My teachings and responsibilities as a Sqilxw person require that I prioritize accountable and flexible collaborative work on teams, and ensure all written work has an oral component and connected to the land. I have clear direction from my communities to invest in work that has clear, tangible outcomes for marginalized people and priority populations. As a result, I have aligned myself as a consultant, team member, and research designer in several community-based research partnerships.
Along with a research portfolio, I also bring grounded experience and knowledge of Indigenous teaching pedagogies and methodologies; student mentorship and student success program development with a focus on enhancing Indigenous excellence. As a person who lives with both a learning and physical disability (hard of hearing), I am firmly committed to creating safe, supportive and accessible learning environments that foster student success as they identify. I always ground my learning environments in disability justice framework, from course design to evaluation and community engagement. I am always learning new ways to incorporate interactive and adaptive technologies within the physical learning environments.
My background includes over thirty years of field experience as an activist, community organizer and Indigenous helper with and in HIV/AIDS trainer, crisis counsellor; young folks and with strong relations with many Indigenous communities, both urban and on reserve; as well as solidarity work with other communities of colour and across multiple marginalities. I have worked in both mainstream and Indigenous social service agencies, and at several post-secondary institutions.
Wherever I go, I bring a specialization in Indigenous knowledges, 2Spirit pedagogies, anti-racist praxis, Indigenous research methodologies, by supporting Black, Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) student success and engagement with multiple internal and external stakeholders. Wherever I go, I combine these theories, research approaches and frameworks of understanding to create relationships that honour treaty. My focus is on ensuring the reciprocal relationship culture is fostered and supported within higher education spaces.
My research orientation is always towards community. It is my responsibility as a researcher and academic to disrupt mainstream models. I work to re-center Indigenous ways of knowing and being and harness the existing strengths and leadership from Indigenous community members. As a result, I prioritize community-based participatory action research (CBPAR) over single-author papers, and always strive to involve myself in research that has tangible impacts. I have worked as a principle researcher and contributor on many CBPAR projects with social agencies that provide health and service support to Indigenous and 2LGBTQ communities.
The scope of my current research agenda includes First Nations, Metis, Inuit, 2 Spirit, trans, sex-worker, youth, deaf/hard of hearing and homeless communities. Research in these areas is increasingly salient, as resources within healthcare must be tailored to fit the unique needs of these communities by service providers (Brotman et al, 2002).
I bring with me an extensive teaching portfolio at a number of post-secondary institutions, where I have been instrumental in supporting students in all capacities of student life. My focus on relationship development with multiple stakeholders; both within and outside of institutions; is basis of my approach. I centre Indigenous worldviews, self-determination, resilience and promote sustainable social change. My strong ties with numerous Indigenous social service agencies and communities in Toronto, across Canada and the South Pacific reflect the strength of our highly respectful relationships. This is underscored by how often I am sought out to work with communities, including in an advisory capacity in projects, co-investigator and consultancy roles.
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