UAlberta, Métis Nation renew research partnership

(Edmonton) An agreement that will continue the University of Alberta’s dynamic research relationship with the Métis Nation of Alberta has been renewed.

A memorandum of understanding, originally signed in 2007 by the U of A and the Métis Nation of Alberta, was continued at a recent signing ceremony. The renewed agreement celebrates an ongoing partnership to pursue several research themes through the Rupertsland Centre for Métis Research, an academic centre at the university.

The new MOU also includes a pledge by both parties to work toward securing resources for an endowment to support the academic and research work of an exceptional U of A faculty member in the areas of Métis philosophies, languages, knowledge, legal traditions or governance.

“We are proud to continue building on a collaborative relationship with the Métis Nation of Alberta,” said George Pavlich, associate vice-president (research), who signed the MOU on behalf of the U of A. “This agreement supports the university’s commitment to learning, discovery and citizenship by providing our scholars and students with opportunities to conduct world-leading research. We are pleased to contribute to the study of issues important to the Métis people and their communities, and the Rupertsland Centre for Métis Research is an important vehicle for this activity.”

The MOU is a significant partnership for the Métis Nation of Alberta, said president Audrey Poitras.

“The reaffirmation of our partnership with the U of A is another milestone in the MNA’s relationships with Alberta post-secondary institutions. This MOU is different from the eight others we have in place across the province because it speaks directly to building resources to support Métis-specific research. I believe that a better understanding of the historical and contemporary conditions of Métis people is essential to identifying measures necessary to enhance our collective well-being,” Poitras said.

Based in the U of A’s Faculty of Native Studies and jointly funded by the U of A and the Métis Nation of Alberta, the Rupertsland Centre for Métis Research is exploring several avenues of academic study to help strengthen the Métis community. These include research into Métis rights, education, policy areas, land use and resources, and contemporary issues such as health.

“The Faculty of Native Studies is very excited to support this MOU and we look forward to furthering the university’s relationship with the Métis Nation of Alberta,” said Nathalie Kermoal, interim dean of the faculty.

“The valuable work conducted through the Rupertsland Centre for Métis Research lays the groundwork for several important goals, and heightens our academic commitment to building strong research relationships with Aboriginal communities,” Kermoal said.

The centre’s mandate includes building provincial and national connections to Métis Nation communities, advancing Métis-specific research, building internal and external relationships with relevant academics and experts, and training and employing student researchers.