Principle Investigator: Dr. Winona Wheeler, Department of Indigenous Studies, Usask

Co-investigator/Partner: Office of the Treaty Commission of Saskatchewan

Summary of Project:

Since the discovery of 215 unmarked graves at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School IRS), First Nations across the country have embarked on locating unmarked graves at IRS sites in their territories. This research project supports the ground penetrating radar and oral history research work being conducted by four First Nations with former IRSs in their territories. Specifically, this project is doing archival research on four IRSs in the Prince Albert (Saskatchewan) Catholic Diocese that operated from 1894 to 1996. These include St. Anthony’s Residential School at Onion Lake First Nation, the Beauval Residential near Lac la Plonge, the Delmas Residential School near Thunderchild First Nation, and the St. Michael’s Residential School at Duck Lake.

Funding: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Individual Partnership Engage Grants (PEG) Residential Schools Joint Initiative. $48,871.00 (September 2022-September 2023).

Principle Investigator: Dr. Winona Wheeler, Department of Indigenous Studies, Usask

Co-Investigator: Dr. Rob Innes, Department of Indigenous Studies, McMaster University

Summary of Project:

In October of 1975, the Canadian Plains Research Centre (University of Regina) hosted the first ever conference that brought traditional Plains Cree knowledge Keepers and Elders together with historians, social scientists, anthropologists, archaeologists, and teachers. The purpose of the gathering was to explore the history and culture of the Plains Cree from many perspectives. This project will result in a manuscript that not only provides an updated transcription of the conference, but will include photographs, biographies and analyses of the interaction among the participants.

SSHRC Insight Grant 435-2016-0907, 2016-2021 ($313,380)

Principal Investigator: Raven Sinclair, University of Regina

Co-Investigators: Allyson Stevenson (University of Saskatchewan), Cindy Blackstock, Jeannine Carriere, Michael Hart, Sarah Nickel, Dale Spencer, Nico Trocme, Suzanne Stewart, Jason Albert.

Objectives: This national team of child welfare scholars and collaborators seeks to conduct a five-year study of the post-Residential School removal of Indigenous children into the child welfare system, also known as the Sixties Scoop. The Sixties Scoop is one aspect of the Indigenous child welfare (ICW) era that spans the late 1950s to 1985 and is marked by mass removals and unprecedented overrepresentation of Indigenous children in the Canadian child welfare system. Whereas the residential school program was an explicit assimilation policy of the federal government, the child welfare system that emerged upon the demise of the Residential school system was not explicitly assimilationist and yet gave rise to programs such as the Adopt Indian and Metis program in Saskatchewan. Past studies of the ICW do not clearly explain the policy evolution or the logistics of this overarching government program of child welfare. In order to shed light on the policy changes and key events related to the Sixties Scoop, we propose a five-year study to achieve six objectives that will determine:

1. How the Sixties Scoop/Indigenous child welfare era evolved in policy and in practice;

2. How assimilation policies shifted between 1950 and 1985 from explicit to obscure, specifically when and how these shifts occurred, and what form did they take;

3. How policies shifts shaped Indigenous child welfare policy and practice and the Sixties Scoop;

4. How the social worker and agency cultural apparatus operated to engender the vastly disproportionate levels of Indigenous children with the child welfare system;

5. The level of consistency that existed between the nature of adoption processes for adoptees and the “narratives” provided to adoptive parents; and

6. The experiences of removal for Adoptees of the Sixties Scoop and the consistency between those experiences and the “child-saving” policy discourse.

Principle Investigator: Dr. Winona Wheeler, Department of Indigenous Studies, Usask

Community Co-investigators/Partners: Charlotte Ross, Gloria Lee, Lillian Sanderson

Summary of Project:

This project explores the connection between Indigenous people’s mental health and their relationships with their land, non-human animal relations, language, and traditional cultural knowledge in all its forms; history, medicines, song, dance, music, art, ceremony.

Funding: $10,000 (CAD). Community Partnership Grant, First Nations and Metis Research Networks (SK-NEIHR), Canadian Institute of Health Research, December 2021 awarded.

SSHRC Standard Grant #410-2009-2713, $65,600 (2009-2012)

Principle Investigator: Sarah Carter, University of Alberta
Co-Applicant: Winona Wheeler, University of Saskatchewan

This study of the changing dynamics of First Nations agriculture in Manitoba focuses on: 1) the context and background of First Nations agriculture to the 1850s; 2) agriculture and the Manitoba Treaties; 3) Treaty implementation to 1900; 4) pressure to surrender reserve land after 1900; 5) a comparison of First Nation reserve agriculture with off-reserve farming; 6) Department of Indian Affairs initiatives and restrictions. Research will be based on documentary as well as oral history sources. Oral histories with First Nation farmers, descendents of farmers, and Elders are a significant foundation of this study.

PI Winona Wheeler, University of Saskatchewan

Book manuscript in progress, the culmination of many years of archival and community-based oral history research.

Principle Investigator: Dr. Bonita Beatty, Department of Native Studies, University of Saskatchewan.

Research Assistant: Rebecca Major (Master’s Student)

Community partner(s): Arnette Weber-Beeds, Executive Director of Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation (BPCN) Health Services Inc.

Summary of Project:
This project is a $20,000 IPHRC Community Network Partnership Research grant with Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation (PBCN) Health Services. It will explore community elder care services (seniors 60 years and over) in the communities where health services are managed by the PBCN Health Services agency. Quality care, and lack of continuity and coordination between services providers and recipients are among the health governance problems that have been identified across Canada. Elder care is one theme that is gaining attention in the literature. It suggests that elders need to be treated with more respect and dignity in the health care system, however, how that translates into policy and practice is unclear. This project will explore that ‘how’ question in the PBCN Health case to illustrate how it governs and manages elder care at the community level and in a northern setting. The importance of the proposed project has broad implications, but three are significant. First, it will inform a gap in the existing literature on Aboriginal Health Governance, particularly in praxis or practical experience. Second, it could inform policy work, especially for First Nations, governments, other health authorities and scholars in the areas of health governance and eldercare, especially with the socio-demographics and increasing level of self-management by Aboriginal People in the northern and rural areas of Saskatchewan. Third, it will hopefully inspire more scholarly interest in Aboriginal eldercare research, policy development and governance.

Principle Investigator: Dr. Bonita Beatty, Department of Native Studies, University of Saskatchewan.

Summary of Project:
This project is a $3500 U of S Start up Research grant. The Objective is to document, through interviews recorded by video/tape/written, historical information on the northern way of life and Development based on the oral recollections of 5 key aboriginal leaders (elders) from 5 communities across northern Saskatchewan who were involved in the development of the north and their communities during and after 1945. Rather than just relying on fur-trade and other accounts of northern development, history needs to hear from the other side of the development spectrum – namely local indigenous people. The end product will be to have an edited video or audio recording (whichever is preferred by elders) and Transcript document that can be used for scholarly research and historical reference.

Principle Investigator: Dr. Bonita Beatty, Department of Native Studies, University of Saskatchewan.

Summary of Project:
This project is a $1500 U of S Start up Research grant. The Objective is to transcribe and translate the Cree diaries 1940-1970 of the late Angelique Ballantyne, traditional herbalist/midwife and member of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, as a means of documenting traditional health practices in the Deschambault Lake region.

Co-Applicant/ Collaborator on Research Projects

  1. CIHR Institute of Aboriginal People’s Health Grant- August 2007: Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre: Network Environment – Co applicant Dr. Bonita Beatty
  2. CIHR Grant: Over $1 M over 5 yrs. Feb 2008 Principle Investigator Dr. Janet Smylie. Indigenous Knowledge Network for Infant, child and family health – Dr. Bonita Beatty, Collaborator