Indigenous Studies faculty members are currently involved in the following research projects:

President’s SSHRC, 2016-2017 ($7000)

Principal Investigator: Sarah Nickel, University of Saskatchewan

Objectives: This pilot project explores Indigenous women’s multi-spatial socio-political activities in Saskatchewan between the 1960s and 1980s. It will use community-engaged research practices, oral history, and archival work to examine the conditions Indigenous women navigated (specifically through political travel between urban, off-reserve spaces and rural, on-reserve areas). Indigenous women often moved between these spaces for work, education, and family demands, and socio-political ideas and activities traveled with them and were shaped by this mobility and interactions with new communities. This research captures the nuances of these liminal spaces and lived realities by attending to the roles mobility, kinship, gender, and place played in in the formation of political identities and communities across Saskatchewan.

This research will:

1. Allow me to listen to the voices of Indigenous women who engaged in political activities, to learn the roles that race, gender, motherhood, kinship, and mobility may have played in their politics.

2. Enhance our limited understanding of the history and politics of Indigenous women and the organizations and political channels they created to address their needs. This research will also contribute to our knowledge of women's relationships to Indigenous men’s politics, Canadian governmental policies, and the mainstream feminist movement.

3. Close the gap between rural/urban Indigenous studies and centre Indigenous women in political studies.

Usask New Faculty Recruitment Fund, 2015-2020 ($29,000)

Principal Investigator: Sarah Nickel, University of Saskatchewan

Objectives: This project will build off the Saskatchewan pilot project to explore post-war Indigenous women’s socio-political activities in the west between the 1960s and 1980s. Despite a strong body of literature on Indigenous women’s politics, we still know very little about how Indigenous women formed their political identities, developed political communities, and strategically leveraged their disadvantaged gender and racial positions to achieve real political change. I will use case studies of reserve-based and urban activities across the west to determine the types of issues women were concerned with, as well as the political, social, and economic challenges they came up against. I am interested in examining formal political channels including organizations such as the Homemakers’ clubs and Friendship centres, as well as informal gatherings and clubs, as both are central to understanding how women moved within and outside their communities to engage in political discussions. This research, then, further destabilizes the division between urban and rural, reserve and off-reserve by focusing on how political mobility between these spaces encouraged the creation of new, often pan-tribal communities and shaped Indigenous women's political identities. I also seek to destabilize prevailing assumptions about the inherent cultural insularity and authenticity of reserve communities, which are often compared to the pan-tribal nature of urban communities.

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

Principal Investigator: Raven Sinclair, University of Regina

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

For submission for SSHRC Insight Grant – October 2016

Principal Investigator: Margaret Little, Queen’s University

Co-Investigators: Sarah Nickel, University of Saskatchewan; Lynne Marks, University of Victoria

Objectives: This research explores how marginalized women articulated the place of motherhood and family in their politics from the 1960s to 1980s, the peak of second wave feminism. Our archival and oral history methodologies will assess how four types of marginalized women’s groups (low-income, Indigenous, immigrant and racialized) in five provinces with distinctive cultures (British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick) politically organized during this era. This research will:

  1. investigate the experiences of marginalized women who organized in activist groups around race, immigrant status, Indigeneity and poverty to discover how motherhood and family affected their politics.
  2. analyze the history and politics of these activist marginalized women, the organizations they created to address their needs and demands, their similarities and differences from each other, and their relationship to the politics and policies of the Canadian feminist movement of the 1960s to 1980s.
  3. advocate future social policy options that are informed by our historical analysis and address both marginalized and mainstream women’s distinct experiences of organizing around issues of motherhood and family (e.g. childcare, employment, welfare/workfare, guaranteed annual income).

SSHRC Partnership Development Grant, 2011-2014 ($237,435)

Principle Investigator: Kim Anderson, Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford
Co-Applicant: Robert Alexander Innes, University of Saskatchewan
Community partner: Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres

Within the context of decolonization, Indigenous peoples talk about recovering "the good life" (bimaadiziwin in Ojibway), which includes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. A core component of this process involves rebuilding culture-based identities. Most of this work has been led by and for women, and in comparison there are very few resources that specifically address Indigenous men's identities. Scholarly work of this kind is almost non-existent. Policy work and programming for Indigenous men is typically connected to recovery from addictions or violence, is often mandated and/or limited in participation. Many Indigenous men are now eager to learn about how they can rebuild their identities as they recover from the violence and confusion wrought by colonialism. Resources, policy work and program development with relation to Indigenous masculinities would be both timely and effective as a next step in the decolonization and healing movement.

Goal: This project will build partnerships and a network between academic researchers (including students), Aboriginal organizations, social policy analysts, Indigenous Elders, youth and front-line service providers to explore what exists in terms of research, programming and traditional/historical perspectives on Indigenous masculinities, identities and achieving bimaadiziwin, and to develop resources, policy recommendations and a proposal for future research and programming.

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.

PSSHRC Grant 2011- 2012 ($7000)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Denise Fuchs, Department of Native Studies, University of Saskatchewan
Community Partners: Elders and historians of the Sandy Bay Cree First Nation

The objective of this project is to construct a chronology of the history of the Sandy Bay Cree Nation in order to ascertain why they became situated in Treaty 5 territory under the auspices of a Treaty 6 band when they had originally signed an adhesion to Treaty 10. The impetus for this project came from members of the Sandy Bay Cree Nation who approached the Department of Native Studies for assistance in the investigation and chronicling of their history. This history will be placed in the context of the community’s engagement in activities related to the fur trade, their relationship with the federal government following the Indian Act of 1876, treaty negotiations and the signing of an adhesion to Treaty 10 in 1913-14, a possible land surrender in 1917, the 1930 Natural Resources Transfer Agreement, Sandy Bay Cree Nation’s role in the construction and maintenance of the dam at Island Falls 1928-1930, and their placement with the Peter Ballantyne Band in Treaty 6.

President’s SSHRC Research Fund $6,608.50 (2011)

PI Winona Wheeler, University of Saskatchewan

This project considers how First Nations in present-day Manitoba adapted to changing economic conditions following the Treaty negotiation process and their removal to Indian Reserves with a focus on agriculture. It is one component of a larger project initiated with the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba entitled “The Historical Atlas of First Nations in Manitoba.” This particular component of that larger project will support the development of four atlas plates and help support the application for a SSHRC Partnership Development grant application. The atlas plates in development are: Early reserve agricultural Developments, Treaty provisions and implementation for on-reserve agricultural support, missionary activities among First Nations in Manitoba (1818-1910), and a First Nation community profile plate.

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 (PI): Greg Halseth, University of Northern British Columbia 
University of Saskatchewan researchers: Roger Maaka and Ron Laliberte
Community partners: The Aboriginal Business and Community Development Centre in Prince George

The objective of this project is to develop an open and inclusive multi-stakeholder national network of scholars and practitioners working in urban Indigenous communities and organizations, universities, federal/provincial/municipal governments, private industry, and NGOs. The network will be focused on mobilizing knowledge on urban Indigenous economic development and organizational strengthening in order to foster increased understanding and capacity building amongst researchers policy analysts and community practitioners. It is a $621,000 over three years grant funded through the KIS program of SSHRC

SSHRC grant ($249,303.00)

Principle Investigator: Evelyn Peters, CRC, Geography and Native Studies
Co-applicant Roger Maaka, Native Studies
Co-applicant Ron Laliberte, Native Studies

Community partners:
    • The Central Urban Métis Federation Inc (CUMFI)
    • Gabrielle Dumont Institute
    • The Saskatoon Tribal Council
    • The Saskatoon Indian & Métis Friendship Centre

Almost half of the First Nations and Métis populations live in cities, and some have lived there for several generations. Increasingly the future of prairie cities is bound up with the future of First Nations and Métis populations. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples argued that strong cultural identities were an important element of First Nations and Métis people’s success in cities. Yet we know relatively little about urban First Nations and Métis identities. In the absence of this knowledge, policy-making for urban First Nations and Métis people assumes what these identities are, often drawing on theoretical frameworks designed to explain the experiences of other groups, or relying on stereotypes. This research proposes to begin to address this gap by looking at First Nations and Métis identities in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Editor: Keith Carlson, Department of History

Editorial Production Committee: Brenda Macdougall, Department of Native Studies & Lawrence Martz, College of Arts & Science

GIS Technologist: Elise Pietroniro, GIServices, University of Saskatchewan

This Atlas project is one of the publications intended to highlight the research conducted through the Community/University Research Alliance (CURA) project “Otipimsiwak—the Free People: Métis Land and Society in Northwest Saskatchewan.” The Otipimsuak project’s unifying objective is to increase the overall capacity of Northwest Saskatchewan Métis communities to participate meaningfully in the regional economy through a research alliance that collects, compiles, organizes and analyzes information on: the development of Métis communities; historic and contemporary Métis land-use practices (e.g. traditional ecological knowledge); and contemporary government/industry resource management policies and tenures. There is an emphasis on a use of databases and integration of oral and archival sources of knowledge.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Frank Tough, University of Alberta

Co-Applicants: Dr. Lawrence Martz, University of Saskatchewan & Clement Chartier, President, Métis National Council

Partners, Affiliates, & Participants:
    • Northwest Saskatchewan Métis Council
    • Métis Nation-Saskatchewan & Gabriel Dumont Institute
    • Dumont Technical Institute and Métis Employment and Training Saskatchewan Inc.
    • University of Alberta’s School of Native Studies, Departments of Rural Economy and Renewable Resources & School of Library and Information Services
    • University of Saskatchewan’s Department of Native Studies & Department of Geography

SSHRC International Opportunities Fund grant $25,000 to build a network of researchers, community organizations and government agencies to explore Urban Indigenous Identities in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Co-applicants: Evelyn Peters and Roger Maaka

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