Free Deakin public lecture this Wed 14 Dec: Shape-shifting violence through land-based retellings: Indigenous responses to colonial gender-based violence

This Wednesday, 14 December from 5:30-7:30pm, Deakin University will be holding a free public lecture from Associate Professor Sandrina de Finney (University of Victoria, Canada), as part of the program for the Alfred Deakin Institute's 2018 flagship conference, 'Youth Futures: Connection and Mobility in the Asia-Pacific'.

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The United Nations has alerted the world that western settler countries (such as Canada, the United States and Australia) are facing an “epidemic” of gender-based violence against Indigenous girls and women. For First Peoples, the pathways to sexualized violence are carved into a colonial landscape of dispossession from land, detribalization, and the outlawing and dispiriting of our Indigenous gender teachings. Indigenous bodies imprinted with colonial trauma are too often the focus of deficit-based and externally-conducted investigations that further a cycle of shaming, pathologizing, and interlocking body and land exploitation. Thus our relationships with the homelands and places that hold our gender worldviews need to be recentered in our discussions about sexualized violence. Sisters Rising, an Indigenous-led, community-based research study, located in Western Canada on the unceded territories of the Lkwungen and Wsanec nations, is focused on upholding Indigenous teachings for gender wellbeing and sovereignty.


Sisters Rising hosts workshops with Elders, knowledge keepers and youth in Indigenous communities across western Canada. Our workshops use land-based, arts-based materials to explore topics such as the colonial roots of violence, land-based wellbeing and dignity, and Indigenous gender resurgence. Land-based materials help shift the focus away from externally-imposed colonial lenses, to restorying bodied dignity and relational kinship. Although the study’s focus is on girls and young women, our "youth of all genders" lens troubles colonial gender binaries. In this presentation, project lead Sandrina de Finney will share artwork, stories and key project learnings, and discuss the ethics of practices of kinship making, rehoming, place interconnectedness, and self-determination that guide our work. These practices offer a much-needed ethical framework for Indigenous anti-settler violence movements.


For further details/registration click here


Date and Time

Wed. 14 November 2018

5:30 pm – 7:00 pm AEDT



Deakin Downtown

Level 12, Tower 2

727 Collins Street

Docklands, VIC 3008


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For more information about Sisters Rising, please visit


About A/Prof. Sandrina de Finney

A/Prof. Sandrina de Finney is an associate professor and graduate advisor in the Faculty of Human and Social Development, University of Victoria (British Columbia, Canada), located on unceded Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ territories. Sandrina is a lead researcher with the Siem Smun’eem Indigenous Child Welfare Research Network. In this role, she works with Indigenous stakeholders to recenter land-based, customary caretaking laws for Indigenous children who are displaced from their traditional territories, and advocates for community-based Indigenous research approaches in child and family services. Sandrina is also a lead researcher with Sisters Rising: Honoring Indigenous Body and Land Sovereignty (, part of an international SSHRC-funded study on sexualized violence, with partners across Canada and South Africa. Sisters Rising promotes Indigenous land-based gender frameworks as a response to the historically gendered and sexualized nature of colonial violence.


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