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6 Concordians mark Indigenous History Month

VIDEO SERIES: Alumni and faculty members share their insights
June 19, 2023
By Louise Morgan, GrDip 99

A mosaic of three women and three men. All are alumni or faculty at Concordia University. From left: Ronald Abraira, Autumn Godwin, Ossie Michelin, Michelle McGeough, Barbara Kaneratonni Diabo and Nicolas Renaud

June is Indigenous History Month in Canada — a time to seek out understanding and reconciliation, to honour First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and to amplify their voices. To mark the occasion, six Indigenous Concordians share their insights through a series of short video messages, to be released throughout the month on Concordia Alumni social media platforms.

Learn more about Indigenous History Month at Concordia. Our university continues to work towards decolonization and Indigenization. Our Indigenous Directions Action Plan provides tools to enable all Concordians to build a more equitable and inclusive future, while our Otsenhákta Student Centre has been offering community and support for Indigenous Concordians for 30 years.

Portrait of a woman with long black hair, black shirt and beaded earrings Photo: Sylvie-Ann Paré

Barbara Kaneratonni Diabo

A graduate of Concordia’s Department of TheatreBarbara Kaneratonni Diabo, BFA 91, is an award-winning Indigenous dancer, choreographer and educator with 30 years of experience. She works with organizations including La Danse sur les routes du Québec and Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance to create safe spaces and support Indigenous artists across Canada. In 2021, she received the Prix interprète de la danse at the Prix de la Danse de Montréal for her performance and choreography in her dance film SMUDGE (2020), in which she appears alongside her child, Marshall Diabo. 

A woman with light brown hair stands is wearing a black turtleneck and green beaded earrings

Autumn Godwin

Currrently pursuing a master’s degree in Concordia’s Individualized ProgramAutumn Godwin, BA 21, is researching Indigenous cultural resurgence. Actively involved in the community, she is board president for Lara Kramer Dance and a board member at Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal. She is vice-president of Concordia’s First Peoples Studies Member Association, student mentor for Start Up Nations, assistant coordinator for First Voices Week and an advisor for the English Montreal School Board.

Godwin is additionally co-founder of the Buckskin Babes Urban Moosehide Collective. She received the 2023 Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award from the Concordia University Alumni Association. She is nehithaw iskwew from the Montreal Lake Cree Nation on Treaty 6 territory, Northern Saskatchewan.

Portrait of a smiling man outdoors. He has a short beard and is wearing a light burgundy sweater, glasses and a cap

Ossie Michelin

Ossie Michelin, BA 08, is a freelance Inuk journalist, editor and filmmaker from North West River, Labrador. Reporting on Indigenous issues and the North, his clients include Canadian Geographic, CBC Indigenous, Briarpatch Magazine, Canadian Art, and the National Film Board of Canada. Michelin holds a BA in journalism from Concordia and a certificate in environmental studies from the University of Guelph.

Portrait of a man wearing a black blazer with white-collard shirt

Ronald Abraira

Ronald Abraira, MBA 95, is a senior lecturer in the Department of Management at Concordia’s John Molson School of Business, where he has taught for more than 20 years. Former executive director at a community economic development agency in Kahnawake, south of Montreal, he also worked in management consulting and served in the United States Navy. Abraira received his undergraduate degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo and his MBA from Concordia.

Portrait of a man wearing a dark grey cardican with a light t-shirt beneath. He has a short, grey-brown beard and is wearing black-framed glasses

Nicolas Renaud

Nicolas Renaud, BFA 03, is an assistant professor of First Peoples Studies at Concordia’s School of Community and Public Affairs and a member of the Indigenous Futures Research Centre. He is also a filmmaker and video installation artist as well as an editor and consultant on documentary films. Renaud joined Concordia as a faculty member in 2007, teaching in the Department of Studio Arts and the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema.

Renaud received the Emerging Canadian Filmmaker Award at Toronto’s Hot Docs Festival in 2013 for Brave New River (La Nouvelle Rupert). He is of mixed Quebecois and Indigenous heritage and is a member of the Huron-Wendat First Nation of Wendake.

Portrait of a smiling woman with short grey hair wearing black-framed glasses and a collard shirt with a flower pattern.

Michelle McGeough

Michelle McGeough is an assistant professor of art history. She joined Concordia in 2020 after two years in the same role at the University of British Columbia. Prior to earning her PhD from the University of New Mexico in 2017, McGeough was a faculty member and department chair at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She holds a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art + Design and MA from Carleton University. Of mixed Cree-Métis and Northern Irish descent, she grew up in rural Alberta near the settlement known as Beaver Hills Lake. 

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