I have been actively involved in the Mi’kmaq community since the late 1990s when my Indigenous ancestry became known after years of community and familial suppression stemming from histories of discrimination, exclusion, and erasure on the island of Newfoundland.
My personal and professional involvement within the urban Indigenous community of Tkaronto has been one of many gifts. To learn and grow with a group of people who have rich lived experiences within a space where you do not only listen but where you are also heard. From Indigenous Board of Directors to ceremonies, or community events, my continued involvement with the urban Indigenous community of Tkaronto has encompassed relations to reciprocity, inclusion, and respect.
My doctoral studies have allowed me to expand my web of relations to include the Mohawk, Seneca, Oneida, Cayuga, Onondaga, and Tuscarora nations of Six Nations of the Grand River and the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte of Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. Furthermore, the Michi Saagiig (Mississauga Anishinaabeg) of Curve Lake First Nation. The relations are not static but are continually expanding and developing, and nurtured.
Local and National Committees
My primary research focuses are critical Indigenous studies, urban Indigenous identities, colonial and decolonization theories, Indigenous research and knowledge methodologies, and Indigeneity. My research program was initiated by my curiosity about identity formation and maintenance in relationships with those who are also influenced by tactics of settler-colonialism, where navigation and negotiation of spaces and places based on dominant measures are all too common. Moreover, most, if not all, of my research projects, are based on or influenced by community work or my previous master’s research, Are You Native Enough? An Analysis of White Passability Among Indigenous Peoples in an Urban Context, which focuses on the exploration of the colonial interference imposed onto Indigenous identities through forced removal and assimilation and unearthing ways in which healing can create personal and cultural sovereignty.
Supervisor: David Newhouse
Working Title: The Resurgence of Urban Indigenous Identities & Contemporary Understandings of Community in Digital Spaces
Working Abstract: In contemporary realities, digital spaces have undoubtedly influenced our ability to explore the world around us. Digital space is defined as the virtual environments and online platforms that exist within the digital realm, such as the internet, social media, and mobile applications. These spaces can be used for a wide range of purposes, such as communication, commerce, entertainment, and information sharing. They allow individuals and organizations to connect, collaborate, and share information and resources in ways that were previously not possible.
Through digital spaces, mainly social media, there has been an increase in the exploration of personhood and one’s pursuit to explore the complexities of their identities (including intersectionality and relation to place). These efforts have led to the resurgence of one’s Indigenous identity or identities, which is undoubtedly a political act of decolonization, concrete actions in which peoples (and communities) are exercising their self-determination by reclaiming their voice.
In this respect, this research will explore how digital spaces (social media) conceptualizes and impacts Indigenous identity formation, maintenance, and resurgence. Through a mixed-methods approach, different aspects will be analyzed to offer insights into how digital spaces can support communities to renew or reconstruct their Indigenous identities and understandings of community. Exploring and assessing the role of such digital spaces will offer an overview of the current practices in identity revitalization projects and new perspectives on how to best support Indigenous futures.