Meet Neil: 2019-2020 Ethics, Society and Law Community Research Partnership
I am a 4th year student in Ethics, Society & Law at the University of Toronto. I am a settler who lives in Toronto on Treaty 13 Territory, subject to the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant. My work with the Mosaic Institute is to understand if there is a role for them to respond to the Calls for Justice released by the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry. Specifically, I am conducting research into what role the Mosaic Institute can play in starting a discussion on the past and continued harmful portrayal of indigenous people in Canadian Media. I hope to understand a path forward in creating mutual understanding and dignified and equitable relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
My own research and interests include how settlers can act as accomplices in decolonization efforts around the world, especially in Canada. I believe that settlers have an essential duty to strive for a society that is equitable and transcends our colonial foundations. The way forward, and how to build and frame the discussion and relationships around it is an incredibly important aspect. I feel that Mosaic has an important role to play within this. The MMIWG Inquiry itself refers to The Mosaic Institute and its former director Bernie Farber by referencing his [2013 article with Phil Fontaine in the Globe and Mail](https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/what-canada-committed-against-first-nations-was-genocide-the-un-should-recognize-it/article14853747/). It importantly calls Canada’s Residential School System an act of Genocide, and tasks Canadians to do some serious self-reflection on the atrocities the government committed in the name of progress. Farber and Fontaine claim that the sooner we recognize these critical truths, the sooner everyone “will be able to heal”, and I believe the Mosaic Institute can contribute critically to truth telling and mutually supportive relationships.
*Neil is a fourth-year student at the University of Toronto studying Ethics, Society & Law, with a minor in Middle Eastern politics. He is particularly interested in global paths to decolonization and transformative justice, with a focus on Canada. Neil is also passionate about community-based advocacy and activism.
Neil is the volunteer relations director at Caffiends, a fair-trade student-run café on campus, powered by more than 160 volunteers. For the past three years, Neil has been a member of the varsity fencing team for U of T. Outside of school, Neil loves reading, cycling, and camping.*