Every fall since 1973 a group of students and faculty, along with a mélange of alumni and community members, have traveled to Temagami to discuss and examine the human experience of the Land, particularly through the lenses of indigenous, Canadian and environmental issues.
In addition to the intellectual discussion, it includes daily canoeing and hiking through an extremely beautiful part of northern Ontario.
The colloquium is sponsored by a number of academic departments on campus and all students are invited. The idea of place, and our connection to the land, is emphasized on this trip, Temagami has a rich history of Indigenous and environmental issues from which to see these ideas in action.
Early in the twentieth century, Grey Owl lived in Temagami. A well known environmental writer, Grey Owl was actually an Englishman named Archie Belaney, whose writing nonetheless had great influence on environmental thought. More recently, in the late 1980s, logging conflicts and land claims by the Teme-Augama Anishinaabe (TAA) made Temagami a focal point for environmental protection and Indigenous rights.
Both the TAA and environmental groups set up blockades at various times to stop roads from being built into the Temagami wilderness. Many Trent students and faculty were involved in these blockades and Camp Wanapitei, where the Temagami Colloquium takes place, was turned over to the TAA as a blockade headquarters.
Problems still exist in this area as issues of indigenous sovereignty have not been resolved and, despite an attempt to establish a sustainable resource co-management board, various parties continue to have difficulty to find mutually acceptable solutions. The colloquium offers a chance to step away from the routines of school life and engage in intellectual discussion among equals.
First-year students, graduate students, professors, and alumni all bring their experience and ideas. Equally, it creates strong bonds between participants, who might otherwise never have known each-other, through the sense of community which permeates this trip about forty five minutes into the bus ride up to Temagami (time enough for all the students to drink their coffee and have their circadian rhythm go into daytime mode).
For myself, the Colloquium added much to my experience as an undergraduate, and now masters, student at Trent.
In that first trip to Temagami, I created friendships that endure to this day with both professors and students. Those relationships have nurtured many conversations, enriched the way in which I see the world, and also brought about opportunities for research projects with professors I had befriended on this trip.
I also met and talked with Joseph Boyden; you never know who shows up! This years’ Colloquium takes place from Thursday the 24th of September till Sunday the 27th. The cost of for students is $150 for the entire trip, including a bus ride there and back (you also save on food while you are up there as it is all provided!)
There will be a bus leaving from Trent University on the morning of the 24th, however you are welcome to drive and we will be organizing a carpool if you cannot make the Thursday morning leave time but still want to go!
If you want more information on the trip you can have a look at the Trent Temagami Colloquium website (www.trenttemagami.ca), the facebook page or you can contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions.