Anti-Colonial Abolitionism: Prairies Context
Karrie Auger is a nehiyaw iskwew residing in amiskwaciy, Treaty 6, Metis Nation of Alberta Region 4. Her home community is in Treaty 8 territory, Wabasca Bigstone Cree Nation. She is continuously learning what it means to come home to the land, herself and our relations. She is a member of Free Lands Free Peoples (FLFP) and the Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta Abolition Coalition (SMAAC).
Danielle Bird (nehiyaw) is a member of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation in Alberta and has familial ties to the Mistawasis Nehiyawak in Saskatchewan. Danielle is a PhD student in the Department of Indigenous studies at the University of Saskatchewan where her research examines Indigenous Peoples’ post-prison realities in settler colonial Saskatchewan.
Cory Cardinal (1983-2021) was a Cree writer, prisoner justice advocate and founder of Inmates 4 Humane Conditions, a prisoner-led advocacy group. Born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and a member of Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation. Cory devoted many years to advocating for his incarcerated kin, highlighting systemic issues like overcrowding, unhygienic conditions, and lack of access to adequate medical care and other supports inside prisons. Through his writing, artwork and organizing, Cory gifted us with his astute analysis of the structural racism and colonial function of the penal system in Canada, as well as modeling an ethics of care that informs our work. He passed away on June 9, 2021.
Megan Gnanasihamany is an artist, writer and curator from amiskwaciy who now lives in Tio’tia:ke.
Serenity Joo is a settler of color residing on Treaty One and the homeland of the Métis Nation (Winnipeg, Canada). Locally, she is a member of the Prison Libraries Committee (PLC) that provides books to people on the inside; Prairie Asian Organizers (PAO!), a collective committed to organizing in solidarity with fellow racialized and Indigenous communities; and the Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta Abolition Coalition (SMAAC). She is an Associate Professor in the Department of English, Theatre, Film & Media at the University of Manitoba, where she studies and teaches speculative fiction, multiethnic American literatures, critical race theory, and queer theory.
Molly Swain is an otipêmsiw-iskwêw currently living in Treaty 6, Métis Nation of Alberta Region 4, and nehiyaw-pwat territory. Molly is a PhD student in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta researching 20th century Métis political history. She is a member of Free Lands Free Peoples (FLFP) and the Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta Abolition Coalition (SMAAC). She is also the co-host of Métis in Space, an Indigenous feminist science fiction podcast and Land Back project.
Nancy Van Styvendale is a white settler scholar of Indigenous prison literatures and community-based education, and the director of the Indigenous Prison Arts and Education Project in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. Nancy has lived in the prairies for most of her life and currently resides in amiskwaciy (also known as Edmonton, Alberta), located in Treaty 6 and Métis territory. She is a member of Free Lands Free Peoples (FLFP) and the Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta Abolition Coalition (SMAAC).
Belinda Wandering Spirit is a settler/“re-settler” (Dr. Emma LaRocque) of Scottish-Irish descent from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Belinda is an organizer with Bar None – an abolitionist prisoner solidarity group that runs a rideshare to connect those incarcerated with their loved ones. Belinda completed her master’s degree looking at whiteness, education, and racism at University of Manitoba in the Native Studies department. Her current research area explores racism in the Canadian justice system. Belinda is married to her soulmate Joseph Wandering Spirit and is the proud mother to five Indigenous and Afro-Caribbean children.