Equity Matters

The Equity Matters Seminar Series provides an opportunity for the University of Toronto Scarborough community to engage with prominent speakers on issues of equity, diversity and inclusion in academia.  Questions can be directed to Eileen Egan-Lee, Faculty Development Administrator.

Sessions previously offered in the Equity Matters Seminar Series are available here. 


Reckoning before Reconciling: Collective Commitment, Indigenous Nationhood, and the Individualistic Limits of EDI Policies

Professor Daniel Heath Justice (citizen, Cherokee Nation)

Thursday, March 2, 2023
10:00 - 11:30 am Seminar & Discussion (EV151/152, Zoom available)
11:30 - 1:00 pm Lunch (Registration required)


Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) underpin much of the laudable work of social justice in the academy. Yet once institutionalized, EDI can be co-opted and become piecemeal and tokenistic, focusing on individualized representation and obligation rather than systemic and sustainable transformation. For Indigenous students, staff, and faculty, EDI policies grounded in individualistic claims and concerns fall far short of equity, let alone justice, especially at a time of growing anti-Indigenous backlash, school denialism, and identity appropriation. When the responsibility for countering widespread anti-Indigenous educational violence is framed as individualized obligation and delegated to a few Indigenous faculty and staff rather than being a collective duty of the university community, the result is often isolation, demoralization, exhaustion, and trauma. This talk considers Indigenous nationhood and collective rights and responsibilities as fundamental to decolonial justice in and beyond the academy, as much in formal policy as in interpersonal, pedagogical, and professional relationships.

Recommended reading (not required for participation in the seminar):
Head shot of Daniel Heath Justice

Daniel Heath Justice is a Colorado-born citizen of the Cherokee Nation, appointed as Professor in the Department of English and First Nations and Indigenous Studies in the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies. His work in Indigenous literary studies takes up questions and issues of kinship, belonging, sexuality, personhood, and nationhood, with increasing attention to the intersections between Indigenous literatures, speculative fiction, and other-than-human peoples. Published work includes the literary studies Why Indigenous Literatures Matter and Our Fire Survives the Storm: A Cherokee Literary History, the animal cultural histories Raccoon and Badger, the Indigenous epic fantasy The Way of Thorn and Thunder, as well as editing and co-editing numerous works, including The Oxford Handbook of Indigenous American Literature (with James H. Cox), and the forthcoming Allotment Stories: Indigenous Land Relations Under Settler Siege (with Jean M. O’Brien). More information about Professor Justice's work and commitments can be found here: www.danielheathjustice.com.