Two 2020 Edets’seèhdzà Studentships are being awarded to third-year Aurora College Bachelor of Science in Nursing students Erica Abel and Marisa McArthur, both residents of Yellowknife. Each Edets’seèhdzà Studentship is a $20,000 stipend that supports a returning Aurora College student to be involved in health research during their studies.

The Edets’seèhdzà Studentship award is funded by Hotıì ts’eeda, and provided through a partnership between Hotıì ts’eeda and Aurora College/Aurora Research Institute. Hotıì ts’eeda is funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) and is a research support unit hosted by the Tłı̨chǫ Government. Edets’seèhdzà (eh-DEY-tsay-zah) means “stepping forward to challenge yourself” in the Tłı̨chǫ language.

“The Edets’seèhdzà Studentship will support two nursing students to be meaningfully involved in health and wellness research in the NWT,” says Dr. John B. Zoe, Hotıì ts’eeda governing council chair. “The studentships are intended to foster Northerners’ skills as researchers and health professionals to contribute to NWT health research.”

Abel is a proud member of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation (YKDFN) who plans “to aid those who require medical assistance, and to possess both sides of the modern and traditional teachings in healing” while maintaining her Northern roots.  She says that it is important to work in the areas of “traditional teachings, demonstrating respect, and passing knowledge to the next generation.”

McArthur has an appreciation for how “locally-driven Indigenous health research has the power to cultivate meaningful change in the communities in which we live” and says she looks forward to being matched with an existing Indigenous health-research project. She has an interest in social epidemiology and believes strongly in the role people can play in facilitating meaningful change through health research in the NWT.

“The opportunity to engage in health-related research while pursuing studies provides Aurora College students a rich opportunity to anchor learning in Northern communities,” notes Andy Bevan, president of Aurora College. “Aurora College and Aurora Research Institute are proud to support the Edets’seèhdzà Studentship and our two outstanding recipients, Erica Abel and Marisa McArthur.”

Both Abel and McArthur will be working with Aurora Research Institute Manager of Health Research Programs Dr. Pertice Moffitt.  Moffitt is part of a team that recently received funding from CIHR for the project “Welcoming the Sacred Spirit”, a three-year collaborative project looking at Indigenous maternal health care in Canada. Hotıì ts’eeda and Aurora College congratulate both Erica Abel and Marisa McArthur, and look forward to seeing their progress over the coming year.

Last year’s Edets’seèhdzà Studentship recipient was Aurora College nursing student Allison Forbes. Forbes spent the summer of 2019 working with Moffitt on research related to actions against family violence.