A Bit About What I Get Up To...
In addition to my work in research and policy, I currently serve as a speaker and embodied teacher sharing and co-creating knowledge in trauma-informed pedagogy, embodied wellness, critical spirituality, sustainability, and solidarity within the context of Indigenous-settler relationship renewal.
You can most often find me singing, making music, hugging trees, and engaging another passion of mine: word witchery and research coaching. Check out what I offer here.
Gaawiin aapiji ninitaa-ojibwemosii
Aleyah Erin Lennon nindizhinikaaz
Ndoo-demag kenjigazgazook giw-gaa-n-taawbiinchejigejig
Nogojowanong, Michi Saagiig Anishinaabegogamig migwe dodaa
Is mise Aleyah Erin Lennon
Is de bhunadh na hÉireann mé.
Thuig mo shinsir go bhfuil an talamh naofa agus go raibh orthu meas a thabhairt don saol ar fad.
Ba óna gcuid scéalta a d’fhoghlaim mé go bhfuil orm, agus mé i mo bhean, labhairt thar ceann an uisce.
Rugadh agus tógadh mé i gcríocha Aninishinaabeg.
Tá mé i mo chónaí i gcríoch Michi Saagiig Anishinaabeg.
Go raibh maith agaibh uilig, a ghaolta.
“In my journey as a language learner, that’s one thing that I’ve come to understand...everything is in the language. Go back to a language, everything that you need in order to connect to that way is embedded in the language. You have to engage with it.”
Anishinaabekwe, Research Supporter, Friend
Who I Am in Relation To This Work
I introduce myself in the language of the place where I live as a sign of my respect for the Anishinaabeg nations in whose lands I am living, working, playing, and dreaming. I am committed to learning how to live in a good way and to supporting the resurgence of Indigenous sovereignty, cultures, lifeways, and languages. I learn Anishinaabemowin because it contains the melody and wisdom of this place I call home. Gchi-miigwech to Dr. Elder Shirley Williams and Liz Osawamick, both generous Knowledge Holders and language teachers, for their friendship and sharing, including help with the spelling and pronunciation of the above Anishinaabemowin introduction. I also introduce myself in my ancestral language of an Ghaeilge (Irish), with deep thanks to Dr. Sharon Blackie and her husband David Knowles who generously invited me to send them what I wanted to say, and who assisted me with this translation.
As I have been learning, language contains the culture of a people and shapes how we conceive and perceive of the world around us. The place-based wisdom encoded within Indigenous languages contains the heart and soul of a people, which is why colonial powers made speaking one’s Indigenous languages illegal. This happened here in Canada, and it happened under the English in Ireland. I am on a journey of (re)learning an Ghaeilge and Anishinaabemowin and of allowing the melody and wisdom contained within each of these languages to continue to shape my ability to think, feel, and make sense of my place in creation. These languages must be protected and allowed to flourish. They have the power to inform and transform our relationship with the Land and Waters, that are the ground of all Life.
Where I am Coming From
I completed my Masters in Sustainability Studies at Trent University, and both my Bachelor of Education and Honours Bachelor of Outdoor Recreation, Parks, and Tourism with specializations in Indigenous Studies at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. Throughout the past 10 years, it has been a profound privilege to work with and for Indigenous communities in service of their research agendas and ecological and educational mandates.
I served as a member of instructional teams at the post-secondary level for seven years, first with the School of Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Tourism at Lakehead University, then with the Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies and Indigenous Environmental Sciences and Studies. As a Certified Ontario Teacher, Adventure Guide, and Forest School Teacher, I have led numerous creative nature-based retreat programs. It has also been one of my deepest honours to have become an active member of the Sacred Water Circle and Nibi Emosaawdamajig since moving to Nogojiwanong in 2016.
Learning to live with my own neurodivergence and invisible disabilities, while recovering from complex trauma has allowed me to develop my passion in the realm of holistic well-being, mental health, and trauma-informed practices in community-building and education. I have loved working with youth in inner-city and section 23 schools, as well as addiction treatment facilities. In 2018, I was appointed to the OSSTF Mental Health Assist team where I collaborated with professionals across the province to develop practical toolkits for classroom teachers and students.
I currently live and work in Kitigan Zibi, the unceded territory of the Omamiwininiwag, Algonquin Nation, where I first met Grandfather William Commanda-ba at the Circle of All Nations back in 2008. My Ph.D. proposed new ontologies of recovery rooted in relational ecology. My research has been concerned with how trauma-informed, anti-colonial, and relational pedagogies might be productively applied to heal local environmental devastations and mitigate the ongoing effects of climate change. Recently, I chose to leave doctoral studies in order to prioritize my own embodied well-being and to focus on writing my forthcoming book.