Queen's University

Indigenous scholars visit Queen's for year-long fellowship

The Faculty of Arts and Science has announced the recipients of its pre-doctoral fellowships for Indigenous graduate students.

This brand new opportunity, announced in February, was designed to recognize outstanding scholarship among four Canadian Indigenous PhD candidates. The initiative will provide each fellow with an annual stipend of $34,000 and up to $3,000 for research and conference travel. In addition, each fellow will be appointed and compensated separately as a Term Adjunct to teach a half-course (three unit) university course.

Following a positive response and many worthwhile applications, the Faculty decided to expand the initiative to include a fifth scholar.

“The widespread enthusiasm for the Indigenous pre-doctoral fellowships, coupled with the intensity of the response and the high quality of the applicants, was such that we decided to award five fellowships,” says Lynda Jessup, Associate Dean (Graduate Studies) within the Faculty of Arts and Science.

During their year at Queen’s, these five scholars will each teach a course within the Faculty of Arts and Science, engage with local Indigenous peoples and communities, broaden their networks, and complete their doctoral work to receive their degree from their home institution.

The recipients are coming to Queen’s from different universities the west coast to Ottawa, and represent five distinct Indigenous cultures. Keri Cheechoo, from Long Lake #58 First Nation, says she is “incredibly honoured” to have been selected as one of the recipients.

“Wachiye (that means ‘hello’). The many positive Indigenous initiatives being undertaken at Queen’s have much to offer in terms of building community and promoting reconciliation efforts, and I am pleased to be a part of that revitalization and growth,” says Ms. Cheechoo. “I remain grateful that the “rafters have been extended”, to quote the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation task force report, to welcome my Indigenous knowledge, my capabilities as a Cree scholar, and the ancestral teachings I bring with me. Meegwetch (thank you).”

The five scholars include:


Scott Berthelette
Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Queen’s Department of History
PhD Candidate, University of Saskatchewan

Scott Berthelette’s doctoral research examines how French-Canadian voyageurs and coureurs de bois were instrumental intermediaries between the French State and Indigenous Peoples in the Hudson Bay Watershed.

Mr. Berthelette is Métis. 


Keri Cheechoo
Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Queen’s Department of English Language and Literature
PhD Candidate, University of Ottawa

Keri Cheechoo's research questions what Indigenous women's stories reveal about public and customary practices, as well as the policies and practices of forced sterilization, and she uses an arts-based methodology in the form of poetic inquiry, along with an Indigenous conversational methodology.

Ms. Cheechoo is Cree.


Jennifer Meness
Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Queen's Cultural Studies Program
PhD candidate in the joint Communication and Culture program through York and Ryerson Universities.

Using Anishinaabe conceptual frameworks and methodologies, Jennifer Meness' research gathers stories of experiences with Gaa-dibenjikewaach and seeks to further understand these types of relationships through the social lens of powwow participation.

Ms. Meness is Algonquin.

Evelyn Poitras
Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Queen’s Department of Gender Studies
PhD Candidate, Trent University

Evelyn Poitras's research is on Nikawiy (mother) to Nitanis (daughter) narratives on the Nehiyaw Iskwew role in governance, leadership, and Treaty enforcement with particular focus on Treaty Four and Treaty Six.

Ms. Poitras is Nehiyaw Iskwew (Cree and Saulteaux).


Adrianne Lickers Xavier
Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Global Development Studies
PhD Candidate, Royal Roads University

Adrianne Lickers Xavier's research is an autoethnographic account examining the implementation of a food security initiative, "Our Sustenance," at Six Nations.

Ms. Lickers Xavier is Onondaga.

For more information on this new program, visit the Faculty of Arts and Science’s website.

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Adrianne Lickers Xavier

I am an Onondaga woman from the Six Nations of the Grand River. I am currently in the Doctor of Social Sciences program at Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia, and am completing a Pre-Doctoral Fellowship in the Department of Development Studies at Queen's University. I hold a BA in Anthropology from McMaster University as well as an MA in lntercultural and International Communication from Royal Roads.

Evelyn Poitras

I am Nehiyaw Iskwew (Cree and Saulteaux) from the Peepeekisis Nation in Treaty 4 Territory (now known as Saskatchewan). Currently in my third year of doctoral studies at Trent University, I am completing a Pre-Doctoral Fellowship in the Department of Gender Studies at Queen's University. My research interests include the numbered Indian Treaties, Sovereignty issues including Indigenous Governance, and Indigenous community development.

Scott Berthelette

I am a PhD Candidate at the University of Saskatchewan, who researches the history of New France, the Métis, the Fur Trade, and French-Indigenous relations in North America. I am currently completing a Pre-Doctoral Fellowship for Indigenous Students at Queen's University within the Department of History. I am a member of the Manitoba Métis Federation, the federally recognized self-government of the Métis people of Manitoba.

Jennifer Meness

I am a fourth year PhD candidate in the joint Communication and Culture program through York and Ryerson Universities and am currently completing a Pre-Doctoral Fellowship for Indigenous Students in the Cultural Studies program at Queen's University. During my time at York, I was active with the Centre for Aboriginal Student Services (CASS) and also served as the graduate student representative on the Aboriginal Education Council. I thoroughly enjoy encouraging, inspiring, and mentoring Indigenous undergraduate and master's students both academically and traditionally. Over the past two years, I have volunteered with the Traditional Team at Anishinawbe Health Toronto as Oshkabewis (Helper) to Traditional Healers Pete Keshane, Colin Mousseau, and James Carpenter. I fulfill my Eagle Clan responsibilities by constantly pursuing the highest elevations of the mind and Spirit just as the Eagle pursues the highest elevations of the sky. 

Keri-Lynn Cheechoo

I am Cree from Long Lake #58 First Nation and currently a Part-time Professor at the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa where I teach First Nations, Inuit and Metis Education. I am in my third year of the Doctorate in Philosophy in Education (PhD) program at the University of Ottawa and am completing a Pre-Doctoral Fellowship in the Department of English at Queen's University. I came to Ottawa after earning my BA and MA in English and Women's Studies from Lakehead University, as well as my BEd and a post-graduate certification in writing. In addition to mentoring in the Educution Graduate Student Association's Mentorship Program at the University of Ottawa, I also served as a role model for Lakehead University' s Nanabijou Aboriginal Graduate Enhancement Program (NAGE).