Shelagh Grant Endowment Award Created at Trent University


New Endowment to Support Graduate Students in
Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies

Wednesday, March 10, 2010, Peterborough

A new endowment award in support of graduate students in Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies at Trent University has been created to honour Trent alumna and esteemed Canadian Arctic scholar Shelagh Grant.

The Shelagh Grant Endowment Award has been established by the Grant family, friends and colleagues to honour and celebrate Shelagh Grant’s dedication to the field of Canadian and Arctic Studies. The fund will assist graduate students in Trent’s Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies whose planned research requires travel outside of southern Ontario. The award may also provide funding for a professional, simultaneous translator for interviews or discussions in an aboriginal community.

“The Frost Centre is privileged to be the recipient of the generosity of the Grant family in their continued support of Canadian Studies at Trent,” said Dr. Julia Harrison, Frost Centre director. “These funds will allow our graduate students the opportunity to explore the possibility of doing research in locations distant from Trent. Shelagh Grant, an internationally-recognized scholar of the history of Canada’s North, is profoundly aware of how important it is to be ‘on the ground’ in the place one seeks to understand. The financial support that we will be able to offer our students through this endowment honours her understanding and commitment to such principles.”

Perhaps best known for her scholarship on the Canadian Arctic, Shelagh Grant is a distinguished researcher, author and mentor. A graduate of the master’s program in history at Trent in 1982, she has contributed immensely to the reputation of Canadian Studies through her teaching in the undergraduate program and as a research associate of the Frost Centre, her outstanding and award-winning publications on the Arctic, and through her work with Inuit communities in Nunavut. Grant is deeply respected by her colleagues not merely for her own academic work, but for her collegiality and for her generous guidance of young students who share her passionate love of Canada and the North. Her latest book, Polar Imperative: a History of Arctic Sovereignty in North America, is due out this May.

“Canada is a vast, multicultural and multilingual country that cannot be studied solely through books, documents, or multimedia formats. I am hoping that the availability of travel funds and simultaneous translation will broaden the opportunities and choices for students considering their thesis topics,” Grant says. “Archival research is important, but so is the ability to visit the locale of one’s research, to talk to the people who live there and learn first hand their views and experiences.”

Inaugural Fund Recipients

In February, the inaugural recipients of the Shelagh Grant Endowment Award were announced. They are Celine Vukson, a second-year student in the Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies M.A. program and Kimberly Wilson, a first-year master’s student in the same program.

Ms. Vukson’s research explores Tlicho story about an ancestor and hunter who mysteriously disappeared in the late 1890s during a muskox hunting trip. To date, she has conducted primary research to collect the narratives from the Tlicho elders about this story. While Ms. Vukson is a fluent Tlicho speaker (originally from Behchoko, N.W.T.), she will be completing the research of certain difficult and rarely-used traditional concepts, phrases, and place-names relating to this ancestral story, including accessing relevant archival materials and maps. Her work and research is vital to Tlicho language retention efforts.

Ms. Wilson’s thesis research will examine environmental decision-making processes in First Nations’ communities in the context of oil and gas development in Northeastern Alberta. She will analyze the effectiveness of the requirements in contemporary legislation intended to increase Aboriginal involvement in, and the democratization of local decision-making, community-based resource management, and environmental monitoring. The larger purpose of her research is to contribute to the growing body of research related to Aboriginal rights, resource extraction, and land tenure while offering a detailed analysis of the community consultation processes.


For more information, please contact:
Dr. Julia Harrison, Director, Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies, Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x6049; or
Shelagh Grant, (705) 745-2843