Emma LaRocque
University of Manitoba, Canada

Keynote address 

"Indigenous knowledges, colonization, resistance and cultural change"

Indigenous peoples of the Americas, later separated as South and North, had and have their languages, their literatures and arts, their laws, governments, religions, as well as their technologies, architectures, mathematics, astronomy and so forth. And all these cultural achievements did not begin with European arrivals. Nor did they all end in the face of shattering oppressions followed by colonial control. To be sure, much was lost or severely disturbed; nor were the cultural accomplishments universal. But what did not survive in whole Indigenous peoples continue to re-invent. They have resisted and continue to resist colonialism in multiple ways. What is evident is that pre- and post-columbian peoples were and have been dynamic and adaptive. Digital technology is just one case in point. Both ancient and contemporary Indigenous knowledges have been and are trans-cultural, expansive, fluid and diverse. 


Professor Emma LaRocque's interests include colonization and decolonization, Indigenous-White relations, Aboriginal resistance in literature, identity, and many other fields related to Indigenous representation.


Emma LaRocque is the department's longest service faculty member at the University of Manitoba and has been with the department since 1976. A poet and writer, Emma LaRocque has created or redesigned many core courses (such as on Native Women) and is the author of two books: Defeathering The Indian and When the Other Is Me: Native Resistance Discourse 1850-1990. She has also written numerous scholarly and popular articles on images of "Indians" in the media and marketplace, Canadian historiography, Native literature, education, racism, and violence against women. Her poetry has appeared in national and international journals and anthologies.


In 2005 Dr. LaRocque received an Aboriginal Achievement Award for education. LaRocque continues to research colonial interference and Aboriginal resistance strategies in the areas of literature, historiography, representation, identity, gender roles, industrial encroachment on Aboriginal (Indian and Métis) lands and resources, and governance.

Her publications include:


  • "When the ‘The Wild West' Is Me: Re-viewing Cowboys and Indians." Challenging Frontiers: The Canadian West. B. Rasporich and L. Felske, eds. University of Calgary Press. 2004.

  • "Teaching Native Literatures: Margins and Mainstreams." Reading Aboriginal Literatures: Epistemological, Pedagogical and Canonical Concerns. R. Eigenbrod and J. Thom, eds. Bearpaw Publishing. 2002.

  • "Native Identity and the Métis: Otepayimsuak Peoples." A Passion For Identity: An Introduction to Canadian Studies (4th edition). D. Taras and B. Rasporich, eds. International Thompson Publishing, 2001.

  • "From the Land to the Classroom: Broadening Aboriginal Epistemology." Pushing The Margins. J.Oakes, R.Riewe, M.Bennett and B. Chisholm, eds. Native Studies Press, 2000.

  • 9 of LaRocque's poems are featured in Native Poetry in Canada: A Contemporary Anthology. Jeannette Armstrong and Lally Grauer, eds. 2001.

  • "Speaking To Colonization: An Omnibus Review of Howard Adams A Tortured People (97) and Maria Campbell's Road Allowance People (95)." Canadian Literature: A Quarterly of Criticism and Review, 156 (Spring 1998).

  • "Re-examining Culturally-Appropriate Models in Criminal Justice Applications." Aboriginal and Treaty Rights in Canada: Essays on Law, Equality and Respect for Difference. M. Asch, ed. UBC Press, 1997.

  • "Tides, Towns and Trains." Reinventing The Enemy's Language: Contemporary Native Women's Writings of North America. Joy Harjo and Gloria Bird, eds. NY: W.W.Norton & Co., 1997.

  • "The Colonization of a Native Woman Scholar." Women of the First Nations. P.Chuchryk and C.Miller, eds. 1996.

  • "When the Other Is Me: Native Writers Confronting Canadian Literature." Issues in the North, Vol. I. J.Oakes and R.Riewe, eds. Canadian Circumpolar Institute, 1996.

  • "Violence in Aboriginal Communities." The Path To Healing: Report of the National Round Table on Aboriginal Health and Social Issues. RCAP, 1993.

  • "Three Conventional Approaches to Native People in Society and in Literature." Survival of the Imagination: The Mary Donaldson Memorial Lectures. B.Balon and P. Resch, eds. Coteau Books, 1993.

  • "Preface" and a collection of poems. Writing The Circle: Native Women of Western Canada. J.Perreault and S. Vance, eds. 1990.

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