Session 2: Our Collective & Tangible Hisotry(ies)

What history for which Canada? Quelle histoire pour quel Canada?

Dr. Jocelyn Létourneau

Penser le Canada dans sa diversité historique — un ingrédient fondamental à la poutine du pays — c’est se situer au cœur des possibilités (souvent surestimées), mais aussi des difficultés (la plupart du temps sous-évaluées), relatives à la construction du vivre-ensemble canadien (ou kanadien?). Le concept de multiculturalisme et la représentation qu’ils suggèrent sont-ils adéquats pour saisir l’expérience nationale du pays dans la complexité et la vérité de ce qu’elles ont été ? Ce concept et cette représentation sont-ils utiles pour permettre aux Canadiens (Kanadiens ?) de passer à l’avenir sur un mode porteur ?

Note: This presentation will be conducted in French with English-language simultaneous interpretation.

Dr. Jocelyn Létourneau is a Professor of History at Laval University, where he has been Canada Research Chair in Québec Contemporary History. A fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University and the Royal Society of Canada since 2005, Dr. Létourneau received the Trudeau Foundation’s research prize in 2006. In 2018 he was awarded the André-Laurendeau Prize for his overall contribution to the field of humanities. He was the principal investigator in a SHRCC-funded Community-University Research Alliance ( Canadians and their Pasts). In 2010, he was a Fulbright scholar at both UC Berkeley and Stanford University and, in 2015, a Visiting Research Associate at UCL-Institute of Education. In 2019/20, he held the Fulbright Canada Distinguished Chair in International and Area Studies at Yale University’s MacMillan Center.  

How Bison are Leading the Way for Reconciliation: The story of Wanuskewin’s bison

Darlene Brander

Wanuskewin CEO Darlene Brander takes us through the story of how their bison herd came to be on Indigenous sacred land. This epic Canadian story starts off with a vision from the park’s original elders 40 years ago.  Today the herd is 18 strong. Since the arrival of the bison in 2019, many impacts have been made and felt by Indigenous and non Indigenous peoples alike.  Ms. Brander will provide her perspective as a First Nations women of how bison contribute towards reconciliation by facilitated discussions, education and healing at Wanuskewin. 

Darlene Brander is the Chief Executive Officer of Wanuskewin Heritage Park, an internationally-acclaimed northern plains Indigenous interpretive site just outside Saskatoon that is currently being considered for UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Ms. Brander oversees all of Wanuskewin’s operations including overseeing the execution of Wanuskewin’s four pillars. Darlene worked at Wanuskewin from 1998 to 2000, where she was an Aboriginal Awareness Education Manager. Since that time, her 18-year career has included progressively responsible positions with not-for-profit organizations, gaming institutions, municipal governments and First Nations organizations. The return to the park, in the CEO capacity, allows Ms. Brander to honour Wanuskewin’s past, thrive in the present, and realize its future. A Band Member of the Red Earth Cree First Nation, Darlene holds a B.Ed. from the University of Saskatchewan, as well as a Chartered Professional in Human Resources designation. An active community member, Ms. Brander sits on several boards including Tourism Saskatoon and Hospitality Saskatchewan. 

Between Multiculturalism, Cosmopolitanism, and Homogeneity: Situating Canadian Identity in the Royal Ontario Museum

Umbrin Bukan

This presentation will discuss the representation of multiculturalism in the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). While Canada’s national museums deliberately narrate a representation of Canadian national history and identity aligned with its official policy of multiculturalism, the ROM is a mixed museum that is primarily concerned with showcasing “art, culture, and nature from around the world and across the ages” ( Although there is not a concerted and salient effort to display Canada’s official national identity narrative in the ROM, unlike in Canadian national museums, there is nonetheless an effective presentation of Canadian national identity necessarily at play and on display in the museum in its effort to situate itself globally and within a specific world history. The presentation will discuss the tensions in this representation where the museum aims to both acknowledge and represent the plurality of Canada, yet it remains necessarily attached to the dominant narrative of multiculturalism that is grounded in Anglo-Canadian identity.

Umbrin Bukan is a PhD student in the Social and Political Thought programme at York University in Toronto. Her research interests include comparative politics, international relations, nation building, and nationalism and museums. Her dissertation explores nationalism in Canadian and Egyptian museums, particularly the Royal Ontario Museum and the Grand Egyptian Museum.