Dawnis Kennedy

Study program:
Ph.D. Law
Current affiliation:
University of Toronto

Dawnis is attempting to answer the question of how Canadian and Anishinabe law can interact in a respectful manner.

Rekindling the Fire Within: Relating to and through Anishinabe Law

Ms. Kennedy seeks to promote a deeper and more widely disseminated understanding of how to strengthen law and governance through the knowledge given to Anishinabe. In her dissertation she asks, first, how might she better relates to Anishinabelaw - drawing upon Anishinabeways of being to (re)connect with self and spirit - and, second, how might she better relates through Anishinabelaw -drawing uponAnishinabeways of relating to (re)connect with creation. Dawnis employs Anishinabeand western research methods and disseminate her work through various media, endeavoring to reach Anishinabeyouth as well as the academy and broader political community.

Dawnis Kennedy is an Anishinabe woman from Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation who grew up in Brandon, Manitoba. It is fitting that her true name, Minnawaanagogiizhigook, means Happy Day Woman. Although she has faced and witnessed the effects of racism at an early age, Dawnis has maintained her optimism for the future. She finds her greatest inspiration in knowing who she is as an Anishinabe woman, knowledge that has been safeguarded by her family, her community and the Anishinabe people.

Dawnis' family has taught her to work for the community in all that she does: in her career, in the ways she grieves loss, celebrates life, and relates to the world on a daily basis. With this sense of responsibility, she undertook the study of law and Anishinabe inendamowin (philosophy) in order to support her community. She now seeks to find ways to structure respectful relations between Canadian and Anishinabe law and in that effort to support and sustain today's communities.