Occasional Paper Series #45

Ontologies of Welcoming: Anishinaabe Narratives of Relationality and Practices for Educators

by Nicole Ineese-Nash

Nanaboozhoo, waciye. Minogizheghad. Zoonge Winneshe Wabigonikwe Nindizhinikaaz, Mamawmattawa minwa Tkaronto nindonjiba, mukwa nindodem, Anishinaabekwe nindow.

My name is Nicole Ineese-Nash. I am an Anishinaabe scholar, educator, and writer. I am also a community member, a caregiver, an auntie, a daughter, and an inheritor of knowledge that exists within the rivers of my family’s traditional territory. In Anishinaabemowin, my introduction is inherently relational; I tell you who I am through the relationships I hold to land, to spirit, and to my kin. This is a practice in relational accountability that is embedded in my culture and exemplifies the understandings of relational ethics I would like to speak to in this essay.

No matter which culture you belong to, or where on the planet you call home, each of us has an ethical responsibility to our first mother, the Earth. I would like to demonstrate what I have come to understand about relational ethics through Anishinaabe storywork and land-based knowledge systems as they may invite us to think differently about our relations to one another and the non-human world. Indigenous storywork is not merely fictional. Rather these stories exemplify our cultural teachings, understandings, and ways of living so that they may be carried through generations (Archibald, 2008).

About the Author

Boozhoo. Songe Wabigwanikwe niindizhinikaaz, mukwa nindodem, Mamawmattawa nindonjiba. Nicole Ineese-Nash is an Anishinaabe (Oji-Cree) scholar and educator whose work focuses on Indigenous experiences of social systems, understandings of land-knowledge, and community-based research. She completed a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Studies with a minor in psychology from Ryerson University before continuing graduate studies in early childhood studies. Currently, Nicole is a doctoral student at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in the Social Justice Education program, specializing in Indigenous health.

Nicole works as a research associate and contract lecturer cross-appointed between early childhood studies and child and youth care at Ryerson University. Her work centers on Indigenous youth, families, and communities and seeks to support self-determination and Indigenous resurgence. Nicole is particularly interested in supporting Indigenous youth to connect with their ancestry, land, and cultures. Nicole is also the director and founder of Finding Our Power Together, an Indigenous-led non-profit organization supporting youth in realizing their own goals.

Nicole Ineese-Nash

“Witnessing Encounters: A Response to Nicole Ineese- Nash’s “Ontologies of Welcoming”

by Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw

Responding to Nicole Ineese-Nash’s beautiful offerings is exhilarating and humbling. “Ontologies of Welcoming” invites us to create openings that those of us who have been educated within a Western tradition are unequipped to do. Before writing, I read Nicole’s contribution more than 10 times, unsure how to respond to it as a non-Indigenous scholar in Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, and Lenapewak and Attawandaron territory. Reluctant to appropriate knowledge that isn’t mine, I was aware that not responding for fear of implicating myself in ongoing colonization would be yet another way to enact my privilege.

Read Full Response Essay (pdf)