Social Services, Support & Wellbeing in the Arctic Canada & Beyond (2020-22)

In December 2020, the Canadian Studies Center received a University of Washington Global Innovation Fund Research Award (2021-2022) to build an international team of scholars and community leaders whose research focuses on social services, supports and well-being in Arctic Canada (and beyond). The team will create a scholarly foundation for this new and evolving academic field. Team members will also produce scholarly papers as part of a special issue of the American Review of Canadian Studies, Volume 52.

Titles and abstracts of the scholarly papers can be found here!

Meet our research team!


Patricia Johnston, Banting Postdoctoral Fellow, Canadian Studies Center, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington
Patricia Johnston has worked throughout the Arctic and northern Canada for the last 15 years. As a critical theorist, her research interests focus on community-based research in relation to social, cultural and economic impacts of policy on Inuit children and families in Nunavut, Indigenous governance, gendered labour and exclusion, traditional knowledge, and the perpetuation of colonial institutions over time in the Arctic

Nadine C. Fabbi, Managing Director, Canadian Studies Center, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington
Nadine C. Fabbi is co-lead of the Arctic initiative in the Jackson School of International Studies. Her research interests include how we understand the Arctic as a unique region in the field of area studies and international studies. Her most recent publication, co-authored with Gary Wilson, is a chapter titled “Inuit Nunangat: The development of a common Inuit territorial and policy space in Canada” in The Inuit World (P. Stern, Ed., forthcoming, 2021).

Professional Editor and Writing Consultant

Dr. Joanne Muzak is a professional editor and writing consultant, specializing in academic writing. She works with diverse scholars internationally. Her clients include Arctic and Inuit researchers, Indigenous artists and activists, Canadian academic presses, as well as authors whose manuscripts have been published with Duke University Press, Routledge, McGill-Queen’s University Press, Oxford University Press, University of British Columbia Press, to name a few. She holds a Ph.D. in English and cultural studies from the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Alberta, and was Canada’s first postdoctoral fellow in community service-learning where she designed and taught interdisciplinary, experiential university courses.

Contributing Authors

Charlene Aqpik Apok (Iñupiaq), Gender Justice and Healing Director, Native Movement, Anchorage, Alaska
Charlene Aqpik Apok is Iñupiaq, from the Bering Straits of Alaska. She is a long-time advocate for Indigenous womxn, sovereignty, climate justice and Indigenous rights to health and wellbeing. Charlene is a lifelong learner in both her cultural traditions and decolonizing academia.


Gail Baikie (Inuk), Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Gail Baikie is of Inuit heritage, her ancestors originate from the self-governing territory of Nunatsiavut (Labrador, Canada). She works on Northern and Inuit projects. Her work has taken her to Labrador, Nunavut and Greenland. Gail’s scholarship focuses on Indigenous and decolonizing theories and methods in research, pedagogy and professional practices.



Ariane Benoit, Postdoctoral fellow, Laval University
I am an anthropologist graduated from Inalco University in Paris. My research focuses on interactional practices in educative and health institutions in Nunavik. I also study the place and the role of interpersonal relationships on health, well-being and human development. From 2008 to 2013, I followed a program about Inuit language and culture offered by Michèle Therrien (1945-2017). I also organized workshops about Inuit language and culture in primary schools in France for Inuksuk Association. During my free time, I practice artistic and well-being activities, such as singing, dancing, poetry and meditation.
Currently, I am a postdoctoral fellow at Laval University working collaboratively on a research project called Qanuikkat Siqinirmiut (QS) ? (How are the Inuit in the South ?). This project is directed by Christopher Fletcher and realized in close collaboration with Southern Quebec Inuit Association (SQIA) directed by Tina Pisuktie. It is the first large scale survey about urban Inuit health and well-being in Southern Quebec. Within this project, I conduct a study about the place and the role of culture on fostered children’ health and well-being in urban settings in Quebec. I am also part of ArcticNet Student Association, as the French coordinator.


Paul Berger, Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario
Paul Berger taught grade seven in Nunavut before joining Lakehead University’s Faculty of Education. His research interests include Inuit schooling for Inuit and particularly recruiting and educating Inuit teachers and climate change education.


Nathalie Boucher, Anthropologist, Respire
Nathalie Boucher, anthropologist of the city, holds a master’s degree in anthropology from Université Laval, and a doctorate in urban studies from the Institut national de recherche scientifique— Centre Urbanisation Culture Société (2012), Canada. Recipient of several grants and scholarships, she has carried out and collaborated on close to twenty research projects since 2006 on different facets of public space, in Aboriginal and urban settings in Canada and in the Pacific region. Always with the objective of understanding interactions between humans, the built and natural environment in the public space, she has developed a methodology inspired by ethnography, that includes interviews, observation and mapping. She teaches the foundations of this methodology in several universities and community organizations, and now offers this perspective through the NGO Respire, which she founded in 2016.

Emma Elliot-Groves (Cowichan), Assistant Professor, Department of Learning Sciences and Human Development, College of Education, University of Washington
Emma Elliott-Groves is an assistant professor in the Department of Learning Sciences and Human Development in the College of Education at the University of Washington. The interdisciplinary intersections of her research include contemporary Indigenous issues; culture, learning and human development; and trauma, prevention and recovery.



Christopher Fletcher, Professor, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Université Laval, Québec City, Québec
Trained in medical anthropology (Ph.D., Université Montréal) Christopher Fletcher works in the faculty of medicine at Université Laval (the oldest French Language University in the Americas) where he directs both the First Nations and Inuit Students in Medicine program and the Masters in Public Health programs. His career has focused on community-engaged research and applied work in Nunavik and other northern regions. He is the scientific director of the Qanuikkat Siqinirmiut project and has active research projects in several areas where culture and health intersect.

Wanda Gabriel, Assistant Professor, Director, Indigenous Access McGill, McGill School of Social Work, Montréal, Québec 
For three decades, Wanda Gabriel has been providing consultation, healing sessions, training sessions, program evaluation and development, and clinical supervision to Indigenous communities and families across Canada as well as extensively in Nunavik. She has worked nationally on several projects including the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network, National Parole Board of Canada, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.


Ezra Greene, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia
Ezra Greene works in the Kivalliq region of Nunavut. His research interests include systems of knowledge generation and transmission, political economy, and co-management of wildlife and other resources.




Joshua Griffin, Assistant Professor, School of Marine and Environmental Affairs and Department of American Indian Studies, University of Washington
P. Joshua Griffin is an environmental anthropologist with an interest in critical Indigenous studies, political ecology, the human dimensions of climate change, science and technology studies, and environmental justice. Since 2012, he has worked on a range of community-based projects with local institutions in Kivalina, Alaska.




Nicole Ives, Associate Professor, Co-Founder, Indigenous Access McGill, McGill School of Social Work, Montréal, Québec
Nicole Ives is a co-founder of Indigenous Access McGill in the School of Social Work. She has been engaged in community-based, participatory research projects in Nunavik since 2008, with a focus on increasing access to culturally grounded education for Inuit communities.


Patricia Johnston, Banting Postdoctoral Fellow, Canadian Studies Center, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington, Seattle
Patricia Johnston has worked throughout the Arctic and northern Canada for the last 15 years. As a critical theorist, her research interests focus on community-based research in relation to social, cultural and economic impacts of policy on Inuit children and families in Nunavut, Indigenous governance, gendered labour and exclusion, traditional knowledge, and the perpetuation of colonial institutions over time in the Arctic


Michael Kral, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan
Michael Kral is a clinical-community-cultural psychologist and medical anthropologist. He has been conducting community-based participatory action research with Inuit in Arctic Canada for over 20 years on suicide, suicide prevention, kinship, culture change, and youth resilience. He has also worked with Indigenous peoples in Siberia, Alaska, and northern Norway. His current research is with Native American youth, Roma (Gypsy) people in the Czech Republic, on suicide and bullying, and on the mental health of mental health professionals.  Kral published two books in 2019: The Return of the Sun: Suicide and Social Transformation among Inuit in Arctic Canada (Oxford UP) and The Idea of Suicide: Imitation, Contagion, and Cultural Diffusion (Routledge).

Mathilde Lapointe, Research assistant, research centre of the Centre Hospitalier universitaire de Québec (CHUQ) and for the Research Chair on Relations with Inuit Societies (Sentinelle Nord, Université Laval)
Mathilde Lapointe completed her Bachelor’s degree at Université de Montréal (Montréal, 2017) and her Master’s degree at Université Laval (Québec, 2021), both in Anthropology. Her master’s study in critical medical anthropology focuses on urban Inuit’s perspectives of their health and well-being, as well as their capacity to maintain or restore them in Montreal. Since 2018, Mathilde has been working with Inuit in Nunavik (Puvirnituq, Kuujjuaq) as well as in urban settings in Southern Québec. She is a research assistant at the research centre of the Centre Hospitalier universitaire de Québec (CHUQ) and for the Research Chair on Relations with Inuit Societies (Sentinelle Nord, Université Laval). She is also a teacher assistant for different Indigenous health and wellbeing courses, at Université Laval. Mathilde is a research assistant and one of the project coordinators for the Qanuikkat Siqinirmiut? Southern Quebec Inuit health and well-being survey.

Amanda Metivier, MSW, Associate Director, Office of Youth Empowerment and Education and Training Voucher Program, Child Welfare Academy, Anchorage, Alaska
Amanda Metivier is an alumnus of Alaska’s foster care system. Amanda, along with a dedicated group of foster youth and alumni, co-founded the non-profit Facing Foster Care in Alaska (FFCA) providing a statewide network, to lead efforts in advocacy, training and peer support.  Through her advocacy with FFCA, Amanda has led efforts to expand services and supports for foster youth and paved the way for youth and alumni to share lived-expertise to raise awareness. Amanda believes that giving foster youth the power and tools to educate decision makers is key to systemic change.

Marika Morris, Adjunct Research Professor, School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa
Marika Morris is a research, evaluation and training consultant who works primarily with Inuit organizations on issues such as child sexual abuse, violence prevention and healing, murdered and missing Inuit women, employment, housing, and Inuit history and culture curriculum development.  She is also an Adjunct Research Professor in the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies at Carleton University and has published on the issues of Inuit research methodology, urbanization of Inuit, and structural and cultural factors in suicide prevention comparing mainstream and Inuit approaches to understanding and preventing suicide.

Tram Nguyen, Frederick Banting and Charles Best Postdoctoral Fellow, The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, School of Epidemiology and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa
Tram Nguyen is a postdoctoral fellow within an interdisciplinary, interprofessional, and international research program called the Integrated Knowledge Translation Network led by Dr. Ian Graham at the University of Ottawa in Canada. Currently, she is involved in the Stroke Recovery in Motion study, which assists individuals and communities with the planning of a community-based exercise program for individuals living with stroke.

Edmund Searles, Professor, Anthropology and Chair, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Bucknell University
Edmund Searles researches the effects of social, economic, and cultural change on Inuit diets and traditional foodways in the Canadian Arctic.




Jessica Saniguq (Iñupiaq), Assistant Professor, University of Alaska Anchorage, Alaska
Jessica Saniguq Ullrich is a tribal member of Nome Eskimo Community, and is currently an Assistant Professor at University of Alaska Anchorage in the School of Social Work. Her passion is to help improve the wellbeing of all children so that we have healthy families, communities and Earth.

Zoua Vang, Associate Professor and William Dawson Scholar, Department of Sociology and Director, Indigenous Maternal Infant Health and Wellbeing Lab, McGill University, Montréal
Zoua Vang is the founding Director of the IMIHW Lab. She holds a William Dawson chair, is an Associate Professor of Sociology, and Associate Investigator of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre. Her areas of research expertise include international migration, racial/ethnic health disparities, maternal child health, Indigenous health, and racism and discrimination as social determinants of wellness.


Krista Zawadski, Ph.D. student, Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art, and Culture, Carleton University, Ottawa
Krista Ulujuk Zawadski is from Igluligaarjuk, Nunavut and lives in Kangiqłiniq, Nunavut. Her research interests include family histories, Indigenous archaeology, museum collections-based research, colonial entanglements, decolonization movements, and much more.