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Advancing Indigenous scholarship

Memorial University welcomes five new Indigenous scholars

Teaching and Learning

By Jennifer Batten

Five Indigenous academic staff members have officially joined the Memorial community.

Dr. Daria Boltokova, Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences; Michaela Doucette, Queen Elizabeth II Library; Dr. Amy Hudson, School of Arctic and Subarctic Studies, and cross-appointed to the School of Science and the Environment, Grenfell Campus; Erica (Samms) Hurley, Faculty of Nursing; and Dr. Hilding Neilson, Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography, Faculty of Science, were selected through a recruitment process that involved consultation with Indigenous communities, elders, the President’s Advisory Committee on Indigenous Affairs and academic units across Memorial’s campuses.

The new permanent roles were open to Indigenous candidates from around the world, but preference was given to First Nations, Métis and Inuit candidates from Canada and in particular from Newfoundland and Labrador.

The process to recruit began in 2020 but experienced delays due to the pandemic.

“Memorial is fortunate to welcome scholars from across the province, Canada and around the world, who contribute knowledge and expertise across a great variety of disciplines and areas of research,” said Dr. Florentine Strzelczyk, provost and vice-president (academic). “We are eager to welcome our Indigenous colleagues, and we look forward to learning from them and with them as we expand curricula and further incorporate indigenization into Memorial’s teaching and learning environment.”

Accountability and responsibility

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action and Memorial’s new Strategic Framework for Indigenization outline Memorial’s goals and aspirations around indigenization and make clear the importance and need for integrating Indigenous knowledges and ontologies across all levels of post-secondary education.

“This is the first cluster hire of Indigenous faculty at Memorial and we are thrilled to welcome these Indigenous scholars to Memorial and to begin working with them to build a community of Indigenous scholarship,” said Catharyn Andersen, vice-president (Indigenous). “We are excited to work together to bring Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing into the academy across disciplines, and through scholarly work and research across our campuses.”

1/ Dr. Daria Boltokova

“I am delighted to be part of a university that takes indigenizing the academy seriously,” said Dr. Boltokova. “I am looking forward to contributing to the advancement of Indigenous scholarship and teaching at Memorial.”

Photo: Submitted

2/ Michaela Doucette

“Joining Memorial as Indigenous archivist has given me the opportunity to combine my professional goals with my personal goals,” said Ms. Doucette. “I am very honoured and excited to be part of this process and to be able to assist Memorial University Libraries, and Memorial University as a whole, as they work towards indigenization aims."

Photo: Submitted

3/ Dr. Amy Hudson

“My own worldviews are heavily shaped by my sense of belonging and experiences growing up on the lands of my Inuit ancestors, in my home community of Black Tickle,” said Dr. Hudson. “I am committed to sharing, learning, listening and privileging diverse Indigenous science, including Indigenous ways of knowing and being in community-led research, education, teaching and scholarship.”

Photo: Submitted

4/ Erica (Samms) Hurley

“As a Mi'kmaw woman from the west coast of Newfoundland, my priority has been building relationships and working alongside community,” said Ms. Hurley. “Over the last 15 years my work with the Western Regional School of Nursing has allowed me to do this while growing my knowledge of Indigenous health, wellness, healing and research. I see this new role as an opportunity to be part of a community of Indigenous people, regardless of disciplines, working towards advancing Indigenous thought, pedagogies, and research within Memorial.”

Photo: Submitted

5/ Dr. Hilding Neilson

“I am thrilled to be able to return home and join Memorial,” said Dr. Neilson. “It is an opportunity to share my love of science, physics and astronomy with people across the province, and to work on understanding some big questions in astronomy. I’m proud to be part of the Indigenous cluster hire and have the chance to work with colleagues who are committed to Indigenous inclusion and supporting Indigenous worldviews in science and education.”

Photo: Submitted

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