Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair Candidate Statement and Bio: Boozhoo, tansi, hello, bonjour. Niigaanwewidam nindizhinikaaz, namegoshin doodem, St. Peter’s zhigo Little Peguis ndoonji.
My name is Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair and I am a candidate for the Nominations Committee of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. I am honoured to be asked to stand for election and excited to have this opportunity to tell you a little about myself, my home community, and my intellectual and community work.
I am Anishinaabe (St. Peter's/Little Peguis) and an Associate Professor in the Department of Native Studies at the University of Manitoba carrying a PhD from the Department of English at the University of British Columbia, a Masters in Arts from the University of Oklahoma, and a BA Honours degree from the University of Winnipeg. I am a regular commentator on Indigenous issues nationally on CTV, CBC, and APTN and internationally in The Guardian and Al-Jazeera America. I have appeared in over two-dozen documentaries and my written work can be found in the pages of The Exile Edition of Native Canadian Fiction and Drama, newspapers like The Globe and Mail and The Winnipeg Free Press, and online with CBC Books: Canada Writes.
I am a co-editor of four co-edited collections, all of which touch upon areas that span my research interests; The Winter We Danced: The Past, the Future, and the Idle No More Movement (co-edited with Leanne Simpson, Hayden King, Tanya Kappo, and Wanda Nanibush, Arbeiter Ring Press, 2014) – an award-winning 92-contributor anthology spanning all of the seminal writings during the Idle No More movement; Centering Anishinaabeg Studies: Understanding the World Through Stories (Co-edited with Jill Doerfler and Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark, Michigan State UP, 2012) – the first Anishinaabeg-specific anthology studying Anishinaabeg literatures; Manitowapow: Aboriginal Writings from the Land of Water (co-edited with Warren Cariou, Highwater Press, 2011) – the first book-length historical collection of Indigenous writings in Manitoba; and a special double issue of the Canadian Journal of Native Studies on “Ethical and Indigenous-Centred Literary Criticisms of Indigenous Literatures (co-edited with Renate Eigenbrod, v. 29 1&2, 2009).
I am also the Editorial Director of The Debwe Series with Portage and Main Press, a project that pairs Indigenous writers with Indigenous editors to produce some of the best Indigenous books in Canada. I am also an activist and organizer of the Idle No More movement and several other justice organizations both locally and internationally. Some large-scale events I have organized include: #HonourtheApology, #RedFeatherWinnipeg, and the Tina Fontaine Honour Walk and Vigil. Most importantly, I am a father, brother, inini, and member of the Midéwiwin lodge.
I have been privileged to have a number of important mentors that represent a wide array of dynamic thinkers and leaders in the field of Indigenous and Native American Studies in Canada, the United States, and New Zealand. These individuals and their communities have grounded me in many of the most important places, discussions, and circles within our field, establishing a network of relationships that span across the Indigenous world. I continue to utilize these connections in my scholarship and everyday work here in my home territory and am profoundly influenced by my constant communication with them. I am well-established, well-connected, and well-versed on most of the issues NAISA addresses throughout its work.
It is my position that NAISA must continue its work in becoming a truly global, transnational, and inclusive Indigenous-led organization that sets the standard in interrogating ideas and offering possibilities in issues of Indigenous nationhood, governance, and culture. This begins with a vibrant and robust membership that offers diverse and strong slate of candidates for leadership positions within the organization. I believe it is these two inter-dependent threads – an active/engaged membership and the recruitment of a wide breadth within this group for leadership positions – that create the most healthy and representative NAISA. This is what I offer the organization in my standing for election of the Nominations Committee and will work for these two elements to be grown within the organization.
Miigwech, ekosi, thank you, merci.