Indigenous Scholarship


Jamie BaxterJamie Baxter, Professor, Department of Geography Faculty of Social Science

Research Interests: Environmental risks from hazards, community responses to hazards, health, noxious facility siting, and methodology

Jamie is a Professor in the Department of Geography interested in a variety of topics including: environmental risks from hazards, environmental justice, community responses to hazards, geography of health, noxious facility siting, and methodology. Among his ongoing projects is one funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) to understand the meaning of community-based wind energy development in Indigenous and other rural communities.

Brian BranfireunBrian Branfireun, Professor, Cross-appointed with Earth Sciences and Geography Faculty of Science & Social Science

Research Interests: Mercury in the environment, climate and land use change

Brian holds a Canada Research Chair in Environment and Sustainability. Taking an interdisciplinary systems-based approach, Dr. Branfireun seeks to understand the physical and biological processes that affect contaminant levels in the environment, with a focus on mercury and other metals.   He is currently directing his attention toward ecosystems that are particularly sensitive to the impacts of natural and human-induced environmental change, particularly those in Canada’s north.  He is currently working on community-led projects on mercury in water and fish with the Kluane First Nation (YT), the Deh cho First Nations (NT),  and the Walpole Island First Nation (ON).  He is also an advisor to the Ontario Government on key First Nations mercury issues.

Candace Brunette-Debassige Candace Brunette-Debassige, Director, Indigenous Services Student Development Centre

Candace is Omushkego Cree (from Fort Albany First Nation) with proud Cree, French and Metis heritage. She is a graduate of the Aboriginal Studies and Equity Studies Programs at the University of Toronto; where she also completed an MA in Adult Education and Community Development. Candace is enrolled in the Doctorate in Education (EdD) at the Western University. Candace has been been working in Aboriginal Education at the K-12 board level and post-secondary levels for over 13 years including as the Recruitment Officer and Summer Mentorship Program Coordinator at First Nations House with the University of Toronto, and as the Aboriginal Education Advisor with the Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB). Candace is a member of the Indigenous Strategic Initiatives Committee at Western.

Deborah Coward Deborah Coward, Director of Administration Student Experience

Deb specializes in Higher Education and has a plethora of administrative experience in the areas of communications, publications, marketing, career services, records, graduation and Finance. At present, she manages a multi-source budget in Student Experience, where she also oversees human resources, information technology, Communications, Special Projects and Marketing.

Michael CoyleMichael Coyle, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law

Research interests: Aboriginal rights and dispute resolution theory

Michael Coyle has a Masters degree in Alternative Dispute Resolution (1998, Osgoode Hall) and a track record of success in resolving complex disputes while serving as Director of Mediation at the Indian Commission of Ontario (1989-2000). A member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, he is a leading mediator of multi-party, cross-cultural disputes involving Indigenous communities and the federal and provincial governments.

Michael’s research focuses on the adequacy of legal mechanisms aimed at facilitating the reconciliation of Aboriginal rights and the assertion of Crown sovereignty. Michael’s leadership in his field has been recognized internationally (one example is his appointment by the Edinburgh School of Law as its first McCormick Fellow in 2008). In Canada, he was chosen by the Ipperwash Inquiry to provide expert analysis and recommendations for change to current land claims policies. In 2007, Michael was commissioned by the federal government to consult with local communities and advise on how to address the crisis involving Six Nations of the Grand River and Caledonia. He has served on the SSHRC Insight Grants Adjudication Committee for Law and Criminology, and in 2015 served as its Chair. From 2011 to 2015, Michael was the recipient of a major Standard SSHRC Research Grant that saw him lead a collaborative project, among scholars across Canada, to analyze how the law should respond to the treaty rights of Aboriginal peoples. He is co-editor, with Professor John Borrows, of the result of that project, The Right(s) Relationship: Reimagining the Implementation of Historical Treaties, to be published by University of Toronto Press in the Fall of 2016.

Robert Hegele Robert A. Hegele MD FRCPC FACP, Distinguished University Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry

Research Interests: Human genetic methods, Heart disease, stroke and diabetes in at-risk communities, including Canada’s indigenous people

Rob Hegele is a Distinguished University Professor and an endocrinologist with an interest in lipidology and diabetes. He is the Director of the Blackburn Cardiovascular Genetics Lab and London Regional Genomics Centre. He has trained many physicians in lipidology and several graduate students in human genetics. His laboratory has studied the genetic basis of diabetes and atherosclerosis in Canadian sub- populations and aboriginal communities. Rob holds the Jacob J. Wolfe Distinguished Medical Research Chair, as well as the Martha Blackburn Chair in Cardiovascular Research

Stewart HarrisStewart B. Harris, CM, MD, MPH, FCFP, FACPM, Professor Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Department of Family Medicine

Research Interests: Type 2 diabetes in high-risk populations including Aboriginal Canadians, new immigrant groups, patients with mental health conditions

Stewart Harris is a professor in the Departments of Family Medicine, Epidemiology & Biostatistics, and Medicine (Endocrinology) at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western. In addition, he is also the Canadian Diabetes Associate Chair in Diabetes Management. He started his career as a consultant for the World Health Organization and CIDA. Stewart conducts research in the area of caring for populations at special risk with a focus on the cause and prevention of Type 2 diabetes in First Nations communities. His other research interests include the development and application of guidelines diabetes in primary care, the global development of diabetes registries, and the evaluation of chronic disease programs.

Jana LukerJana Luker, Associate Vice President, Student Experience

Jana holds undergraduate degrees in psychology, women’s studies, physical & health education from Guelph and Toronto, a Master of Education in counseling psychology from Toronto, and has undertaken doctoral level work in applied psychology at Toronto. She joined Western in June 2015, arriving from McGill University where she held a similar role as Executive Director (Services for Students) since 2007. Prior to joining McGill, Jana held several student-focused leadership positions at Canadian universities including Guelph, Toronto, and most recently at St. Francis Xavier where she was Vice-President (Student Services) from 2004 to 2007. Jana is Chair of the Indigenous Strategic Initiatives Committee at Western.

Isaac LuginaahIsaac Luginaah, Professor Department of Geography Faculty of Social Science

Research Interests: Environment and health, population health and GIS applications in health

Isaac is a Tier II Canada Research Chair in health Geography, and a member of Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars. His broad area of research interest includes environment and health, population health and GIS applications in health. Isaac’s work involves an integrative understanding of the broad determinants of the population health and the evidence of environment and health linkages. He is specifically interested in the human health impacts of environmental exposure and recent work in this area involves examining the links between ambient air quality and health in Southwestern Ontario, including near Aamjiwnaang First Nation.

Treena OrchardTreena Orchard, Associate Professor, School of Health Studies, Faculty of Health Sciences, Affiliate Member, Women's Studies and Feminist Research

Research Interests: Sex work, HIV/AIDS, sexuality, gender diversity, post-colonialism, the politics of health

As a medical anthropologist and feminist, post-colonial scholar, the issues of sexuality, gender, and health form the crux of much of Treena’s research, volunteerism, and activism. She has worked primarily with vulnerable populations, nationally and internationally, including young people, female sex workers, gay men, and urban and-on reserve Aboriginal populations.

Joanna QuinnJoanna Quinn, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science Cross-Appointed, Faculty of Law

Research Interests: Traditional justice practices in Uganda, Fiji; truth commissions in Uganda, Haiti

Dr. Quinn’s research considers acknowledgement in overcoming the causes of conflict, or the recognition of past events, and looks at its potential to affect real and lasting change. She seeks to understand why by-standers and outsiders do not care to understand what has taken place in survivor communities, and ultimately never engage in processes of acknowledgement and reconciliation in those communities. Her current project further specifies the acknowledgement hypothesis (Quinn 2003, 2010), demonstrating the importance of "thin sympathy" or a basic understanding of the needs of the other as a necessary condition for action. The study focuses on by-standers and outsiders, two groups normally excluded from the victim/perpetrator binary, but which are crucial to the success of social rebuilding. She has studied reconciliation and acknowledgement, through truth and reconciliation commissions and traditional justice, in Uganda, Fiji, Solomon Islands, and Haiti. Dr. Quinn serves as Director of Western’s Centre for Transitional Justice and Post-Conflict Reconstruction.

Debbie RudmanDebbie Laliberte Rudman, Associate Professor, School of Occupational Therapy & Graduate Program Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences Affliate Member, Women's Studies and Feminist Research

Research Interests: Contemporary structuring and negotiation of retirement and later life work, Critical social theory and occupational science, Critical gerontology, Shaping of occupation in later life, and interconnections between occupation, identity, participation, and well-being, Negotiation of chronic disability (e.g. low vision) and other transitions (e.g. migration) in later life, Disparities in occupational possibilities created through socio-political conditions and forces (e.g. post-secondary education and First Nations youth; work and migrants)

Debbie Rudman’s primary research interests relate to the occupational lives of aging adults; that is, to understand contextual and personal influences on what people do as they age and the implications of occupation for identity, community participation, health and well-being. More broadly, she has applied critically-oriented theoretical and methodological approaches to examine how occupations of individuals and collectives, are situated within socio- cultural, political, economic, and historical conditions. In relation to Indigenous research, Dr. Rudman was a member of the Indigenous Health and Well-Being Initiative and she has worked collaboratively with several London-based Indigenous community organizations, on a project addressing First Nation youths engagement in post- secondary education. Debbie was Faculty Scholar 2010- 2012.

Sara SeckSara L. Seck, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law

Research Interests: Corporate social responsibility, international sustainable development law, climate change, and third world approaches to international law

Originally from St John’s, Newfoundland, Professor Sara L. Seck (LLB, Toronto; PhD, Osgoode Hall) joined the Faculty of Law, Western University, Ontario, in 2007 and was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2013. In September 2015, Sara received the Emerging Scholarship Award from the Academy of Environmental Law of the IUCN (World Conservation Union) in recognition of her research contributions on sustainable mining and international environmental law. She is a Senior Fellow with CIGI’s International Law Research Program, where her current research examines business responsibilities for human rights affected by climate change. Sara is a member of the Editorial Board of the new Business and Human Rights Journal (Cambridge University Press), and a member of the governance committee of Columbia University’s Teaching Business and Human Rights Forum. At Western, she teaches courses in Environmental Law, Corporate Social Responsibility, and International Environmental Law. She is a member of the Centre for Transitional Justice and Post-Conflict Reconstruction, and an affiliate of the Centre for Environment and Sustainability.

Clare TattersallClare Tattersall, Manager, Undergraduate Services Western Engineering

Clare holds a Master’s degree in English Language and Literature, a certificate in global career development facilitation, in a trained facilitator for the Leader Effectiveness Training Program and is a Qualified instructor for the Intercultural Developnent Inventory. She is a multi- skilled Manager whose broad interest revolves around the public good.

Gloria ThomasDr. Gloria J Thomas, Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Gloria J Thomas is Hodinohso:ni from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, a member of the Onondaga Nation, Deer Clan. As researcher and writer, she has participated in national, provincial and First Nations studies and curriculum projects to develop community-based models for Indigenous education. Gloria completed a PhD in Cultural and Policy Studies at Queen’s University in 2013 where she served as instructor and Academic Liaison for the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program. Active in the graduate studies program, Aboriginal and World Indigenous Education Studies (AWIES), Gloria developed and instructed a course in Education Research Methods in an Indigenous context. Her interest to design Indigenous methodologies naturally leads Gloria to narrative, story and autoethnography as methods of qualitative inquiry. Having studied creative writing with various Indigenous authors and writing cooperatives, including a scholarship at Banff Center for the Arts, Gloria secured OGS and SSHRC funding and bursaries from The National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation (NAAF) to define creative scholarly research in an Indigenous paradigm which is the topic of her dissertation. She has published articles in McGill Journal of Education (MJE) and the Journal for World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC). Gloria presented research papers at Trent University: Celebrating Indigenous Knowledges; CSSE; Congress of Qualitative Inquiry at Urbana-Champagne; and Jagiellonian University and Pauza Foundation for Contemporary Art in Cracow, Poland.  During her time in the IDI, Gloria will work on various interdisciplinary activities, including a 2017 summer school in Haudenosaunee knowledge, the 2017 winter school in cultural competency, and the development of a Purple Guide for Indigenous leaners.  She will also continue with her own fascinating research, and is working on the draft of her manuscript “Finding Tadodaho: An Autoethnography of healing historical trauma,” to be published by Routledge.

Pauline Wakeham Pauline Wakeham, Associate Professor and Graduate Development and Placement Coordinator, Department of English
Chair of Undergraduate Studies, Centre for Transitional Justice and Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Research Interests: Indigenous literary and cultural studies, Indigenous reparations movements, discourses of reconciliation

Pauline is Graham and Gale Wright Distinguished Scholar, 2015-2016. She pursues research in Indigenous and Canadian literary and cultural studies. Within these fields, she has published on a variety of topics, including ethnographic photography and film, repatriation, museological representations of Indigenous peoples, Indigenous land reclamations, and cultures of redress and reconciliation.

Jerry WhiteJerry P. White, Professor Department of Sociology Faculty of Social Science

Research Interests: Examining the determinants of well-being in Indigenous communities; improving educational attainment and understanding inter-generational trauma

Jerry’s research explores Indigenous policy, health and the social determinants of health. He is Director of the Aboriginal Policy Research Consortium Int’l, he serves as Editor in Chief: International Indigenous Policy Journal, and he is Director of IndigiLINK International Social Networking. Jerry is a member of the Indigenous Strategic Initiatives Committee at Western.

Lloy Wylie Lloy Wylie, Assistant Professor, Interfaculty Program in Public Health, AMS Phoenix Fellow Departments of Pathology, Psychiatry and Anthropology Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry

Research Interests: Health systems and health services, community based participatory research

Lloy Wylie’s main areas of research are in health systems and health services, with a focus on equity and improvement of health services and access through community based participatory research. Her current research focuses on Aboriginal, immigrant and refugee health drawing on cultural safety as a framework for health systems improvements. She has an emphasis on culturally appropriate care through health professional education to improve continuity of care for underserviced populations. In addition, she examines health systems governance and policy, as well as processes of community engagement in health care. Lloy is a Phoenix Fellow with the Associated Medical Services