Canada Research Chair for Sociology Department’s Dr. Genner Llanes-Ortiz – Digital Indigeneities

Canada Research Chair for Sociology Department’s Dr. Genner Llanes-Ortiz – Digital Indigeneities

Dr. Genner Llanes-Ortiz, Assistant Professor of the Department of Sociology at Bishop’s University is awarded a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Digital Indigeneities, to investigate, how Indigenous peoples in Canada, Mexico and Guatemala develop and use digital technologies to reclaim, protect and stimulate their histories, languages, knowledges, and cultures.

“This initiative will be the first to bridge Indigenous researchers and activist networks from Latin America with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples of Canada to analyze and showcase the ways Indigenous peoples are using technological advancements to sustain and cultivate their identities, knowledge, life ways, languages, and traditions. Digital media adaptation and its possibilities to support Indigenous cultural and language revitalization are currently discussed by Indigenous scholars in North America, but relevant examples and academic contributions from Indigenous Latin America are still missing in these discussions”, explains Dr. Llanes-Ortiz.

“Conversations between North America and Latin America have been limited by their different colonial languages (English vs French, Spanish vs Portuguese), as well as by how differently Indigenous peoples express and protect their knowledge and identities”, continues Dr. Llanes-Ortiz. “As an Indigenous Maya researcher and now holder of a Canada Research Chair, I hope to facilitate these important conversations and build bridges across these different contexts.”

Dr. Llanes-Ortiz’s participatory research program will thus explore four interrelated areas of Digital Indigeneities, which all focus on the reclamation of Indigenous languages and knowledges. Dr. Llanes-Ortiz and his team will work collaboratively with Indigenous partners to follow research protocols that support Indigenous ownership and control of data and information. In this way, they will create a repository of Indigenous language digital activism, which describes a wide range of initiatives (e.g., films, podcast, blogs, applications, etc.) that aim to prevent Indigenous language displacement and loss. They will also support the digitization of Indigenous cultural archives and collections in Canada to increase their accessibility.

This research program will also work on the creation of interactive digital maps of interest for First Nations in Canada and Indigenous peoples in Mexico and Guatemala, using for example audiovisual recordings and photographs, local knowledge and practice or environmental information. Finally, they will engage with Indigenous activists to discuss and analyze the impact that their activities have on Indigenous debates.

In collaboration with different Indigenous partners in Canada and in the Maya region (Mexico and Guatemala), Dr. Llanes-Ortiz’s Canada Research Chair research program will contribute to redressing the pernicious legacies of settler colonialisms in the Americas. The digital tools, methods, and platforms that his team will investigate and build up with Indigenous partners also have the potential to be used as pedagogic aids to develop culturally relevant education for Indigenous and non-Indigenous children and youth.



Sonia Patenaude
Manager of Communications