NU researchers earn $1.3 Million in grants

Researchers presentation for grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Researchers at Nipissing University have earned $1,352,011 in multiple grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). The work of these faculty members contributes to a better understanding of Nipissing First Nation’s history; Canadian’s participation in sport; how Northern Canadians acquire and maintain skills; the relationships between cultural continuity, physical activity, food and health among Indigenous Peoples; the experience of wellness and helping in Nipissing First Nation; and how to better engage children in physical activity.

Researchers earning SSHRC Grants include:

Dr. Katrina Srigley, Associate Professor of History, received $157,280 over five years, for her project, Gaa Bi Kidwaad Maa Nbisiing: A-Kii Bemaadzijik, E-Niigannwang/The Stories of Nbisiing: the Land, the People, the Future.

Dr. Barbi Law, Associate Professor and Graduate Coordinator for the Master in Kinesiology program in the School of Physical and Health Education, received $186,387 over four years for her project, What is a picture worth? Exploring children's modelling use in sport.

Dr. David Zarifa, Canada Research Chair in Life Course Transitions in Northern and Rural Communities and Associate Professor of Sociology, received $228,586 for his project Post-Secondary Education, Skills and the Workforce: Northern and Rural Challenges.

Dr. Kirsten Greer, Canada Research Chair in Global Environmental Histories and Geographies of the Semi-Periphery, and Assistant Professor of History and Geography, received a $25,000 one-year grant to organize and operate the Challenging Canada 150: settler colonialism and critical environmental sciences symposium.

Researchers earning CIHR Grants include:

Dr. Barbi Law and Dr. Brenda Bruner, associate professors in the School of Physical and Health Education earned $504,900 over four years for their project, Opportunities for Moving More and Sitting Less: Exploring a Whole School Approach to Improve Children's 24-Hour Movement Patterns.

Dr. Cindy Peltier, Chair in Indigenous Education, (with Dr. Louela Manankil-Rankin, Dr. Karey McCullough, Dr. Mike DeGagné, Dwayne Nashkawa, June Commanda, Simon Brascoupe, and Dr. Alexandra King) received $100,000 for 1 year for their project, titled Wiidooktaadyang [We are Helping One Another]: Understanding the Experience of Wellness and Helping in Nipissing First Nation.

Patty Chabbert, Business and Indigenous Relations Manager at Canadore College, and Dr. Brenda Bruner with Mary Wabano, Director of the First People’s Centre and Dean of the School of Indigenous Studies at Canadore College, received $149,858 for one year, for their project, titled Cultural Continuity and Physical Health: Creating a Model of Resiliency Among Indigenous Post-Secondary Students and Their Families.

“I want to congratulate all of today’s grant recipients here at Nipissing University. The work of these established and emerging researchers helps us better understand our collective past and build a healthier, stronger and more prosperous future. It also provides our government with the evidence we need to make sound policy decisions about the things Canadians care about most: their families and communities, health and environment, and jobs and future prosperity,” said Anthony Rota, Member of Parliament for Nipissing–Timiskaming.

"Nipissing University thanks the Federal government, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for this investment in our faculty, our students and our university,” said Dr. Arja Vainio-Mattila, Provost and Vice-President Academic and Research. We are very proud of the transformative research our faculty members are conducting, research that can improve the lives of individuals and enhance entire communities.”

"My colleagues and I offer sincere gratitude to the Federal government, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for this investment in our research,” said Dr. Katrina Srigley, Associate Professor of History. “These types of investments allow us to explore ideas and create knowledge that strengthens relationships across this country. We also offer thanks on behalf of our students, who benefit directly through their experiences as undergraduate and graduate student researchers. These opportunities train students to engage with diverse ways of developing, asking and answering research questions. They prepare them for success in whatever field they choose."BackgroundDr. Barbi LawTitle: What is a picture worth? Exploring children's modelling use in sport

The research will enhance our understanding of Canadians’ participation in sport by exploring one of the most commonly used teaching strategies – modelling. Modelling refers to the process of modifying one’s thoughts, attitudes, or behaviours following the observation of a model and can involve observing someone else (e.g., a teammate, coach, professional athlete) or the self (e.g., edited or unedited video replay). Despite it being termed the ‘forgotten psychological skill’, there has been little systematic research exploring children’s use of modelling to influence a broad range of cognitions and behaviours in sport.

The aims of this research are to explore children’s perspectives on how they use modelling in organized sport settings and its relationship to both positive and negative behaviours; and to develop and validate a self-report measure of children’s use of the functions of modelling in sport (i.e., the reasons why they use modelling) that can be used both within research settings as well as organized sport settings.

The research supports the Canadian Sport Policy 2012 vision to develop better understanding of Canadians’ participation in sport, and can be applied to understand participation at the introduction, recreational, and competitive levels. Further, this research may inform initiatives within the target area of athlete development, retention, and outcomes. The research also contributes to understanding ethical and unethical conduct in sport.

Finally, the knowledge mobilization strategies include development of workshops as well as online materials that will be designed in collaboration with a teacher/coach advisory board to educate practitioners on how to use modelling in sport, its potential effects on children’s sport experiences, and to encourage development and evaluation of current modelling practices to create a positive sport environment that helps athletes reach their potential.

Dr. Katrina Srigley

Title: Gaa Bi Kidwaad Maa Nbisiing: A-Kii Bemaadzijik, E-Niigannwang/The Stories of Nbisiing: the Land, the People, the Future

Gaa Bi Kidwaad Maa Nbisiing has three principle goals: to document the history of Nbisiing Anishnaabeg (Nipissing First Nation) from the perspective of Nbisiing Anishnaabeg (NFN) through storytelling and story listening, build capacity among team and community members to learn from and share this knowledge, mobilize that history on and off the territory, and initiate an archival plan with Kendaaswin (NFN public library) to preserve and share our research.

Together our work addresses issues important to NFN, particularly the need to document, understand, and share NFN's history. Elder John Sawyer gifted us the following teaching: "History is about identity and belonging. It is about healing." When we listen to stories in interviews, over meals and crafting, when we are given correspondence, photographs, material culture, and organizational records, we gather knowledge that makes these connections possible. When we share that knowledge in community exhibits, social media, curriculum, presentations, and publications, we enhance understanding of the past and the present on and off the territory in ways critical to Anishnaabeg resurgence and meaningful relationships across academic and non-academic sectors.

Building and modelling research partnerships rooted in trust and reciprocity are crucial to this process. Developed over nine years, our relationships honour Anishnaabeg ways of knowing and are the foundation for listening carefully, ethically, and holistically to stories of the past. Gaa Bi Kidwaad Maa will forefront Anishnaabeg methodologies and historiographies, including the crucial learning contexts provided by Elders and the rich and dynamic written traditions of Anishnaabeg intellectuals, to explore the history of the territory through the following themes -- since time immemorial, family and community, governance, education, and land. Anishnaabemwin (Ojibway language) is present in all our work through relationships with language speakers, and in bilingual writing and sharing. We will model relationships to people, land, and stories to strengthen belonging and identity in community, facilitate intergenerational connections, and make space for the worthwhile exchange of knowledge and skills between NFN, Nipissing University, and our surrounding community.

Our knowledge mobilization plan emanates from Nbisiing Anishnaabeg, addressing community research needs and those important to the indigenization of academic disciplines. Balancing our successful work on the stories of Anishnaabe nini minwa(men) warriors, we will develop a bilingual historical exhibit and short documentary on the Homemaker's Club that forefronts the stories of Anishnaabekwewag (women) and highlights their roles as mothers, warriors, and leaders. Through our growing photographic collection, we will share knowledge and listen to stories through social media and during monthly meetings with Elders. This will be mobilized as an illustrated book. In a book-length thematic history we will contribute to Anishnaabeg and Great Lakes History, supporting indigenization in Canadian History, in particular. Working with six educators who are the sons, daughters, granddaughters, and grandsons of NFN, we will mobilize Anishnaabeg history in curriculum and model relationship building with Elders and community members. This will establish mentors throughout local schools and impact scholarship in Education. Finally, working with Nipissing University's archivist and our collaborators in "Growing GRASAC," we will initiate and build capacity for an archive at Kendaaswin to preserve and share the knowledge gifted to us throughout our work. This initiative supports the long-term goal of a Culture Centre at NFN.

Dr. David Zarifa

Title: Post-Secondary Education, Skills and the Workforce: Northern and Rural Challenges

The research will make important and timely contributions to the extant sociological literature by examining the inequalities of post-secondary education participation, school-work transitions, and longer term workforce outcomes in Northern and rural communities, and the unique challenges faced by disadvantaged groups within those contexts.

Previous research revealed significant inequalities for rural youth in their educational expectations and aspirations, postsecondary participation rates, likelihood of dropping out and of 'second chance', and workforce outcomes. However, research on students in the Northern most parts of provinces has been considerably under-explored, nor have we fully understood the factors that contribute to fractured transition patterns for disadvantaged groups within rural and Northern contexts.

The research program has the potential to greatly expand our understanding of post-secondary access and outcomes in Northern and rural contexts, linking and informing several bodies of sociological literature. The results will provide a first look at "Northern" regions and the contextual implications for school and work transitions, and expand our understanding of the ways in which youth are sorted and selected within the post-secondary system, and the extent to which these points of differentiation impact immediate and longer term workforce experiences. Further, the findings will provide a new look at adult literacy and life skills in rural and Northern contexts.

Expected outcomes will inform government and decision-making on issues related to skill acquisition and supply and the changing skill demands of the labour market, and will also be a valuable resource to help parents, students, and workers navigate today's knowledge-intensive economy.

Dr. Kirsten Greer

Title: Challenging Canada 150: settler colonialism and critical environmental sciences

The symposium "Challenging Canada 150: Settler Colonialism and Critical Environmental Sciences" was an initiative led by two Canada Research Chairs at Nipissing University -- Dr. Kirsten Greer (CRC in Global Environmental Histories) and Dr. April James (CRC in Watershed Analysis and Modelling) -- and a leading international scholar in settler colonial studies, Professor in Historical Geography, Alan Lester (Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Interdisciplinary Research, Sussex University, and an advisor of La Trobe University of Melbourne's new Centre for the Study of the Inland, Australia), to think about how we can bring together the humanities and geophysical sciences to revisit how we examine environments in the past within the context of settler colonialism.

We believe that, in light of the Canada's 150th anniversary celebrations and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Final Report, we need to look inward at our own academic traditions and disciplines in the humanities and natural sciences, and how they have enabled histories of colonialism, land dispossession, and the imposition of Western knowledge systems in our academic institutions.

In collaboration with Dr. Robert M. Wilson (Department of Geography at the Maxwell School Syracuse University) and Dr. Brett Buchanan (Director of the School of Environment, Laurentian University), the five-day intensive symposium at Nipissing University assembled local First Nations communities around Lake Nipissing with international and national scholars to showcase a broad range of research, including the histories of settler colonialism across the British Empire (with a focus on British North America); the environmental histories of "inland lakes" and watersheds; the colonial and toxic afterlives of resource development; collaborative research projects involving traditional ecological knowledge; and the histories of the environmental sciences.

We also will piloted a field course on how we can "do" critical physical geography within the context of settler colonialism, especially in the "North". This involved methodologies and field techniques in the environmental sciences and humanities such as water sampling, archival work, oral histories, ethnobotany, isotope analysis, soil sampling, and meteorological and magnetic observations.

Furthermore, activities included a local field trip to the Dokis First Nation Reserve to examine traditional botanical knowledge systems.

Furthermore, we facilitated a workshop on developing new ways of forming Indigenous Research Agreements by drawing from the historic treaties and the wampum belt tradition, facilitated by the CRC in Indigenous Environmental Justice, Deborah MacGregor. This entails bringing in elders and knowledge keepers of the Six Nations, as well as treaty scholars. It also involved a special session on the interdisciplinarities of Indigenous Knowledge/ways of knowing and Western Science by water keeper, Barbara Wall, as part of Trent University's Indigenous Environmental Science/Studies program.

Throughout the symposium, there was public land-based art installations across Lake Nipissing as intervention pieces in light of Canada's 150th celebrations. These intervention pieces, led by Dylan Robinson (CRC in Indigenous Arts, Queen's University) and Lisa Myers (Environmental Studies, York University), contributed to Indigenous/Critical Settler methodologies in relationship to land-based artwork, drawing on the Landmarks 2017.

Dr. Barbi Law and Dr. Brenda Bruner

Title: Opportunities for Moving More and Sitting Less: Exploring a Whole School Approach to Improve Children's 24-Hour Movement Patterns

Physical activity (PA) participation, limited sedentary behaviour (SB), and sufficient sleep are associated with numerous positive health and academic outcomes. The Canadian 24-hour movement guidelines encourage a daily balance; yet, only 9% of Canadian children meet the recommended 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous PA per day. Further, only 24% of Canadian children and youth meet the guideline of no more than two hours of recreational screen time per day, and 31% of children are sleep-deprived. These behaviours are interactive, such that screen time can disrupt sleep and displace PA, while lack of sleep can reduce PA and is linked to increased screen time. Schools are an ideal setting for recalibrating children's health behaviours, yet research has not examined the independent and relative contributions of school day segments (PE, breaks, instructional time) as well as contextual and regional factors (e.g., school schedules, urban/rural) influencing these behaviours within the 24-hour context. The proposed research aims to improve children's ability to meet the 24-hour movement guidelines by identifying school day opportunities for increasing PA and reducing SB, and then implementing feasible theory-based and context-specific strategies with a meaningful impact on children's behaviour. We will use a collaborative whole-school approach that engages key community stakeholders (parents, teachers, administrators, health promoters, students). Specifically, we will longitudinally measure 24-hour activity patterns and mental health of children in Grades 1-8 in NE and SW Ontario over a 3-year period, while assessing stakeholders' perceptions of children's PA, SB, and sleep patterns. This data will help inform and evaluate intervention strategies. Our research addresses important gaps related to children's PA, SB, sleep, and the importance of theory- and school-based strategies on children's 24-hour activity patterns.

Dr. Cindy Peltier (with Dr. Louela Manankil-Rankin, Dr. Karey McCullough, Dr. Mike Degagne, Dwayne Nashkawa, June Commanda, Simon Brascoupe, and Dr. Alexandra King)

Title: Wiidooktaadyang [We are Helping One Another]: Understanding the Experience of Wellness and Helping in Nipissing First Nation

Indigenous peoples have conceptions of what it means to live well. Wiidooktaadyang, an Anishinaabemowin term meaning "we are helping one another other," emphasizes relationality and recognizes that Indigenous peoples help each other to realize wellness. From this relational approach, the research team will explore how Nipissing First Nation members, service providers, and staff of Nipissing First Nation understand and experience wellness. The research team will also inquire what is perceived as the "appropriate kind of help" to facilitate wellness. The knowledge gained from this research will be shared with an aim to facilitate implementation of the Wiidooktaadyang services approach. An Advisory Committee, comprised of leadership, Elders, and community members will guide the research process and will participate in the co-creation of knowledge. The project is designed to be reciprocal and to strengthen capacity for research by involving community-based research assistants and the Advisory Committee in all aspects of research. Deliverables will be shared in the form of community engagement workshops designed to translate this knowledge in a useful manner to inform the Wiidooktaadyang services approach. This Indigenous inquiry can impact practice, policy, and culturally safe service in and beyond Nipissing First Nation.Patty Chabbert and Dr. Brenda Bruner (with Mary Wabanno),Title: Cultural Continuity and Physical Health: Creating a Model of Resiliency Among Indigenous Post-Secondary Students and Their Families.

Cultural continuity, "maintained through intact families and the engagement of elders, who pass traditions to subsequent generations" has grown to include land and health, traditional medicine, spirituality, traditional foods, traditional activities and language, and can positively impact Indigenous peoples’ health. Despite the significant role of cultural continuity in health, there is limited understanding of how this concept directly links to or is defined within Indigenous knowledges of physical health and activity. The aim of this project is to develop a model of resiliency for Indigenous students and their families. The model will build on the current cultural continuity literature, be grounded in Indigenous knowledges of physical health and activity (e.g. ceremonial practices, land-based healing, harvesting of foods and resources) and engage Elders and knowledge keepers to pass on traditions that reflect the context and histories of Indigenous participants. Cultural activities will be offered on campus targeting ceremonial and land-based physical activity, food and health. Indigenous Elders and knowledge keepers will be invited to share teachings about traditional foods and physical health and activity to Indigenous participants. We will use Indigenous methodologies including the conversation method to understand how connecting participants to cultural or ceremonial practices and teachings regarding physical activity, health and food impact the wellbeing of our Indigenous student population and their families. The results of this research will contribute new knowledge on the relationships between cultural continuity, physical activity, food and health among Indigenous Peoples. It will also contribute to the current climate of reclamation of Indigenous knowledges and physical health and to reconciliation within educational institutions.