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Rupertsland Centre for Métis Research launched at University of Alberta

Edmonton—The first academic centre of its kind in Canada, dedicated to Métis research, was announced today by the University of Alberta and the Rupertsland Institute.

The Rupertsland Centre for Métis Research is the culmination of a decade-long partnership between the U of A and the Métis Nation of Alberta, and will co-ordinate and sustain academic research activity with and for Métis communities. Based in the U of A’s Faculty of Native Studies and jointly funded by the Métis Nation of Alberta and the U of A, the centre’s wide-ranging areas of research will explore Métis rights, history, land use, resources and contemporary issues such as education and health.

“The Faculty of Native Studies is deeply committed to collaborating with communities,” said dean Ellen Bielawski. “The Rupertsland Centre for Métis Research recognizes and furthers a partnership with the Métis Nation of Alberta. We are so pleased that the creation of this centre deepens the University of Alberta’s commitment to community-driven research, to undergraduate student research experiences and to building Aboriginal community capacity.”

Leading the centre as research director is professor Frank Tough, associate dean of research in the Faculty of Native Studies. His work as a historical geographer led to the establishment of the Métis Archival Project (MAP) Lab, a cutting-edge initiative that has resulted in a rich database of information that will, in turn, power further research into Métis issues. The new centre builds upon years of research experience between MAP and one of its leading collaborators, the Métis National Council.

“We look forward to building an enduring, mutually beneficial partnership,” Tough said. “This allows for an expansive academic research program that will build local, provincial and national connections with Métis communities, and training and employing student researchers is expected to be one of he central components of such a relationship.”

The research centre will also complement the Rupertsland Institute, which was recently mandated by the Métis Nation of Alberta to deliver education and training initiatives, and to partner with the U of A to establish a formal centre dedicated to Métis research.

“We are very excited about the potential of an academic centre that is designed to address our longstanding deficit in research capacity,” said Audrey Poitras, president of the Métis Nation of Alberta, and a board member of the Rupertsland Institute.

“Adding research capacity to Métis governance brings a whole new dimension to our provincial council decision-making process and, in keeping with the U of A’s promise, will uplift our community as a whole,” Poitras said. The Métis Provincial Council is the governing body of the Métis Nation of Alberta.

The Rupertsland Centre for Métis Research is expected to welcome its first researchers/students in the fall of 2011 to begin work.


For more information contact: Ellen Bielawski, dean Faculty of Native Studies University of Alberta 780-492-2911

Bev Betkowski, media relations associate 780-492-3808,

The University of Alberta in Edmonton is one of the top 100 teaching and research universities in the world, serving some 37,000 students with more than 15,000 faculty and staff. Founded more than a century ago, the university has an annual budget of more than $1.4 billion and attracts more than $498 million in external research funding. It offers close to 400 undergraduate, graduate and professional programs in 18 faculties.

Since 1670, the Rupert’s Land territory has held the pulse of Canadian industry, and the Métis people were among the catalysts that drove its success. In 2010 the Rupertsland Institute was created to reinvigorate that legacy of labour and achievement born over 300 years ago.
Métis people: a history of fostering excellence in achievement — Rupertsland Institute: a mission of fostering excellence in Métis people