Biindigen's Indigenous History Month Challenge 2023

Biindigen 30 day challenge, woodland style blue berries and strawberries by: Urban Isskwew

Biindigen’s 30 Day Indigenous History Month Challenge is back!

June 2023 Theme – Food Sovereignty  

The Biindigen 30 Day indigenous History Month Challenge was created in 2021 to engage Western University and Affiliates staff, faculty and students in learning about, and celebrating, Indigenous Peoples, perspectives, realities, histories and cultures. Each day of the month of June features a resource, event or suggested activity to celebrate Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island and aid in everyone's learning and unlearning journey. 

This time around we wanted to focus on Indigenous food systems, knowledges and sovereignty. Each week will contain at least one resource or activity in relation to this topic.  

Share what you’re learning and engaging with, on social media using the hashtag #Biindigen30DayChallenge2023 or tag us on Twitter (@westernuOII), Facebook (Wampum Learning Lodge) and Instagram (@westernUILS).

Biindigen, Western's Indigenous Learning Circle is a program collaboration between Western Libraries, Western Research, Student Experience and the Offices of Indigenous Initiatives and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion to informally engage Western's campus in learning and unlearning about Indigenous Peoples through Indigenous stories and media.

For this month, pick a book by an Indigenous Author to read or Listen using your favourite audiobook app from the list below:

Week 1

Thursday June 1, 2023

To kick off the month, we invite you to reflect on the land you live on and your relationship to local Indigenous Peoples, communities and Nations.

REVIEW: Western University’s Guide to Land Acknowledgments,  More Than Words  

Land Acknowledgments are complicated: Listen to this NPR interview and watch the Land Acknowledgment parody clip from the TV show Reservation Dogs here .

  ATTEND: Under The Mango Tree (Live Reading) @ The Grand Theatre 7:00 p.m. Learn more here

*This is a live reading of a play being workshopped through the Grand Theatre's COMPASS New Play Development program. It is not a fully-staged production. 

"Under the Mango Tree tells of Twyla-Angel who finds a tree in the prairies overlooking her school campus, where she tells African stories, in a desperate need to process loss, reclaim identity and navigate conflict. The tree, however, was previously claimed by Jacob, the son of an animation media tycoon, who uses the tree as an escape from technological constraints and the struggle to fulfill his father’s expectations. The conflict over the tree leads to a clash of culture, nature and technology, the development of friendship, betrayal, and the responsibility of reconciliation. 

Under the Mango Tree has themes of appropriation, intellectual property, bereavement, faith, and mental health, mingled with music, laughter and beautiful storytelling.”

Friday June 2, 2023

The Wampum Learning Lodge is home to an Indigenous food and medicine garden. Every Friday we invite volunteers to come help weed, harvest and aid in any other garden-maintenance related tasks. Sign up with Laura at by Thursday at noon each week.  

Garden with healthy plants in front of the Wampum Learning Lodge

LISTEN All My Relations Podcast: Food Sovereignty, A Growing Movement  

Saturday June 3, 2023 – Sunday June 4, 2023

Get outside and/or in your garden and show us the native plants you observe, plant or forage! Tag us on Twitter @WesternUOII or on Instagram @WesternUILS and use the hashtag #Biindigen30DayChallenge2023. If you are on campus, register to participate in Biodiversity Western’s Biodiversity Inventory and record your observations using iNaturalist!

June 3 is the anniversary of the release of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two Spirit Report  

READ: Yellowhead Institute Brief MMIWG2S+ and the Failure of Policing  

Week 2

Monday June 5, 2023

World Environment Day   

WATCH: 3000-Year-Old Solutions to Modern Problems | Lyla June | TEDxKC

READ: Yellowhead Special Report - Indigenous Food Sovereignty in Ontario: A Study of Exclusion at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs

Tuesday June 6, 2023

Anishinaabe Giizhigad! Anishinaabe Day! 

CELEBRATE/ WATCH: Anishinaabek Nation YouTube Livestream Celebration. Learn more here

WATCH:Who are the Anishinabek?”

Wednesday June 7 2023

READ: Beyond food security: Understanding access to cultural food for urban Indigenous people in Winnipeg as Indigenous food sovereignty

LISTEN: Addressing Water Contamination with Indigenous Science - Short Wave by NPR (13 min)

Thursday June 8, 2023

ATTEND: Gaspereau Press Book Launch with Tom Cull and Karen Schindler, featuring Melissa Schnarr
6:30 pm, Forest City Gallery

“Forest City Gallery is pleased to host local poets Tom Cull and Karen Schindler for the London launch of their forthcoming Gaspereau Press publications: Tom Cull’s Kill Your Starlings and Karen Schindler’s The Sad Truth. Tom and Karen will read selections from their works. They will also be joined by Melissa Schnarr. Melissa’s chapbook Secondhand Moccasins, was recently released by Anstruther Press.”
RSVP on Facebook

LISTEN: This Place (10 Part Series)

You won’t get through all ten episodes in one day (or maybe you will) – but this incredibly informative series will offer you a fresh perspective on Indigenous history in so-called Canada, for Indigenous History Month!

“Based on the acclaimed graphic novel anthology, This Place is a 10-part journey through one-hundred and fifty years of Indigenous resistance and resilience. Through dramatizations and interviews, along with your host and time-guide storyteller Rosanna Deerchild, the series reveals the heroes, battles, triumphs and traditions which live outside and beyond the national story we have been taught ... to learn, to share, and to heal the future of "this place" we call Canada.”

CBC Podcasts

Friday June 9, 2023

Weekly Garden Volunteering at the Wampum Learning Lodge (register by Thursday at noon with Laura – )

LISTEN: Deconstructing Dinner Podcast: Indigenous Food Sovereignty  

Saturday June 10, 2023 – Sunday June 11, 2023

EXPLORE: The Witness Blanket – Content Warning: Residential Schools; Abuse; Genocide 
“Inspired by a woven blanket, the Witness Blanket is a large-scale work of art. It contains hundreds of items reclaimed from residential schools, churches, government buildings and traditional and cultural structures from across Canada. Here, you can explore the items and stories carried by the Witness Blanket. They are accompanied by the voices of Survivors who talk about the experience of being forced into residential schools. Their generous and insightful stories convey the reality of anti-Indigenous racism, colonialism and genocide. They reveal the ongoing harms caused by Canada’s residential school system.”  

Week 3

Monday June 12, 2023   

WATCH: ‘Indigiqueer’ by Sarain Fox 

It’s Pride Month! Recently premiered on CityNews on March 26, 2023, Sarain Fox examines the past, present and future of queerness for members of today's Indigenous 2SLGBTQ+ community from one end of Turtle Island to the other. The main story in this documentary follows Fox’s young family friend, Banaise Henry, as she comes out to some of her family and friends in Kettle & Stony Point First Nation focusing on joy.   

READ: Interview about the Documentary: Storyteller follows Indigenous and queer people amid their journeys to acceptance in new documentary | CityNews Toronto  

Tuesday June 13, 2023  

WATCH: Ojibwe Star Tales  



Facilitator: Tina Stevens | June 13, 2023 | 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. ET   register here    

Wednesday June 14, 2023  

READ: Historical indigenous food preparation using produce of the three sisters intercropping system    

WATCH: Grandma Teaches a short history of white corn

Thursday June 15, 2023   

PARTICIPATE: Seed Forecasting Hike @ Killaly Meadows  5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.  register here
Note: This is not an Indigenous-led event but due to it’s topic on native species seed harvesting, we opted to include it  

EXPLORE: Indigenous Knowledges & Climate Science – Climate Atlas of Canada

ATTEND: Kiwi documentary screening at The Holy Diver (353 Talbot St, London, ON) 

Directed by Darr Sands (Walpole Island First Nation) 

For more information see this Facebook post.

Friday June 16, 2023  

Weekly Garden Volunteering at the Wampum Learning Lodge (register by Thursday at noon with Laura –  

LISTEN: Bannock Episode – Our Twisted Histories (CBC Podcast) 

Saturday June 17 & Sunday June 18, 2023 

ATTEND: 60 th Annual Aamjwnang Pow Wow
Where: Bear Park - 1972 Virgil Ave, Sarnia ON 
Gates Open: 10am  
Admission: $10 (13-54 yrs) / $5 (6-12 yrs) Free to kids under 5 and Seniors 55+ Grand Entry: 12:00 p.m./6:00 p.m. Saturday & 12:00 p.m. Sunday

PARTICIPATE: Tree Giveaway @ Stoney Creek YMCA  10am-12pm  Register here   

Note: this is a non-Indigenous led event  

READ: Pow Wow Visiter’s Guide – Pow Wow Etiquette   

Week 4

Monday June 19, 2023  

EXPLORE: Our Water Connection StoryMap (Canadian Geographic Education)  
“Indigenous teachings on how water shapes our lives, sustains us, and why we need to protect it.”  

READ: The 3-H Social and Emotional Learning Cycle and the Three Sisters Garden  

Tuesday June 20, 2023  

LISTEN:  Biindigen 30 Day Challenge Spotify Playlist curated by Sara Mai on Spotify 

Wednesday, June 21, 2023  

Summer Solstice | Indigenous Peoples’ Day   

ATTEND: Indigenous Solidarity Day 2023 at the Green 

Sunrise Ceremony at 5:30am. 
June 21, 2023 is the 27 th annual Indigenous Solidarity Day in celebration of First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. We invite you to join us for this in-person event featuring a Sunrise Ceremony, Singers, Dancers, Food, Vendors, Community Service Providers, and more. Bring your family – everyone is welcome! 

What to bring: 

  • A lawn chair 
  • Reusable food containers and utensils 
  • A refillable water bottle 

Please share this event with your contacts, socials, and communities.”
RSVP on Facebook 

ATTEND: Tkaronto Music Festival Launch: June 21-24 at Stackt Marketplace in Toronto, ON 

Thursday, June 22, 2023 

World Rainforest Day  

WATCH: Great Bear Rainforest: Protecting Our Land & Sea   

ATTEND: Tkaronto Music Festival June 21-24, 2023 

Friday June 23, 2023   

Weekly Garden Volunteering at the Wampum Learning Lodge
(register by Thursday at noon with Laura –  

WATCH: You Are On Indian Land (Directed by Michael Kanentakeron Mitchell)

Have a Friday Movie night with the many selections of Indigenous-directed films available for free via the National Film Board. We recommend “You Are on Indian Land”  

Synopsis: “Released in 1969, this short documentary was one of the most influential and widely distributed productions made by the Indian Film Crew (IFC), the first all-Indigenous unit at the NFB. It documents a 1969 protest by the Kanien’kéhaka (Mohawk) of Akwesasne, a territory that straddles the Canada–U.S. border. When Canadian authorities prohibited the duty-free cross-border passage of personal purchases—a right established by the Jay Treaty of 1794—Kanien’kéhaka protesters blocked the international bridge between Ontario and New York State. Director Michael Kanentakeron Mitchell later became Grand Chief of Akwesasne. The film was formally credited to him in 2017. You Are on Indian Land screened extensively across the continent, helping to mobilize a new wave of Indigenous activism. It notably was shown at the 1970 occupation of Alcatraz.”  

ATTEND: Tkaronto Music Festival June 21-24, 2023 

Saturday June 24 & Sunday June 25, 2023  

ACTIVITY: Spend Sunday or Saturday morning colouring with Urban Iskwe’s colouring pages   

PLAY: Path of the Elders an interactive history game about Treaty 9   

ATTEND: Tkaronto Music Festival June 21-24, 2023 

Week 5

Monday, June 26. 2023  

Building Reconciliation Forum Day 1: Community Day; Registration Required 

Choose Your Own Adventure: Indigenous Presence on Campus and in London, Ontario 

ATTEND: Indigenous Vendor Market at Althouse College Gym 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. – Open to all!  

 Vendor Market Advertisement: Market is 10am-6pm in Faculty of Education Gymnasium

Tuesday, June 27 2023  

Building Reconciliation Forum Day 2 – Registration Required

ATTEND: Indigenous Vendor Market at Althouse College Gym 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. – Open to all  

Image of Murray Porter and Genevieve Fisher, musicians. Advertising "A Night of Music with Murray Porter and Genevieve Fisher Tuesday June 27 8pm-10pm doors at 7:30pm, free"

ATTEND: A Night of Music with Genevieve Fisher and Murray Porter 

Pre-Concert Reception 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the Wampum Learning Lodge – limited capacity, registration required (Click here to RSVP to the Opening Reception

Concert 8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.: Murray Porter (Six Nations) wsg Genevieve Fisher (Chippewas of the Thames First Nation) – Althouse College Auditorium Rm 1050 - Open to all, first come, first serve  

RSVP on Facebook here.  

Wednesday, June 28 2023  

Building Reconciliation Forum Day 3 – Registration Required  

ATTEND: Indigenous Vendor Market at Althouse College Gym 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. – Open to all  

EXPLORE: The Decolonial Atlas

Thursday June 29, 2023   

VISIT: Museum London exhibit Ithin-eh-wuk – we place ourselves at the center: James Nicholas and Sandra Semchuk (May 29 – Sept 10) 

Museum London Hours: Wed – Sun 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; Thursdays 11:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.   

From the Museum’s Website: 
“This exhibition traces the 15-year creative collaboration between James Nicholas and Sandra Semchuk, from their meeting in 1993 until Nicholas’s accidental death in 2007. The photo-installations and videos in this exhibition unveil the effects of colonialism through the lens of their intercultural marriage, revealing a commitment to dialogue in which Semchuk’s identity as the child of Ukrainian-Canadian settlers from Saskatchewan meets Nicholas’s experiences as a Rock Cree man from Manitoba. 

The title of the exhibition is taken from the 2005 installation understoryoverstory, a set of photographs of an abandoned road in northern Saskatchewan, one originally built by Cree workers under the direction of Semchuk’s father. While in the accompanying texts Semchuk–who lived in London, Ontario in the 1980s–reflects on her father’s respect for the Cree even as he opened their land to development, Nicholas responds with forceful poetry about the rights of ithin-eh-wuk, his people: 

listen, acknowledge that we exist 

we are not shadows of shadow cultures 

we have inherent rights to the land our laws of being          ithin-eh-wuk 

we place ourselves at the center 

The questions Nicholas and Semchuk ask of each other are personal, at times humorous, at other times painful. Whether dealing with the marginalization of Ukrainian-Canadian settlers or Nicholas’s experiences as a residential school survivor, the effort is always, in Semchuk’s words, “to recognize the truths in each other’s stories.”   

Friday June 30, 2023   

EXPLORE: Indigenous Languages Across Canada StoryMap (Canadian Geographic) a nd/or Perspectives of Indigenous land-based learning and traditional knowledge from across Turtle Island StoryMap (Canadian Geographic Education) 

READ: Unsettling Canada Day: Meditations on Settler-Indigenous Relations (from 2021)  

REFLECT: You did it!  

What were the key things you learned this month from the Biindigen Indigenous History Moth 30 Day Challenge? What were your favourite events or resources?  

Share with us on Twitter (@westernuOII), Facebook (Wampum Learning Lodge) and Instagram (@westernUILS) and the hashtag #Biindigen30DayChallenge2023