Indigenous research at Laurentian University received a major boost today as MP Marc Serré announced federal government funding to support a new Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Health. In addition, Laurentian announced its new Maamwizing Indigenous Research Institute, and a new Advancing Indigenous Research Fund to accelerate Indigenous specific research.
“Laurentian University has been committed to enhancing Indigenous research capacity and increasing indigenous research activities and we are thrilled to be making strides in this strategic direction,” said Dr. Rui Wang, Vice President of Research. “All three events announced today will significantly impact on the capacity and quality of Indigenous research at Laurentian and we look forward to continuing this momentum.”
Dr. Jennifer Walker has been appointed Laurentian University’s first Canada Research Chair specializing in Indigenous Health. Her collaborative research with First Nation and Metis communities and organizations will use population level data on health conditions and services across the life span, with a focus on chronic illness and older populations. This research will help improve the use of Indigenous-specific health data for health services and policy planning.
“I am looking forward to supporting Indigenous partners to effectively use health data and the impact our extensive research will have. Indigenous people see wellness holistically and as a reflection of overall health,” said Dr. Walker. “By making sure we view existing data through an Indigenous lens, we hope it will be used as ‘medicine to heal’ and be leveraged for the benefit of overall wellbeing of Indigenous people and communities. This research will could potentially have tremendous impact on the health of future generations of Indigenous peoples as well as communities throughout northern Ontario.”
To initiate university-wide collaborative indigenous research, Laurentian has established the Maamwizing Indigenous Research Institute (MIRI). MIRI’s primary focus will be on pursuing and promoting social and cultural Indigenous research through collaboration and working with community partners.
“The word “maamwizing” means ‘coming together’ or ‘collaborating together’ in Anishinaabe,” said Dr. Sheila Cote-Meek, Associate Vice-President, Academic & Indigenous Programs. “Following a successful inaugural Maamwizing conference last month, the Maamwizing Indigenous Research Institute will continue to raise the profile of Indigenous research and help support the development of new expertise for our communities.”
As part of Laurentian’s ongoing commitment to fostering research, an Advancing Indigenous Research Fund (AIR Fund) has been created, $100,000 annually, to specifically support Indigenous research initiatives at Laurentian University. Through strategic investments, the AIR Fund will help foster meaningful and longstanding relations and explore solutions to the unique challenges faced by Indigenous peoples.
About Laurentian University
Laurentian University offers an outstanding university experience in English and French, with a comprehensive approach to Indigenous education. Laurentian’s students benefit from small class sizes and exceptional post-graduation employment rates. With nine Canada Research Chairs and nineteen research centres, Laurentian is a recognized leader in its specialized areas of research strength, which include mining innovation and exploration, stressed watershed systems, particle astrophysics and rural and northern children’s health. Laurentian University has secured over $100 million in research income in the past five years.