Research Profiles

Dr. Brenda Parlee
Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Social Responses to Ecological Change

“The traditional knowledge of Northern Aboriginal peoples offers a rich foundation for investigating questions of resilience…”1

“Many of the challenges confronting Canadian society, such as economic growth, improvement of society and sustainability of the environment, are complex, and require collaborative and interdisciplinary research…There is a major need for applied knowledge that is developed through linkages between Aboriginal communities, industry and government agencies if the objectives of fostering economic growth are to be achieved while protecting against adverse effects of ecological changes” says Dr. Brenda Parlee, the University of Alberta’s newest Canada Research Chair, and cross-appointed professor with the Faculty of Native Studies and the Department of Rural Economy, Faculty of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences.

The University of Alberta has managed to secure 14% of the 1,7553 Canadian Research Chairs positions in the past seven years within the post-secondary community in Canada. Dr. Parlee is one of only 21 women since 2004, to receive a prestigious Canada Research Chair position at the University of Alberta. Dr. Parlee was nominated as a Tier 2 Chair, defined as a position intended for emerging scholars.

So what is a Canada Research Chair? “In 2000, the Government of Canada created a new permanent program to establish 2000 research professorships-Canada Research Chairs-in universities across the country by 2008. The Canada Research Chairs program invests $300 million a year to attract and retain some of the world’s most accomplished and promising minds…The Canada Research Chairs Program stands at the centre of a national strategy to make Canada one of the world’s top five countries for research and development.”

Dr. Parlee’s research will be conducted over a five year period and involves fieldwork in relatively remote regions of the Northwest Territories, including the community of Lutsel K’e, NT. Parlee will work with communities to document traditional knowledge, “many of these tools and practices were developed to ensure the success of subsistence resource harvesting practices, [however] they may be useful in other resource management contexts.” She will be “exploring the contribution of traditional knowledge to the resilience of northern communities; more specifically the research will document:
1) knowledge about ecosystem dynamics,
2) traditional management practices,
3) social capital,
4) adaptive institutions, and analyze their potential for addressing the current and anticipated effects of resource development and climate change.”


Dr. Nathalie Kermoal
Professor and Associate Dean (Academic)

Born in France and of Breton descent, Professor Kermoal brings a new and unique perspective to Native Studies. After completing her PhD in History at the University of Ottawa in 1996, Kermoal taught University courses across the country in both French and English, and served as the Director and Editor of Le Franco newspaper. Since joining Native Studies in 2004, Associate Professor Kermoal has published two books: Alberta’s Francophones (2005) and Un passé métis au feminin (2006). She is involved in several interdisciplinary research projects relating to the Métis, which ultimately will serve to enhance the recognition of Métis rights in Canada.

Professor Kermoal continues to pursue research in the areas of hunting and harvesting rights and governance; Aboriginal constitutional issues; contemporary Aboriginal art and Aboriginal women’s issues. Most recently in November 2007, Kermoal was honored with a prestigious award from Campus Saint-Jean for excellence in teaching.



Dr. Sarah Carter
Professor and Henry Marshall Tory Chair

The Faculty of Native Studies is pleased to welcome Dr. Sarah Carter to our team. Dr. Carter comes to the University of Alberta from a 14 year teaching career as Professor in the Department of History at the University of Calgary. Prior to the University of Calgary, she taught at the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba. Dr. Carter recently received the prestigious position of Henry Marshall Tory Chair at the University of Alberta.

“Named for Henry Marshall Tory, the first President of the University, the Chairs are expected, through their teaching, research and service, to impact the University and the community. The appointments are intended for outstanding individuals who by their presence will enhance the reputation of the University and who can provide leadership and experience for the strengthening of teaching and research in specific disciplines. Research and teaching in interdisciplinary fields are encouraged.”

Dr. Carter’s research focuses on the history of Western Canada and the critical era that began in the late nineteenth century when Aboriginal people were dispossessed and a new population established.

As a Killam Research Fellow her present project is a borderlands and comparative Canada-U.S. history of women of the northern Great Plains with particular focus on land distribution policies and the meanings, opportunities and constraints of the forty-ninth parallel. Dr. Carter recently completed The Importance of Being Monogamous: Forging the Marital Terrain of Western Canada, and has submitted this to press.

In addition to her two Killam Fellowships, Dr. Carter has received three SSHRC fellowships, and the Myers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights in North America for her work on the publication, The True Spirit and Original Intent of Treaty 7. She was also the Director of the International Indigenous Studies Program at the University of Calgary.