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In Conversation With Duke Redbird And Tanya Senk

What were you taught about Indigenous history and culture in school? What were you not taught?

As more conversations surrounding Indigenous history and culture have been happening locally, nationally, and globally we invited you to join us for this intimate conversation between Elder Duke Redbird and Tanya Senk which was moderated by Kerry Potts.

This conversation explored topics including:

• Defining education from an Indigenous perspective.
• The arts as important conduits of culture and education.
• The Urban Indigenous Education Centre and the work they’re doing.
• Comparing the work of ‘decolonizing’ to the work of centring Indigenous ways of knowing and being.

This conversation was part of the Wigwam Chi-Chemung Indigenous Interpretive Learning Centre and Floating Art Installation in partnership with Elder Duke Redbird.



Elder Dr. Duke Redbird is an established Indigenous intellectual, poet, painter, broadcaster, filmmaker and keynote speaker, he brings his breadth of cultural knowledge and artistic practice to the benefit of a global audience.
He works as a multifaceted artist, practicing across a number of disciplines including literature, painting, theatre, cinema and most recently rap poetry. A well-known Canadian broadcaster and television personality, he is in demand as a keynote speaker in corporate, industry, and educational settings. As a poet, essayist and screenwriter, Dr. Redbird has published and performed poetry readings, theatrical productions, video and film, both locally and internationally.
In 2020 the album Refuge was released by the band, Sultans Of String and features the musical version of Elder Redbird’s poem the Power of the Land. Earlier this year Elder Redbird also published, Duke Redbird Poetry.
Since 2014, Dr. Redbird has been the Indigenous Arts Consultant for the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and is the Artist in Residence at the Urban Indigenous Education Centre.

Tanya Senk is a Métis/Cree/Saulteaux educator, speaker and community leader. She was recently appointed, as the first Indigenous System Superintendent of Indigenous Education in the Toronto District School Board (the largest Board in Canada), and is currently the Superintendent of Kapapamahchakwew / Wandering Spirit School, K-12 (an Indigenous focussed school), where she served as Principal. She has been the Centrally Assigned Principal of the Urban Indigenous Education Centre of Excellence. Prior to this she was seconded as a Course Director at York University, in the Faculty of Education, in both the Urban Diversity and Regent Park Teacher Education Program sites where she was also an Adjunct Professor and an ABQ Developer and Instructor. Prior to this, Tanya has been an Instructional Leader, Program Coordinator and Curriculum Developer in Indigenous Education. She has written and reviewed with publishers such as Pearson, Goodminds, Nelson, Emond Montgomery, ETFO, and Pembroke. The Urban Indigenous Education Centre operates under the following seven canopies: Research and Innovation; Supporting Indigenous Student Success and Well-Being; Community Engagement; Partnerships; Professional Learning; as well as Programming and Curriculum Development. As a PhD candidate, Tanya’s research interests include Urban Indigenous Education, Decolonizing Education, Indigenous Knowledges in Innovative Practices and Professional Learning.



Kerry Potts is a professor in the Liberal Studies department at Humber College, and has worked in the Indigenous-led social services and arts sectors in T’karonto for over 20 years. She was a contributing writer to Coach House Book’s recent anthology Indigenous Toronto: Stories That Carry This Place, which highlights the incredible contributions made by leaders like Duke Redbird, Pauline Shirt and Tanya Senk.

Museum of Toronto is made possible with the generous support of Diane Blake and Stephen Smith.

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