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Cohen Explorations Project with James Luna

Prof. Dolleen Manning

The second phase of the Cohen Program presented a course that employed a comparative analysis of Western and Ojibwe First Nations’ theory on notions of existence as it relates to the formation of multiple cultural identities. The course juxtaposed First Nations approaches (both traditional and contemporary) and dominant western perspectives in order to open a critical dialogue between students from First Nations Studies and Visual Art. During the course, a First Nations elder presented ideas on the seasons and on the significance of particular material; a local First Nations emerging artist employed techniques from traditional First Nations art forms; and established internationally recognized First Nations artist, James Luna, lectured to the course participants and the public. The course was an exciting, timely and challenging opportunity for senior students from Western to engage with ideas and projects to expand their understanding of how cultural identity formation is implicated by the meeting of First Nations and western cultural theories and practice.