(June 21, 2022) - The Maamwizing Indigenous Research Institute (MIRI) at Laurentian University has received $430,832 in funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s (SSHRC) Race, Gender and Diversity Initiative. This grant was awarded to Dr. Joey-Lynn Wabie, with funds to support a three-year project, titled: Maamwizing: a hub for Indigenous community-driven research.
This exciting news is celebrated today on National Indigenous Peoples Day. This day recognizes and celebrates Indigenous cultures, communities and peoples and offers the opportunity to reflect and commit to principles of Truth and Reconciliation. Laurentian is Canada’s only university with a tricultural mandate, offering a post-secondary experience in English and French with a comprehensive approach to Indigenous education. These are principles that Laurentian takes pride in, and MIRI complements by providing opportunities for, and with, Indigenous students to learn about authentic relationships and research with communities.
Maamwizing: a hub for Indigenous community-driven research will be led by Dr. Wabie and two local Anishinaabe community partners: Akinomooshin Inc., & White Buffalo Road Healing Lodge Inc. These organizations are dedicated to Indigenous resurgence, or the reconnecting of Indigenous peoples with Indigenous knowledges, governance, languages, ceremonies, relationships, and lands at the grassroots level, thereby addressing the systems and impacts of racism and colonialism as they impact Indigenous peoples. Drs. Darrel Manitowabi, Elizabeth Carlson-Manathara, and Kevin Fitzmaurice are also integral to the success of the grant as co-applicants.
Dr. Joey-Lynn Wabie, Algonquin Anicinabe ikwe from Mahingan Sagahigan (Wolf Lake) First Nation, incoming Director within Laurentian’s School of Indigenous Relations and Acting Director of MIRI celebrates this funding announcement: “In fostering a research space that is driven by community partners and supported by the MIRI research team, our objective is to center community and culturally based knowledge and perspectives towards the co-creation of evidence based research findings that best responds to specific programming and service delivery needs. This can further inform the larger policy questions relating to effective and equitable community and culturally based programming for Indigenous youth in the north and within an overall framework of Indigenous self-determination and decolonization.”
Dr. Susan Manitowabi, Interim Associate Vice-President, Office of Academic and Indigenous programs shares Dr. Wabie’s enthusiasm: “This research is an expression of Indigenous self-determination in that it is being proposed by, for, and with Indigenous people. The application of the 7 Pointed Star Hub Model, as a uniquely MIRI approach to community-driven research will provide an Anishnaabe, culturally based and supportive method for community engagement, planning, and research sharing practices; which are grounded in the principles of the Seven Grandfather Teachings: Respect, Bravery, Honesty, Humility, Love, Wisdom, and Truth.”
Vince Pawis Sr., founder and Executive Director, White Buffalo Road Healing Lodge Inc. added that he and his team are grateful to be a part of this critical project: “Having worked in the community with Indigenous youth and adults since our inception in 2005, this is a great opportunity to research the work of grassroot Indigenous agencies to help support Indigenous healing.”
“Miigwechiwendam” is the sentiment of Julia Pegahmagabow, founding eniigaanizid for Akinoomoshin Inc. “With the support of this partnership and grant, we will be able to re-search our pathway to anishinaabe kendaaswin and come to understand the relationship to anishinaabe pedagogies and how to apply them. We have the support of Maamwizing to find the threads that our ancestors were able to leave for us and weave them into a strong foundation of knowing and knowledge transmission for our children, youth, and communities.”
In November, Laurentian University and MIRI look forward to hosting Maamwizing 2022: Land and Language, a conference that will focus on the sharing of stories and wise practices to ensure the health and wellness of both land and language is cared for. This will include broad interpretations and wider connections between land and language by grassroots community voices, alongside Indigenous scholars and non-Indigenous people who work in allyship with them. Confirmed keynote speakers include Dr. Niigaanwewidan Sinclair (University of Manitoba), Dr. Jennifer Walker (McMaster University), and Joseph Pitawanakwat (Creator’s Garden). Dr. Celeste Pedri-Spade (Queen’s University), inaugural Director of MIRI from 2016 to 2019, will provide an opening address.
About White Buffalo Road Healing Lodge Inc.:
White Buffalo Road Healing Lodge Inc. is a non for profit organization incorporated in 2005, located in Shawanaga First Nation, approximately 30 kilometres north of Parry Sound. White Buffalo Road Healing Lodge Inc. is the vision of Vince Pawis Sr., the founder and current Executive Director. The Healing Lodge provides traditional Aboriginal youth-at-risk programs, Indigenous Elder Assisted Parole Circle Hearings and currently provides on a contractual basis Aboriginal traditional female and male Native Inmate Liaison Officer Services in Thunder Bay, Sudbury, North Bay, Orillia, Brampton and Lindsey, Ontario correctional facilities.
White Buffalo Road Healing Lodge Inc. works with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, Safety, Licensing Appeals and Standards Tribunals Ontario (SLATSO) and the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
About Akinomooshin Inc.:
Akinoomoshin Inc. is a grassroots not-for-profit organization working to center anishinaabe kendaaswin in the daily lives of anishinaabek. Our dream is to offer daily anishinaabemowin immersion and aki (earth) learning for children and youth, their families and communities through our teaching lodge, akinoomoshin wigwam.
Akinoomoshin Inc. began to meet and organize in 2016 with kitchen table visits and discussions on the challenges of the systems for our children and youth. Incorporated in 2017, Akinoomoshin Inc. is situated in the community of Atikameksheng Anishnawbek.
Akinoomoshin Inc. has working relationships with Science North, the Sudbury Catholic District School Board, and Atikameksheng Anishnawbek for cultural and language-related sharing and learning. Akinoomoshin Inc. has been granted funding by the Ontario Arts Council, Niigaan Gdizhaami Fund, and Canadian Heritage to carry out language and earth-learning focused activities, including Maamwizing and the RDGI funding to move our work forward.