Celeste Pedri-Spade is an Anishinabekwe from northwestern Ontario (Lac Des Mille Lacs First Nation). She is a member of the Bear Clan and embraces a number of roles and responsibilities as a mother, wife, educator, and artist. She identifies as a “mark maker” whose work is grounded in her relationships with family, community, land, and spirituality. In 2016 she became the first woman in her community and the first First Nations Ojibwe woman to receive a PhD in Visual Anthropology at the University of Victoria and she currently holds a tenured position in the School of Northern and Community Studies at Laurentian University where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on Indigenous art, Indigenous worldviews, Indigenous photography, Indigenous qualitative research, visual and material culture, and colonialism/decolonization. She also teaches in the Masters of Indigenous Relations program at Laurentian. Prior to her appointment at Laurentian, she taught undergraduate and graduate level courses in Indigenous studies and research methodologies at Royal Roads University and the University of Victoria. She has exhibited artwork in regional and national galleries in Canada and the USA. She has also directed and filmed Indigenous ethnographic and health films. Her primary interest is the role of Indigenous art in decolonization, including processes of remembrance, healing, resistance, and survivance. As a multi-disciplinary Anishinabe researcher, Celeste has and continues to engage in a wide-range of research/art activities, all focused on the wellbeing of her family and other Anishinabe families in northern Ontario.
In 2015 she exhibited a collection of 21 pieces of her artwork (photography, textile art) in the major show, The Teaching is in the Making. This was a collaborative project with Anishinabekwe artist Leanna Marshall.
Other Selected Recent Exhibitions
-The North Now: 2014 Northern Ontario Juried Exhibition. Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Thunder Bay, Ontario 2014
-Bury My Art At Wounded Knee Exhibit. Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, Oregon, USA. 2013
-Nigi Mikan | I Found It! Indigenous Women's Identity Art Exhibit. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. 2013
In addition to her exhibition work, Celeste continues to publish in various peer-reviewed journals, international in scope, including International Review of Qualitative Research, Decolonization, Indigeneity, Education and Society and AlterNative: An International Indigenous Research Journal.
University of Victoria (PhD)
Royal Roads University (MA)
Lakehead University (HBComm)
2014: Lecturer, Anthropology, Laurentian University (Sudbury, ON)
2012: Associate Faculty, Royal Roads University (Victoria, BC)
On The Webwww.celestepedri.ca
Selected Current and Previous Research (Funded)
Over the past 10 years Dr. Celeste Pedri-Spade has worked with several governent funding bodies to secure close to $500,000 in Anishinabe community-driven and community-based research projects (working in both an academic and professional context). She has lead culture, arts and health related projects supported by SSHRC, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Ontario Arts Council, University of Victoria, Local Health Integration Network and Bimose Tribal Council. Below is a brief list of most recent grants:
Project Title: Ogichidaakwewag: Understanding northern Anishinabekwewag lived experiences through Anishinabe Photographs
Granting Agency: Social Sociences and Humanities Research Council
Grant Type: Insight Development Grant
Details: This research aims to document the lived experiences and stories of northern Anishinabe women through historical photographs taken within a family/community context. The photographs understudy date from the early 1900s through to the late 1960s.
Project Title: Material Kwe
Granting Agency: Ontario Arts Council
Grant Type: Northern Arts Grant
Details: This project will lead to 6 pieces of wearable art that re-visit and re-imagine early colonial relationships between settler women and northern Anishinabe women through material engagements and possibilities.
Project Title : Beehdahban : Exploring Who We Are and Where We Are From Through Anishinabeg Photography
Granting Agency: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
Grant Type: Joseph Bombardier Doctoral Research
Details : This research constitutes my PhD (Visual Anthropology). This research focused on the collection and creative experience of 84 historical family photographs taken by Anishinabeg for Anishinabeg from around 1905-1969. It explores the role of Anishinabeg photography in decolonial praxis and provides key theoretical and methodological insights into Indigenous photography
Project Title : The Teaching is in the Making (Art Exhibition) June – September 2016, Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Thunder Bay, ON; October 26 to January 2017, Sudbury Art Gallery, Sudbury, ON.
Funding Agency: Ontario Arts Council
Details : This is a major exhibition of 21 artworks that I completed as part of my dissertation work. I am carrying out this exhibition through an artist collaboration with Leanna Marshall.
Project Title : Nind Assekadan (I tan a hide)
Funders: Bimose Tribal Council (Education Unit) and Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation
Details : This is an applied ethnographic film project that provides Anishinabeg insight into the relationship between Anishianbeg language revitalization and traditional land-based practices. It functions as an educational resource for those wishing to learn Anishinabemowin and for individuals wishing to reclaim the practice of brain tanning hide. It is presented in Anishinabemowin with English subtitles.
Project Title: Performing Ojibwe spirituality through the art of traditional beading
Funding Agency: Centre for Studies in Religion and Society, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC
Details: Engaged in an art/research project with the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society (University of Victoria) through a one-time $4,000 grant as a practicing artist/researcher. This research acknowledged and actualized my traditional role as an Anishinabekwe regalia maker. The project explored Anishinabe beadwork as a spiritual performance. Specifically, it looked at the relationship between the traditional art and individual understandings of spirituality, traditional teachings and how this relationship intersects with indigenous conceptions of care and healing.
(2012-2015) SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship
(2013) John Michael Brownutt Scholarship for Community Leadership, University of Victoria
(2013) University of Victoria President's Research Scholarship
(2012) John Michael Brownutt Scholarship for Community Leadership, University of Victoria
(2012) University of Victoria Dean's Award for Indigenous Graduate Student
(2012) University of Victoria President's Research Scholarship
(2012) Chi-Chuang and Yien-Ying Hsieh Award for Art and Spirituality, Centre for Studies in Religion and Society, University of Victoria
(2012) Rama Award for Academic Excellence in Graduate Studies
(2011) Lorna Malcolmson Award for Outstanding Multimodal Thesis
(2011) Governor General Gold Medal Nominee, School of Culture and Communication (Royal Roads University)
Year 3 and 4:
- Anthropology of Arts
- Anthropological Research Design
- Anthropological Theory: Historical Perspectives
- Indigenous Photography and Decolonization
- Anthropological Research Practicum
Year 1 and 2:
- The Decolonial Struggle
- Introduction to Sociocultural Anthropology
- Living with Things: Theories of Modern Material Culture
Publications in Peer-Reviewed Journals
2017 Pedri-Spade, C. 'But they were never just the master's tools': The Use of Photography in Decolonial Praxis. AlterNative: An International Indigenous Research Journal, x(x), x-xx.
2017 Pedri-Spade, C. Our time to dance. First Peoples Child and Family Review, 11(2), 43-44.
2017 Pedri-Spade, C. The Drum is My Document: Decolonizing Research Through Anishinabe Song and Drum. International Review of Qualitative Research, 9(4), 385-406.
2016 Pedri-Spade, C. Four stories of an overtaxed indian. Indigenous Social Work Journal, 10, 85- 100.
2016 Pedri-Spade, C. Waasaabikizoo: Our pictures are good medicine. Decolonization, Indigeneity, Education and Society, 5(1), 45-70.
2014 Pedri- Spade, C. Nametoo: There is evidence that he/she is/was present, Decolonization, Indigeneity, Education and Society (Special Issue on Indigenous Art, Aesthetics and Decolonial Struggle), 3(1), 75-100.
Journal Articles Currently Under Review
Submitted for peer-review Summer 2016. ’The day my photograph’s danced’: On the materiality and visuality of Anishinaabeg photographs
Exhibition and Photography Catalogues/Books
2016 The Teaching is in the Making exhibition catalogue. 2016. Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.
2016 Waasaabikizoo: A Gathering of Ojibwe Photographs. Community-based catalogue.
Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.
Major Exhibitions (solo or two artists)
October 2016 to January 2017 The Teaching is in the Making Sudbury Art Gallery Sudbury, ON
June 2016 to September 2016 The Teaching is in the Making Thunder Bay Art Gallery Thunder Bay, ON
2015 Nind assekadan (c) Celeste Pedri-Spade. Directed by Celeste Pedri. Produced by Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation and Bimose Tribal Council. Nind assekadan provides Anishinabeg insight into the relationship between Anishianbeg language revitalization and traditional land-based practices. It functions as an educational resource for those wishing to learn Anishinabemowin and for individuals wishing to reclaim the practice of brain tanning hide. It is presented in Anishinabemowin with English subtitles. Filmed on location, Upsala, Ontario, Canada, 2015. Accessible at
2011 Gna-Giigadowin, Our Way of Life Through Anishinabe Song & Drum © Celeste Pedri. An Ethnographic Film produced and directed by Celeste Pedri. Filmed on location, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, 2011. Accessible in hard copy DVD or at http://innovative-learning.publicethnography.net/projects/gna-giidadowin-exploring-our-way-life-through-anashinabe-song-and-drum-celeste-pedri
Other Art Exhibition & Curatorial Work
- "Generations of Perseverance" (photo transfers on metal). The North Now: 2014 Northern Ontario Juried Exhibition. Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Thunder Bay, Ontario, CA. 2014. ***This work received a juror's award***
- "Robert", "Aunty Julie", "Keeshig" (3 pieces, all photo transfers on metal). Bury My Art At Wounded Knee Exhibit. Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, Oregon, USA. 2013
"Self-Portrait" (1 piece, pseudo-photograph). Nigi Mikan | I Found It! Indigenous Women's Identity Art Exhibit. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. 2013
- Curator. “See Us, Hear Us” Photovoice Exhibit, Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, 2010. A Collection of photographic works completed with members of Long Lake # 58 First Nation and Ginoogaming First Nation community members which explored themes social and health related issues within each of the communities.
Artwork Published in Anthologies
Pedri-Spade, C. (2014). Photography : Evoking Keeshig, Evoking Julie, Evoking Robert & Ogichidaakwewaag. In Grassroots Anthology (Vol 2, pp. 54-56). Canada: Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre.