Jessica Dieter is a Dakota/Cree woman from the Okanese First Nation in Treaty 4 Territory who currently resides in Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan. She is in her final year of her undergraduate degree, pursuing a Bachelor of Indigenous Education with a major in Indigenous Studies and a minor in English. She is currently employed as a Research Assistant at the Indigenous People’s Health Research Centre (IPHRC), where she manages gathered data on the various projects that the Centre is researching. She is also a Student Ambassador at the First Nations University of Canada, and was the Development Coordinator for the Regina Student Parent Association (R-SPA). She is an avid promoter of First Nation art especially traditional quillwork and beading, theatre and creative writing. Jessica will be ending her work with IPHRC this week as she pursues her last semester of studies in the new year.
What are you studying & year in the program?
I am in my final year in the Bachelor of Indigenous Education program at the First Nations University of Canada. I’m studying secondary education with a major in Indigenous Studies and a minor in English.
What is your role at IPHRC?
I’m a Research Assistant who currently provides support to the Research Coordinator. Previously, I helped manage the collected data from the various programs we offer to FHQ youth through with our research grants.
What are you learning in your time at IPHRC?
In my time at IPHRC, I have learned many things from daily operations of an office part of the larger community of the U of R to how to analyze data that can be used for presentations and research papers. I have learned what some of the issues are that face our youth in First Nation communities, by hearing and listening to their voices. I also have picked up on some of the parameters around ethics that are required in order to conduct research, especially with youth. All of this is what makes my job interesting, but it is learning to work cooperatively with like-minded individuals that inspires me and provides me with such insight and knowledge into indigenous health issues. This is what I love about IPHRC.
What are your career goals?
When I complete my degree, I plan to teach in a high school setting, which hopefully will provide opportunities to partner with IPHRC for more arts-based health research. Currently, this is what is on the horizon for me, and will continue to be for many years to come. Eventually, whether it is 5 or 15 years down the line, I hope to return to university to complete a Master’s of Education, with a focus on curriculum. It might even lead to sessional work with pre-service teachers, or maybe work further with IPHRC.
Anything else you would like to add?
A highlight of my time at IPHRC so far has been participating in Tipi Arts Camp and seeing the transformation of many of the youth participants, especially my brother. Since the time he spent at camp, he has really opened up from his shell, and is becoming a leader in his own way in cadets. He will be spending days camping up North this summer, whereas prior to the camp we weren’t sure how he would handle the outdoors. The Tipi Arts camp was a great place to build leaders who understand the importance of healthy communities.
For more information about Jessica's work at IPHRC, please contact: