An MA Student is required for a 1-2 year commitment to assist with tasks and activities associated with a SSHRC-funded research project focused on researching and evaluating land-based university programming.
This successful candidate will be an Indigenous MA Student, or Indigenous student currently in a second-degree professional program. Preference will be given to Indigenous students from the Northwest Territories (Dene, Metis and Inuvialuit).
Dechinta land-based university is located at Blachford Lake Lodge, 220km east of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, on the Chief Drygeese traditional territory of the Yellowknives Dene. The program blends land based cultural activities and knowledge with university courses accredited by university partners. Courses are co-taught by Indigenous knowledge holders and university professors. The purpose of the program is to provide students with a university level learning experience grounded in Indigenous cosmologies and cultural practice.
The MA Student will be expected to assist the principal investigator with developing the institutional model for Dechinta through:
Expectations associated with this position will be identified through a work plan and be consistent with SSHRC guidelines for research student funding. Remuneration for this position is $12,000.00 per year.
CLOSING DATE: March 15, 2012
Please direct inquiries to:
Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox, PhD
Principal Investigator, Dechinta Partnership Development Grant
Send resumes with a cover letter and names of three references to:
Program Manager, Dechinta
Effective, culturally relevant educational programming in Northern Canada has proven elusive at all levels of the educational system. At the post-secondary level, Northern colleges provide essential vocational training, but they rely on partnerships with southern universities to provide some access to degree programs to northern students unable to leave the North. Canada remains the only circumpolar country without a Northern-based university. Yet the need for a well-educated northern population is great, and growing. Faced with unique challenges ranging from climate change and Arctic sovereignty to Indigenous social, economic and political development, the future of North will depend on the capacity of residents to think critically and act wisely in the stewardship of Northern lands and resources.
Dechinta Bush University is based on the vision and commitment of a group of Northern based scholars and southern university supporters seeking to establish a Northern university that draws on Northern strengths: Indigenous cultures, connection to the land, and the necessity for innovating to address unique northern circumstances. This project will see up to 225 graduate students receiving instruction through land-based hands on learning from up to 90 academic instructors and land-based experts in bush-camp settings, supported by several well-established southern universities and Northern Aboriginal, cultural and research organizations.
The program speaks directly to the needs and aspirations of both students and Northern communities: its aim is to produce a cohort of Northern Indigenous students positioned to respond to their community needs through the unique training they will receive at Dechinta.
Conceptualized on a tutoring/apprenticeship pedagogical approach grounded in critical Indigenous educational methodologies, Dechinta offers an environment where Indigenous cultural skills and knowledge provide the basis for developing twenty university-accredited courses. The plethora of issues facing the North today – from climate change to self government – require that decision and policy makers working in communities are increasingly required to function effectively across a range of knowledge sectors.
Small Indigenous communities are beginning to achieve wide-ranging powers to govern under land claims and self government agreements, at the same time that they are struggling to overcome effects of colonization and face global challenges. Tomorrow’s leaders and policy-makers face a complexity of information assimilation and decision making unparalleled in history.
At the same time communities are increasingly relying on their cultural confidence in their Indigenous knowledge as a source of strength and guidance in making decisions. And as these communities achieve a level of self-government, they are anxious to see their children acquire the education and skills necessary to replace a transient non-Indigenous population which currently predominates among the decision making elite. Dechinta represents an opportunity to share in building a unique land-based learning experience that will stand as a model approach to Indigenous and Northern education throughout the circumpolar world.
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