Keestin O’Dell, a student engagement advisor at kihêw waciston, is presenting at TEDxMacEwanU on January 23.

Truth told: Keestin O’Dell

January 11, 2019 | Society
Truth. The pursuit of this five-letter word is the responsibility of every post-secondary institution: to seek truths that are sometimes universal, often personal and occasionally just plain controversial.

It also happens to be the theme of a TEDxMacEwanU event on January 23, where MacEwan faculty members and alumni will explore truth in its many forms. 

Keestin O’Dell is from Frog Lake First Nation, and spent much of his undergraduate degree in sociology at MacEwan grappling with and exploring truths related to colonialism, identity, media and families. Drawing from his traditional knowledge and post-secondary training, Keestin is committed to engaging in difficult conversations on issues such as residential schools and the negative stereotypes reinforced through “Indian” Halloween costumes

Leading up to the event, we’re asking our TEDxMacEwanU presenters some questions about truth. Here's what Keestin had to say.

What truth do you think we, as a society, struggle with the most?

The late Stephen Hawking said, “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge.” I believe having an “illusion of knowledge” is making assumptions or forming opinions when we may not actually know the entire story. 

What do you think we struggle with the most about the truth you’re presenting?

We’ve been taught one side of Canadian history for so long that people may find it difficult when presented with a different view of that same history. 

What’s the most meaningful truth someone has ever shared with you?

My mosum (grandfather), Raymond Quinney, once told me, “All we can really do is learn to love ourselves and hope that others will do the same.” 

What truth blew your mind wide open?

My mosum taught me the word for insect in nehiyawewin (Cree). It actually means god-like creatures. 

Name one universal truth.

All things are related.

To tell the truth… I must consult with others.


Join Keestin on January 23 at TEDxMacEwanU: Truth Told.

Get MacEwan University news delivered to your inbox.
Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter