Canadian First Nation and Carleton University agree to work on research projects together

Simon Mervyn, chief of the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, holds up the memorandum of understanding between the First Nation and Carleton University. (Courtesy of the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun)
Representatives of the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun and Ottawa’s Carleton University signed a memorandum of understanding to work together on research projects.
“Our relationship with Carleton University and with the 40 years of history we share with [a professor there] is changing our views of Ottawa. We finally have a partner who is willing to meet us where we are at.” Chief Simon Mervyn

During Mervyn’s speech, made in a live-streamed event on Wednesday, he read part of “Together Today for our Children Tomorrow,” a historic 1973 document that set the path for Yukon First Nations to negotiate land claims agreements.

We need research to show us the best way to take advantage of the good parts of the Whiteman Way, while at the same time keeping the best parts of our Indian way.”  Chief Simon Mervyn
We are very often approached by a professor who wants to do some research. We haven’t been very friendly so far, but now that we understand a little better, we are changing.

Mervyn said the words from elders at that time are still relevant today.

Conditions that are part of the memorandum include the First Nation in Mayo, Yukon, and the university deciding what needs to be researched, along with who does the research.

The First Nation and the university will generally co-own the research.

All research projects also have to include members of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, so that they develop the skills to allow the First Nation to do its own research.

Some of the desired research topics include environment, justice, and educational issues, Mervyn said.

Several projects have already been completed in collaboration with the university.

According to university president Benoit-Antoine Bacon, the memorandum of understanding has a seven-year term.

“It is my expectation that we will renew [the memorandum],” he said.

CLARIFICATION
An earlier version of this story attributed quotes to Chief Simon Mervyn which were in fact read from a historic document.
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Steve Silva, CBC News

Steve Silva, CBC News

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