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By Greg Campbell Posted: August 22, 2018 1:45 p.m.

Students from the Indigenous Summer Research Institute tour Regina’s Mackenzie Art Gallery. Students (l-r) Vihn Hoang from Québec, Elle Mari Dunfjell Oskal from Guovdageaidnu, Norway, Joshua Switzer from Grenfell, Saskatchewan, and Tara Sasakamoose from Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation in Saskatchewan.
Students from the Indigenous Summer Research Institute tour Regina’s Mackenzie Art Gallery. Students (l-r) Vihn Hoang from Québec, Elle Mari Dunfjell Oskal from Guovdageaidnu, Norway, Joshua Switzer from Grenfell, Saskatchewan, and Tara Sasakamoose from Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. Photo: External Relations

This week marks the third and final week of the Indigenous Summer Research Institute held at the University of Regina. The Institute, a first for the University, is a partnership between the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research and the Office of Indigenization.

The goal of the Institute is to enhance the writing and research skills of undergraduate students and provide them with a taste of graduate school. The programming focuses on Indigenous-centred research methods, methodologies, and ethics.

“This program is about equipping students with really good, rigorous, authentic Indigenous-centred research practices,” says Emily Grafton, University of Regina Executive Lead, Indigenization. “They are learning theory and they also participate in seminars and workshops so they are learning what it’s like to do research with Indigenous communities.”

The curriculum for the Institute was created by a content advisory committee made up of Elders/Knowledge Keepers, student representatives as well as Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars who are doing authentic Indigenous research. Elders and Knowledge Keepers are also teaching at the Institute.

The Institute, which has awarded a $3,000 scholarship for each student, has drawn 19 undergraduate students from a variety of disciplines from Saskatchewan, across Canada, and as far away as Mexico and Norway. The international students are from University of Regina partner institutions in Mexico and Norway. Ten Indigenous students are enrolled in the Institute and nine non-Indigenous students are attending.  

“I think the students that were attracted to the Institute are people who are interested in doing research using Indigenous methodologies as well as Indigenous and non-Indigenous students who are interested in doing research with Indigenous communities,” says Natalie Owl, a doctoral student in the Faculty of Education and the Institute’s instructor.

The Institute wraps up on Friday with students presenting a two- to three-page research proposal or research ethics proposal.

“The University of Regina and universities across Canada are Indigenizing and people are actively taking up the calls to action under the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” says Grafton. “We see this as the University of Regina engaging in capacity building and also contributing to rectifying the deficit of Indigenous scholars in academia.”

Bill Cook, the Institute’s teaching assistant, says that one of the greatest benefits for the Institute’s students is the emphasis on relationship building when engaging in Indigenous research.  “Another good thing,” he says, “is the students learned some diverse protocols that are involved in the different Indigenous groups. This is great information not everybody gets the opportunity to hear, so it is very important and beneficial for all.

Adds Owl, “I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for people to develop their own research that can incorporate Indigenous methodology with non-Indigenous methodologies if they choose. I think it’s a great way for our country to move forward.”