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Laurentian University names directors of the Maamwizing Indigenous Research Institute

Drs. Pedri-Spade and Fortin to pair academic excellence with Indigenous worldview

Laurentian University is pleased to announce the appointments of Dr. Celeste Pedri-Spade, PhD, as the first Director of the Maamwizing Indigenous Research Institute (Maamwizing), and Dr. David Fortin as the first Maamwizing Assistant Director.

The Maamwizing Indigenous Research Institute was established in 2016 bringing together researchers pursuing work that embraces Indigenous worldviews, while promoting a de-colonizing approach to research and focusing on the needs and voices of Indigenous peoples and communities.

“Both Dr. Pedri-Spade and Dr. Fortin have the proven leadership abilities and track-records to ensure Maamwizing succeeds and prospers in its mandate to promote Indigenous perspectives in research and align Indigenous research initiatives with the needs of communities,” said Dr. Sheila Cote-Meek, Associate Vice President, Indigenous Programs.

“I am both pleased and honoured to take on this important role,” said Maamwizing’s new Director Dr. Pedri-Spade. “In the Anishinaabe language, maamwizing refers to people coming together. This is important because our language provides insight and helps guide our actions, so Maamwizing teaches us that Indigenous research is about people coming together in a good way for the wellbeing of Indigenous communities.”

Dr. Celeste Pedri-Spade is an Anishinabekwe from northwestern Ontario (Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation). She is a member of the Bear Clan and embraces various roles and responsibilities as a mother, educator and research-based multidisciplinary artist. Her research and artwork are grounded in her relationships with family, community, and land. Dr. Pedri-Spade is an Assistant Professor within the School of Northern and Community Studies and a practicing artist who continues to exhibit her artwork in regional and national galleries in Canada and the USA.

Maamwizing’s new Assistant Director, Dr. David Fortin, is a Métis architect and Assistant Professor in the McEwen School of Architecture. Dr. Fortin is currently researching prairie contributions to architectural thinking in Canada, and is a member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s recently formed Indigenous Task Force working to foster and promote Indigenous design.

“I look forward to working with our researchers and partners to promote Indigenous research while developing new areas of expertise for our communities,” said Dr. Fortin. “Through Maamwizing, Laurentian continues to play a crucial role in Indigenous studies, and I am so pleased to be part of this exciting initiative.”

The Maamwizing Indigenous Research Institute has established a broad mandate which also includes the creation of an academic environment that promotes research excellence, a contribution to the training of graduate students, and the development of new research expertise and enhancement of research productivity.

“When we announced the creation of the Maamwizing Indigenous Research Institute, I said it will play a significant role in our commitment to enhancing Indigenous research capacity and activities,” said Dr. Rui Wang, Laurentian University’s Vice-President of Research. “With today’s appointment of Dr. Pedri-Spade as Director and Dr. Fortin as Assistant Director, I am more convinced than ever that Maamwizing will not only succeed in its mission, but also play a vital role for our researchers, our university, and most importantly, our community.”


About Laurentian University

Laurentian University offers an outstanding university experience in English and French, with a comprehensive approach to Indigenous education.  Laurentian University, situated on the traditional territory of the Anishinabe peoples of Atikameksheng First Nation, prepares students as agents of change and empowers them to create innovative responses to local and global challenges. Laurentian’s students benefit from small class sizes and exceptional post-graduation employment rates.  With nine Canada Research Chairs and eighteen 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.