2022 David Neufeld Memorial Lecture: Cody Groat

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Smiling man in a motor boat on a river between rock cliffs. A bridge is seen in the background.
David on the River. Photo by Jon Luedee.

David Neufeld was a historian who championed many things, including Northern history, environmental history, public history, and Indigenous history and heritage. He spent his career as a Parks Canada historian learning from the people and the land of the Yukon Territory, pushing for inclusion and two-eyed seeing, and mentoring young and early career researchers who shared his passions. The passing of David in late 2020 brought to light just how many people, both within and outside the academic world, David has influenced, supported, and mentored throughout his life.

To honour David’s legacy, the Neufeld Memorial Lecture will take place annually, in a virtually streamed format, and will feature the work of early career researchers, public historians, and Indigenous historians and heritage workers. In keeping with his spirit, this event will remain free and open to the public, and housed for future viewing.

The Neufeld Memorial Lecture organizing committee is pleased to announce that the 2022 lecture will be delivered by Cody Groat, live-streamed on January 21st, 2022, at 11:00 am EST.

Photo courtesy of Cody Groat

Title: Cultural Landscapes and the Climate Crisis – Commemorating Indigenous Cultural Heritage

Abstract: In 2018 the Government of Canada included the Yukon Ice Patches on its UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List. Self-governing nations in the territory have noted that this landscape has been sustained through a “symbiotic relationship between ice, animals, insects, and people for 7500 years. But what happens when the ice begins to melt, perhaps indefinitely? This presentation will explore the concept of cultural landscapes by looking at the commemoration of Pimachiowin Aki as a UNESCO World Heritage and the proposed commemoration of the Yukon Ice Patches, Stein Valley (BC) and Wanuskewin (SK). This will question if the concept of Outstanding Universal Value, central to the international commemoration of cultural and natural heritage, truly reflects Indigenous of knowing. This will also question how the concept of Outstanding Universal Value will adapt to the global climate crisis.

Bio: Cody Groat is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History and the Indigenous Studies Program at Western University in London, Ontario. He is Kanyen’kehaka and a band member of Six Nations of the Grand River. His PhD explores the federal commemoration of Indigenous histories by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. Cody earned an MA in World Heritage Studies from the University of Birmingham (UK) through the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage. He serves as the Chair of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO Memory of the World Advisory Committee and the President of the Indigenous Heritage Circle, a national not-for-profit dedicated to the advancement of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis cultural heritage priorities.

The David Neufeld Memorial Lecture Organizing Committee includes Erin Neufeld, Karen Routledge, Glenn Iceton, Jonathan Luedee, and Heather Green. Inquiries about the Neufeld Lecture can be made to Karen Routledge at routledge@gmail.com.

Feature Image: David photographing Tombstone Territorial Park in Fall. Courtesy Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Heritage Department.
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Heather Green is an assistant professor in the Department of History at Saint Mary's University. She is interested in the intersections of environmental and Indigenous histories, histories of Indigenous and Settler Relations, and mining history, particularly in the Canadian North. You can connect with her on twitter @heathergreen21.