Fulbright Canada Visiting Research Chair in Aboriginal Studies

The Fulbright Canada Visiting Research Chair in Aboriginal Studies focuses on engaging VIU’s Aboriginal students in the research process and strengthening relationships between the University, First Nations, Metis, Inuit and the broader community. VIU has had the privilege of hosting five Visiting Research Chairs. The next Visiting Research Chair will be announced shortly.

Fulbright Canada supports outstanding individuals in conducting research, lecturing, and taking part in academic programs across borders in order to create collaborative leadership for the global future. More information about Fulbright Canada and how to apply for a research chair position.

Application info for the Fulbright Canada Visiting Research Chairs program

Fulbright Canada Visiting Research Chairs are pre-arranged affiliations that allow scholars to conduct research/lecture on subjects important to that university. Partner universities are excited to welcome the Fulbright Visiting Chairs into campus life and encourage them to engage with students, faculty, and the broader community.

Fulbright Canada Visiting Research Chairs: How to Apply

Maria Williams, Fulbright Scholar, and Visiting Research Chair in Aboriginal Studies

Dr Maria Shaa Tláa Williams was our 2020-2021 Fulbright Canada Visiting Research Chair in Aboriginal Studies 

Maria was born in Tikahtnu – or Anchorage, Alaska and is Tlingit.  She is of the Raven Moiety. She received her M.A. and PhD in Music, specializing in Ethnomusicology from UCLA.  The title of her M.A. Thesis is: Clan Identification and Social Structure in Tlingit Music (1989) and the title of her dissertation is Alaska Native Music: The Spirit of Survival (1996).  She was a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in 1998.  She taught at the Institute for American Indian arts from 1993-1995, and at the University of New Mexico from 1999-2011 with a joint appointment in the department of Native American Studies and Music.  She has been teaching at the University of Alaska Anchorage since 2011 in the departments of Alaska Native Studies and Music.

Her publications include The Alaska Native Reader: History, Culture & Politics (2009); a documentary film on Athabascan Basket maker Daisy Stridzatze Demientieff (A Beautiful Journey 2009), and various articles on Alaska Native cultural revitalization.

Research interests include contemporary Alaska Native music and dance practices; Alaska Native history, the impact of colonialism and cultural revitalization.

She worked with the King Island IRA (an Alaskan Inupiaq community) on a heritage preservation project in conjunction with the National Park Service in 2000 and 2004, in which their entire music and dance repertoire were recorded. 

Dr. Cynthia-Lou Coleman was our 2019 Fulbright Canada Visiting Research Chair in Aboriginal Studies.

Dr. Coleman comes to us to from Portland State University where she is a professor in the Department of Communication. During her four-month residence, she will examine how scientific and cultural issues are discussed or overlooked in various communications channels, such as news and entertainment programs, websites public forums and social media. She will also explore how Indigenous Peoples, policy-makers, journalists and community members feel about how these issues are covered.

 Her project is called Comparing Science, Culture and Discourse about Indigenous Issues in Canada and the United States. It will help inform her book Studies in Media and Environmental Communication, which summarizes two decades of her research on how scientific and cultural issues that influence American Indian communities are framed.

The third Visiting Researcher was Dr. Virginia Drywater-Whitekiller and was appointed the Visiting Research Chair in Aboriginal Studies for 2018. Her research proposal, "Indigenous Cultural Resilience: Supporting Higher Pathways," directly aligned with VIU's Aboriginal initiatives and efforts in finding ways to make post-secondary education accessible to First Nations and non-traditional learners. She built on her research into social work in regards to health care, education, juvenile offenders, and child welfare by developing strength-based ways to assist First Peoples in overcoming challenging life barriers.

The second Visiting Researcher was Dr. Daniel Boxberger, Professor of Anthropology at Western Washington University. His body of work investigates the role of the expert witness in Aboriginal land and resource claims. During his term at at VIU between September and December 2017, he continued his research by studying southwestern BC First Nations communities and how outside experts engage the community in preparing research for litigation.

The first Visiting Researcher was Dr. Roy Janisch, Professor of Justice Studies from Pittsburg State University. His work focuses on restorative justice and Aboriginal communities. During his nine-month stay at VIU from September 2016 - September 2017, Dr. Janisch built on his research focusing on the rehabilitation of offenders through victim and community reconciliation.

More information about Dr. Janisch's work

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Indigenous activities at VIU, Research, and the Academic Plan