Leaders in Northern research and education: A discussion with four Northern research institutes and colleges – Full Transcript

Participants:

  • Dr. Ashlee Cunsolo, Director of the Labrador Institute of Memorial University
  • Dr. John B. Zoe, Chairperson for the Tlicho Research and Training Institute
  • Jonathon Michel, Manager of Scientific Services at the Aurora Research Institute
  • Dr. Pertice Moffitt, Manager of Health Research Programs at the North Slave Research Centre
  • David Silas, First Nations Engagement Advisor with First Nations Initiatives at Yukon College
  • Dr. Bronwyn Hancock Associate Vice-President Research Development at Yukon College

[The following has been edited for clarity.]

Question 1: What role are the northern research institutes and colleges playing as conduits for bridging gaps in opportunities between north-south and Indigenous/non-Indigenous contexts? How is your institute breaking down the barriers to Northerners taking the lead on research and education?

Ashlee: That’s a great big question to begin the dialogue with. I think these are incredibly important questions right now. The role of higher education is really changing in light of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in light of changing political climates that Canada has been experiencing, and also the continued push from the North for more sovereignty over data and research and education. But I think there are differing and complementary roles [for the northern research institutes and colleges]. I’ll speak from the Labrador Institute’s perspective. We are a part of a university, but we do not have academic status within the university yet. The Labrador Institute was set up 39 years ago as more of an extension style outlet to connect people in Labrador with the larger provincial university on St. John’s campus and later Grenfell campus. Since I started as Director in September 2016 we’ve really been pushing for not only academic status, but the ability to grow and truly meet the needs of people in Labrador and other parts of the North that may be interested in studying here. We have also been emphasizing the requests that are coming out of the communities and the three Indigenous nations that are here to have a campus of Memorial University here. We do offer some small programming, for instance we have the Inuit Bachelor of Education program, that’s with the Nunatsiavut government. But we are limited in our ability to actually support educational opportunities here. Primarily our unit is a research unit, even though we are not meant to be solely a research hub.

I think that what we’re all seeing and what we’re likely all experiencing is this need for greater sovereignty and recognition over the institutes that already exist. One of the things that I have regular discussions about is requiring funding agencies, governments and other universities and colleges and research institutes to work together to shore up what already exists and to recognize the capacity that already exists in the North. There’s so much push for new initiatives and I keep thinking that we’ve got these already-present initiatives that, with a little bit more support, can continue to grow and meet the priorities of the locations in which they serve. So I do think we have a tremendously important role to play. I think part of that role is continuing to advocate for recognition and for further support over what’s already happening.

John: The role that we see ourselves today in is not the same as it was before. In the last number of years we’ve settled a land claims self-government agreement in 2003 and we’ve been in operation for about 13 years. The first two years were just getting it through Parliament. We have 39,000 square kilometers of land, including sub-surface [rights]. We’ve done our own land use planning, which is internal, which tells us how we’re going to use the land from here on in. It doesn’t mean that it’s set in stone, but it’s a beginning.

One of the things that we’re interested in is doing some research, not only on our own but in collaboration with entities of Canada that have a lot of experience, which is the learning institutions and also research institutes such as ourselves. The premise of this is that most of the research done in the past [focussed on]what life was like back then and doing a detailed study as to what the political makeup might be and how people used to live and kinship, all that kind of stuff. But one of the modern day challenges is that yes, we have a research institute, we have a governing authority, but we’re also [in need of] capacity building in terms of doing research that is more global, such as governance research that we’re administering

The intent of what we’re trying to do now is that we’ve established the research institute that has community involvement, but we also have the presence of universities in there. We’re interested in doing research, but we’re interested in doing it in partnership. So we’re embarked on some internal research, which is really about one of the base challenges that the North has – the caribou decline. We’re doing our own research into [caribou] migratory patterns and just watching the animals in the landscape by sending Elders and researchers and young people as a unit to walk the land and follow the caribou and see for themselves the way hunters have watched these things for millennia. Those are snippets of what we’re bringing to this discussion this morning.

Jonathon: I believe education to be something different from research itself, and I can talk a little bit more on the research side of things here. I’m in a position for the past eight years or so where I was administering a licensing process for the Northwest Territories. The NWT has a review process for research that’s done in the NWT, so any research data collection requires a license. A lot of the people that do research in the NWT actually apply through the Aurora Research Institute, so I get to see basically most of the research that happens in the NWT and play a role in ensuring that northern organizations have a chance to review and offer some input into those applications. The bottom line is that we look to ensure that research is done in a respectful manner. Having this review process of course – I heard John say something about capacity to do research – I would say I’ve seen a fair example of challenges with responding to and offering input on a research project for a number of reasons. One being we’re dealing with [a] communication/language kind of a barrier, not only from English to another language, but even within English you have technical scientific language and then plain language. That can often be quite challenging. Our process looks to see that this communication is done in a way that in the end, an organization looking to review from within the NWT has an idea of what the research project is even about and in addition to that has an opportunity to offer some input into the work that is done.

The northern capacity to do research is something that is very interesting to observe and [is] exciting, because I would say that there’s no better way to actually see research that is done that is meaningful from within the Northwest Territories. Whether it is something to do with the land, either water quality or a permafrost study, or something social within the community itself, either a health concern or overall mental wellness type of initiative – when you’re getting in there really deep on what the actual research priorities are, it can often be challenging.  I think what the research institute has attempted to do here is offer a means to see that northern research priorities are integrated into the research that is done from outside, and of course leave room for research from within the Northwest Territories. There’s a small administrative fee for doing research in the NWT and this fee is waived for institutions doing research from within the NWT. That is a way that we look to minimize that [financial] barrier.

Pertice: I will address a little bit more of the education side of it maybe. I think first of all, we [at Aurora College] rely on our southern partners because we can’t actually give the graduation certificate. All of our programs are taught by northerners, but a school in the South actually grants their degree. We have a Bachelor of Science and Nursing program and we work first with a collaborative group in British Columbia and now with the University of Victoria. We had a Masters in a Nurse Practitioner and we worked with Dalhousie University. We are equal partners in that because we have grown our faculty here at the College. I’m the only PhD in Nursing, but we have two faculty [members] now getting a doctorate degree. We have many Masters degrees. We feel we are quite well positioned for the actual teaching and learning, but the problem I think is the infrastructure. We lost our graduate program, which was a funding issue I believe. [In] the Masters [program], when we have graduate students, we can use our graduate students to help with our research. I’ve done several studies now where we have undergraduate students, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, as research assistants, and that’s just been great. But we’re so small and [the students within] our programs are so busy. They’re full-time students, [so] they can only give a certain amount of their time.

Our model is really evolving at Aurora College in that the Aurora Research Institute has several people who teach and conduct research at the South Slave Research Centre and at the North Slave Research Centre. So our Centres correspond to where the campuses are. This has been very beneficial. Because I teach nursing undergraduate students research, I’m able to bring my research into the classroom, so that feels like it’s a bit of research in action. Also, we’re able to mentor students in research. I owe a lot to the Tlicho Region because my PhD was done there and I believe John B. Zoe that the region really enacts “strong like two people”. I think there are good things like that happening in the North, we do work well together. I’ve done quality of life [studies] with older adults in the North, and right now we’re doing breastfeeding [work] and I’m doing sharing circles with Indigenous Elders, and they love to share their stories. I think that’s the way to go in terms of sharing circles and more Indigenous methodology. Otherwise it feels [like] within our small population, the same Elder or person is being asked to do so much work that they’re really being bombarded. I think we have to be careful that we don’t overwhelm people wanting to do the research.

Bronwyn: I want to start by saying that just our presence, our college and institute presence in the North, means that we’re doing some of the breaking down of barriers that we’re talking about. The people in this conversation and the people we work with, we are Northerners. We live and work in the North, and so inherently the work that we do at our colleges and our institutions, I think we’re creating opportunities for Northern leadership on research and education. It’s not something that we need to be looking to create, it’s something that we’re doing inherently by the fact that we are all building and working for these institutes that are placed in and committed to the North. I think that the conversations that are coming out of our colleges and institutes are getting stronger. I think we are advocating more strongly for our position and the position of the folks that we work with and our partners in terms of having the right to have leadership, especially when we do it in partnership. I think just the fact that we’re here and we’re having this conversation is breaking down barriers and creating opportunities for leadership.

At the College, and at the Yukon Research Centre specifically, we’ve been doing research for a long time and we’ve really evolved to a place where we put our northern partners first. We let the questions of our northern research partners lead what we do, including our northern First Nation partners. So we co-design when we can, we put the research funds in the hands of the First Nations communities that we work with, we create opportunities for students and citizens to lead the research, so we’re creating the environment by which research can happen by the people who are asking the questions. We’re always working in partnership across the North and with southern institutions, but I think we’ve really set up a model where we have put ourselves in the position where we can choose the partners we want to work with. We look for people who understand and recognize those opportunity gaps that we’re talking about and who partners because they want to see change, because they want to bridge those gaps, because they want to build new or grow – like Ashlee said – grow existing capacity and help the North achieve its potential. They see the vision and they partner with us because they want to help us achieve that vision. In the same vein, we say no when we don’t see that spirit inherent in the partnership. I think that’s really important in bridging that gap; putting ourselves in the position where we can say “you know what, this partnership, this project, the way that this is being done doesn’t serve to advance the mandate that we have, the spirit that we want to grow, the kinds of partnerships that we want to see”. Our self-awareness to say no to those things I think is part of bridging that gap that we’re talking about.

The other thing I would say in terms of education is that, as you know, Yukon College is becoming Yukon University, so students will have the opportunity to do their entire post-secondary education in the North without having to transfer south. Currently at the College we do offer partner degree programs, but students do need to go outside to complete those degrees. They will be able to do their entire undergraduate education here, which is huge. It closes a financial gap, it lets students get an education at home, it gives students choice, First Nation and non-First Nation, Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. This is huge. It lets students learn in an environment that feels familiar and safe to them and more broadly it represents a shift in the power of post-secondary [education] from South to North. It holds up that goal of elevating Indigenous ways of knowing and doing in post-secondary [institutions]. I can defer to David for some of this too, but we’ve worked really hard with our fourteen Yukon First Nation partners to build education that integrates those Indigenous perspectives so that they’re threaded all the way through our institution. I think that big transition here is one really concrete way that we are bridging some of the gaps of opportunity, giving students choice, giving students the ability to choose to stay in the North. And then again on the research side, our ability to centre the work that we do on the questions of the people that we live and work with and say no to the things that we don’t think advances the way that we think research needs to be done is part of how we are working towards addressing some of the things you’re asking in your question.

David: In regards to the question on hand, I will try and approach it two-fold, looking at the research gap and also the education gap, but with the context of my realm. I work with First Nation engagement, primarily with the College. I look at different aspects of research and try to identify the barriers that might exist when it comes to pursuing a true partnership with the potential First Nation partner. As Bronwyn has mentioned, the College has been immersed in research for quite a while. Our First Nations have been self-governing now, some for at least 25 years, so the involvement going forward to have them as true partners is one of the most important things for the College and also for research going forward.

In regards to the gap, what I’ve actually seen in my position is a lack of understanding of the political structure here in the North, especially with our self-governing First Nations. [For researchers] coming from the South under an Indian Act realm to the self-governing realm there is a little bit of a challenge when it comes to meeting the timelines that a lot of these academic institutions in the South are forced to face when it comes to the North. There is some timing and some other barriers, so I work with the First Nations and also with the researchers themselves to essentially try and stick-handle through a lot of these different issues that not only the First Nations face here in the North but also the researchers [face]. Without getting too much into it, I think [the challenge] first and foremost is that lack of understanding of the political structure here in the North. It was also mentioned [that] the amount of research some communities are facing is quite frankly more than others. For example, everybody wants to go to Old Crow in the Yukon and conduct some sort of research. I heard Pertice talk about the satiation point of some of our Elders, and that’s something I hold true to myself too. I’m also a Yukon First Nation member. I’m a part of the Selkirk First Nation, I’m a member of the wolf clan. I’m currently in the fourth year of a Bachelor of Science with the University of Alberta, so I have a bit of understanding of what needs to be done and what points need to come across. The safeguarding of our Elders here in the North is something I’m hearing here at the leadership level and that’s why they’re asking for us here at the College to become the northern partner when it comes to research. All Yukon First Nations—as Bronwyn mentioned the fourteen are the ones that we work with at the leadership table—are asking that Yukon College take on that leadership, that partner role to ensure that we have those mechanisms in place to protect our Elders, to safeguard the information that’s being shared, to ensure that there’s a reciprocal relationship between the researcher itself and the community. So what’s being said, what’s being done, has to benefit the community in one way or another. We’ve been striving in many different areas – Bronwyn mentioned the potential engagement model that we are currently working on in regards to ensuring that we have First Nations involvement at the earliest stages as possible. It is a challenge, it’s something that I welcome, it’s something that I’m very happy to be a part of. I think it’s an excellent opportunity as somewhat of a young, northern, potential researcher, somebody that’s going to be looking to see science as a benefit going forward and I hope to find ways of ensuring that that research also benefits the communities.

Rhiannon: Does anyone want to jump in with a comment or question or follow-up?

Ashlee: I would love to pick up on something that Bronwyn mentioned; I think the phrase was “the right to leadership”. I think that’s been really an interesting point when I’m listening to everyone talk, is the shift that we’re all seeing in this recognition [that] the those [northern] institutions exist and do have the right to leadership, while simultaneously those institutions are claiming that space more and more. I think that’s something that I really heard everyone talk about, whether it was the research leadership, whether it’s the educational programming and opportunities in the North and to having full degrees, whether it’s trying to push for different infrastructure or change policies and understanding. All of this is space that’s increasingly being claimed by our institutions and others that are in the North to push back against some misconceptions that are out there, pieces of the different colonial legacies that exist that have caused inequity between North/South research and education. [We are] providing opportunities to share very different points of view or ways of knowing and understanding with others and really taking that space, particularly within a research context to really make sure that it’s done differently. [We are] challenging the major institutions in Canada, whether they’re Networks of Centres of Excellence or they’re Tri-Council funding agencies or they’re government funders, to really understand that. It’s been really inspiring to hear everyone speak and come around that from all their different perspectives.

Pertice: I appreciate absolutely what you’re saying and I think we need to have both patience and take a balanced approach. Because we are increasing our numbers of Indigenous graduates and Indigenous graduates returning, and we want to hire [them]. We’ve only ever had a few Indigenous graduates in our school, but we’ve had graduates in positions as nurses in charge out in our communities. They are moving up and taking management positions. I think one of the issues is we want to move so quickly, we understand the need, we want to change the colonial processes that we used in the past. But I think we also need to give the graduates time to grow and not to appear that we’re using a tokenism in having them be representative in our institutions. I think we need to mentor people effectively and recognize that. I hope I’m saying that right. What do you think?

Rhiannon: I think something that a few people have touched on is the existing challenges of capacity building, while at the same time embracing and celebrating the unique opportunities that exist right now, and the leadership and strength that each of your institutes are currently taking. I think the mentorship and the student involvement and engagement in education and research is a fantastic segue into the next question. Does anyone have any comments before we continue on?

John: We still have a lot of information that’s related to our [pre-contact] language, culture and way of life, because that’s our interpretation of how we keep things alive. But there’s been changes over time, with the early explorers and the trade and the treaties, [and now] there’s a lot of discussion on self-government and jurisdiction. A lot of things have changed since we were under the Indian Act – some have been getting out of it –  [and] now we’ve established our own institutions so that [we] can collaborate with working through the history and the impacts and reconciliation and recognition. We’re talking about collaboration – all these are things that we need to work out in that engagement, because what we have to offer is our kinship to the areas that we live in, which is really about identity. We need to do some research which means something to us, that we can eventually turn into management and a way of decision-making based research . A lot of things that we would bring to the table are language, culture and way of life and through these agreements or aspiring agreements is how we would work out our relationship among each other, through the conduits of our research institutes so that there’s real, meaningful things that we can put into [research]. Mahsi.

Question 2: What are the Northern research institutes and colleges doing to engage Northern youth as the next generation of Northern researchers? What do you think will inspire the next generation of Northern researchers?

Ashlee: I think that you’re seeing an increasing push, at least here in Labrador, in engaging youth in research and education, and in leadership opportunities. I think in many ways northern institutions are lagging behind what the northern youth and the Indigenous youth are pushing for. So certainly here I’ve taken an incredible amount of inspiration from the local youth who are stepping forward and who are very clearly articulating what they want and need from our institute and what they want and need from institutions of higher education and research institutions in the region in general. That’s been really exciting because there’s a tremendous amount of energy and creativity that comes with that that, which pushes these rather bureaucratic and oftentimes very colonial institutions to start thinking differently. We’ve been in the process of working with a lot of different youth to talk about if we were to set up programs here, what would they be, what would they look like, how do you want them to be provided, would they look similar to other universities or would they look very different? Often, the response that we are getting is that they would prefer [something] different, so a bigger focus on more land-based programming, more field opportunities, a lot more time with integrated curriculum so that Elders or other knowledge holders are teaching or co-teaching all pieces, block time classes where people are focussing on one course at once in a more intensive way. So [there is] lots of opportunity for youth input and leadership there.

I think the question there of “what do you think will inspire the next generation of northern researchers”, is seeing themselves in the research process and seeing themselves in the education system and the institutions in which they are involved. I think that when youth can actually see themselves and their cultures represented as an important knowledge source, as a key piece of leadership in Canada, as important ways of knowing, that will be what inspires not only the youth and the next generation, but also inspires the rest of us to do better or to be more accountable, to be more responsive, and to really make sure that what we’re doing meets what the next generation is looking for. We have so much responsibility to the people in the places that we live and work and serve, and I think that the youth are doing an excellent job of holding us to account, but also showing us new ways forward. And in those new ways forward finding their own voices and their own northern leadership and northern perspectives to see themselves first in the education and the research and then in other parts of leadership in this country.

John:  number of years ago we had a TK conference, which was linked to the TED talk, to get our foot in the door and say, look we exist now and we’re interested in collaboration, research. It’s been a number of years now and we’re making a little bit of headway. One of the things we’re doing now is we have a website for our research institute and the things that we post are things that we consider to be of a collaborative nature that were done before we had our self-government. Most of these collaborative things that I’m talking about are more recent, maybe ten or twenty years, that we consider to have some element of collaboration and involve the communities that the research was being done in. Those are the beginnings of what we hope to use as a platform for jumping further into this more defined relationship. We’re doing some current research, we’re doing some public relations with more research institutions so that we can inject some of the things that we’ve made some advances on as a group, something that can be built upon. But we also need to develop policy towards these engagements, [so that] for the first time, we would be involved in developing a way of bringing new thoughts on policy development towards the larger institutions and even towards government to take into consideration that yes, [we] are people with recognized jurisdictions. We have structures, we are able-bodied and willing to do some research, but what is that engagement I think has to be worked out.

The doormat I think is that  we have our language, culture, and way of life, and we’re willing to do some research that contributes towards our growth. If it’s not contributing towards our growth and more self-autonomy, those kind of things are going to surface.  Our language, culture, and a way of life, the land that we occupy or have occupied, and our kinship to one another and the life that was there before that allowed people to survive and thrive and build a relationship within each other and with the land and the animals in order to survive – those are really intricate knowledge bases that we can bring to the table and see what we can do to contribute towards a larger research with the current institutions. Those institutions that do research have to adjust themselves, because there’s so many jurisdictions and landscapes across the country that have relationships with the places that we do research in that are intricate in that way, to bring what they want to the table, what’s meaningful for them, and work on those details. We’re doing it as we go along and we build our understanding based on those experiences. But because Canada’s a big place, and we have people on the international areas who also want to do research, we need to make sure that we have a standard format for institutions [doing research with partners].

Jonathon: So we’re in an area now where we’re talking about inspiring, and I would say [it’s] quite exciting. We’ve started to develop a bit of a conversation in a couple of areas here and I would just like to say that I think they’re both quite exciting in the ways that we are going about them, and I will see if I can describe that in a bit more detail here. So we’re talking about research as a knowledge base and then we’ve talked a bit about Indigenous knowledge as another knowledge base. I actually believe that science as a systemized [knowledge] and Indigenous knowledge as experiential knowledge are two very different things and they are unique and irreplaceable. It’s something that I’ve seen over the past while where we’ve just kind of blended [them] together, and I think if we try to replace one with the other we’re doing a disservice to both unique knowledge bases that way. In order to fully respect and consider the two different types of knowledge, I think that they need to be unique and stand alone amongst themselves.

The reason I find this exciting is in one realm, we are seeing a lot of schools and youth centres doing a big push for on-the-land sharing type of experiences. That’s an area where they actively try to secure some funding to have Elders go out with youth to show Indigenous ways of being. John was talking about dwelling on the land and what Indigenous people have to offer in research and that is an intricate, very deep-felt knowledge of the land. I can’t really speak to how that connection is and what Indigenous knowledge has to offer to science. At the same time, at the Aurora Research Institute for example, we have partnerships with organizations like Science Rendezvous where the actual theme is called “inspiring the next generation of researchers”. What we’ve developed with the Science Rendezvous is a one day, outreach science day, locally here in Inuvik. A few of us have drawn the attention of the Science Rendezvous executive staff where we’ve developed a unique model where we actually approach all of the organizations in Inuvik – organizations that typically don’t think that they have anything to do with science, we challenge that – and ask them to come ready to present some outreach activity that is fun and exciting for youth and kids to basically show off what exactly they can do, whether it be in the tourism field, whether it be from the Department of Health and Social Services, Parks Canada, Fisheries and Oceans. It usually has quite a big showing and over the last few years it has developed into a fun family day where instead of having a few people that are dealing in natural resource sciences, you have an entire community of organizations coming together and essentially having a family day for a few hours at the school. So that’s just one day to rethink what science is and what it has to offer to the world.

And then we have other types of partnerships with organizations like “Let’s Talk Science” that focuses on, well it’s a bit of an acronym, science, technology, engineering and mathematics as topics. So basically focussing on those education tools for any kind of science outreach that’s done. Of course we’ve heard here recently that the new acronym includes art, making it STEAM instead of STEM. I think has a lot to offer in terms of excitement for youth because the focus there is on practical life experience and things you can utilize in the everyday world. I started off by saying that I believe that science as a knowledge base is different from Indigenous knowledge, but the focus is on a very similar thing in that realm. The area where we’re at now with research, it seems as though we’re in a slow paradigm shift of interdisciplinary science being a little bit more of the way to go, where it’s not just one field, one topic, carving off a narrow scope. You have somebody that’s in a natural science project looking to do some outreach as a part of what they’re doing. I’ve seen this in some of the other territories as well, where your data collection isn’t just data collection any more, it’s an event, an activity, that gets people out doing something that they wouldn’t normally be doing. That I think speaks volumes to the way that we’re headed with respect to inspiring youth with respect to science and research and a couple types of knowledge bases.

Bronwyn: The question of engagement of northern youth is a place where I think David really shines, so I will just say a couple of things and then I’ll pass it over to David. I will talk a little about opportunities for students to be involved in research at Yukon College, especially at the Yukon Research Centre, [where] we are creating college student positions on our research projects. We are hiring students to do background research, field and lab work, to do analysis, mapping, proposal writing, engagement, communications, all of the pieces of the project. So at the College we are really looking for opportunities for students to be involved in research. I think one of the challenges that we have is that the programs that are typically offered at the college, especially the trades-related programs and the more technical programs, don’t necessarily lend themselves well to integration with traditional research. We’re really happy to be creative, to find ways to engage those students in research.

We’re also supervising students who want to do directed studies that relate to our research project. There might be students who want to do more of an intensive research experience; they want to lead their own project while they’re in a college program, and so they can enroll in a directed studies project, and we can work with them to find ways for that project to align with a bigger project that we’re doing at the Research Centre, so that they see their work cascading into something bigger. We’re also housing graduate students from southern institutions who want to spend time living and working in the North, to get more of an immersive experience as part of their program, and we’re taking more and more the opportunity to sit on graduate student committees and co-supervise students. For a long time, this was something that I felt compelled to do and it took time away from other things that I needed to be doing. But what I’m realizing, especially on graduate student committees where the workload is less than co-supervision, is that those things give our research staff, myself included, the chance to push students who aren’t having an immersive Northern experience, to really think about how their work relates to life in the North, how they frame and communicate their research, how they build relationships through research, why is the work that they’re doing relevant. So, I think sometimes having those opportunities to bring our perspective from our institution to the committees or the experiences of grad students working in southern institutions can be really enriching for them.

We’re also seeing courses in the college where students are using real data from research projects in the classroom to ask and answer real world questions, and I think we’ll see a lot of growth in undergraduate research as we grow into a University. As I was thinking about this question, I was reflecting a little bit and I realized I was doing it specifically—around the section about “inspiration for the next generation of Northern researchers”—I was thinking specifically about graduate students, which is a bit limiting but I think partly because that is reflective of my own experience. I think in terms of the next generation of graduate researchers, I think we are seeing a real shift away from the idea of Northern research being frontier based: exploring and discovering and coming to learn something new, documenting something that hasn’t been documented before, and all of this is said from a very western science-oriented lens. We are seeing a shift from this frontier-based research, for better or worse, to research that is more relationship-based. I think we are seeing students wanting their research to mean something, to make a difference, so they are entering into graduate programs wanting to have a community-based element or a relationship-based element to their projects, even if they are in a pure natural science program. I think this is being driven in two ways: I think it’s in part being driven by Northern communities being more vocal about the kinds of work that they’ll support and be involved in, but it’s also from students being more literate and more aware of the social context that they’re working in and understanding more about the colonial history of research, of appropriation, of reconciliation. I think that is really inspiring the next generation of Northern research and I think, at least for graduate students currently emerging from southern institutions, changing some of the ways that they’re thinking about doing research in the North, and the careers that they will build subsequently.

Pertice: Bronwyn, that was really interesting because I started off saying that I really believe that research is a relationship for us, and it is what we’re trying to do with students, and we are very fortunate here. In our third year of nursing, we have students who are creating health promotion programs with local people, and they are so inspired and so creative, and agencies around us are picking up on their ideas. One of the things that you touched on is that knowledge production and inquiry, these are all political. Students are very savvy about catching onto that, and students—both Indigenous and non-Indigenous—they’re speaking out. I think we are seeing a shift in the way that we used to think about knowledge and what counts as knowledge, and now, as Jonathon said, we’re embracing many kinds of knowledge: Indigenous knowledge, scientific and empirical knowledge, community-based knowledge. We’re seeing a push for participatory action, where people really want to see that the research that they are doing is really counting for something. So, in that way we have changed our thinking around what constitutes as legitimate knowledge, and experiential knowledge is counting for a lot. I don’t think anyone has mentioned it yet, but I think we are really starting to embrace decolonizing approaches and the youth are very good at delivering messages. Here in the North, I am seeing this [in]video production and arts-based knowledge, which really packs a punch to a place where we are an oral tradition. This excites the youth, it’s important to see theatre bringing key messages home, music and visual arts; we have some very artistic and talented youth. So, these are all ways of knowing and creating space for really good conversations. It offers a way that opens us up and creates a more equitable and reciprocal and a respectful collaboration, and we learn to appreciate what they’re saying, and how they are making meaning of things that are important to them.

David: I’ve been listening to some of the discussion going around and the area that I would like to touch on is how we at the college are looking at making research more meaningful to the communities, to the First Nations, and to the actual people who are involved in research. As I mentioned before, the self-government around here is a challenge when it comes to collaborating with First Nations because of the lack of capacity that many of our First Nation’s governments do hold. They see research as an aside. If it came to an environmental review or a research review, the research review would be pushed aside; they just don’t have the capacity internally to be paying much attention to research projects as they come across. So, the challenge is looking at trying to find ways of making it meaningful to the communities.

What I’ve been hearing from some communities where they just don’t have time to be involved in research is to take it to the school. We need to have our younger generation build up the capacity, the interest and the understanding when it comes to research. So, we at the college have been actively looking at using research as a tool to enhance the educational opportunities within our rural school system. I am a product of our rural school system, so I can give some first-hand experiences when it comes to the revolving door of our rural schools. You build a rapport with an instructor and then the next year that instructor is gone, right? So, there is really no basis for science. As I heard Jonathon talking about the need for science and STEM opportunities within the communities, that is something that we’re also hoping to achieve here in the Yukon. We’ve talked about STEM in many different ways, looking at the “E” in engineering and maybe changing it to “employable skills” because that is what we’re hearing from the communities. We need to have our younger people see research and use research as a tangible, visual, hands-on learning opportunity to gain employable skills, something that will really benefit them going forward, to really maximize the opportunities that are going on within their regions. Some First Nations are really heavily active in mining, for example. And that leads to another question: who is actually driving the research? In Yukon we have mining companies doing research, we have public entities doing research, we have government doing research, and also, we have academia doing research. So, there are a lot of different areas of research being conducted in our communities, and I think it’s to the benefit of our First Nation communities that they take the reins and they have some sort of mechanism that helps them to identify areas of concern, areas that will really benefit their community, their people, their Elders, and also their youth and their schools.

In regard to the STEM programs again, I think it’s important that we also look at analytics; looking at how people view the data coming across their table. How can they use that data to really benefit their communities to enhance the programs and services that are going on inside their communities? It is a real challenge but what we’re doing here at the college is to really encourage our researchers to look at an educational component. Is there a way that we can get this into the schools? Is there a way that we can help the rural school systems advance mathematics and science within their own jurisdictions? For example, my school, Eliza Van Bibber School, there are no beakers, there isn’t a science lab. There are no opportunities for the kids to do science unless outside entities provide these opportunities. There are great opportunities for hands-on visual learning opportunities for these kids to get out on the land, and to conduct research in a way that builds employable skills such as taking water samples, doing soil samples, and really analyzing that data within the classroom itself. The college has been very open to being creative and looking at way of tying curriculum to research, and also, the rural schools have been very open to seeing these sorts of things involved in a partnership that involves the First Nations. What we’re hearing from a lot of the school principals in the rural schools is that if the First Nation is on board, then we are on board. So, it is all about us trying to find ways to be creative and looking at ways to engage youth to expose them to greater opportunities in science and math. Again, when I talk to these kids in the rural schools, based on what I’m currently doing, pursuing a Bachelor of Science, I don’t sugar coat it. It is hard, it’s very difficult coming from a community like Pelly Crossing to the University of Alberta, it is a tough transition, and they really need to buckle down and need to focus. I will leave it at that and we can talk about this some more a little bit later.

Kiri: I’d like to open it up to anyone else who would like to jump in and provide comments or questions on something someone else has said or something that may have come to you since you last spoke.

Jonathon: I wanted to pick up on something that John said earlier when we were initially introducing our thoughts on this topic. John was talking about the T’licho Institute of Learning developing a collaboration list, basically thinking of the organizations that they can develop partnerships with. Getting across that knowledge to other organizations in Canada or anywhere else that want to do research in the NWT is something that we wanted to bring up to the front with anybody that is looking to develop their research project in the NWT. It’s a fine example of an organization within the NWT that is actively engaged in wanting to partner up and play a role in the way that research is done in the Northwest Territories. We have a few organizations that we’ve tried to gather information to basically put as early, and as proactive as we possibly can be, to catch people that are looking to develop research projects. Just to be able to say, hey, there is a group of people that are working very hard to have their priorities known and worked on. Again, there are a small handful of organizations that have developed reading material for us to put up on our website, and we try to get that out as early as possible for them. It’s not something that I think a lot of folks from outside of the Territory are aware of, but we certainly do our best to try and bring this to the front of their minds when they’re developing research projects.

John: In our short experience, we have had a lot of time to observe. We know that our way of life was very intact before contact but since contact, there have been very many changes. Most of the research in the old days is more in relation to development and how that system as a way of doing things has been developed for the last 150 years or so, in some ways has contributed to the gutting of the the people, on the landscape What we’re looking at is doing some research into what kind of engagement we’re going to do because part of that engagement is really about peeling a lot of the paint for the last 150 years. And that takes a bit of reconciliation for the communities, that are self-governing or not, because reconciliation has to be part of any research that is being done.  That is not just a way of doing things for the greater good of Canada, but a way of doing things that involves the people with different jurisdictions and landscapes and language and culture. This can only be done through our youth and engaging the youth to let them know that a lot of this earlier information is still very much intact.

A lot of this knowledge-base that was collected happens because of development through hearings and judicial bodies that might be making these decisions that kind of paint over the picture that was there before. So, this process is really about looking at the picture that was there before and developing a relationship that takes into consideration that this is a way of building up our understanding. Earlier, I was saying that because this is a new area and in our short experience here in the North, in a little over ten years, we are bombarded with letters of interest that keep coming in, and it takes a lot of time to understand how things work, and it takes a lot of energy to respond to these things. Where do these things go in the first place? Who was handling it before? And what can we handle that has to do with things that are more meaningful to our advancement and catch-up to the way that we would like to do things into the future? Maybe some basic handbook because a lot of this research was initially done to ensure that development happens and there is some form of consultation. We want to go beyond that. Yes, it should be development and we want to ensure that our views and our way of doing things is built into that research and is in its full entirety. This is not a one-way street as it was before. We need to be more focused as to what would be acceptable or not.

Bronwyn: I want to pick up and reiterate two things David said that really stood out for me. One, around the way that we make research meaningful when capacity within First Nations is limited, is to take it to the schools. I think we don’t think about that enough, and then the tie-in that we need young people to see research as a way to gain employable skills. Again, I don’t think that is something that we think about when we develop and design research projects, and so I think that is really relevant. I think that ties to one of things that Ashlee said at the beginning, which I wanted to ask you about. You made the comment that Northern institutions are lagging behind what Northern youth are asking for, and then gave some examples of some of the ways of teaching and learning: youth wanting land-based programs, integrated curriculum, block-time classrooms. I am wondering about that tie between research being a political skill and some of the things that Northern institutions should be offering that Northern youth are asking for? Is there a connection there that you see Ashlee? Or are there other places that we end up?

Ashlee: Yeah, I think that is a huge point is research as an employable skill, and then how that links to institutions like ours, which are trying to provide educational pieces that are meaningful to youth in all aspects of their life and inspiring them to be the ones that are asking and leading the questions and the research. One of the things that I find really ironic in general about university education is that often at the undergraduate level, it’s not necessarily teaching you how to do your own research, its teaching you how to read other people’s work and synthesize. All of those very important skills, but there is not a lot of opportunity for research leadership, unless students are really seeking it out on their own. It’s almost like we have this flawed understanding that it’s not until you’re at the Masters or PhD levels that students should really be considering research, and focusing on it and developing it in a more concrete way. That is something that I hear a lot from youth here when we talk to high school students, when we talk to university students, is really wanting more opportunity to have intensive research experience earlier on, and the ability to make those research contributions without having to wait until you’re in a Master’s program or a PhD, and having the research more integrated than just an undergraduate summer opportunity, that often we have at universities. Those are great, and people really like them, but there still is not that kind of coherent support for students to start leading those dialogues right away and working with people. The rare student will definitely take the initiative and do that, but it’s not built into our systems in a way that it likely could be a huge benefit for people. So, I think that’s a really key piece, and I was chuckling Bronwyn when you said that you often think of graduate students and I think that a lot of us do, and that’s the problem. So, this “take it to the schools” is a great comment where we start talking to elementary and high school students more often, to start these discussions and dialogues around seeing yourself in research and science and social science and humanities in a very different way than I think a lot of Northern youth are encouraged to see themselves at this current time.

 

Question 3: There has been an ongoing conversation in Canada about reconciliation and the calls to action made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). We are wondering what role do Northern research institutes and colleges play in creating space for this conversation, and what is your institutes vision for reconciliation within research and education?

Ashlee: I think this is the key huge question that we are all grappling with in so many ways. I’ll speak in particular from the university perspectives that are happening in Canada. I think since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission came out and released their calls to action there has almost been this frantic race to find ways to meet what the TRC outlined for universities. One of the things that has been really fascinating for me to see, is the speed at which many universities, that did not previously have relationships in the north or a presence in the north, are suddenly looking to find ways to put programs in the north or build small infrastructure in the north to have satellite campuses, and are trying to do so really quickly without the relationship building and without the opportunity to really listen to see if that is what people want. Certainly in the year and a half that I have been the Director of the Labrador Institute, it is increasingly ramping up from universities all over Canada, trying to find ways to, at the best of times, partner. And other times, [they] almost just come in and plant themselves here because, as some people have told me, it is more accessible than other parts of the North because it’s easier to get to. So, there has been this, in my mind, alarming trend of this movement to try and forcibly reconcile in many ways, which I see as problematic and contravening a lot of what the TRC is calling for.

When you shift to the northern research institutes and colleges and presences that are already there, I think our existence all predates the TRC and then continues on and is a testament in many ways to the process of reconciliation. I think what the TRC offers all of us is the continued reminder that we can do better; that we can be more responsive, more accountable; our relationships can be stronger; our understandings of what research and education can be can continue to shift to be more reflective and responsive to the people with whom we work and the traditional homelands where our institutions are located. I think these northern places that we occupy really push forward the reconciliation conversation in Canada, and I think it goes back to what we were talking about at the beginning about choosing that right to leadership and reclaiming that space to become an inspiration of reconciliation for other places. So not that we have all of the answers, and not that we are all doing perfectly because certainly we are not, here in Labrador, but I think that it’s an opportunity to be able to highlight to other parts of the country, and other organizations and institutions, about what is possible when you have a northern-based and northern-focused research or education program or institute. What that really means if we take that seriously in reconciliation, is going back to the comment I made previously, about supporting and shoring up and enhancing and growing the already present places, and doing things like what Yukon College is doing, to transform into a University and to really respond to the needs for student’s to have the education that they want in the place that they want.

I think it’s a really exciting time. I think it’s put a lot of attention on the north, and I think in general there is a lot of attention on the north for a whole variety of reasons beyond research and education, but it’s a moment in time where there is a specific focus where people are looking to the north. It’s an opportunity for northern leadership in research and education. In terms of our institute for a vision for reconciliation, this is something that we’re working on together with the three Indigenous Nations and organizations in Labrador, is what does this look like?  We’re about to start a one year to eighteen-month long process around a strategic task force to re-envision the future of the Labrador Institute in general, with deep partnerships with the three Indigenous organizations in particular, so we can reimagine what education and research would like. Also, how an institute like ours can not only support research and education, which is key to our piece, but also influence policy and understanding at the broader levels and discussions around reconciliation and colonization and decolonization and Indigenization within the higher education realm.

John: One of the things that we’re very aware of is that the way of life for Canada has been developing in the landscape for the last 150 years, but it hasn’t taken into consideration what was there before. When we talk about what happens next, what happens next is that we have a dialogue, and in that dialogue, we talk about collaboration between independent institutions of government. Most of the policies on how governments operate and how institutions are told to go forth on these principles, it’s those principles that we want to have an impact on because past practices were about taking and not reinvesting. What we are interested in is the reinvestment part, which means that we need to build capacity, we need to engage in meaningful research and whatever we develop is towards some kind of a policy development that can go in the mainstream mentality in the ways research is done through policy development.

What we are doing now is very experimental, but we want to capture what has worked so far because any time that you’re looking at changes, these are the places that it starts. It is a dialogue as to how do we move forward. In that discussion of how we move forward, is a list: we want to be partners, we want to collaborate, we want to have a process of reconciliation. This is where the rubber hits the road, this is the reality that we are in now, we need to recognize that. We need to make some adjustments without giving up the principles of research that this are working. We need to work towards some development of engagement, whether it’s called policy or whatever it might be, but we need some sort of understanding that we are on a new path toward reconciliation and collaboration and partnership where parties bring what’s important to them; something that contributes towards rebuilding the communities, rebuilding what is readily available for Canada and even on the world stage.

What we have still is our language, culture and way of life. We still have that intact, it’s just that it’s not recognized outside of our own realm because the institution of the Indian Act is a cloud that is very hard to let absorb into the air and let it disappear. Because it is institutionalized we need to talk about it and much of the impacts of it happen to the youth. We see it happening in the last week. They are the ones that go up to the front, questioning these things about why is it like this and why is it like that and why are things different? People are trying to understand that and those are platforms that We need to capture  that dialogue and create platforms towards a greater understanding. That is what research is about. We’re going to have to research how things have become the way they are today and how to not re-experience the conflicting ways of doing things and the way of life that might be foreign to us that were there before. The only way that we can take care of it, is that we come to an understanding as to how to move forward through a dialogue. It’s places like this that it happens, where initially we have a discussion of the collection of new institutions and new thought processes and make it public for consumption. It doesn’t have all of the answers, but it raises some issues that gives knowledge to the youth who are up in the front. This is not about revenge, this is about how do we change how things were done in the past so that our views are taken into consideration towards a greater understanding and maybe even towards some direction in how things are done in the greater society. Mahsi.

Jonathon: Given the time constraints, I can say that we are certainly just scratching the surface of a really important dialogue here. I will reiterate and agree with Bronwyn’s point that the northern institutions are here and are continuing to engage in this; basically, creating space for the conversations on a daily basis. Part of the reasons I’ve been so excited to be in this role, and why I came to ARI years ago and why I am still here now, is that research licensing for the NWT has maintained and retained the spirit of collaboration, of partnership and good-faith dealings while communicating about any research project in the NWT. That has been a very exciting thing. Of course, not always are the conversations something where people walk away with all of their vision or their ideas agreed with going forward but in the spirit of good faith collaboration and dealings, it is essentially, as far as I’ve seen, been a regulatory process with the intent of the inclusion of respect. For respecting and honouring of treaty relationships. The backbone to the process that I’ve been involved with administering has been around since the ‘70s and it has done well to remain dynamic to the changing landscape within the NWT as a new land claim agreement is put in place, basically looking to have applications reviewed in a way that are consistent and respectful to that process, and basically keeping up with the changing landscape and still retaining that spirit of respectful communication for research projects. It’s inspiring to work in that every day.

In the area of the TRC, I believe Ashlee mentioned that these institutions have been around since before the TRC and of course, are continuing on now. Just working in a role that at its core has the intent to respect and honour treaty relationships, I think is a big part of going forward. As Ashlee mentioned, some institutions are racing to develop their northern or Indigenous partnership arrangements to be consistent with the TRC. That certainly is not ideal, but it’s better than not at all. Going forward and working in the best possible ways to do things as respectfully as possible and as John mentioned a few times, doing research that is meaningful. I’ve heard other staff in the T’licho Training and Research Institute basically saying if researchers come with the mindset and ask, “how can I help?”, and develop a research project around that, then that is going to be a little bit more meaningful within the area. I will wrap up with that.

Pertice: I’ll just add a few things. I think that in terms of reconciliation, yes we have been around a long time, we have been involving Indigenous communities and Indigenous people in our curriculum, in our process but I think this is a big wake-up call for each one of us within an institution even, to consider true reflection about our processes about things that we’re doing, and a lot of programs, they really essentialize students, and we build our program on treating all students the same, as being fair, when in actual fact we need to think about that because people do come with different histories and different environments. In fact, David spoke about the education in a small community and the lack of math and science, so we bring our students in and they do not all have the same baseline education, so this means that we need to reconcile with each one of us, in terms of building them up and I think in keeping what John B. said, we are developing a new story, and we hope that that new story is one that strengthens people’s lives and strengthens their livelihood. Even though we come as settlers, our children are born here in the North and now, I know I consider myself a northerner, and I want our children, whether they are Indigenous or non-Indigenous, I want them to return to the north, to work well with each other, in relationship with each other, and respecting each other. I think all of those individual efforts and recognizing the history and changing that history to a new protocol where we’re all committed to improving our relationships, especially in the North. We are 51% here in the Territory [NWT] of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. We want to celebrate the Indigenous people, whereas before, it was really settlers who were influencing a great deal of the decision-making. We need to change that up now, and that will be a part of our new story. I think I will leave it there.

Bronwyn: I’ve been thinking about this question a lot, because I have been thinking, as Pertice eluded to, what is my role as a white woman who has transplanted to the North because of a largely colonial research upbringing? How do I feed into this conversation? How does the role of my institution feed in? ne of the things that I’ve come to realize is that I think our public academic institutions are one of the safest places that we can be having this conversation around reconciliation. I think that we have an obligation to create safe space for conversation around reconciliation in research and education. We can ask hard questions, we can express complicated truths, we can talk about where and how we failed, we can talk about the aspirations we have, we can talk about what is my role as a white female transplant to the North. I can ask these hard questions in my public academic space because I think that we are neutral, we are trusted, we’re arms-length and that makes us places where these conversations should be happening. I think our institutions really have an obligation to be making space for those conversations.

In terms of a vision for reconciliation in research and education at Yukon College, I think one of the ways that Yukon College is building ourselves going into Yukon University is that we’re developing in three niche areas/three pillars. We’re working on climate change,  sustainable resource development, and self-determination. That third pillar, self-determination, is the idea that we can focus on conversations around how First Nations self-govern and are self-determining. Our first degree will be a Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Governance, specifically around that question, and we developed that concept in direct response to the needs of Yukon First Nations. So, even through this transition, we’re embedding those needs, those questions and the need to build capacity to support reconciliation into the program that we offer.

We’re now looking at how we build Indigenization across our institutions because that is part of reconciliation, how we work it into our governance model, which is really challenging. I think to really achieve reconciliation in research and education, we have to have an institution that reflects Indigenous perspectives and ways of knowing and it has to be threaded all the way through who we are, in order for us to be able to work authentically on reconciliation through the research that we do and the education that we offer. On the research side, we’re going right back to Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow, which is the document that Yukon Indian Chiefs took to Pierre Trudeau in 1973, as a foundation for moving forward on self-government in the Yukon. So, they spoke specifically about research. I should pass it over to David to talk about that if he wants to, but that document is really guiding the way that we think about research in the context of self-government and reconciliation.

David: I guess I’ll have the last swing at the bat. In regard to looking at reconciliation in research, I think the position that I have currently as an engagement advisor here at Yukon College, is a true reflection of the college’s efforts to work with First Nations in a meaningful way. Upon taking on this position, one of the things I was asked to really focus on was the TRC calls to action, and #65 in particular in which, “we call upon the federal government, through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, post-secondary institutions and educators, and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and its partner institutions, to establish a national research program with multi-year funding to advance understanding of reconciliation.” So, one of the bases of my employment is to essentially look at ways of honouring that particular call to action and to see if there is any tie-in to Yukon College, and potentially Yukon University, moving forward. As Bronwyn mentioned, there are a lot of mechanisms that we currently have in place. For example, in 2013, we had our first draft of a Yukon First Nations engagement protocol that relates to working with First Nations on research.

Bronwyn also mentioned Together Today for our Children Tomorrow, the 1973 document that was presented to Pierre Elliot Trudeau. It had a section that talked about research: the need for meaningful research, the need for First Nations to be more involved in research. So back in 1973, those chiefs had the foresight to see a need for a University of the North and I want to honour that. I think that is something that is so special for those particular chiefs at that particular time to see the need for a University of the North to keep our children in the North, to build capacity for the North. Part of my role with the college is to work with our current mechanisms that we do have and I’ll list a few of them.. As researchers come in, one of the things that we try to promote is First Nations 101. First Nations 101 gives a basic understanding of the self-government realm that we currently operate here within the Yukon context, and it also provides them with a basic understanding of Together Today for our Children Tomorrow. After that, if they want to get more of an understanding going forward about Yukon First Nations’ history, we have an actual course called “Yukon First Nations’ History” and that goes into great detail of the history of colonialism and how Yukon First Nations essentially came to be and how they operate under the self-government umbrella.

 Looking at different ways of actually working with First Nations have been quite a challenge and one of the things that we’re hoping to do is look at ways of consolidating our research efforts when it comes to working with First Nations.  One way we’re hoping to do that is through a President’s advisory committee, exclusively on research projects. This will be called the “Yukon First Nations Research Advisory Committee”, which we hope will look at ways for engaging with Yukon First Nations, talking about their research priorities, and looking at other ways that the college can be a partner in assisting them with solving their questions.

The banner that the college and the research centre currently operate under is “solving northern problems by looking at northern solutions.” I think that involving First Nations at the earlier stages and working along with them in the different areas that research can provide has been very beneficial and I think that the more we involve them, as we go forward, in different areas the better off that we will be. Bronwyn also mentioned that we are currently looking at the Institute of Self-Determination and through the Institute I think there will be a great opportunity for our First Nations to find other areas in which they can see research can be beneficial when it comes to looking at ways of coming towards a factual-based decision, for example. I think that we’ve done a lot of good work here at the college in regard to working with Yukon First Nations, and provide ways for them to talk about the questions that they have and together look for solutions. I think I will leave it there.

Rhiannon: Thanks very much. This is definitely a discussion that we didn’t want to rush but we are running out of time. I will turn it back to Kiri to wrap up the discussion.

Kiri: I wanted to briefly talk about a few things that stood out to me across the whole conversation. One of the things that David said was the position of northern research institutes in looking at northern problems and northern solutions, which I think really speaks to the unique position of northern research institutes and colleges looking at their unique position in terms of connecting to language, culture, way of life and ensuring that its recognized, learning from the past and learning as we go, and creating space for some of these really important conversations around self-government, reconciliation, meaningful research and so on. Another thing that really stood out to me is that we are focusing on northern research institutes and colleges, but it really painted a much bigger picture than that in terms of building and changing some of the relationships that are there with southern institutions, with northern organizations, with local youth and elders, southern students, funding organizations. It is really a much bigger picture and a much bigger web of relationships than just the northern colleges and research institutes. And then finally, I thought it was really illuminating to see how the northern research institutes and colleges are really changing the research and education process in terms of how it’s done, the methods of research, what kind of knowledge is included, how its communicated, how is it meaningful, who is involved in that process, how research is perceived, as well as the purpose of research contributing to these conversations. So, with that being said, I just want to invite anyone with any last comments to reflect on this much larger conversation.

Pertice: I was just thinking that one of the things that I didn’t hit on that I think is really one of our strengths is that we really  have a contextual understanding of the north and I think because we have been here for a long time and we have been a part of the processes, and I think that if we put that with a reflective process and understanding our history that our engagement then is going to change. We will be on a new path. I think the other thing is that we need to maintain a research integrity and I think we are making changes in doing that by including the changes we’ve made to our ethics approval where we have public representation of Indigenous people and local people on the ethical approval process. I think our interactions with the community and I think that we have a good process for local knowledge mobilization. I think those things are things to take forward into the future and I really learned a lot through this session and I loved hearing everybody’s point of view.

Kiri: I think we should wrap it up there because we are over time already, but again, thank you everyone for your time and this was a really great conversation.