Sudbury

Maamwizing Indigenous Research Institute receives $400K for community-driven project

Maamwizing Indigenous Research Institute, at Laurentian University has received $400,000 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) through its Race, Gender and Diversity Initiative.

'Research can be done in a different way,' says Joey-Lynn Wabie, interim director of the institute

"For me, even just the term 'me' — I think we have to look at it as 'us' and 'we' and part of that is research. Who owns the data, who controls it, who has access and possession," says Joey-Lynn Wabie, an assistant professor at the university's school of Indigenous Relations and interim director of the Maamwizing Indigenous Research Institute. (Copyright: Simon Leslie)

When we think about how research is typically conducted, the image of an academic or scientist sitting at a desk or laboratory is likely to spring to mind. 

But Maamwizing Indigenous Research Institute at Laurentian University is challenging this idea and bringing research into the hands of community. 

The institute was recently awarded more than $400,000 in funding to support the unique approach to research through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). 

The project is called Maamwizing: A Hub for Indigenous Community-Driven Research and will be driven by local Anishinaabe community partners Akinomooshin Inc., and White Buffalo Road Healing Lodge over a period of three years.

It doesn't have to always be run and validated through educational institutions, from our perspective, it needs to be the opposite.— Joey-Lynn Wabie, interim director of Maamwizing Indigenous Research Institute

Joey-Lynn Wabie is an assistant professor at the university's school of Indigenous Relations and interim director of the institute and will be guiding the project. 

"Research can be done in a different way," Wabie said.

"It doesn't have to always be run and validated through educational institutions, from our perspective, it needs to be the opposite. It needs to be validated and run by communities. And in this specific case, Anishinaabe communities," she said.

While the project has received significant financial funding, the subject of the research hasn't been determined.

Wabie said the topic will be selected later on by community partners, following the recruitment and training of community based researchers and Indigenous graduate students.

'Who owns the data, who controls it'

First, the community partners will focus on knowledge building and exploring what they'd like to research.

"Maamwizing will be playing more of a supportive role in that," Wabie said. 

"For me, even just the term 'me' — I think we have to look at it as 'us' and 'we' and part of that is research.

"Who owns the data, who controls it, who has access and possession," she said. 

In a media release, Interim Associate Vice-President, Office of Academic and Indigenous programs at Laurentian University, Susan Manitowabi said, "This research is an expression of Indigenous self-determination in that it is being proposed by, for, and with Indigenous people." 

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