The Indigenous Studies Program commends all of this year's award recipients.
Rathlyn Doctoral Fellowship
Ben Geboe (Social Work)
Ben Geboe is doing his PhD (c.) thesis interviewing Canadian Indigenous nurses and physicians working with Indigenous community members. Findings will inform health care education programs about challenges and experiences of Indigenous health care professionals. Ben is an enrolled member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe of South Dakota and grew up on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation and has distant relatives in the Dakota in Manitoba. He is a social worker with many years of experience working with substance using and mentally ill homeless people and Native people in New York City. He is currently attending McGill University School of Social work and splits his time between NYC and Montreal. He works as the Native student coordinator of Indigenous Access McGill (IAM) program to promote Indigenous social work student admissions. He is descended from the Wakakdiduta family (Red Lightning) and is also part Miami and Cheyenne Arapahoe on his father’s side. His mother is Norwegian descent. Ben is very active in Two Spirit community events and social justice advocacy for Indigenous sovereignty.
Meghan Eaker (School of Nursing)
Meghan Eaker is a nehiyaw iskwew (Cree woman) of mixed Cree and European ancestry. She is a member of the Woodland Cree First Nation and grew up in amiskwachiy waskahikhan (Edmonton, AB). She worked as a child psychiatric Nurse at the Montreal Children’s Hospital after completing her Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BScN) at McGill in 2016 and is currently a Masters of Nursing student. In her Nursing career she is passionate about improving health care for indigenous people. Her research focuses on developing the capacity of Indigeous nursing, specifically supporting the education of Inuit Nurses.
Joel Grant (Engineering)
Joel Grant is a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta and has recently graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Materials Engineering at McGill University. While at McGill, he has been an active student research assistant and the president of the Materials Engineering Undergraduate Society. Joel is the 2018/2019 academic year Vice President of the McGill Chapter of the Canadian Indigenous Science and Engineering Society (CaISES). He is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering. His research is focused on the study of Canada, namely, investigating the environmental effects of micro- and nanoplastic accumulation in Canadian climates.
Indigenous Community Engagement Award
Carlee Kawinehta Loft
My name is Carlee Kawinehta Loft. I am a motivated and community-minded, Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) woman. My father’s family comes Kahnawake and Akwesasne. I completed a BA in Psychology with minors in Behavioural Science and Indigenous Studies. During my four years at McGill I had the opportunity to be a part of a wonderful community of Indigenous students and staff, for which I am forever grateful. In my own way I was able to give back to said community, through volunteer work with the First Peoples’ House, as well as positions such as Indigenous Student Alliance Co-President and the Indigenous Affairs Commissioner. I would like to thank the many Indigenous students who have inspired me and made my work possible, each of which deserved this award just as much – much of my work wouldn’t have been possible without them.
I am thankful to be receiving the Indigenous Community Engagement Award; I am thankful because it is incredibly important that other students see this kind of community work being recognized, because it is not easy to do, and seeing this kind of support can go a long way.
Outstanding Paper in Indigenous Studies
Marion Daigle (Gender, Sexuality, Feminist & Social Justice; Indigenous Studies)
Marion Daigle is a U3 student graduating with a Gender, Sexuality, Feminist and Social Justice Studies major and an Indigenous Studies minor. I wish the best for the Indigenous Studies program and its continuation!
Sit Back, Relax, Enjoy the Music, And...: Listening to Indigenous Artists as Multifacted Action for Settler Audiences
Paper Abstract: What does listening to Indigenous artists entail for non-Indigenous followers? In the Canadian context of Indigenous artists’ rising popularity with mainstream audiences, such as A Tribe Called Red and Tanya Tagaq to only name a couple, my paper seeks to involve settlers such as myself in complicating the act of listening to Indigenous artists. How does music work differently depending on the listener’s positionality? What are the possible ramifications of settlers dancing carelessly at A Tribe Called Red concert? From my own white settler standpoint, I question the innocence of such events. I argue that the act of listening can become an active and uncomfortable activity for settlers that may contribute to disrupt our indifference to the ongoing colonisation of Indigenous lands and peoples.
Denzel Sutherland-Wilson (Anthropology)
My name is Denzel Sutherland-Wilson, I am from the Gitxsan nation in Northern British Columbia. I have just completed my Bachelor degree in Anthropology and returned home to my home in Anspayawx. I am a member of the fireweed clan and hope to use my skills I have gained at McGill to strengthen my house of Tsibasa while being conscious to keep knowledge where it belongs.
Wilp Sim' Maay: House of the Huckleberry
Paper Abstract: My paper is a project proposal for a program which would take Gitxsan youth huckleberry picking to teach them about traditional food as well as governance and environmental stewardship. In order to do this properly, research was conducted on the nature of huckleberry patch management by burning, which was prohibited by the BC government and has resulted in a generational gap. This also aims to show and strengthen the intimate and finely tuned relationship Gitxsan have with their food sources. This paper was prepared for the course Indigenous food sovereignty with Gabrielle Doreen, which helped me a generate a plan which could be implemented in my own community to improve food sovereignty.