Video spotlight: Summer research program helps Indigenous students find their place in science

Internships offer opportunities for hands-on training in genomics science and research with Indigenous scientists.

Every summer, multi-institutional faculty members come together at the University of Alberta to offer Indigenous participants valuable training in the science and politics of genomics.

During the Summer internship for INdigenous peoples in Genomics Canada (SING Canada), undergraduate students, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and community members learn about genomics, bioinformatics, and Indigenous and decolonial research ethics through the prism of critical Indigenous studies.

The 2023 workshop was a co-produced research inquiry along with the Indigenous Knowledge & Wisdom Centre (IKWC), which manages the kihcihkaw askî-Sacred Land site in Edmonton.

Participants used a mobile research and training lab to analyze the soil microbiome of kihcihkaw askî and produced environmental data that will assist the IKWC with its long-term governance and stewardship of the site.

“All nations live governed by science in a contemporary world; Indigenous peoples as nations are no different,” says Kim TallBear, professor in the Faculty of Native Studies and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience, and Society.

TallBear co-directs the SING Canada internship with Jessica Kolopenuk, assistant professor and Alberta Health Services Research Chair in Indigenous Health in the Department of Family Medicine.

“In a growing clinical and policy landscape of evidence-based decision-making, Indigenous knowledges have an important role to play,” says Kolopenuk. “Our communities and society more broadly will benefit from Indigenous expertise, leadership and governance in science and technology fields.”