Volume 9, Number 9 January 11, 2002

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U of S Canada Research Chair Evelyn Peters gets $50,000 to develop urban Aboriginal database

Prof. Evelyn Peters has been awarded $50,000 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to develop a database on urban Aboriginal peoples.

Peters, one of Canada’s most accomplished social geographers, will use the database to assist with her research as the Canada Research Chair in Geography at the U of S. Her five-year project will examine the socio-economic circumstances of Aboriginal people living in urban areas and their quest for self-government.

Federal Industry Minister Brian Tobin and Heritage Minister Sheila Copps announced the funding for Peters’ project Nov. 29, as part of a $19.6-million CFI investment that will provide infrastructure support to Canada Research Chairs across Canada.

Peters will use data from the 1996 and 2001 census to compare poor and prosperous neighborhoods in target Prairie cities and explore their relationship to concentrations of Aboriginal people. She will also gather a history of the settlement of Aboriginal people within those cities.

In addition, she will obtain first-hand information by interviewing members of local communities. They will be asked to document their urban history and the coping strategies they use in day-to-day life. The outcomes from this survey will be compared with similar urbanization studies under way in the United States.

Peters’ earlier work explored how Aboriginal people coped with poverty in Prairie cities. The next phase of her research will gather a historic view of the Aboriginal experience and examine their aspirations for self-government within municipalities.

Her research has influenced various policy planners including the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Her latest work is expected to contribute valuable information to various Native study programs and should help governments in designing new Aboriginal policies.

Last October, the U of S was awarded $666,400 by CFI in support of five of the University’s Canada Research Chairs.  With matching monies from the Saskatchewan government, the U of S and external sources, the total amount received in infrastructure support for those projects was $2 million.

The CFI is an independent, not-for-profit corporation established by the Government of Canada in 1997 to address the urgent need of Canada’s research community for new, state-of-the-art research infrastructure. The Canada Research Chairs Program was established in the 2000 federal budget to help Canadian universities attract and retain the best researchers and achieve research excellence. Two thousand Chairs will be established by 2005.

For more information, contact communications.office@usask.ca

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