Maternal Gift Economy: Breaking Through -
Ongoing Salons

Every two weeks

Salon #17 - July 31, 2021

July 31, 2021 - 5:00PM-7:00PM GMT / 11:00AM-1:00PM US CT

Sherri Mitchell – Weh’na Ha’mu Kwasset (Penobscot Nation) and Miigam'agan (Wabanaki/Mi’kmaw)

Register Now

Sherri Mitchell - Weh’na Ha’mu Kwasset

Sherri Mitchell - Weh’na Ha’mu Kwasset was born and raised on the Penobscot Indian reservation. She received her Juris Doctorate and a certificate in Indigenous People’s Law and Policy from the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law. Sherri is an alumna of the American Indian Ambassador program, and the Udall Native American Congressional Internship program. Sherri also received the Mahoney Dunn International Human Rights and Humanitarian Award, for research into Human Rights violations against Indigenous Peoples. She was a longtime advisor to the American Indian Institute’s Healing the Future Program and currently serves as an advisor to the Indigenous Elders and Medicine People’s Council of North and South America. She is the Founding Director of the Land Peace Foundation, an organization dedicated to the global protection of Indigenous rights and the preservation of the Indigenous way of life. Prior to forming the Land Peace Foundation, Sherri served as a law clerk to the Solicitor of the United States Department of Interior; as an Associate with Fredericks, Peebles and Morgan Law Firm; a civil rights educator for the Maine Attorney General’s Office, and; as the Staff Attorney for the Native American Unit of Pine Tree Legal. Sherri is the author of the award-winning book Sacred Instructions; Indigenous Wisdom for Living Spirit-Based Change.

More information @


Miigam’agan is a Wabanaki/Mi’kmaw grandmother of the Jagei Clan from Esgenôpetiti/Burnt Church. She is a mother of three wonderful people and a grandmother to three beautiful grandchildren. Her life has been devoted to Wabanaki cultural revival and promoting an understanding of Indigenous matriarchal systems drawing on her language. Currently, Miigam’agan is Elder-in-Residence at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick. In this role, she provides support for First Nation students and offers opportunities for the students and faculty to learn from indigenous knowledge keepers. Miigm’agan sits on the Executive Committee of the Urban Aboriginal Knowledge Network at the University of New Brunswick, which sets research priorities and ensures that the research they support meets the needs of urban Aboriginal peoples. She is also a member of the steering committee on Adult Education Initiatives for the Catherine Donnelly Foundation and a co-chair for the women of First Light, an indigenous women led initiatives on adult education for social change.

Register Now

Salon #18 - August 14, 2021

August 14, 2021 - 5:00PM-7:00PM GMT / 11:00AM-1:00PM US CT

Kaarina Kailo and Barbara Mann

Register Now

Kaarina Kailo

Presentation title: Appropriating the Bear Rituals of Rebirth. Maternal Gifting vs Exchange of Women

The aim of my talk is to show how the EU-funded Carnival King- festivals reveal the historic appropriation of maternal and life-oriented gifting rituals of rebirth. The Spring festivals with, among others, bear goddess Brigit and the Bear at the forefront celebrated gifting, food and collective merry-making as life returned. The patriarchal winter festivals have taken their place but express exclusive and misogynous practices. The all-male carnivals now appropriate women’s roles as birth-givers and wish to “tame the bear” for their hunting needs. This well sums up how the gift economy has been supplanted by the exchange logic where women become objects of exchange and exclusion. The bear, of course, has lost its divine status.

Dr. Kaarina Kailo, Ph.D. from the University of Toronto has held numerous women’s studies positions (Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Interim Principal, Concordia University; Oulu University, professor; Finnish Academy, senior scholar). Her numerous publications include Finnish Goddess Mythology, the Golden Woman and Traditional Ecological Knowledge. From Climate Change to Indigenous Earth Democracy and the Gift; Mothering, Gift and Revolution. In Honor of Genevieve Vaughan’s Life’s Work (ed) and several forthcoming books (“The Woman Who Married the Bear: The Bear Spirituality of Ancient Foremothers” with Barbara Mann; in Finnish The Sauna and Sweatlodge as sites of Rebirth and Bare/Bear Being).

Barbara Mann

Presentation title: The Twinned Cosmos of Indigenous America

Barbara Alice Mann, is a Ph.D. scholar and Professor in the Honors College of the University of Toledo, in Toledo, Ohio, USA. She has authored fifteen books, the latest of which are President by Massacre: Indian-Killing for Political Gain (2019) and Spirits of Blood, Spirits of Breath: The Twinned Cosmos of Indigenous America (2016). Other works include The Tainted Gift (2009), on the deliberate spread of disease to Natives by settlers as a land-clearing tactic. Dr. Mann is currently working on an international project examining historical massacres, around the world 1780–1820, and is participating in book project on that. Her internationally noted Iroquoian Women: The Gantowisas (2001, 2004, 2006) is in its third printing. Two other internationally known books include George Washington’s War on Native America (2005, 2007), Daughters of Mother Earth (2006, out in paperback as Make a Beautiful Way, 2008). She has published over 400 articles and chapters since 1995. She lives in her homeland and works for the rights of the people indigenous to Ohio, living in Ohio. (“Ohio” is a Seneca word meaning “Beautiful River,” a spiritual designation.) An Ohio Bear Clan Seneca, with community recognition, she was for twenty years the Speaker and/or Northern Director of the Native American Alliance of Ohio.

Register Now

Previous Salons