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Engaged anthropology, collaborative research and the Atikamekw First Nation

Understanding why anthropology matters
Join Professor Sylvie Poirier as she reflects on her trajectory of engagement and collaborative research with the Atikamekw First Nation (north-central Quebec, Canada).

Professor Poirier will share how the Atikamekw made her understand that anthropology matters, as long as our engagement with Indigenous peoples is anchored in respectful, reciprocal and equitable relationships.

She will discuss collaborative research as an ongoing process of learning, exchange, and decolonization for the anthropologist and the Indigenous people.

In 1990, when the Council of the Atikamekw Nation first approached Professor Poirier to conduct research work on land rights issues, they agreed that her anthropological expertise would serve their life projects.

Since then, Professor Poirier’s engagement with them has been manifold. Early on, as an “expert” anthropologist within the arduous process of land claims negotiations, she documented the “anthropological proof” of their ancestral relationships to the land claimed.

In the early 2000s, her anthropological expertise and research funds were further utilised for exploring contemporary ways to document, valorise and transmit their knowledge systems to younger generations.

This event was held at the University of Sydney on Wednesday 14 February 2018.

Professor Sylvie Poirier

Sylvie Poirier is Professor in the Department of Anthropology, Université Laval (Quebec). She has been conducting research with Aboriginal people in the Australian Western Desert since 1980, and with the Atikamekw, a First Nation in north-central Quebec, since 1990.

She is the author of A world of relationships. Itineraries, Dreams and Events in the Australian Western Desert (2005); co-editor (with John Clammer and Eric Schwimmer) of Figured Worlds. Ontological Obstacles in Intercultural Relations (2004); and co-editor (with Françoise Dussart) of Entangled Territorialities. Negotiating Indigenous Lands in Australia and Canada (2017).

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