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Lorraine Mayer, Ph.D.

Lorraine Mayer, Ph.D.

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Brandon University Professor and poet Lorraine Mayer is profiled.
Brandon University Professor and poet Lorraine Mayer is profiled.

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Published by: Lawrence J. Barkwell on Oct 28, 2013
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Lorraine Florence Mayer, Ph D.
(b. 1953)
Dr. Mayer is a Métis scholar, activist, and poet born at The Pas Manitoba to Dora Lavallee and Narcisse Mayer. Her roots stem from the French and Cree Nations. Her maternal grandparentsMoise Lavallee and Marie Ducharme originally from St Ambrose and St Laurent MB went northand founded the Metis community of Pine Bluff Manitoba
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 along with one of Moise’s cousins. Acairn has now been erected to honour their memory. Lorraine’s mother was raised at Pine Bluff until flooding for hydroelectric development forced the relocation of this small Metis communityto the Pas and nearby Chemawawin Reserve. Lorraine’s ancestry has a long history in Canadatracing back to the first Lavallee, Ducharme and Meilleur, to enter the country from France andthe Cree women they married, to the ancestors from Grantown [now known as St Francis Xavier].Although raised in the city of Winnipeg Lorrainecontinually found ways to go north. In grade eleven shemoved to St Ambrose for a year and later as a youngmother she relocated to the Pas. The death of her youngestchild precipitated a move back to the city. After yearsstruggle, heartache and loss she returned to school andsuccessfully earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1993, flowed byan Honors Bachelor of Arts in 1995. In 1996 she started aMaster’s Degree from Lakehead University. In 1997 shewas the first person in Canada to receive a Master’s degreein Canadian Native Philosophy before moving to Oregonwhere she completed a doctorate degree in Philosophyfrom the University of Oregon.While working toward her degree she became an activemember the Native Student Union and an Adjunct facultymember for the Department of International Studies. Inaddition, she held the position of Assistant Director for the Center for Cultural for IndigenousCultural which led to her participating in a three month cross cultural educational tour in HanoiVietnam. Since then she has devoted her time and energy into creating awareness for Indigenouscultural survival.Lorraine’s motivation for research centers on cultural survival and how to bring people together in mutual respect and dialogue. Her academic research primarily involves the philosophicalanalysis of human perceptions and cross-cultural interactions, particularly how they affectAboriginal women’s lives. She has presented widely at universities in both Canada and the US.
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Throughout the 1800s the Metis of Fond du Lac (now St. Laurent) used the entire Interlake region of Manitoba for their huntingtrapping and fishing economy. They utilized the Duck Bay area extensively and travelled from there to the muskrat marshes just eastof The Pas, Manitoba (part of the Territory of Keewatin at that time). This Pine Bluff camping site appears as a named site on a map in1884. Around 1910, some of these Metis families decided to permanently settle at Pine Bluff, 50 miles southeast of The Pas along theSaskatchewan River. This gave them easy access to the resources of the Summerberry Marsh and the trapping areas right down toGrand Rapids on the Saskatchewan River. It is reported that the Metis had a fine sturgeon fishery on Cedar Lake. This high groundwas also a stopping point when travelling between the Pas and Cedar Lake. The family names common to Pine Bluff were, Campbell,Chaboyer, Chartrand, Ducharme, Nabess, Azure, Lambert, Bourgoise, Lagimodiere, Beauchamp and Lavallee. The community had asmall school from 1938 to 1942. The building of the Grand Rapids Dam meant the demise of this community since the floodingdestroyed the fishery and trapping along the river and Cedar Lake. Many Metis lost both their fishing nets and all of their traps whenthe forebay flooding began. The Metis had never received title to their land because the province refused to survey that area.
 
Lorraine returned to Canada in 2004 and took a teaching position at Brandon University as anAssistant Professor in Native Studies. She advanced quickly achieving both tenure and promotionin three years. She is currently an Associate professor at Brandon University where she holds the positions of Chair of Native Studies and editor for the
Canadian Journal of Native Studies.
Since returning to Canada she has actively pursued her belief in cultural survival work beginningwith her support of the Metis women of the Southwest Region. Since 2007 she has been thechairperson for a Southwest Region Metis Women where she promotes cultural activities as wellas political endeavors. She loves teaching women the art of the Flower people [beadwork].Knowing first hand how difficult a university education can be with personal, financial andemotional trials that many Metis students face, she decided to honor those struggles by initiatinga cultural Metis Student Graduation ceremony to honor Metis student’s successes at bothBrandon University and Assiniboine College. Together with the Metis women of the South WestRegion they have been celebrating with Metis Students since 2007.She is proud to be Metis and promotes Metis Culture whenever possible including participating yearly with at Metis Pavilion for the Lieutenant Governors Festival in Brandon, todemonstrating/teaching beading at Grand Valley local’s yearly Metis fest, and accepts numerousinvitations to speak at high schools and grade schools within southern Manitoba. Mayer contributed two poems to the recent 2011 anthology
 Manitowapow
(James Sinclair and WarrenCarriou (Eds.).
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She is the recipient of a number of awards including:2004 – The University of Oregon Office of International Programs. International ServiceAward for outstanding leadership and lasting contribution to the University of Oregoninternational community.2002 – Who’s Who Among Students In American Universities and Colleges. An award for outstanding student leaders, based on above average academic standing, community service,leadership ability and potential for continued success.2001 – Graduate Student Award, University Of Oregon Awards. Graduate students who havedemonstrated outstanding leadership and service.2001 – Excellence Award. The University of Oregon Office of Multicultural Affairs.Academic Achievement, Community Involvement and Leadership Skills.1999 - Laurel research Award. Center for Studies of Women on SocietyUniversity of Oregon.1999 – Excellence Award. The University of Oregon Office of Multicultural Affairs,Academic Achievement, Community Involvement and Leadership Skills.1998 – 1999 Fighting Fund Fellowship, University of Oregon.1997 – 1998 Fighting Fund Fellowship, University of Oregon.She was a nominee for the Young Women’s Christian Association’s 2008 Women of Distinction Award. Brandon Manitoba.Her academic successes include her first book:
Cries From A Métis Heart 
(Winnipeg: PemmicanPublications Inc., 2007) and a second book currently under contract with Oxford Press titled:
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Lorraine Mayer. “Scrip” and « À la façon du pays. » In
 Manitowapow
,
 
James Sinclair and WarrenCarriou (Eds.) Winnipeg: Highwater Press, 2011: 267-270.
 
 Philosophy and Aboriginal Rights: Critical Dialogues
which she is co-editing with fellow philosopher and long time friend, Sandra Tomsons.She has published chapters in two books: “The Survival of Métis Women: Through Poetry” in
 Métis Histories and Identities: A Tribute to Gabriel Dumont 
, Denis Gagnon, Denis Combet &Lise Gaboury-Diallo (eds.) St. Boniface: Presses Universitaires de Saint-Boniface, 2009 and achapter titled “Negotiating a Different Terrain: Geographical and Education Cross-Border Difficulties,” In
 Across Cultures Across Borders: Canadian Aboriginal and Native American Literatures,
edited by Paul DePasquale, Emma LaRocque and Renata Eigenbrod, 2010.Her academic articles include:“Whose Sovereignty Are We Talking About”
 Philosophy and Aboriginal Rights: Critical  Dialogues.
Co-editors: Sandra Tomsons and Lorraine Mayer. Forthcoming 2010, OxfordUniversity Press.“What Happened at Lakehead: The dilemma of Racism, Corruption or Incompetence?”
 
Forthcoming American Philosophical Association Newsletter,
 American Indians in Philosophy
Vol. 08, Number 1“Aboriginal Women and Education: Overcoming a Legacy of Abuse” Vol., 26, 2007
TheCanadian Journal of Native Studies.
“Return to Reciprocity”:
 Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy
Vol.
 
22.3, Summer 2007.“Reflections on Vine Deloria Jr.” American Philosophical Association Newsletter,
 American Indians in Philosophy
Fall 2006, Vol. 06, Number 1.
Phonicating Mother Earth”: A Critique of David Abram’s
Spell of the Sensuous: Perceptionand Language in a More-Than-Human World.
Lorraine F. Brundige (Mayer) and J. DouglasRabb.
 Ayaangwamizin: The International Journal of Indigenous Philosophy.
Vol. 2, Number 1 winter 1998. pp. 79 – 98.“Ungrateful Indian”: Continuity of Native Values.
 Ayaangwamizin the International Journal of Indigenous Philosophy.
Vol. 1, Number 1 spring 1997. pp 44-54.“Visiting Scholars pursue issues in Native Philosophy”
 Agora: Newsletter for Lakehead University Staff and Faculty.
February 1997, Vol.14, No. 2.Her poetry publications include:“My Symposium”: American Philosophical Association Newsletter,
 American Indians in Philosophy
Vol. 07, Number 1“Mama Don’t Cry For Me: Butterfly Editions, Eugene Oregon. 2001From Cries from a Metis Heart: “My Sister Do You Remember”, “Scrip”, Hey Metis Man”eclectic: the Arts Edition” 2009. Brandon University.Her published Book Reviews include:

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