Celebrating Indigenous Summer Scholars
WINNIPEG, MB –As we mark National Aboriginal Day, The University of Winnipeg celebrates eight outstanding Indigenous students who are spending their summer researching projects ranging from clean water on First Nations to using art and digital media to create new dialogues in Canada.
From June 12 – August 18, 2017, the new Indigenous Summer Scholars Program is nurturing the talents of senior undergraduate students and recent graduates who may want to pursue further studies. Each student is paired with a faculty member involved in Indigenous research and is given a paid position to assist while learning new academic skills. A partnership between UWinnipeg’s Indigenous Affairs and the Faculty of Graduate Studies, the program strengthens the pathways for Indigenous students to move into advanced study and, ultimately, into leadership in the academy and in all sectors of society.
For the first two weeks, students participate in a series of workshops and events focused on enhancing academic skills and cultural practices and identity, including Elder-in-Residence teachings, and a sweat lodge ceremony held in community. For the following eight weeks, students are members of research teams, working on a research project under the supervision of a UWinnipeg faculty member. Students are awarded $5,000 for their work over the ten weeks. Projects range from developing an economic model for adequate water and sanitation facilities on First Nations reserves, to organizing intergenerational knowledge exchanges on climate change, to creating a searchable database of the Treaty Annuity Paylists now held in Canadian archives.
Nathan McCorrister – Graduate Mentor Nathan is Anishnabe/Cree and a member of the Peguis First Nation. He graduated from UWinnipeg’s unique Master’s of Development Practice Program: Indigenous Development in 2015 and is currently employed as the Executive Director for the Peguis First Nation TLE Implementation Unit. As mentor, Nathan is drawing on his own experience as a graduate student and researcher to give guidance, share ideas, and discuss research with the Summer Scholars.
1: RESEARCH: Learning to Adapt for Canada’s New Energy and Forestry Sectors
Dr. Ryan Bullock, Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences and Director of the Centre for Forest Interdisciplinary Research.
Miranda Hamilton is the Summer Scholar on this project. Miranda is currently completing her Applied Bachelor of Science at both the University of Winnipeg and Red River College, majoring in environmental sciences. Miranda is the research assistant, facilitating cross-cultural community resilience workshops to inform and influence northern policy development.
Canada is a global leader in renewable resources, timber and energy. This project examines how to improve adaptive capacity in Canada’s renewable resource sectors and regions. That means adjusting to climate change, moderating potential damages, taking advantage of opportunities and coping with the consequences. The project will focus on northwestern Ontario, northern Manitoba, and the Northwest Territories.
2: RESEARCH: Indigenous Doulas for First Nations Women Who Travel for Birth
Dr. Jaime Cidro, Associate Professor, Anthropology is the principle investigator on a Canadian Institutes of Health Research-funded project looking at Indigenous doulas as a cultural intervention for First Nations women who travel for birth in Manitoba. She works closely with the First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba.
Alexandra Fontaine is the Summer Scholar on this project. Alexandra (Ali) Shkotay Makwa Fontaine is Anishinaabe from Sagkeeng First Nation. Ali is recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Studies with a minor in Human Rights. Ali is continuing her studies and has been accepted into the Masters of Arts in Indigenous Governance program at the University of Victoria. In addition to her studies, Ali is an award-winning singer-songwriter.
Most First Nations women who travel outside their home community to give birth will do so alone, or with limited social support. They experience isolation, boredom, stress and anxiety, which often results in a negative birthing experience and a range of poor health outcomes for both the mother and baby. Working with UWinnipeg, Nanaandawewigamig (First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba), and the Manitoba Indigenous Doulas Initiative, this pilot project pairs culturally trained birth companions, or “doulas”, with First Nations women during the pregnancy, birth and postpartum periods.
3: RESEARCH: Clean Drinking Water in First Nations Communities: What is an Improved Model?
Dr. Melanie O’Gorman is an Associate Professor, Economics. She is currently leading a project on the determinants of educational success in Inuit communities, funded by ArcticNet.
Courtney Bear is the Summer Scholar on this project. Courtney has just graduated with a B.A. in Conflict Resolution and Criminal Justice, and is from Peguis First Nation. She has experience working in community development, and has volunteered with Red River College (Urban Circle Training), Harold Hatcher School and other social service organizations in Winnipeg. She and her husband have five children who have supported her in every step of her education.
The average Winnipegger uses about 180 liters of water daily. Some residents of Manitoba First Nations have less than 15 liters of clean water daily. This project aims to address the inadequate water and sanitation facilities on reserves in Manitoba by using existing research to develop evidence-based solutions. Courtney will work with the Economics subgroup of the Water Rights Research Consortium, communicating with partner First Nations, contractors, Indigenous and Northern Affairs, and non-governmental organizations. The goal is to develop a pilot project that can provide alternate project management structures for delivering water and sanitation infrastructure.
4: RESEARCH: Climate Change, Indigenous Knowledge and Adaptation
Dr. Ian Mauro, Associate Professor, Geography and Director with the Prairie Climate Centre. He is a community-based researcher and filmmaker specializing in food security, resource extraction, energy, and climate change issues.
Francine Laurin is the Summer Scholar on this project. Francine is an Indigenous graduate with a 4 year Bachelor of Business with a double minor in Political Science and History. She is the President of UWinnipeg”s Golden Key International Honour Society. In the fall of 2017 Francine will be attending Law school in the United Kingdom.
The goal of this project is to continue research regarding the impacts of climate change across the Canadian Prairies, specifically investigating opportunities to engage Indigenous communities through multi-media and contribute to the climateatlas.ca The project will engage with the Prairie Climate Centre and the Turtle Lodge International Centre for Indigenous Education and Wellness.
5: RESEARCH: Indigenization of Housing First in Winnipeg
Dr. Jino Distasio, Director, Institute of Urban Studies recently coordinated a six-year project on homelessness and mental health in Canadian cities. This work is part of a $110-million project funded by the Mental Health Commission of Canada and is the largest such project ever undertaken globally.
Dylon Martin is the Summer Scholar on this project. Dylon is a member of Barren Lands First Nation and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from UWinnipeg. He is interested in the role public policy can play in advancing social equity. He serves on the volunteer boards of the Elmwood Community Resource Centre and the Families First Foundation – a Foundation set up to support the families of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
The At Home Chez Soi project was a $110 million project that examined housing in five Canadian cities over a six year period. Winnipeg was home to a unique approach that saw the local community take ownership of a largely American intervention by localizing it to fit our context. This project will explore the early governance model used in Winnipeg and will include interviews, literature and data analysis as well other means by which to explore the early phases of this landmark study.
6: RESEARCH: Improving Access to Historic Treaty Annuity Payments
Dr. Ryan Eyford, Associate Professor, History. His research links the history of colonization in western Canada to the global history of settler colonialism, and brings together Indigenous and immigrant histories.
Ashley Courchene is the Summer Scholar on this project. Ashley has a Bachelor of Arts in Conflict Resolution and Psychology and one more year of the Honours Program in Psychology. Her goal is to pursue graduate studies.
Treaty Annuity Paylists are an important source in the study of Indigenous history, and are extremely valuable records for Indigenous people tracing their ancestry through colonial records. Beginning in the 1870s, the Department of Indian Affairs (DIA) distributed treaty payments, usually $5 per person annually, to members of First Nations in Manitoba and the North-West Territories (later Saskatchewan and Alberta) that had signed treaties with the Crown. Each year, DIA clerks recorded the name of the recipient, usually a male head of household, as well as information about that person’s family. This information is particularly valuable for First Nations in support of land claims and other Indigenous rights litigation. This project partners with Canadiana.org to make information searchable. The project begins with the paylists for St. Peters, the original home of Peguis First Nation.
7: RESEARCH: Transactive Memory Keepers: Indigenous Digital and New Media and IIF Project
Dr. Julie Nagam is the first-ever University of Winnipeg/Winnipeg Art Gallery Chair History of Indigenous Art in North America. She will be hosting the first public symposium entitled Radically Shifting Our Indigenous Future(s): Through Art, Scholarship and Technology at the WAG in late 2017.
Janell Henry is the Summer Scholar on this project. Janell is from Roseau River First Nation. She is completing her Bachelor of Arts studying Psychology and Rhetoric, Writing and Communications. She freelances in media arts production while working with arts organizations around Winnipeg.
Drawing on the power of the arts to shape public spaces and create sustainable communities, this project will ultimately position Indigenous artists on the national stage and create new dialogues within Canada. The goal is to develop a new methodology in the curation and coordination of public art exhibitions, using open-source digital media and design labs in urban Indigenous communities. Using three public sites as our case studies, we will develop and an ongoing public contemporary exhibition, symposium, catalogue publication and lab residency in Winnipeg (Winnipeg Art Gallery/WAG and Lab residency at Videopool), Halifax (Anna Leonowens Art Gallery and Lab residency at Media Arts and Electronics Lab at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design) and Montreal (Centre Phi and Lab residency in Concordia’s Hexagram).
8: RESEARCH: Indigenous Comics and Graphic Novels
Dr. Candida Rifkind, is an Associate Professor, English. She specializes in alternative comics and graphic narratives and Canadian popular and political writing.
Taylor Daigneault is the Summer Scholar on this project. Taylor is Métis man working on undergraduate degrees in Arts and Education. He is the incoming Education Director with the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association.
This project explores how contemporary artists and cartoonists use the form of comics to represent the lives of others through visual narratives that challenge the conventions of prose biographies. This project will survey the field of Indigenous comics and graphic narratives created by Indigenous artists and writers in North America in order to understand how these artists and writers are using, adapting, and subverting the form to represent Indigenous life.
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Diane Poulin, Senior Communications Specialist, The University of Winnipeg
P: 204.988.7135, E: email@example.com