Ottawa funding Indigenous research
SASKATOON Canada’s science minister acknowledged Indigenous rights protests across the country last week while announcing millions of dollars in “transformational” funding for individuals and organizations conducting Indigenous research.Speaking with reporters at Wanuskewin Heritage Park, Kirsty Duncan said the $5.6-million program — around $300,000 of which will flow into Saskatchewan — will help the country move toward understanding and reconciliation.“There are going to be challenges along the way. This is hundreds of years of colonialism, so we’ll have challenges along the way. But today is a really good step,” Duncan said when asked about anti-pipeline protests.Sparked by a confrontation between RCMP and members of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation over a liquefied natural gas pipeline project in northern B.C., the protests spread quickly.During her speech to about 30 people, Duncan said “there is still work to be done,” and “everything will not be fixed overnight” while emphasizing the importance of the research money.That cash will be divided among 116 recipients, each of whom is eligible for up to $50,000. Six of the recipients, who collectively will receive $292,050, are located in Saskatchewan.One of them is University of Saskatchewan soil scientist Melissa Arcand, whose $34,000 grant covers the cost of holding a two-day forum aimed at learning more about Indigenous farmers in the province.According to the university, the recent event brought together more than 80 Indigenous leaders, land managers, farmers and researchers, as well as non-indigenous researchers and officials, to share information.There is currently “very little” information about Indigenous farmers and the land they cultivate — an estimated four million acres in Saskatchewan alone, Arcand said.Arcand is one of four U of S researchers to receive money under the Indigenous Research Capacity and Reconciliation Connection Grants program, which Duncan said is the first of its kind, but not the last.Other projects to receive money include a $28,000 community-based source water protection plan at Onion Lake Cree Nation and a collaborative research project aimed at addressing housing and water issues.
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