The University of Manitoba hosted researchers from across North America last week as part of the first-ever Turtle Island Indigenous Science Conference — an event highlighting the work of Indigenous academics who say they’re ready to show their research to the world.
Myrle Ballard, university professor and Environment Canada’s Indigenous science director, told 680 CJOB that Indigenous-led research has been very strong at the university for years now, but the conference awarded an opportunity for leaders in their respective fields to network and learn from each other.
“We had more than 300 people participating from across Canada and the U.S. — from government and academic institutions across the continent,” Ballard said.
“It was very enriching and very informative.”
Ballard said the knowledge at the conference was culturally focused, and that language-based research, for example, is a way to help people have a deeper understanding of issues that isn’t possible through traditional academic methods.
“We had sessions regarding the science embedded in language and we had sessions on STEM,” she said.
“We had Indigenous academics who spoke about their research.”
Among the presentations was Ballard’s own work: a look into the reconciliation efforts with those who were evacuated from Lake St. Martin First Nation over a decade ago, after the province diverted flood waters to the lake to protect agricultural and other properties.
“My research is about reconciling land with the Lake St. Martin evacuees — the ones that were evacuated in 2011 — and to bring healing to them through land-based projects.”