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2019 Indigenous Summer Scholars

Check out the 2019 scholars below!

Naomi Bird

Naomi Bird is a Nehiyaw woman from the Montreal Lake Cree Nation in Treaty Six Territory. Naomi uses she/them pronouns. Next spring, they will graduate from Dalhousie University with a double major in Sustainability and Urban Planning, and a minor in Indigenous Studies. In the academic realm, Naomi is passionate about many topics including: land-based, de-colonial education, urban Indigenous realities, and how historical trauma impacts contemporary Indigenous health. Naomi has witnessed the erasure of Indigenous histories and realities in both faculties she studies under; experiencing this, Naomi plans on pursuing a masters degree in curriculum studies or place-based education in the coming years. They wish to address the Eurocentrism of the Academy, in an attempt to lessen the violence(s) enacted upon Indigenous students navigating academia.  

In the non-academic realm, Naomi can often be found at the local climbing gym, or in any body of water come summer. Naomi is also an avid cyclist- as Dalhousie Bike Society president, she uses this enthusiasm to create and promote programming for all Dal students. 

Naomi will be working with Dr. Failler & Dr. Milne on Museum Queeries 

Elmer Clarke

Elmer will be working with Michael Dudley on Indigenous Linguistic Knowledge in the University of Winnipeg Library and Archives

Michelle Queskekapow

Michelle Queskekapow is a proud Dene/Cree woman from Norway House Cree Nation. She is the first in her immediate family to graduate with a high school diploma (Maples Collegiate, 2008) and the first to receive a Bachelors Degree (University of Winnipeg, 2013). In the Spring of 2019, Michelle will be graduating from the Four-Year Bachelor of Arts program, specializing in Young People’s Texts and Cultures. During the 2018-19 academic year, Michelle acted as a Student Ambassador at the UW’s Aboriginal Student Services Centre, a position that reaffirmed their beliefs in encouraging Indigenous youths to not only value their education but to also pursue post-secondary in the future. In the future, Michelle will be pursuing a Master of Arts in Children’s Literature at University of British Columbia and furthering their love for children’s literature! Michelle is particularly interested in studying texts that challenge dominant, colonial perspectives and the use of the children’s literature genre to voice historical Indigenous atrocities, and more importantly, indigenous resistance and resilience. 

Michelle will be working with Dr. Reimer on Six Seasons of the Asiniskow Ithiniwak: Reclamation, Regeneration, and Reconciliation.

Joellee Maxfield

Joellee is a member of Peguis First Nation although she was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and raised in Selkirk, Manitoba. This June, she will graduate from the University of Winnipeg with her Bachelor of Arts Degree and her Education Degree both through the Community Aboriginal Teachers Program (CATEP). Joellee hopes the Indigenous Summer Scholars Program will develop the research skills that will eventually lead her into a Master’s Degree or a Doctorate. 

Joellee is married with 5 children and 7 grandchildren, all of whom contribute to pushing her past her own expectations and goals. Joellee’s strength and determination not only comes from the love of her family but from her own cultural teachings and ceremonies along with, her strong belief that education is what will help Indigenous communities. 

Joellee will be working with Dr. Ruml on Indigenous Spiritual Biography as the Matrix for Truth and Reconciliation

Trina McKellep

Trina is a member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. She is set to graduate this summer with her B.A., labour studies major and management minor. Further education is her goal. 

Being raised in the community of Mosakahiken Cree Nation, Manitoba gave Trina a sense of community and instilled small-town values such as hard work, sharing, simplicity, and generosity. Her family eventually relocated to Cranberry Portage, MB where she would complete high school at Frontier Collegiate Institute. This government-run residential school hosted many students from all over Manitoba that created a unique opportunity to meet many other Indigenous students from across the province.

Before returning to University as a mature student in 2016, Trina held administrative support positions with Opaskwayak Cree Nation and Swampy Cree Tribal Council, working for them for several years before relocating to Winnipeg in 2010 to work. Working for the community has always been her priority and her community work continued in her administrative support positions for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the National Centre for Truth & Reconciliation. 

Raising a family in the city is certainly a departure from living in the community. To help build a sense of community in their own family, Trina and her husband John became foster parents and their family size increased from the 3 to 6. This feeling of extended family is what community is about. 

Trina will be working with Gabriel Nemoga on Bringing Indigenous Worldviews into Policy 
and Legislation on the Protection of Indigenous Knowledge 

Alexandra Nychuk

Alexandra will be working with Dr. Miller on Sports: Between Hellenism and Modernity 

Kayla Villebrun-Normand

Kayla Villebrun-Normand is a proud Métis woman. Kayla is a recent graduate from the University of Winnipeg with a Bachelor of Arts in Human Geography and will be continuing her studies as she has been accepted in the Community Health Sciences Masters’ program at the University of Manitoba. Her interests surround urban issues that affect health, such as environmental barriers, food insecurity, social exclusion, housing, and poor transportation systems to name a few. However, ageing, mobility issues and social determinants of health, specifically related to the design of a city, have ultimately stolen her heart. She aims to incorporate an indigenous perspective in the way people approach and practice the health field.

Kayla will be working with Dr. Sylvestre on Aging in a Food Desert: Exploring the Role of Community Meals in Winnipeg's North End

Chantelle Ranville

Chantelle is a proud member of Opaskwayak Cree Nation and community member of the North End. Chantelle graduated from the Aboriginal Self-Government Administration Program at Red River College in 2018 and currently in the joint program at University of Winnipeg in Indigenous Studies. In the future, Chantelle is looking to pursue a PhD in Indigenous Studies and publish Indigenous material coming from an Indigenous perspective. In their spare time, Chantelle enjoys reading and working on poetry.

Chantelle will be working with Dr. Bohr on Research on Indigenous Archery Six Seasons of the Asiniskow Ithiniwak Project

Dylan Robinson

Dylan is a First Nations man of Cree descent. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 2010 and then worked in the federal and provincial criminal justice systems before changing his career goals. He is now working on a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in biology at the University of Winnipeg and plans to study medicine after graduating. As someone with a passion for studying science, Dylan hopes that his participation in the 2019 Indigenous Summer Scholars Program contributes to the ever-growing field of synthetic biochemistry. It is also hoped that programs such as ISSP can serve to increase Indigenous representation in academia and in the natural sciences.

Dylan will be working with Dr. Wood on Preparation of Reference Molecules for Verification of Molecular Transformations by Catalytically Self-Sufficient Enzymes

Courtney Bear - Graduate Student Mentor

Courtney Bear is a member of Peguis First Nation however she was born and raised in Selkirk, Manitoba. In 2017 she graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a Bachelor's of Arts in Criminal Justice and Conflict Resolution. After completing her degree Courtney participated in the Indigenous Summer Scholars Program (ISSP) where she conducted research with Dr. Melanie O’Gorman on clean drinking water in First Nations reserves. It was through the ISSP that Courtney's interest in pursing graduate school began.

Courtney is married with six children who inspire her to pursue her goals and dreams. Her passion is working with Indigenous peoples and she believes is education is a key to success. Courtney has determination and a drive to complete her Master's in Indigenous Development because she wants to be a role model for her family and other Indigenous people.

Photos supplied.

Return to Indigenous Summer Scholars Program page