misconceptions often cause fear. Perhaps finding a relatively successful example of decolonization in process can help us understand the concept. Ireland was one of the first countries colonized by…

A love letter from Canadian LGBQT artist to the Queen 

She led me to the intersection of the many roads I could walk, in a bigger world with room for us all

A love letter from Canadian LGBQT artist to the Queen I began my life in Nova Scotia, the most British of Canadian provinces. As a young boy in the 1960s who preferred pink over blue, there was an enormous sense of not belonging, of living in a world that had not yet carved out a place for a child like me. In the accepted definition…

Does the Pope’s apology really mean reconciliation is coming?

Catholic church doctrine was used to justify colonization, subjugation and exploitation worldwide

Does the Pope’s apology really mean reconciliation is coming?The papal apology to the Indigenous peoples of Canada on April 1 was an extraordinary moment for the individuals whom Pope Francis addressed directly. And it has the potential for much broader implications. In the days leading up to the apology, Francis listened intently and embraced the pain of the residential school survivors who spoke…

Website offers global hub for research on decolonization, anti-racism

Anti-Racism Lab highlights international research, amplifies scholars’ voices and increases engagement

Website offers global hub for research on decolonization, anti-racismA new online hub is bringing together scholars and students from around the world to share research, amplify voices and encourage conversations about decolonization and anti-racism in universities. “One of the things that’s really important for us to think about as educators in universities is the racial trauma that BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of…

What Elvis Costello got right in Oliver’s Army

Neocolonialism and huge military budgets are prevalent. So is the myth that militarism means order

What Elvis Costello got right in Oliver’s ArmyIn our age of cancel culture, it seems odd to see an artist cancelling himself. New-wave icon Elvis Costello recently asked radio stations not to play one of the most popular original hits of his storied career, Oliver’s Army. He added that he will no longer perform the song publicly. The song contains the n-word,…

Barbados shakes off the chains of centuries of brutal oppression

Wealth can’t make what’s wrong right. It can’t make the truth disappear, and it can’t stop great people

Barbados shakes off the chains of centuries of brutal oppressionIn his classic book Man’s Search for Meaning, psychiatrist Viktor Frankl discusses the internal character that allowed people to survive the Holocaust. He speaks of an “inner greatness,” where despite the horrendous circumstance, one can choose their attitude, their own way. This is the ultimate human freedom. We recently saw this inner greatness displayed by…