Archive for the ‘Faculty Profiles’ Category

Kim McKay-McNabb, Assistant Professor, Department of Science. Kim has been a faculty member since 2006. She is originally from Sakimay First Nation in Saskatchewan. She was born in Regina and has lived here most of her life. She is the mother of five children, one of who attended the First Nations University of Canada; Kim hopes that the others will consider attending First Nations University when they are old enough. Kim is an alumnus from the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College where she received her undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) and her Masters of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology. She is currently completing the requirements for her Doctorate, in Clinical Psychology at the University of Regina. She will be one of the few First Nations Registered Psychologists in Canada once she completes her degree. Kim also coordinates the National First Nations Environmental Contaminants Program (NFNECP). This program is administered at the First Nations University of Canada in partnership with First Nations Inuit Health Branch, Research and Monitoring Section and the Assembly of First Nations. The objective of the NFNECP is to help the First Nations of Canada assess the extent of their exposure to environmental contaminants and the potential for associated risk to their health and well being (see www.nfnecp.ca for more information). Her research interests are Environmental Health, Aboriginal Health, Aboriginal communities and HIV/AIDS. She is a community-based researcher who believes in action-based research.

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Dr. Esther-Kathleen Segal (formerly O’Reilly-Scanlon) is Professor Emeritus from the University of Regina and currently Professor of Indigenous Education at First Nations University of Canada. She teaches undergraduate and graduate classes in Indigenous research methods and language and literature. Dr. Segal received her PhD from McGill University and has published widely in the areas of narrative/story, memory-work, and self-study. Last year, Dr. Segal had a wondrous time living, writing and teaching in a remote Dene Community in Northern Saskatchewan.

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Sharon Leslie Acoose, School of Indian Social Work, Saskatoon Campus. Ms. Acoose is a member of the Sakimay Indian Band. She has been working for First Nations University since 1999, which has been one of the most empowering experiences of her life. She is a recovering drug addicted alcoholic and will celebrate 19 years of sobriety April 1, 2010. In those 19 years she has acquired a Bachelor of Human Justice, a Certificate in Corrections, a Master of Social Work and is presently enrolled in a Doctorate of Philosophy program through the College of Medicine – Dept of Community Health & Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan. Her research interests are issues around Indian women who have been in conflict with the law; her thesis will be based on the concept of reintegration. Ms. Acoose has rich and colourful past life experiences which she uses in her classrooms and in her many community presentations. She loves teaching for the First Nations University of Canada.

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Shannon Avison is an Assistant Professor and Department Head of Indian Communication Arts (INCA). She also administers and teaches courses for the Intercultural Leadership Program (ILP). Shannon completed her MA in Media Studies at Concordia University, while on education leave from the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College (SIFC). She also has a BA Philosophy, a BA High Honours in Indian Studies, and a certificate in INCA. Her thesis, Aboriginal Newspapers: Their contribution to the emergence of an Aboriginal public sphere, and her work with Aboriginal broadcasters, inform her teaching in courses including Aboriginal Media in Canada (INCA 283), Management Communication (ADMN 205) and Intercultural Leadership (ILP 100). Shannon coordinates the delivery of the INCA Summer Institute in Journalism (INCA 200) which has produced journalists including Michelle Hugli (The Afternoon Edition, CBC Radio), Nelson Bird (Indigenous Circle, CTV), Connie Walker (The National, CBC Toronto), Miranda Hanus (Missinipi Radio), Priscilla Wolfe (APTN), Kerry Benjoe (Regina Leader-Post). She also coordinates internships in communications, journalism, multimedia and leadership. Shannon serves on the SaskFilm board of directors and the CTV Indigenous Circle advisory council. She has produced video projects including the Urban Aboriginal Peoples’ videography project, Treaty Elders Governance and Leadership series, Saskatchewan First Nations for the Vancouver Olympics, SaskScene and Centennial Scene, as well as student television productions like Inside the Circle.

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Dr. Herman Michell (B.A., MEd., PhD). Dr. Herman Michell is originally from the small fishing/trapping community of Kinoosao, on the eastern shores of Reindeer Lake in northern Saskatchewan. He speaks fluent Cree (‘th’ dialect) and also has Inuit, Dene and Swedish ancestry. He has been involved in Aboriginal higher education in different capacities for over ten years. He is an Associate Professor (tenured) at First Nations University of Canada and has taught undergraduate courses in Indigenous Health Studies, Education, and Environment.

Dr. Michell has studied in four Canadian universities. In 2008, he completed a PhD in Education from the University of Regina in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on the inclusion of Cree culture in science education. Previous to this, he graduated with a Masters Degree in Education from the University of British Columbia in 1998, specializing in Curriculum & Instruction. He also completed graduate course work in Education Psychology and Special Education from both UBC and the University of Manitoba. Dr. Michell initially obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in Sociology from the University of Winnipeg in 1990.

In addition to teaching and research, Dr. Michell sits on numerous internal and external committees including having served on the Board of Governors at First Nations University of Canada as a faculty representative for seven years. His administrative experience includes completion of a three-year term as Department Head of Science and one year as Acting Head of Science. He is currently the Vice President of Academics at First Nations University of Canada.

As part of his academic endeavors, Dr. Michell has published widely and has also travelled internationally (South Africa, Netherlands, England, South America, West Indies, Barbadoes). Dr. Michell regularly visits pre-service teacher education programs as a guest lecturer on the topic of cultural content inclusion. He is also called upon as a guest speaker on numerous occasions to address youth in First Nation communities and schools in relation to pursuing careers in science and health-related fields. As principal investigator, his research team recently completed a major federally funded study in 2008 entitled, “Learning Indigenous Science from Place: An Action Research Study Examining Indigenous Science Perspectives in Saskatchewan First Nations and Métis Community Contexts.” It will influence curriculum and instruction in science education for years to come.

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BLAIR STONECHILD, Professor of Indigenous Studies. Blair Stonechild is a member of the Muscowpetung Saulteaux First Nation in Saskatchewan. He spent his first nine years of education at the Qu’Appelle Indian Residential School at Lebret, and was one of the first students to enroll in a white high school in Regina. He went on to obtained his B.A. from McGill University in Montreal, and later completed his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Regina.

As a student at McGill, Blair was elected President of the Native Youth Association of Canada, the first effort to organize Aboriginal youth across Canada. Upon completing his bachelor’s degree, Blair worked as Assistant Director of Manitou Community College, the first Aboriginal-controlled post-secondary institution in Canada.

In 1976 Blair was the first academic hired by the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College (SIFC). Shortly after being employed, he chaired the Ad Hoc Committee on Indian Studies, which lay out the basic structure of the Bachelor’s Degree. As the first Head of the Department of Indian Studies, he was responsible to building a faculty and developing the curriculum. After two terms as department head, Blair was selected as the first Dean of Academics, responsible for faculty and curriculum issues across the several college departments. During this period, he helped to develop a system of academic rank and promotions, and helped to negotiate the first SIFC Collective Agreement. During this period, Blair also instrumental in establishing the Canadian Indian/Native studies association (CINSA). He was elected the organizations first President, a position that he held for two terms. CINSA helped to promote the interest of Native Studies programs across Canada and raise their profile in the scholarly community.

Blair has been involved in research for local First Nations. He has conducted land claims research for the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians, and his research on the abandoned Treaty Four Grounds in Fort Qu’Appelle led to the eventual returning of much of that land. In 1982 he along with Bill Peigan Jr. conducted an extensive study of flooding in the Qu’Appelle Valley that has led to the negotiation of settlements with eight Reserves in the Qu’Appelle Valley.

In 1990, Blair participated in the hearings of the National Task Force on Aboriginal Peoples and Museums. Shortly after, he was selected by the Prime Minister’s Office to be one of the dozen members of the Board of Trustees of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Canada’s national museum of culture and history located across the river from the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. He served on the board for nine years. The museum, designed by renowned Aboriginal architect Douglas Cardinal, had just been completed. Blair participated in the broad planning of the extensive First People Hall. Blair has also sat on the First Peoples’ Advisory Committee of the Glenbow Museum, been a consultant for the Treaty Four Keeping House project, and developed the First Nations content for the RCMP Museum in Regina. It was at the museum that Blair told Douglas Cardinal about the SIFC’s dream to construct a new facility. This led to an invitation to the architect to come to Regina for consultations. The unique design reflected Aboriginal values, but was also designed as an organic and functional facility. Blair became Executive Director of Planning, responsible for coordinating the planning process and fund-raising. The successful completion of the project led the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College to be rechristened the First Nations University of Canada.

Over the years, Blair also found the time to conduct research and publish books. He co-authored with Dr. Bill Waiser, Loyal Till Death: Indians and the North-West Rebellion, which overturned erroneous impressions of widespread Indian disloyalty during the 1885 Resistance. It won the Saskatchewan Book Award and was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award in 1997. Dr. Stonechild’s book examining Aboriginal post-secondary policy The New Buffalo: Aboriginal Post-secondary Policy in Canada (2006) was a finalist for the Saskatchewan Book Award. He is currently in the process of having published the biography Buffy Sainte-Marie: It’s My Way, based upon a series of interviews with Buffy and those who have been important in her life. Next, Blair plans to do research on Aboriginal spiritual philosophy.

Blair was selected as the Editor responsible for Aboriginal content for the Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. Stonechild has done extensive consulting on Aboriginal education, including being the lead researcher in national studies of Aboriginal post-secondary policy including a pan-Canadian inventory of Aboriginal post-secondary initiatives, study on Aboriginal attitudes towards self-identification in education, and study of the needs of Aboriginal post-secondary learners. He has been a part of international delegations representing the university in Peru, Chile, Belize and the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In his spare time, Blair has run marathons, completing the 42 kilometer Queen City Marathon. Blair is married to Sylvia and has raised three children.

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Angelina Weenie (B.Ed., B.A., Post-Graduate Diploma, M.Ed). Angelina Weenie is Plains Cree from Sweetgrass First Nation. She is a fluent Cree speaker. Angelina has been involved in Aboriginal education for over 30 years, as a school teacher, curriculum developer, and eventually as Associate Professor in the Department of Indigenous Education at the First Nations University of Canada. She has served as the Department Head of Indigenous Education since 2002. She has published numerous articles in peer reviewed journals, a book, Resilience and First Nations Students (2009), and numerous professional reports including evaluations of the Aboriginal Head Start program. She has given many talks on Aboriginal education at conferences throughout the province of Saskatchewan and the country.

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