Consultant | Educator | Author
Eddy Robinson, an Anishinaabe/Muskegowuk Cree of the Missanabie Cree First Nation born and raised in the city of Toronto. Like many Indigenous people in Canada Eddy did not enjoy an easy childhood. His father – a Residential School survivor – left the family when Eddy was just three years old. He subsequently endured years of abuse from an alcoholic parent. Only in his adult years was Eddy able to understand the legacy of his father’s experience at Chapleau Indian Residential School and Shingwauk Indian Residential School.
Eventually ending up in the care of his grandparents, Eddy found himself caught in the same cycle of violence and addiction that dominated his childhood. He credits a Catholic priest at the Native Peoples Parish located in Toronto for first encouraging him to seek out his roots. He pointed Eddy to a traditional Anishinaabe Vision Quest/Fasting held at “Dreamers Rock” located on Manitoulin Island, ON; that would imminently begin his journey towards understanding his Indigenous identity.
The power of the Dewegun (Drum) brought Robinson to the doorway of ceremony and other aspects of his Indigenous Way of Knowing. It was during the early years that he was first exposed called him to a heritage that he now credits with saving his life and setting him on a good path in life.
Over the past 25 years of working on the frontline of social services and advocating for Indigenous communities locally, provincially and nationally Eddy has evolved into a noted Anishinaabe artist, musician, educator, facilitator, trainer and public speaker. He’s involved with numerous local district school boards, colleges, universities, corporate institutions and several Indigenous/Aboriginal organizations.
With the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada putting forth 94 recommendations for residential school healing, Eddy engages the TRC through a personal narrative. He discusses growing up as an urban Indigenous person and his professional experience with Indigenous organizations on local, provincial and national levels.
Eddy Robinson is an Anishinaabe/Muskegowuk Cree of the Missanabie Cree First Nation.
Eddy looks at the methodology of being inclusive of ethno-communities and diversity within the educational systems through Indigenous best practices. Multi-culturalism – although well-intended – has been a vehicle that has stifled and silenced many voices. The inclusiveness of the global diaspora and nationhood is crucial to the growth of a nation.
Global citizens have been left out of the conversation of the Indigenous narrative. Truth and Reconciliation is a vehicle that can bring us together. This conversation is important for educators who are on the front line in cultivating the relationship between the next generation of Indigenous & non-Indigenous peoples. Core to this is inclusion and asking the question: How can we strengthen the educational framework for Indigenous learners? As a survivor of the education system, Eddy provides personal accounts of his Indigenous experience growing up in city schools. With a Master’s in Education, he is keenly aware of how the educational system works. Eddy empowers educators, leaders and administrators to be introspective within their educational practice in order to identify how colonialism is perpetuated. Audiences will be equipped to create space for the Indigenous conversation physically, mentally, emotionally and digitally.
Eddy approaches the topic of Indigenous Ways of Knowing through an urban lens grounded in the Indigenous methodology of locating oneself. He also looks at how we can engage Indigenous ways of knowing through modern technology. When Anishinaabe (Ojibway) people locate themselves in the Anishinaabe language they are essentially locating their spirit to the universe and creation. When in the city and we locate ourselves as Indigenous people with Indigenous methodologies we are re-Indigenizing urban spaces. Eddy creates access points for the audience to engage in the conversation.