Rupertsland Centre for Métis Research launched at University of Alberta

(Edmonton) The first academic centre of its kind in Canada, dedicated to Métis research, was announced today by the University of Alberta and the Rupertsland Institute.

The Rupertsland Centre for Métis Research is the culmination of a decade-long partnership between the U of A and the Métis Nation of Alberta, and will co-ordinate and sustain academic research activity with and for Métis communities. Based in the U of A’s Faculty of Native Studies and jointly funded by the Métis Nation of Alberta and the U of A, the centre’s wide-ranging areas of research will explore Métis rights, history, land use, resources and contemporary issues such as education and health.

“The Faculty of Native Studies is deeply committed to collaborating with communities,” said dean Ellen Bielawski. “The Rupertsland Centre for Métis Research recognizes and furthers a partnership with the Métis Nation of Alberta. We are so pleased that the creation of this centre deepens the University of Alberta’s commitment to community-driven research, to undergraduate student research experiences and to building Aboriginal community capacity.”

Leading the centre as research director is professor Frank Tough, associate dean of research in the Faculty of Native Studies. His work as a historical geographer led to the establishment of the Métis Archival Project Lab, or MAP, a cutting-edge initiative that has resulted in a rich database of information that will, in turn, power further research into Métis issues. The new centre builds upon years of research experience between MAP and one of its leading collaborators, the Métis National Council.

“We look forward to building an enduring, mutually beneficial partnership,” Tough said. “This allows for an expansive academic research program that will build local, provincial and national connections with Métis communities, and training and employing student researchers is expected to be one of the central components of such a relationship.”

The research centre will also complement the Rupertsland Institute, which was recently mandated by the Métis Nation of Alberta to deliver education and training initiatives, and to partner with the U of A to establish a formal centre dedicated to Métis research. As it begins its work, the Rupertsland Centre for Métis Research will carry on the Métis Archival Project and at the same time, establish a think tank to guide and address Métis research questions.

“We are very excited about the potential of an academic centre that is designed to address our longstanding deficit in research capacity,” said Audrey Poitras, president of the Métis Nation of Alberta, and a board member of the Rupertsland Institute.

“Adding research capacity to Métis governance brings a whole new dimension to our provincial council decision-making process and, in keeping with the U of A’s promise, will uplift our community as a whole,” Poitras said.