The Conversation

The Conversation

Jul 7 2017 - 2:00pm

 Looking Back While Moving Forward 


As part of the Kultrun World Music Festival 

The Conversation is a symposium about what Canada we want to leave for our children and the next generations. Our thoughts and wishes for a community of people who have come from all over the world to make Canada a home will be discussed in this open and inspirational conversation with a diverse group of leaders from our community and beyond. The Waterloo Region is located on the traditional territory of the Attawandaron, the Anishnaabeg and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, as we are part of the Haldimand Tract which includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Most of our immigrant population do not have this knowledge about the Indigenous caretakers of this land. This conversation will bring together artists and community members from both the Indigenous and settler communities to talk about our shared vision of Canada’s future as a multicultural society. This conversation is particularly important in the light of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and as Islamophobia, anti-immigrant, and racist sentiments are on the rise both in Europe and North America.

As Canada celebrates its 150 years of confederation, many challenges continue to face artists and communities across this vast land. Join us as we imagine our collective path forward, but at the same time, we look back, and understand well, what got us all here, to this very moment of The Conversation.


Moderator: Laura Mae

Dr. Laura Mae Lindo is the Director of Diversity and Equity at Wilfrid Laurier University where she uses her expertise in anti-oppression pedagogy, critical pedagogy and education more broadly to encourage long-term commitment to diversity, equity and social justice. Her research interests include exploring humour as pedagogy and, more specifically, calling on humour in educational environments in and outside of traditional classrooms to initiate critical interrogations of controversial issues and hegemonic discourses. Within her work in the Diversity and Equity Office, she continues to engage in research, teaching and curriculum development while providing wrap-around support to faculty, staff and students navigating social justice and equity issues.

Sam Nabi

Proudly millennial, Sam Nabi's hip-hop pushes back against the gaslighting of our generation. Tracks like Side Hustle Shuffle and Boomers for Breakfast are a rallying cry against precarious work and accusations of entitlement. His art explores identity, class, and culture at a time when these distinctions are becoming hyper-visible.


Bashar Jabbour

Bashar Lulu Jabbour (He/Him) is an immigrant poet! He uses the mundane to give you a glimpse of the complexities of leaving one home for another. Bashar is a storyteller, and his stories are deeply personal. He is a nationally competing poet, finishing 5th (team) & 6th (individual) in Canada, and he has performed his poetry throughout the Region and the country. His debut book will be released in 2017. You can find him at

Kandice Baptiste

Kandice Baptiste is Mohawk from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and holds a Bachelor of Arts: History from Wilfrid Laurier University. During her time as a student at Laurier, Kandice played varsity basketball for four years and was the founding president of the Aboriginal Students’ Association at the Waterloo campus. Kandice also served as the first Aboriginal Student Intern and student representative on Laurier’s Indigenous Education Council.

Upon graduation Kandice accepted the role of Aboriginal Students Recruitment and Retention Officer, which was the first Indigenous students’ specific recruitment role at Laurier. She was elected by her peers as Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Postsecondary Information Program, which is the collective of Indigenous recruitment officers from Ontario colleges and universities.

Kandice was named Young Alumna of the Year in 2013 for her outstanding contribution to the betterment of society and as an ambassador for Laurier. She was also selected by the United States Consulate in Toronto as one of five Canadians to participate in the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP). As a guest of the US State Department, Kandice toured four states exploring higher education systems and policies to learn best practices and innovations.

In 2016 at the Council of Ontario Universities Kandice launched a Strategic Aboriginal Communications Campaign, "Let's Take Our Future Further." The campaign combats negative stereotypes of Indigenous peoples, to a diversity of audiences, by highlighting the achievements of Indigenous learners at Ontario universities and their contributions to Ontario's communities.

Kandice returned to Laurier and is currently the Manager, Indigenous Initiatives at Wilfrid Laurier University. In this role, based out of the Brantford campus, Kandice oversees the programs and services delivered to Indigenous students on campus, as well as, works with local Indigenous communities to create meaningful partnerships.

Cheri Maracle

Cheri Maracle is a multi-award nominated actress and singer/songwriter of the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. Cheri has a theatre-trained background and has performed professionally for the past 20 years across Canada, the United States, and Europe. Selected Theatre credits include: Munschtime! (YPT), The Road to Paradise (Crow’s Theatre), The Road Forward, (Red Diva Projects, PuSH Festival), The Rez Sisters,(Belfry Theatre) Death of a Chief (The National Arts Centre, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre). Recently Cheri was nominated for Best Solo Performance at the Calgary Theatre critics’awards 2016, for her one woman show, Paddle Song. Cheri was nominated for the prestigious K.M. Hunter Theatre award 2007, and 2014 for her body of theatrical work, and from 2006-2008 was an artistic associate of the Dora award winning Aboriginal women's theatre company, Turtle Gals.

Cheri’s role as Sarah Bull, on the critically acclaimed drama series Blackstone, earned her a Canadian Screen Award nomination for best supporting actress in a featured role, 2014. Selected television credits include: Four in the Morning, (CBC), DeGrassi,(CTV), Blackstone Three Seasons(APTN & CBC), Murdoch Mysteries(CBC), Moccasin Flats, 2 seasons (APTN, Showcase), Blackfly, 2 seasons (Global), Co-host of the Indspire Awards, 2007, 2014, & 2017 (Global, APTN), Indian:suite (film), and award winning feature film Tkaronto (APTN).

Cheri is also a CAMA, ISMA, APCMA nominated recording artist. She plays regularly with her Jazz quartet, and performs as a solo act, playing a traditional handdrum. Her critically acclaimed music can be found on iTunes, and at her website. Nia:Wen!!

Pam Patel

Pam Patel has performed with numerous Canadian companies including the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Gwaandak Theatre (Yukon Territory), Theatre Gargantua, Cahoots Theatre, and primarily MT Space (Kitchener, ON) with whom she has toured nationally and internationally. A graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University's music program, Pam specialized in new music and improvisation, and attended the Vancouver Creative Music Institute where she collaborated with pioneers of improvised music and showcased her talents at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival. Pam has also been a part of the Stratford Summer Music Festival, performing a wide range of pieces including the Bach Coffee Cantata, alongside Daniel Lichti, and Myaudia: A Street Opera, composed by Peter Hatch. Pam is currently the Artistic Director of MT Space and the President of NUMUS, an organization dedicated to presenting and producing new Canadian work and ensembles in Kitchener-Waterloo.

Tamõn Scarlett

Tamõn Scarlett is a Black, multiply-disabled community organizer, artivist (artist + activist), educator, and healer in the Tkaronto community, traditional territory of the Mississauga, Huron-Wendat, and Petun peoples. Their approach to their work is based in trans-feminist, Afro-centric, disability-focused frameworks. She is a  psychotherapist who uses words, music, and poetry to assist people in their emotional journeys. Tamõn currently works at Griffin Centre as a counsellor and group facilitator for marginalized youth.