You are now in the main content area

Five Indigenous faculty members join Faculty of Arts in 2020

From languages to lakes, these new professors bring fascinating expertise to Ryerson
By: Brian Tran
July 16, 2020
Lindsay Nixon

Five new professors join the Faculty of Arts this summer, including professor Lindsay Nixon, appointed to the Department of English. Photo provided by Nixon.

On July 1, five new Indigenous faculty members joined the Faculty of Arts: Jennifer Menness (Department of English), Lindsay Nixon (Department of English), Anne Spice (Department of Geography), Madeline Whetung (Department of Geography) and Brandon Martin (Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures). This marks the university’s largest single recruitment success ever for Indigenous scholars.

Pam Sugiman, dean of the Faculty of Arts, has prioritized increasing Indigenous voices.

“The whole Ryerson community will benefit from the enrichment of curriculum, collaborative community-based research, as well as Indigenous methodologies and ways of knowing,” Sugiman says.

Hayden King, professor in the Department of Sociology and advisor to the Dean of Arts on Indigenous Education, was instrumental in the recruitment process. He believes that Indigenous researchers, writers and educators are doing some of the sharpest work in academia.

“These educators challenge so much of the accepted way of doing things that students are pushed to think critically and creatively,” King says.

“In a time of such upheaval, the knowledge and ideas these new faculty members will bring and share can have a transformational potential,” he adds.

Read on to learn more about three of Ryerson’s newest professors.

Lindsay Nixon

Lindsay Nixon, The Digital Whisperer

Nixon joins the Centre for Digital Humanities within the Department of English. Their father is Anishinaabe from Manitoba and their mother is Cree-Métis from Saskatchewan. Nixon’s scholarship is currently focused on queer and trans Indigenous digital arts, where they examine questions of identity and ways of being. They were drawn to Ryerson because of its integration in the surrounding community and embrace of diverse forms of knowledge.

Fun fact: Nixon believes they make the best fry bread – a traditional flat dough bread eaten by many Indigenous Peoples across North America.

Madeline Whetung

Madeline Whetung, The Human Geographer

Whetung, a member of Curve Lake First Nation, joins the Department of Geography. Having grown up in Nogojiwanong, 130 kilometres east of downtown Toronto, she’s fascinated by land-water relationships. Whetung’s work looks at the complicated connections between land, place and legal accountability – particularly as they affect human relationships.

Fun fact: Whetung is a huge dog lover and volunteers at the Peterborough Humane Society.

Brandon Martin, The Polyglot

Martin joins the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures. He’s from the Mohawk Nation, which is part of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. His grasp of languages is extraordinary. In addition to being fluent in English and French, Martin speaks Mohawk and Seneca. He’s excited to share his knowledge of Haudenosaunee history and worldviews.

Fun fact: Martin’s had two stints in France. He first studied abroad there as an undergraduate student, and again, teaching English as an additional language to French high schoolers.

More News