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Canada’s National Voice of Humanism

Understanding The Aboriginal Self

Webinar Series 2020

Sunday September 27, 2020 – 3 pm EST

Understanding the Aboriginal Self from a Humanist Lens

With Dr. Lloyd Robertson, University of Regina

Humanism presupposes the existence of a self capable of exercising individual volition. Such a self is fluid and evolving because as our understandings of reality change, our self-definition within that reality must change as well.

Notions of aboriginal cultural reclamation and healing presuppose the existence of distinctly aboriginal selves that were damaged or lost in a process of colonization and that can be “restored”. Such a paradigm is based on an essentialist view of what it means to be aboriginal, with the self fixed and immutable in some ways.

Dr. Lloyd RobertsonThis presentation examines the selves of five contemporary individuals with varying relationships to the concept of aboriginality using a method of mapping the self developed by the speaker. It is suggested that a spectrum of healthy selves is possible for people who either identify with aboriginality culturally or satisfy a racial definition of the concept, and such a view is compatible with humanism.

Dr. Lloyd Robertson is Lead Psychologist with the Collaborative Centre for Justice and Safety at the University of Regina. He has published on the structure of the self, Indian residential schools, prior learning assessment and its effects on self-development, the aboriginal self, cultural structures that may function as a “mind viruses,” and self-mapping in treating suicide ideation and other mental health conditions. He is currently Vice-President of Humanist Canada.

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Humanist Canada

Canada's National Voice for Humanism since 1968

Humanism is a world view which says that reason and science are the best ways to understand the world around us, and that dignity and compassion should be the basis for how you act toward someone else.

We are Canada's National Voice of Humanism

Humanism is a philosophy or life-stance based upon a profound respect for human dignity and the conviction that we are all ultimately accountable to ourselves and to society for our actions. Our worldview is deity-free and affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical and meaningful lives without the reliance upon a belief in the supernatural.

As Humanists, we believe that reason and science are the best ways to understand the world around us. And we believe that dignity and compassion should be the basis for how we act towards others.

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Humanist Canada supports efforts to advance scientific, academic, medical and human rights critical thinking and education. We act as a resource for secular groups and causes across Canada and we strive to create a more tolerant world, where rational thinking and kindness prevails. Many people are Humanists without even knowing it. If you are non-religious and look to science, reason, empathy and compassion in order to live an ethical and meaningful life, then you may be Humanist.

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Founded in 1968, Humanist Canada has its roots in the former Humanist Fellowship of Montreal. This fellowship was an organization of humanists that was founded in 1954 by Drs. R. K. Mishra, Ernest Poser, and Maria Jutta Cahn. Lord Bertrand Russell and Dr. Brock Chisholm were its first patrons.

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A world where reason and compassion guide public policy and beliefs are respected provided that they are compatible with the rights of others.

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