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Belinda Daniels Reclamation + Language Revitalization + Education

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"Language as Medicine, Emancipation, and Nationhood"

Awarded the “Outstanding Indigenous Educator Award” of 2015 by Canadian Teachers Federation and one of the top 50 finalists for the Global Teacher Prize of 2016, Dr. Belinda Daniels has been recognized internationally for her valiant efforts in language, culture, and education. Founder of nêhiyawak Language Experience Inc., her transformative work in language revitalization has garnered nominations from Indspire and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations. By creating safe spaces for community wellness and learning, she motivates audiences to embark on their own personal journey back to themselves and their culture.

Raised by her maternal grandparents, Dr. Belinda (kakiyosēw) Daniels is from the community of Sturgeon Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan. While most of her family and community members spoke Cree, Daniels spent most of her younger years speaking and learning in English with the encouragement of her grandfather, a residential school survivor, who wished for her success in a Western education system. Reflecting on her undergraduate studies in a limited system and the traumatic loss of her own Indigenous language, Daniels embarked on a transformative journey in nēhiyawēwin (Cree) language recovery. 

“Research is personal” for this self-taught, life-long learner and Ph.D. graduate in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Saskatchewan. Proudly followed her calling and the guidance of her ancestors Daniels founded the Nehiyawak Language Experience in 2003--a not-for-profit organization dedicated to Indigenous language immersion through summer camps and workshops--and has since inspired countless teachers, students, and aspiring educators with her fervent drive to revitalize, reclaim, and protect Indigenous languages. Daniels also shares her knowledge on teaching and learning a Second Indigenous Language at the University of Victoria.

Despite being a full time educator, curriculum builder, mother, and grandmother, Belinda Daniels still maintains a passionate commitment to service. She has volunteered and engaged with all levels of board work at a number of organizations working towards social change, including the Foundation for Endangered Languages (FELCanada) as former President and the Citizen Advisory Committee for Regional Psychiatric Centre & Saskatoon, SK Parole Office. Daniels has also sat and advised for Station 20 West, Saskatoon United Way, Dr. Sterling McDowell Foundation, Oskayak Community Daycare, and of course, remains an active voice for her First Nations community of Sturgeon Lake First Nation.

  • Language Learning Journey: An Emancipation

    For Belinda, the voices from her community, ancestors, and the language spirit have inspired her to embark on a deeply personal language learning journey. On this path to reconnecting with the roots of her Cree language, she has discovered the power of language as a form of healing, medicine, and home. A renowned teacher and mentor, Daniels moves audiences with the universally beneficial and powerfully intimate relationship between Indigenous languages and the preservation of land, spirit, self, and community. Through her stories, Daniels awakens us to unlock the limitless possibilities of reconnecting with ourselves and the world in which we live.

    Join Belinda in this session to:

    • Become inspired by the vital lessons of an emancipating language journey
    • Share in her reflections on rekindling with and teaching nêhiyawak (Cree), and how it sustains her emotionally 
    • Unlock the crucial potential that language reclamation can bring for Indigenous communities worldwide

    Being Indigenous and in Academia

    Determined to succeed in her efforts to reclaim language and link future generations forward, Dr. Belinda Daniels entered the Western world of academia. There, she discovered a plethora of barriers as an Indigenous woman trying to achieve her PhD and began to question the systems that exist in our current educational institutions. In this groundbreaking and transformative presentation, Daniels reveals the systemic issues that prevent Indigenous representation in student bodies, research methodologies, and pedagogies. This Indigenous expert leaves audiences with an understanding of what forms “scientific knowledge” in academia can take shape as when we look through an Indigenous lens. 

    In this presentation, audiences will:

    • Uncover the impediments that have hindered Indigenous success 
    • Experience the dreams, visions, and instincts that supported a determined Indigenous woman in a Westernized system  
    • Discover tools for maintaining safe spaces for Indigenous communities in day-to-day conversations, organizations, and institutions 

    Land Based Education: Teachings from Indigenous Language and Methods

    As the effects of climate and environmental crises continue to devastate our Earth, it has never been more critical to seek out ethical, long-lasting solutions. For generations, Indigenous communities have lived by an understanding of land protection and respect—the holistic, land-based anecdotes within Indigenous languages maintain the answers to today’s environmental issues. Dr. Belinda Daniels shares her expertise on land-based education, its individual and social health benefits, and the potential of centering Indigeniety in our world as we move forward. 

    In this presentation, audiences will:

    • Experience a transformative lesson on Indigenous ways of seeing, being, and knowing
    • Discover stories of the Land as Teacher, an animate being with a strong spirit 
    • Explore the gaps in Western modes of environmentalism, and the importance of land-based education and centering Indigeneity for posterity

    Language Development: Cree Language Camps

    As the founder of the Nehiyawak Language Experience, Dr. Belinda Daniels is an expert in guiding students and aspiring language teachers in Cree language acquisition. In this presentation, Daniels reflects on nearly two decades of experience and shares her revolutionary methods and theories in language development.

    Join Dr. Daniels in this presentation to:

    • Discover Dr. Daniels’ innovative camp model for language immersion and saturation
    • Uncover the tools and methods for sustaining teaching/learning environments 
    • Explore the beauty of Cree—what does it teach us about ourselves and our values?
  • Testimonials

    "Belinda’s work and research has made an incredibly important contribution to the field of Indigenous language revitalization. It is difficult to express what an immeasurable gift it is to find a pathway back to the Cree language. It deeply nourishing and I have witnessed this healing impact on the other learners in the program as well. Her work is transformative and nation-building for Indigenous people. The survival of the language also contributes to understanding beyond Cree communities, as the knowledge and philosophies contained in the language offer all Canadians a deeper understanding of the land that they’re on." - Danis Goulet, Cree-Métis film director and screenwriter 

     

  • Awards and Highlights: 

    Nominated for Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations’ Strength of Our Women Award in Language and Culture (2021)

    University of Saskatchewan Indigenous Mentorship Network Scholarship (2019)

    Sturgeon Lake First Nation Post Secondary Scholarship Award (2019)

    Faculty of Education Indigenous Advisory Circle Award (2019)

    Lieutenant Governor Heritage Saskatchewan Award for Community Development, Regina (2018)

    Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations’ Strength of Our Women Award in Education (2016)

    Top-50 finalist for the World Global Teacher Prize at the Global Education and Skills Forum (2016)

    Nominated for Varkey Foundation’s World Global Teacher Prize (2015)

    Saskatoon Association of Professional Aboriginals’ Newsmaker of the Year (2015)

    Nominated for Guiding the Journey Indigenous Educator Award, Indspire (2015)

    Nominated for Guiding the Journey Indigenous Educator Award, Indspire (2016)

    Canadian Teachers' Federation’s Outstanding Aboriginal Educator Award (2015)

    U of S’s Graduate Aboriginal Research Excellence Award (2015)

    Nominated for Sharing the Flame of Success, Canadian Council of Learning (2009)

    Nominated for Prime Minister’s Teacher Award of Excellence (2008)

    Prince Albert Grand Council Women’s Commission Education Award of Excellence (2004)

    Sturgeon Lake First Nation’s Kingfisher Education Award of Excellence (2003)

    University of Saskatchewan’s Arts and Science Fellowship Award/Scholarship (2003)

  • Client List:

    Manitoba Aboriginal Language Strategy: Indigenous Languages as Antidotes to Climate Change (2020)

    Stabilizing Indigenous Languages Symposium: Practical Tips for Revitalizing Indigenous Languages (2018)

    TESL Sask/SKTEAL Conference: How to approach and teach a 2nd Indigenous Language (2017)

    National Collaborating Centre For Aboriginal Health, Panel Speaker (2017)

    SSHRC: Imagining Canada’s Future, Panel Speaker (2017)

    Indigenous Languages and Reconciliation joint CAAL/CLA/SSHRC: Language loss: a deformity in education (2016)

    Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Center at Language Keepers Conference: A 2nd Language Study: Who am I? (2016)

    Opaskweyak Cree Education: A 2nd Language Study: Who am I? (2016)

    Government of Alberta Education: Languages: Call to Action (2016)

    Saskatoon Tribal Council Youth Conference: Our Indigenous Languages are our future (2016)

Raised by her maternal grandparents, Dr. Belinda (kakiyosēw) Daniels is from the community of Sturgeon Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan. While most of her family and community members spoke Cree, Daniels spent most of her younger years speaking and learning in English with the encouragement of her grandfather, a residential school survivor, who wished for her success in a Western education system. Reflecting on her undergraduate studies in a limited system and the traumatic loss of her own Indigenous language, Daniels embarked on a transformative journey in nēhiyawēwin (Cree) language recovery. 

“Research is personal” for this self-taught, life-long learner and Ph.D. graduate in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Saskatchewan. Proudly followed her calling and the guidance of her ancestors Daniels founded the Nehiyawak Language Experience in 2003--a not-for-profit organization dedicated to Indigenous language immersion through summer camps and workshops--and has since inspired countless teachers, students, and aspiring educators with her fervent drive to revitalize, reclaim, and protect Indigenous languages. Daniels also shares her knowledge on teaching and learning a Second Indigenous Language at the University of Victoria.

Despite being a full time educator, curriculum builder, mother, and grandmother, Belinda Daniels still maintains a passionate commitment to service. She has volunteered and engaged with all levels of board work at a number of organizations working towards social change, including the Foundation for Endangered Languages (FELCanada) as former President and the Citizen Advisory Committee for Regional Psychiatric Centre & Saskatoon, SK Parole Office. Daniels has also sat and advised for Station 20 West, Saskatoon United Way, Dr. Sterling McDowell Foundation, Oskayak Community Daycare, and of course, remains an active voice for her First Nations community of Sturgeon Lake First Nation.

Speaker Summary

Location: Canada

Language: English

Website: Click Here

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