Robert L. Peters

23 November 2017

Decolonizing Community Engagement

Decolonizing_Derek_Kornelsen

Guest Blog by Dr. Derek Kornelsen

Recently, terms like decolonization and community engagement have become buzzwords in popular discourses about Indigenous health research. But what does decolonization actually mean? How can we really try to decolonize community engagement? If this is to make any sense, and provide any kind of realistic guide for action, we need to start by gaining some sense of how colonization has impacted — and continues to impact — Indigenous communities and Western academic/research institutions. Only then can we consider why community engagement matters and what a decolonized form of community engagement might look like.

Settler Colonialism in Canada

A good starting point for understanding colonialism in Canada is to recognize that there is a distinct form of colonialism at work here — both past and present. This form is called settler colonialism. Typical understandings of colonialism usually refer to a situation where a colonial entity oppresses and manipulates foreign peoples in order to extract wealth and resources — India and South Africa are key examples. In these cases, there is a point at which we see the colonial power officially leaving, and the colonized peoples achieving some level of independence. On the other hand, in cases of settler colonialism, the colonial entity doesn’t leave, but continues to bring in more and more settlers in order to reproduce itself in the colonized space — Canada, USA, Australia, and New Zealand are the usual suspects here. The particularly horrifying aspect of this practice — as scholars like Patrick Wolfe have discussed in depth — is that, in order to reproduce itself in a given place, the settler colonial entity must ‘destroy to replace’. In Canada, we’ve seen this through overt genocidal acts that morphed into the kinds of cultural genocide that have occured throughout the residential school era.

Read more here…

Dr. Derek Kornelsen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. His research focuses on examining/contrasting Western and Indigenous philosophies and institutional frameworks, with a particular emphasis on developing a theoretical framework grounded in an understanding of the dynamics and impacts of Settler Colonialism. This theoretical framework enables a sensitivity to 2 key under-researched areas in Indigenous health and wellness research: the impacts of the disruption of Indigenous peoples’ relationships with land and environment; and strategies for decolonizing key institutions that Indigenous peoples must access (health as well as political, legal, educational, economic institutions). Broadly speaking, this theoretical frame contributes to the development of robust Indigenous determinants of health and wellness. He is currently involved in developing a number of local, national, and international research projects and partnerships in areas of environmental health and Indigenous health and wellness.


18 July 2015

R.I.P… Walter Richter

Walter_Richter_1935-2015

Winnipeg, Canada

It’s been a difficult week — three days ago, Ev’s father Walter Richter passed into the next realm. The obituary (below) was penned by Ev’s two daughters, Jen and Nicki.

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WALTER RICHTER

3 June 1935 – 15 July 2015

Eighty years ago in Bremen, Germany, Max Walter Richter opened his sparkly eyes to become Max and Charlotte Richter’s first-born son. At age 20, he married the love of his life, Elfriede, and they completed their family with the birth of their cherished daughter Evelin (Robert). In 1957, Opa got off the train in Winnipeg while en route to Vancouver, concerned that the weather seemed to get colder and colder the farther west he traveled. Thank goodness for that, he always said, because it was here that his granddaughters Jennifer (Derek) and Nicki (Jayson) were born. Opa and Oma bought their first house on Sark Crescent in 1966. We had so many good times there hearing him singing his silly German songs with his cousins Heinz (Christa) and Fritz (Anne) and, later, with the great grandkids playing with Opa’s train set. Opa and his brother Kurt (Erna) started their woodworking business, Richter’s Woodcraft, in 1984. A skilled cabinetmaker, Opa lovingly crafted our beds, tables, desks, shelves, toys and treehouses. Most impressive, in the 1960s he built our cottage at Hillside Beach by hand. So many good memories were made at Hillside Beach with Opi and Omi, Kurt’s family, the cousins and nieces and nephews. Retiring at age 61, Opa had all his time for his family. Whether travelling to Banff, Hawaii, and Germany, or to Tim Horton’s for coffee and chili, Opa and Oma were rarely seen apart. Opa was so proud of his Evi – he loved going to Winnipeg Beach to pop into her studio to see what she was creating, going to her art shows, and puttering around her yard. He was always there to take Jayden and Sam to Tinkertown and on the Prairie Dog, Haylee to her dance classes, and to joke around with his Maxi-million and Maci. Opa was a kid at heart; he was always getting us in trouble with Oma. Leading us in games of “jumping off the fence into Oma’s snow-covered hedges,” “flipping the kids in the hammock,” “jumping off the boat with our umbrellas,” “treehouse ziplining”… Opa spent his last 24 hours surrounded by his loved ones. For the last time, we marveled at the strength of his heart, we played that game where we count how long he can hold his breath, and we held the hands that had so lovingly built our homes. Ach-ja, Opa. Sleep well. Love Jenny and Nicki.

As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on July 18, 2015

 


8 April 2015

We live in stories…

We_live_in_stories,

We_live_in_stories...

We_live_in_stories,

Winnipeg, Canada

We live in stories… is Ev’s latest piece. It incorporates impressions of wood letterpress type from my collection. As of yesterday this sculptural piece is on exhibit at the Pulse Gallery (The Forks, Winnipeg). This hand-built kiln-fired clay figure is partially glazed, along with oxide stains and cold finishes, on a stained wooden base (old-growth fir).


22 March 2015

Evelin’s sculptures… at the WAG

Question_Everything_Evelin_Richter_2015

Just_watch_me_Evelin_Richter_WAG

Winnipeg, Canada

Currently on display at the Winnipeg Art Gallery Shop, Question Everything and Just watch me… are two sculptures of Ev’s that are part of the WAVE at the WAG exhibit, a group show featuring the work of over 20 Interlake Wave Studio Tour artists.

WAVE at the WAG is on until Sunday, 12 April — drop by the WAG if you have the chance.


1 January 2015

Happy New Year

Happy_New_Year_Rob_&_Ev

Best wishes to friends, kin, and comrades worldwide… Happy New Year!


12 October 2014

Common Ground

Common_Ground_Evelin_Richter

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Common_Ground_detail_02

Winnipeg Beach, Manitoba

This is Ev’s latest sculptural work… Common Ground, a hand-built ceramic piece (385mm x 220mm x 360mm, base 330mm x 207mm x 105mm) with a silver cold finish and parts of an antique meat grinder, mounted on a stained wooden base/bed.


28 March 2014

Do not put the names of those you care about in a heart; place them in a circle. Hearts can be broken, but circles go on forever.

“Thought of the day” from Karen Ng-Hem, a young design intern from Toronto that we took in at CIRCLE back in 2001.


19 March 2014

Evelin’s latest… (work in progress).

Evelin_Richter_WIP_01

Evelin_Richter_WIP-02

Evelin_Richter_WIP_03

Winnipeg Beach, Manitoba

Ev’s working on some great new sculptures… here’s a teaser.


28 December 2013

Awaiting Serendipity

Awaiting_Serendipity_Evelin_Richter_01

Awaiting_Serendipity_Evelin_Richter_03

Awaiting_Serendipity_Evelin_Richter_02

Winnipeg Beach, Manitoba

Evelin Richter‘s latest commission, Awaiting Serendipity, was completed and delivered just in time for Christmas. The hand-built ceramic sculptural piece (345mm x 180mm x 435mm) is glazed in antique silver and includes an old hand drill, mounted on a wooden base.

You rock, Girlfriend!


2 December 2013

The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.

—Mark Twain


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