3MT 2023 Finalist  Jillian Ames

Jillian Ames

Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, College of Natural and Applied Sciences

Bringing Indigenous Peoples Home

Introduce yourself…

I'm a master's student in human geography. I'm Métis from Lac Ste. Anne, AB, and I'm a proud parent of a very spirited toddler.

What are you researching and what do you hope comes out of your research?

My research is with Indigenous-led community housing organizations in Alberta. I hope that my project will create a space for them to come together, collaborate, share resources and knowledge in ways they might not have had the opportunity.

How did presenting a Three Minute Thesis (3MT) help explain your research to the public?

After reading and writing about the housing system, Indigenous ways of knowing, and decolonization for over a year now, the 3MT format has pushed me to step back and boil it down in a few bite-sized chunks. It has also been a chance to relate my research to my own personal experience with housing precarity.

What inspires you to do research?

I worked as a frontline income assistance worker for the BC government for four years after my undergraduate program. It had really rewarding moments when I could help an individual with their financial situation. But it was very challenging not feeling like I was doing anything to address the root causes of the insecurity people experience.

What are three key words important to your 3MT?

housing, Indigenous, decolonization

How does your research impact local, provincial, or global communities at large?

Indigenous peoples have been pushed down by settler colonialism for hundreds of years. Despite this, we persist. My research is one tiny chapter in a massive story of Indigenous resurgence.

If you had to dedicate your research to anyone from the past, present, or future, who would it be and why?

My wonderful friend and mentor, Dr. Jennifer Ward. She passed away in March 2022. We had an amazing working relationship and friendship, we felt like we could take on the world. She lit a fire in me and believed in me, supported me. I will always be grateful for our time together.

3MT Image Description: Image 1: Two Indigenous people wearing black bandanas as masks, crouching in front of a black banner with red text "THIS IS NATIVE LAND";
Image 2: Utopian-looking social housing building in Vienna with a garden in the foreground;
Image 3: Camp Pekiwewin homeless camp in Edmonton's river valley, 2020.

Watch Jillian's Three Minute Thesis