Linda DeRiviere and Myra Sitchon lead this team in the development of protocols for documenting the collaborative, participatory, community-based research practices of all of the Six Seasons teams. In their work they assess the successes and challenges of various methods, and articulate best practices for collaborations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers, with a goal of informing legislation, public policy, and program development. This meta-analysis of working methods is expected to be useful not only to our government partners, but also to other non-profit and educational organizations with initiatives involving Indigenous interests, including land-use planning, natural resources management, Aboriginal and Treaty rights, curriculum design, museum collection, and exhibit creation.
The team uses evaluation tools to assess whether the materials being developed (i.e. picture books, apps, video games, curriculum guides, etc.) and other project activities, (e.g. teacher training), are generating positive outcomes in the settings in which they are introduced such as public schools. The evaluation approach is collaborative and strength-based in the sense that it integrates community input in selected methods and data interpretation. Evaluation will foster a better understanding of the overall response that the project materials and activities are generating, and through our planned knowledge mobilization efforts, it will inform policy on ways to strengthen Indigenous education in the public school system.
Linda DeRiviere is an Associate Professor of Public Policy and Public Administration from the Department of Political Science at The University of Winnipeg. She has taught a variety of courses in evaluation methods and public policy. She has published policy and evaluation papers on a wide range of topics, including Indigenous issues involving women’s health, gender-based violence against women and girls, early childhood education, child welfare policy, fetal-alcohol effects, youth homelessness, and community-university engagement. Her research is interdisciplinary, participatory, and community-based.
Myra Sitchon is Project Manager for Nisichawayasi Nehetho Culture and Education Authority. Myra has a diverse professional and academic background in Indigenous community-based initiatives, policy development, Crown-Indigenous consultations, heritage resources management, education, archaeology, skeletal biology and forensic anthropology. Her scholarly work with the Asiniskaw Īthiniwak (Rocky Cree) communities in northern Manitoba examines the range of legal traditions, meanings and values tied to land and identity through Cree philosophies, reasoning, language and resource use. Myra works with Rocky Cree communities to empower youth with this knowledge in reclaiming their culture, identity and history and to promote reconciliatory relationships through Cree culture and language education. Myra holds an Hons. B.Sc. in Biological Anthropology from the University of Toronto and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Manitoba.
Erin Spring is an Assistant Professor in the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary. She holds a BA (Honours) in English from Trent University and a B.Ed from Queen’s University. Erin was a classroom teacher in London, UK, before returning to graduate studies. She earned an MPhil and PhD from the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge. Between 2014-2017 she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Institute for Child and Youth Studies at the University of Lethbridge. Broadly speaking, Erin’s interdisciplinary research focuses on young people’s literacies, texts, and cultures. Drawing on a range of methodological approaches, including reading discussion groups, photo-elicitation, and map-making, Erin’s research seeks to understand the ways in which young people make sense of their identities through reading, writing, and art. Her research projects are united thematically by a shared investment in stories and storytelling as a way of articulating identity development, with a particular focus on the influence of place. Her ongoing objective as a settler scholar is to collaborate with communities to ask and answer questions that matter to them, facilitating social change, building capacity, and promoting student wellbeing. For the past three years she has been working with the Blackfoot community in southern Alberta.
Jennifer is a Settler-Canadian scholar and a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Six Seasons of the Asiniskaw Īthiniwak: Reclamation, Regeneration, and Reconciliation Partnership Project at the University of Winnipeg. Jennifer completed her PhD in 2017 in Visual Anthropology at the University of Victoria and from 2017-2018 held a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Cultural Studies Department at Queen’s University. She is currently a Research Collaborator with the Creative Conciliations Arts Collective and the Residential and Indian Day School Art Research Program. Her research and writing focuses onthe relationship between arts-based research, community engagement, and social justice.
Kiera Kowalski is a first year student in the Master’s in Development Practice: Indigenous Development Program. She holds membership with the Manitoba Metis Federation and has Ukrainian, and German ancestry. While her family is from Winnipeg, she grew up four hours east of the city in Fort Frances, Ontario. She completed a combined honours undergraduate degree in Journalism and Communication at Carleton University in Ottawa in June of 2019. She has been privileged to practice journalism in many cities, including Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Ottawa and Winnipeg. Currently, Kiera’s interests reside in decolonization of the education system in Canada. She hopes to work towards Indigenous representation within educational institutions and curricula upon completion of her degree.
Frances Robertson, is a First Nations woman born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, who has ties to Norway House Cree Nation, Peguis First Nation, and Roseau River First Nation. I’m an undergraduate in Education and the Arts, in the CATEP (Community Based Aboriginal Teacher Education Program) at the University of Winnipeg. For a part of this program I work as an Educational Assistant while I take courses at the University. I have a large family and value spending time with them and I’m greatly appreciative of all the support and encouragement my family has shown me while pursuing post-secondary education.
I have interests in incorporating Indigenous knowledges and worldviews into the Manitoba education curriculum. I have been working for the University of Winnipeg as a research assistant for the Six Seasons of the Asiniskaw Īthiniwak Project, on the Policy Development and Research Evaluation team and I’m conducting literature searches and on evaluation methodologies. I think this work is important of promoting Indigenous education accounts of history, language, worldviews and knowledges into the mainstream society. Indigenous education may pave the way for creating the context we need to develop a new guiding ideology or education for all in the 21st century.