In October 2015, Sheridan Hookimaw, a thirteen year old First Nations girl from Attawapiskat, Canada, took her own life by a river. Hers was not the first or the last suicide. Hundreds of suicide attempts by children and adults alike have soon followed in Sheridan's wake, a situation that has prompted the Canadian government to declare a state of emergency. What is causing these suicides? SFU guest instructor, speaker and Coordinator of 'the emergence network', Dr. Bayo Akomolafe's keynote speech 'Meeting the Inappropriate/d - The Liminality of Justice and Reconciliation in Canada' is about the deep trauma of colonization, the continued subjugation and exclusion of worlds and cultures even when the best intentions are present, the need to rethink reconciliation as something more than making amends or saying 'sorry for what we did to you'. Bayo weaves his own cultural stories of extermination - as captured lyrically in Chinua Achebe's 'Things Fall Apart', his former work as a clinical psychologist, and his imaginations about new economic and political imaginaries, to create an invitation to 'the space between spaces'.
This speech was given on May 5, 2016, in Vancouver, at a sold-out event co-hosted by SFU's Certificate Program for Community Economic Development, and the City of Vancouver.
An excerpt: "We need to make room for grieving, for the inappropriate, instead of rushing headlong into fix mode. We need to fall apart, so that new configurations can happen. Therein lies the promise of grief, the promise of monsters and dead-ends and impediments and confusion: they are the cosmic protocol for alterity. The grief of this moment is not an invitation to an already articulated justice; it is a challenge to the degrading, exploitative epistemologies that silence nonhuman agency and have fostered an economic monoculture that no longer serves."