The past is a foreign country. Just ask Keith Richards

The changes in attitudes over the past half-century are little short of astounding

The past is a foreign country. Just ask Keith RichardsIt was 55 years ago this summer that English journalist William Rees-Mogg penned a widely read editorial for London’s Sunday Times. Borrowing from the 18th-century poet Alexander Pope, Rees-Mogg’s piece was titled Who Breaks a Butterfly on a Wheel? In it, Rees-Mogg took issue with the severity of the legal treatment meted out in consequence…

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…

Grad brings new perspective on Indigenous history to museum work

Native studies, environmental science grad Lauren Comba now better able to respect Indigenous stories

Grad brings new perspective on Indigenous history to museum workWatching the Inuit film Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner several years ago, Lauren Comba found herself riveted by its ancient story. Written, directed and acted entirely in the Inuktitut language, the 2001 landmark award-winning film retells an Inuit legend passed down through centuries of oral tradition. The film’s narrative was a part of history Comba had never heard…

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…

Indigenous Language Club fosters connections to culture and history

Indigenous students engage in the spirit of kinship, learn ancestral languages and enrich lives

Indigenous Language Club fosters connections to culture and historyDanni Okemaw remembers playing outside with her cousins when her mom asked her to stop and watch the television. It was 2008 and Stephen Harper, then prime minister of Canada, was publicly apologizing on behalf of the Canadian government for its role in Indian residential schools – the first step for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of…

How urban design helps create a more vibrant city

Diversity and culture help attract and retain the creative talent that cities thrive on

How urban design helps create a more vibrant cityWhen Richard Florida published The Rise of the Creative Class in 2002, it came as news to many that the greater the population of creative types – artists, musicians, designers and technology workers – in a given city, the stronger its economy and quality of life. Attracting and retaining creative talent was partly a question of…

Buddhist art exhibit gives students experience with museum work

The U of A’s Mactaggart Art Collection helps students contribute to a lasting historical and artistic legacy

Buddhist art exhibit gives students experience with museum workAs a child in South Korea, Sung Eun Cho spent many weekends with her Buddhist grandparents, who brought her along to the temples they visited. The youngster found herself captivated by the ornate beauty of the buildings, richly adorned with traditional images and symbols of the ancient religion. “I was mesmerized by the vivid colours…

Mentors are key to embracing new Canadians

An important lesson for nation-building in Canada

Mentors are key to embracing new CanadiansAs a new Canadian, I was fortunate to have had the guidance and mentorship of many outstanding Canadian role models. They helped pave my integration into a new society and provided me with invaluable advice for my professional career. There’s an important lesson here for nation-building in Canada. Bringing immigrants to Canada is only half…

New report sheds light on future of mobility in Canada’s big cities

Innovation will depend as much on social factors as technological ones

New report sheds light on future of mobility in Canada’s big citiesIncreasingly, urban dwellers are looking for new and more sustainable ways to move around their cities. Technologies like autonomous vehicles and electric scooters may be top of mind for urban planners, but social and cultural factors may be just as important in helping Canadian cities prepare for the future, according to a co-author of a…

How a U of A grad is reshaping video game culture from within

Writer Shelby Carleton is changing the narrative for women in the gaming industry

How a U of A grad is reshaping video game culture from withinAs a teenager growing up in Fort McMurray, Shelby Carleton played Call of Duty so hard she literally wore out the disk. Some 15 years later, Carleton is a narrative designer for the video game, one of the most popular in the world. She helped shape some of the characters in the series’ latest release, Call of…

Ostrich eggshell beads reveal oldest known social network

Artifacts dating back 50,000 years help us better understand human connections

Ostrich eggshell beads reveal oldest known social networkIt’s one of the most enduring craft traditions in human history, stretching back 50,000 years: tiny donut-shaped beads made from ostrich eggshells. They reveal the oldest social network ever identified, according to a study by Jennifer Miller. The beads probably originated in eastern Africa and spread west and south through the continent as people traded them…

Cynthia Ann Parker’s story didn’t end with her death

Courage, charisma and adaptability allowed her son to mingle smoothly with the white world

Cynthia Ann Parker’s story didn’t end with her deathMy previous column told the story of Cynthia Ann Parker. Kidnapped as a nine-year-old in an 1836 Comanche raid, she was assimilated into the tribe, married a war chief with whom she had three children, and was then ‘rescued’ by Texas Rangers in 1860. She died a decade later, miserable and unwilling to reintegrate into…

Decline of biodiversity, health of Indigenous peoples interconnected

Indigenous resource management key to ending environmental degradation and loss of culture

Decline of biodiversity, health of Indigenous peoples interconnectedWhen Danika Littlechild was growing up in Maskwacis, Alta., her uncle would pick her up after school and walk her home through the bush to her kôhkom’s (grandmother’s) house. He would show her different plants and fungi along the way, teaching her their names and telling stories about when to harvest and how to use them for…

Why the things we take for granted could be keys to innovation

Organizational cultures are ripe for change when the familiar starts to seem odd

Why the things we take for granted could be keys to innovationImagine having never seen a handshake. You would know nothing of the different levels of importance and intimacy, when it should be done, what’s happening during the shake and even whether you can learn something from the shake itself. Trying to learn about it all at once would be akin to learning a new language.…
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