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Inuit-focused Indigenous Research Methods Course

Thu. Feb. 16, 2023

MIA Students

In the fall of 2023, MDP core course Indigenous Research Methods was taught through an Inuit lens for the first time.

Dr. Wayne Clark, Director/Adjunct Professor, Wâpanachakos, Indigenous Health Program at the University of Alberta, taught the course online. “Teaching the Indigenous research methods course offered a distinct Inuit focus this year. Inuit have long-held epistemologies that were in place before contact, which the students learned about and applied in their research projects focusing on the needs of the local Inuit community." Dr. Wayne, one of the first Inuit to earn an doctorate in Canada said, "As an Inuk academic, teaching the course was a unique opportunity!”

Judy Clark, Inuit Health Researcher at the Manitoba Inuit Association (MIA), also participated in the course and guided the students in developing their research protocols and proposals. She provided Inuit-specific research advice, including how to work with elders and knowledge keepers, and use Indigenous storytelling models.

 “It was a pleasure working with the research students and their interest regarding Inuit research. Sharing Inuit Quajimajatuqangit is the way of life for Inuit, and we are proud to do so. We were able to discuss some of the barriers that Inuit face in an urban setting regarding mental health, housing, and healthcare." Judy went on to say, "It is my hope that Manitoba Inuit Association can work with the students in furthering the research.”

The students particularly enjoyed the practical aspect of the course in developing research proposals focused on three real-life challenges faced by Inuit in Manitoba. The topics were:

  •  Making Manitoba Home: Stories of Urban Inuit Experiencing Housing Insecurity in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
  •  Exploring Dimensions of the Inuit Experience: A Case Study Analysis on the Mental Health Conditions of Inuit in Southern Urban Centres in Manitoba
  •  Inuit Advocacy in the Healthcare System

"Indigenous Research Methods as instructed by Dr. Wayne Clark represented distinct teachings from the perspectives of Inuit, and more specifically, Inuit residing in Manitoba. Dr. Clark was both thoughtful and intentional with the direction of an Inuit specific course, which involved a collaboration piece with MIA."  Stacey Woods, 1st year MDP student, said, "As an outcome, our cohort has gained fulsome knowledge on the Inuit experience in Manitoba, which included and was not limited to housing, mental health, and social program advocacy." 

Winter Lipscombe, a Qualifying Year student in the Masters in Applied Economics stated,  “Taking the Indigenous Research Methods course was exceptionally valuable to both my research and professional pursuits; I’ve been able to practically apply the methods learned in the course to Indigenous policy research and development in my job. This course also helped with the development of my research project on the impact of road infrastructure in northern Indigenous communities by teaching research methods that promote self-determination and accountability back to the community”. 

Eric Lewis, an international student from Liberia and 1st year MDP student, expressed the value of the course to him, "The course was eye-opening, as I learned much about Indigenous research methods and the Inuit, a unique group of Canada's Indigenous people.” 

 The MDP hopes to continue work with the Manitoba Inuit Association through field placements and collaborative student research.