The Canadian government is supporting Indigenous research and reconciliation with $5.6 million in new grants.
Federal Science and Sport Minister Kirsty Duncan awarded 116 recipients from across the country, including researchers from the University of Saskatchewan (U of S), up to $50,000 each to identify new ways of doing research with Indigenous communities.
“To make sure Indigenous, traditional or different ways of knowing are included in research,” Duncan said during the announcement in Saskatoon Monday. “If you live on the land for 10,000 years you need to be able to read the sky, the land, or the water or you don’t survive.”
“We have so much to learn from Indigenous peoples, First Nations, Métis, and Inuit.”
U of S agricultural researcher and grant recipient, Melissa Arcand, said she hopes the funding can enable her to work more closely with other researchers across disciplinary boundaries.
“Look at the economics, the social aspects, the cultural aspects, as well as the biophysical aspects of agriculture as it is practiced in Indigenous communities by Indigenous people,” Arcand said.
Arcand added there’s very little information available on the number of Indigenous farmers in the Prairies and across the country as well as the number of acres under agricultural production.
“It’s really important that was get an understanding of what the status of agriculture is before we can even understand what the issues might be,” Arcand said.
More than half of the grants will go to Indigenous not-for-profit organizations.
The award winners will come together in the spring for a national dialogue to help develop a strategy going forward on research and inform policies.