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Star Formation

Indigenous Women's Symposium

March 22-24, 2024

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Beneath Ancestral Skies:
Indigenous Women's Symposium
on Star Knowledge and Collaborative Storytelling
“Share your feedback and reflections on the 2024 Indigenous Women's Symposium."

Click the button below to record your feedback

Space Supernova

Call for Volunteers

Volunteers are needed on the weekend of the symposium. If you would like to volunteer please click the link below to signup. Volunteers receive free admission to the symposium.

Keynote Presenter

Dr. Laurie Rousseau-Nepton

Laurie Rousseau-Nepton has been a resident astronomer at the Canada-France-Hawaii Observatory during the past six years, and recently started a new position at the University of Toronto and the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics. Laurie is Innu, member of the Pekuakamiulnuatsh First Nation.


She is the first Indigenous woman in Canada to obtain a PhD in astrophysics. She received her diploma from Université Laval by studying regions of stellar formation in spiral galaxies. She is now leading an international project called SIGNALS, aiming at observing thousands of newly born stars in galaxies close to the Milky Way to understand how their birthplace affect the rest of their life and the Universe.


She is dedicated in developing a new way to do science were the local cultures and the diversity of world views becomes an important part of teaching and research. 


Keynote Presenter

Samantha Doxtator

Indigenous Astronomy: As Told by the Haudenosaunee: The careful observation of the Stars, the Moon, the Sun, and other celestial bodies by Indigenous Peoples stand as a rich and foundational source for the origins of modern astronomy. 


Join us for an exciting presentation by Samantha Doxtator, Oneida Wolf Clan. Learn about Haudenosaunee perspectives on astronomical connections to creation stories, innovation, perseverance, and life cycles on Earth.

Samantha is a personal development consultant who specializes in teaching life and employability skills that are grounded by traditional values. She has over 25 years of communications experience and uses his knowledge of build bridges of new understandings. The intention of her work is to enhance original ways of knowing, and nurture, intergenerational gifts, creativity, and innovation. She is thankful for this journey of being a lifelong learner, researcher, teacher, and knowledge keeper.


Samantha has recently excepted the gift to continue the work and research on indigenous astronomy by her sister Sacha, who passed away in July 2021. Such as passion for the infusion of indigenous, knowledge and education will continue to be remembered.


Children and Youth

Dive into our specially curated youth programs and childcare, designed to engage and inspire our young participants, keeping them connected to the symposium's theme in an age-appropriate, enlightening and fun way.

Arts & Crafts

Childcare (10 and under)

Childcare is being provided by Sage and Sunshine Culture-Based Private School. Sage and Sunshine School provides a supportive educational environment where children feel like important members of their community. Indigenous knowledge is highly valued and braided into everything we learn so children become full of knowledge to share with future generations and the confidence to make changes for a better world.

Image by Jaro Bielik

TRACKS Youth Programming (10-17)

Skyworld Teachings: Please join TRACKS Youth Program for two free workshops over the weekend of the symposium. Youth will explore skyworld knowledge through storytelling, art, and traditional teachings. 

TRACKS (Trent Aboriginal Cultural Knowledge and Science) blends various scientific approaches, centring Indigenous ways of knowing and being. 



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As part of our commitment to supporting Indigenous communities and fostering a space of cultural exchange, we cordially invite Indigenous vendors to showcase and sell their merchandise at our Indigenous Women's Symposium. This is a unique opportunity for you to share your work with a diverse and engaged audience who are keen to learn about and appreciate Indigenous crafts, arts, literature, and more.

By participating as a vendor, you will not only expand your reach and connect with potential customers, but also contribute to the event, enriching the symposium experience for all attendees. If you are an Indigenous vendor interested in setting up a booth at our event, please register via the button below.


We'd be delighted to have you join us in this celebration of Indigenous knowledge, stories, and creativity.

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March 4th-6th - Sushi and I.W.S 094
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Registration for the Indigenous Women’s Symposium is easy and just requires that you click on the link below. We offer an all-inclusive package that ensures participants can fully immerse themselves in this enriching experience. Not only does your registration include access to all presentations and workshops over the weekend, but it also includes a ticket to a screening of Under the Same Stars: Minwaadiziwin.and the highly anticipated keynote dinner, where keynote Dr. laurie Rousseau-Nepton will share invaluable insights on Indigenous star knowledge.


By registering early (prior to January 31), you will secure your registration to the symposium and all the exciting activities that are planned for the gathering. We also encourage early registration as it assists in the planning of the gathering, ensuring a smooth and enlightening experience for all attendees.

We recognize that financial circumstances vary and believe that economic barriers should not impede access to knowledge and cultural exchange. Thus, our registration fees are based on a sliding scale, allowing participants to select a fee that aligns with their financial capabilities. This structure is intended to foster a diverse and inclusive gathering, where voices and perspectives are welcome and cherished.

Furthermore, the revenues generated through registration fees are used directly to cover costs associated with the symposium. This helps us provide high-quality content, secure engaging speakers, and create a conducive environment for learning and networking. Your registration contributes to sustaining the legacy of the Indigenous Women's Symposium, ensuring that it continues to be a vibrant space for the celebration of Indigenous knowledges and stories for years to come.


Registration is necessary to confirm the number of participants. Please register.


Several hotels are offering a limited number of rooms at discounted rates for the symposium. Please reserve your room early to secure the discounted rate:

Standard 2 Queen Beds" Room : $119.88+taxes per night (breakfast included; single or double occupancy). Click on the Yellow link above to book a room at this price. Super * is located on Lansdowne Street, in Peterborough. This discounted rate will be held until March 4th. To book, please call the hotel directly (1-705-243-0219) and mention that you are booking as part of the Trent University Indigenous Conference group reservation. 

The Village Inn

Located in Lakefield (39 Queen Street); 11 km and 15-minute drive from university 

Village Room : $134.10+taxes per night (breakfast included; single or double occupancy). The rooms feature one or two queen beds or one queen bed and a sofa bed. Some are wheelchair accessible and Pet friendly. This rate will be held until March 11. To book, please call the hotel directly (1-800-827-5678) and mention that you are booking as part of the Indigenous Women's Symposium group reservation. 

 Holiday Inn Peterborough-Waterfront

Located in downtown Peterborough (150 George Street); 8 km and 15-minute drive from university

2 Queen Standard City View Room: $158+taxes per night (single or double occupancy)

This rate will be held until February 22nd. To book, please CLICK HERE.

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Support Through Donations

In addition to registration, we warmly welcome donations from individuals who may not be able to attend but still wish to support the gathering.


Your generous contribution will directly aid in expanding access to the symposium for a broader range of participants, including students, community members, and individuals who may otherwise be unable to attend due to financial constraints. Donations also support the quality and diversity of our programming, ensuring that we can continue to honor and celebrate Indigenous knowledge and stories in a meaningful way.


If you believe in the importance of cultural exchange, the preservation of Indigenous knowledge, and the empowerment of Indigenous communities, please consider making a donation. Every contribution, no matter how small, makes a significant difference.

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The symposium was started by Elder Edna Manitowabi over two decades ago as part of her Indigenous women's course to celebrate the teachings, voices, and scholarship of Indigenous women.
We are honoured to carry on her legacy.
Indigenous Women's Organizing Committee

About the Symposium

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Star Formation
Join us Under Ancestral Skies

We invite you to join us for this immersive and enlightening experience at the Indigenous Women's Symposium.


Whether you're a presenter sharing your unique insights, a vendor showcasing your beautiful work, or a participant eager to engage in thought-provoking dialogue and learning, your presence contributes to the depth and diversity of this gathering.

Our symposium is not just an event, but a celebration of Indigenous knowledge, a testament to the power of storytelling, and an opportunity for fruitful collaboration. By registering or donating, you're supporting the exchange of vital knowledge and fostering stronger, more inclusive communities.

Let's come together in March 2024, beneath ancestral skies, to honour Indigenous women, their knowledges, and stories. We look forward to welcoming you at Trent University and creating a constellation of ideas, insights, and connections together.

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