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Featured Undergraduate Research Projects

Applied research uses new or existing knowledge to provide solutions to real-world challenges in partnership with community. The INDG 502.4 Applied Perspectives to Indigenous Research Projects is built around experiential student projects that work with, by and for Indigenous-focused organizations, non-governmental organizations and Indigenous communities. The focus is on exploring Indigenous and blended applied research methods and appropriate protocols where students apply ethical approaches to working with Indigenous peoples, organizations and communities through their projects. Each applied project aims to be service-oriented and helps find practical solutions to community and organizational needs by using community-based approaches.

This page features some of the projects conducted by students from the Winter 2021 cohort and highlights their research findings and community and organization project partnerships

(Written and compiled by research coaches: Jasleen Brar and Madeleine Brulotte)

Lili headshot


Project Title: Fridays for Future Calgary: Incorporating Indigenous perspectives

The project developed a research report on and for the organization, Fridays For Future Calgary (FFF), that looks at how the organization can better incorporate Indigenous-focused perspectives and goals into their work, in terms of advocacy, activism, and the organization’s needs, limits, opportunities, and goals. I identify how FFF can develop a long-term partnership with INDG 502 and/or the University of Calgary so that future students can partner with FFF Calgary for a hands-on experiential learning experience.

Quote (Lili): "As a student just beginning [my] research journey, working with Fridays for Future and learning more about the important work that they do while helping them incorporate Indigenous perspectives into this work has been meaningful and inspiring. It has also made me excited for future projects, connections, and opportunities between the students of this class and the youth who work so hard at Fridays for Future Calgary.”

cory Bia


Project Title: Indigenous developmental sustainability

How do we approach Indigenous communities and partner with them for experiential learning opportunities, surrounding sustainability, in a decolonizing way? Moreover, how can we positively accomplish this? Through the INDG502 experiential learning opportunity and the incorporation of various Indigenous research methodologies we have been able to conduct a project that is rooted in these questions. Our role in this project was to learn about the Office of Sustainability and document possible sustainable Indigenous partnership projects that contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. The project develops suggestions and proposals for prospective Indigenous sustainable projects and their implications through various research methods. Our goal is to contribute our combined research methods and knowledge and pursue potential sustainable solutions to developmental challenges.

Quote (BIA): "Employing the seven Indigenous traditional frameworks, principles and five Rr's are formidable stepping-stones to approaching research/communities in a constructive, conscious, and decolonizing manner."

Quote (CORY): “I do not believe Indigenization within the realm of research means that the Indigenous perspective attempts to overpower western thought or perspective; but rather, it seeks to complement, improve, and share a different approach to the western perspective by giving a window into research from the Indigenous standpoint.”

Valerie headshot


Project Title: Rematriation of Indigenous women’s health and wellness

This project explores the concept of Indigenous rematriation and how it can be utilized in restoring Indigenous women's health and wellness through traditional midwifery practices. The project considers the current mainstream health care system and its impacts on the sexual and reproductive health experiences of Indigenous women in Canada.

Quote (Valerie): "There has been so much trust given to me. The knowledge transferred will go beyond this classroom. It is my responsibility to always remember that the words I write down on paper are not new information. The [knowledge] comes from the people and I must present their words in a meaningful, holistic way that reflects the community".



Project Title: Collaboration in community-based research

My research is dedicated to working alongside the University of Calgary Biogeoscience Institute and Treaty 7 Indigenous communities to help revitalize Indigenous language. I am dedicated to serving in ethical, community-minded research that is beneficial for all Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Respect, along with relevance, responsibility and reciprocity, are the guiding principles for my research. It was critically important to me as a researcher to ensure the research that I was undertaking would benefit the community and everyone involved.  

Quote (Hailey): “Reconciliation is a task that all Canadians need to be involved in and creating positive collaboration in community-based research is a step in the right direction.”



Project Title: Community-led natural climate solutions

I plan to enhance relationships, respect, responsibility, and reciprocity with Indigenous communities as a result of my project with the Alberta Ecotrust Foundation. I hope to establish a positive relationship with Ecotrust by sharing Indigenous methodologies and approaches through a community-based research approach that will begin to bring knowledge co-creation and new understandings from all parties involved.

Quote (Kobe): “Indigenous knowledge offers a wealth of holistic, valued and credible sources of information that may provide a strong foundation for western societies to build upon in their fight against the effects of climate change, as Indigenous knowledge is intrinsically dependent on the longevity of the earths ecology, it’s potential for environmental education shouldn’t be underestimated nor marginalized.”



Project Title: Community garden project

The Community Garden Project was an Indigenous-based research project co-created with Susan Arlidge, Biogeoscience School Consultant of the Biogeoscience Institute Field Station in the Kananaskis Valley. The project’s framework was structured to support Susan in establishing working relationships with key Elders who would be potential sources in re-establishing a community garden within the Stoney Nakoda Community. This project framework was structured to provide preliminary suggestions to adhere to Indigenous knowledge systems and protocols, with an emphasis that ensures proper respect, responsibility, relationship, and reciprocity application from the beginning.

Quote (Leanne): “My experience in participating in an Indigenous-based research project, was profound in so many ways. This experiential learning opportunity encompassed a balance between academic and Indigenous knowledge approaches. It has allowed me to gain an understanding and knowing of how crucial and important it is to advocate for agency of Indigenous knowledge systems within current educational institutions, especially with any kind of research as it relates to Indigenous people, their communities, and their connection to the land. This is one way that, as Indigenous researchers, and people, we can weaken and dismantle current forms of colonial constructs operating within the academic community. It has also guided me back to my cultural roots in a way that helped me to strengthen my indigenous identity as a Cree woman. Hai Hai.”



Project Title: Paralleling values for the Taylor Institute of Teaching and Learning 

With this project, Dr. Gabrielle Lindstrom, of the Taylor Institute of Teaching and Learning, and I aim to build relationships and ethical space for current and future Indigenous scholars at the Taylor Institute of teaching and learning. In order to navigate a future of reconciliation, we must first take steps in unlearning certain aspects that create barriers for creating ethical/safe spaces. Even though there is much that needs to be done, this project will provide some guidance and starting points for where we can be in the future.

Quote (Karli): “This project ignited a passion for research and innovation for myself. Being able to design a meaningful project for the Taylor Institute of Teaching and Learning, alongside Dr. Gabrielle Lindstrom was empowering because throughout the journey I unleashed some potential within myself I didn’t know I had. This course was full of useful content that I feel everyone needs to know in undergrad.”



Project Title: Indigenous community-based and Eco-trust natural solutions

This experiential learning opportunity allowed me to develop an Indigenous knowledge-informed research project to work with Indigenous communities. The project design focused on and incorporated Indigenous research methods, ethics, and protocols. I worked with the Ecotrust organization to research and identify natural climate solutions, in partnership with Indigenous communities, to address pressing sustainability problems. These partnerships with local Indigenous communities and larger environmental organizations contribute to the promotion of meaningful change that can also result in more sustainable solutions.

Quote (Tracy): “This applied research project provided me with an opportunity to experience the unique relationship between Alberta Ecotrust and Indigenous-led organizations. It is essential that we as people from the community engage in our own community-led culturally sensitive protection of our water, climate and land-use sustainable planning.”



Project Title: Encouraging success: Indigenous students in post-secondary institutions

This research project was created in partnership with the Indigenous Student Access Program (ISAP) at the University of Calgary to identify the best way to support Indigenous students in their access to and achievement of post-secondary education. The research encompassed within this report relies on the analysis of current post-secondary access programs across Canada, the supports they offer, and Indigenous student success. This project hopes to identify how these programs can improve current supports and implement new strategies to foster Indigenous student success. 

Quote (Micah): “We must listen if we want to understand the needs of others. Listening, acknowledging, and actively seeking change must be constants when looking to better current practices. Indigenous students know best what supports they require, and it is time we listened.”



If you are interested in taking this course or acting as an organizational partner for future student projects please contact the course instructor - Dr. Adela Kincaid: