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Indigenous Studies Ph.D.

Ph.D. students
Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies

Indigenous Studies Ph.D.

Students & Research

Student Research Profiles: Indigenous Studies Barb Wall Waawashkesh Doodem (Deer Clan) Bodwewaadmii Anishinaabekwe from the historically relocated Citizen Potawatomi Nation of Shawnee, Oklahoma My dissertation research, It Flows from the Heart: Bodwewaadmii Anishinaabekwewag Nibi Waawiindmowin, gathers and shares diverse narratives of the uncovering and reweaving of Bodwewaadmii water knowledges and ceremonial practice within our relocated communities. Using a decolonizing methodology, grounded in Anishinaabe intellectual tradition and language, this work resists centuries of assimilation, acculturation, and marginalization and our prior conversion to christianity. Narratives of resurgence privilege the voices of Elders, women, youth and 2SQ folk.  Brandy Kane My spirit name is Thunder Eagle Woman and my colonial name is Brandy Kane. I am a member of Xaxl’ip First Nation from Sta’at’imc territory. I chose to do my PhD in Indigenous Studies because of my strong desire to make a difference in Indigenous communities. As a Sta’at’imc woman I am well aware of the challenges faced by Indigenous people in today’s society, included are loss of culture and traditional ways of life. My research proposal focuses on working with ceremonialists, medicine people, and those who have been helped and/or been healed through Indigenous ceremonial practices. My research question is: How has participating in traditional Indigenous ceremonies brought healing and wellness to you mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually?  Binesi Morrisseau My name is Bineshi Morrisseau. I am Sturgeon Clan from Couchiching First Nations, located within the sovereign territory of Treaty Three. My SSHRC sponsored research seeks to explicate the ways in which we can understand ‘treaty epistemologies’ from within Anishinaabek genders and sexualities. What does it mean to be treaty people? Using a Foucauldian discourse analysis, legal theory, Anishinaabemoowin, and the oral tradition, I problematize modern treaty discourse by re-imagining treaty from within the fluidity of Anishinaabek genders and sexualities.   Smokii Sumac Ktunaxa Nation ?asqanaki: two tell two versions of the same story A Poetic Dissertation on Indigenous Adoption Narratives My research work seeks to creatively re-story my families and our experiences, as I am third, possibly fourth generation adoptee. This means that for multiple generations we have grown up outside the care of our biological family, due to government assimilation policies embedded in the child welfare system. I weave my story alongside analysis of other Indigenous-authored narratives of adoption in order to examine and theorize concepts of belonging, nationhood, and resurgence.   Christine Sy Following the Trees Home: Anishinaabeg Womxn at the Sugar Bush Anishinaabeg women are heterogeneous, have diverse histories, and negotiate diverse indigenous-settler colonial worlds. Despite the differences between us, we share being dominated by settler colonial economies and having our relationships with the natural world disrupted. As a result, Anishinaabeg womxn have become alienated from the means of sustenance, the knowledges that inscribe and are generated from these land-based relationships, and the governance these rationalities with the natural world produce. Utilizing a critical pibiskaabiiyang/yin historical methodology and Anishinaabe historical material feminist theoretical analyses, my research examines archival, living, and cultural sources to illuminate and elucidate Anishinaabeg womxn’s relationship with the sugar bush in the production of maple syrup. Yielding historicized interpretations of the interconnection between gender and knowledges systems which are simultaneously grounded in relationships with the natural world and settler colonial economies, my research renders “worlds” (Maria Lugones) that Anishinaabeg womxn negotiate as we engage in maajiimaadiziwin – keeping the life-line moving through the generations.  Supplemental: “iskigamizigan: the sugar bush” (audio poem, prod. 2011): http://www.yorku.ca/intent/issue6/poems/waaseyaasinchristinesy.php. For popular writing, see Christine’s blog, “anishinaabewiziwin” at: http://giizismoon.wordpress.com   Nancy Stevens My name is Nancy Stevens/Mno Waasemok Mizhakwad-kwe and I am from Bear Clan. I am of Haudenosaunee and European descent, a mother of four and grandmother of two, and a part-time PhD student in the School of Indigneous Studies. My research focus is on how people understand their experience of using cultural ceremonies and practices to heal from trauma.  Nancy was recently awarded the first UOIT-Trent Dissertation/Teaching Fellowship for 2018-2020.  Evelyn Poitras Cree and Saulteaux My name is Evelyn Poitras/Askitako Piasew Iskwew and I started my PhD studies at Trent in 2015 with research interests in Nitanis (Daughter) Narratives and Nehiyawak Iskwewak (Cree Women) roles for Governance and Treaty Enforcement, Treat Four and Treaty Six. Evelyn has recently been awarded the Pre-Doctoral Fellowship at Queens University for 2018-2019.  Gillian Austin Gillian is of Scottish and Irish ancestry, was born in Toronto and is a singer-songwriter.  For my dissertation research, Centering Indigenous Autonomy of Indigenous Knowledge Systems at Canadian Universities, I am collaborating with Indigenous Knowledge Holders engaged at Trent and universities in Atlantic Canada to guide a co-learning process that explores what practices center Indigenous Knowledge holders’ autonomy of their knowledge systems, and considers how to operationalize and enact these practices.  My approach is based on maintaining relational accountability and involves learning how to enact settlers’ Treaty responsibilities and align with Indigenous goals for Indigenous resurgence of governance and education.  Malinda Gray Lac Seul Band I am an Anishinaabekwe, Caribou Clan, Lac Seul Band. My Master’s thesis: “Beads: Symbols of Indigenous Cultural Resilience and Value” focuses on the importance of Indigenous beadwork. My current research seeks to expand on the complexity that contemporary bead artists contribute to the Anishinaabeg and other Indigenous communities.   Catherine Davis After working for 20 years as a teacher for Alderville First Nation, Catherine decided to pursue her lifelong dream of obtaining her PhD. As an Indigenous person and educator, Catherine noted curriculum challenges where history was predominantly taught from a western perspective. Students rarely learned about their own history and community presence within it; ultimately it left students and the community further disengaged and disconnected from formal education. Catherine’s goal is to explore the history of Alderville and offer a version of history told by its members. Their history, their story, their experience. Once gathered. The collected narratives could be further disseminated for curriculum adaptation and available for students in order to engage learning and honour Alderville experience within it.  Amy Shawanda I am an Ojibwe-Odawa citizen raised on Wiikwemkoong unceded territory, situated on Manitoulin Island. I have a Law and Justice background and Master’s in Indigenous Relations. My research focuses on the complexities that surround the smudging ceremony in health care facilities in Ontario.   Jason Fenno Bio – I was born and raised in the heart of beautiful interior Alaska in Tanana Athabaskan territory in the Goldstream Valley. I grew up picking berries, fishing for salmon or halibut, and always looking to take advantage of the long summer days with the midnight sun. In the winter I played hockey, curled, drank coffee and stayed warm. I graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a B.A. in Justice and minor in Political Science. I went onto earn an M.A. in Police Studies from the University of Regina.  Research Focus - Improving the administration of policing services for northern Indigenous, Inuit, and Inupiaq communities across the north administered by the Alaska State Troopers and the RCMP of the Yukon Territory. Listening sessions are under consideration to be utilized for elevating northern Indigenous, Inuit, and Inupiaq community voices, customs, beliefs, and traditions into northern police policy to improve the administration of policing services and better respond to community needs in the north.   Amy Champagne My background includes settler (English and French) and Omàmiwininì ancestry. I was born and raised in Omàmiwininì Aki (Algonquin homelands) by the shores of the Kitchisippi (Ottawa River), where I am now raising my daughter.   My research will explore the meaning of educational success and achievement within Indigenous pedagogies and according to Indigenous knowledge-holders. I will work with the Odawa Native Friendship Centre community to apply this knowledge in order to create a practical evaluation model that is locally-appropriate, community-grounded, and culturally relevant. Knowledge-holders who share their knowledge and perspectives on the meaning of educational success and Indigenous ways of evaluating learning will be recognized as experts based on their lived experiences as Indigenous individuals and community members.