What does IPHRC’s financial and other support mean to you?
It has been an absolute lifesaver for me. In my last year, I received an IPHRC graduate scholarship and that was what I lived on to finish up my Master’s research. In addition to the scholarship, IPHRC has provided financial support to travel to a conference in Vancouver where I made a platform presentation. There was also a workshop in Saskatoon where the other students were invited too. That helps students such as myself, stay in touch with other students, professors and people who are working in similar fields. The networking opportunities were really fantastic and not only that but it’s the support. Having the financial support in place and to go to gatherings to provide support in a number of ways. Financially they’ve been really helpful.
How important is that type of funding for students such as yourself?
It’s critical because I wouldn’t have been able to continue my project and my research that I did with the community. I wouldn’t have been able to live if I didn’t have the scholarship, the band and I did not have the money. I don’t know what I would have done.
Can you briefly describe your research project?
The research project started in conjunction with Standing Buffalo with elders, chief and council. It was looking at the social and cultural impacts and aspects of water issues on the community in a community’s perspective. It was a community driven project; so I spent a lot of time on it. I moved from Saskatoon to Fort Qu’Appelle so I could be close to the reserve daily and weekly for over a year. I listened and took direction from people in terms of what the issues around water are and the importance that may affect a culture and traditions.
What have you accomplished in your research so far?
I had an amazing research experience working with Standing Buffalo Dakota Nation. I was able to relocate my residence to live in close proximity to the community, which allowed me to get to know many people as well as getting an understanding of the culture of Standing Buffalo. This was particularly important because my research is a partnership with the community, and community members participated in all aspects of the research project, including data collection activities.
Research activities occurred between February 2012 and May 2014 with most data collection occurring between January 2013 and May 2014. I conducted interviews with Elders, attended a sharing circle about water, conducted a small photo voice project with the grade 8/9 students at Standing Buffalo School, participated in ice fishing and in the spring of 2013 documented emergency flood preparation activities. I am currently in the final stages of writing my thesis.
What's next for your research?
I'm looking forward to an ongoing relationship with the community of Standing Buffalo and am hoping to defend my thesis in the near future.
For more information about Maya's research, please contact:
IPHRC Research Assistant - KT & Communications