Woman Warriors Newsletter

Decolonizing Research Part 2

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Decolonizing Virtual Spaces
Using a Green Screen

My second guest for my “Decolonizing Research” virtual coffee series was physical scientist for Natural Resources Canada, Dustin Whalen. I became acquainted with Dustin last October when I presented my digital storytelling research at the Ełèts’ehdèe-Katimaqatigiit-Nihkhah Łatr’iljil conference. This annual gathering is organized by Hotii t’seeda (NWT Spor Unit) and co-hosted by the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation and the Tłı̨chǫ Government. I was invited to attend this event because I am a recipient of the Researcher Capacity Development (RCD) Award for my digital storytelling research and Dustin presented on his coastal erosion research based in the Arctic. 

I have been contemplating how to decolonize online virtual spaces to create culturally appropriate and safes spaces for my guests and to connect us to the land. Our connection to the land is essential to the decolonization process including respecting the land and the natural laws of nature, the land as our medicine and nature as healing and integral to our wholistic wellbeing. The coronavirus pandemic has forced us to adapt to an online virtual lifestyle that disconnects us from the land and our natural way of being and interacting. I purchased a green screen to include photos of the land or nature in each of my virtual coffee chats. I intend to feature the lands and territories where each of my guests resides or spends time co-creating their research with Indigenous communities. I also ask each of my guests to begin our conversation with a land acknowledgement. By featuring backgrounds of the land, I am attempting to decolonize our virtual space and bring back our connection to the land. 

My “Decolonizing Research” coffee chat with Dustin features the Northern lights to connect us to the landscape of the Northwest Territories. In my upcoming virtual coffee chats I asked my guests to choose the land background or send me photos from their territory. I am excited to share our upcoming coffee chats with land-based backgrounds, and personal stories on the land. In our video chat, I inserted personal pictures of Dustin co-creating research in the Arctic and connecting us to the land.

Please click on the red arrow below to watch our virtual chat and subscribe to the Women Warriors Youtube Channel for next week’s virtual coffee chat with Royal Roads masters student, Barbara Horsefall. She self-identifies as Métis, of French, Irish, Nȇhiýaw (Cree), and Kanien’kehá:ka(Mohawk) ancestry and as a Two-Spirit woman. Her community-based research study explores the experiences of urban Indigenous Two-Spirit women with ceremony.

S01E02: Decolonizing Research: Dustin Whalen on Community-based Climate Change Monitoring in the Arctic

Decolonizing Research Interview Series

S01EP02: Decolonizing Research: Dustin Whalen on Community-based Climate Change Monitoring in the Arctic 

Dustin Whalen is a coastal scientist with the Geological Survey of Canada, Natural Resources Canada. He has been with the federal government since 2004 working primarily in the Western Canadian Arctic (Inuvialuit Settlement Region) conducting research on coastal dynamics with respect to impacts of climate change, information to inform sustainable development and community adaptation. Prior to starting his career as a scientist with the federal government Dustin worked all over the world on a seismic research vessel, he studied Geology at Dalhousie University and has a mapping diploma from the Center of Geographic Sciences.  Although he calls Halifax his home (where he shares with wife and two young boys), the North undoubtedly is his second home where he has spent lots of time and has many friends. Dustin’s passion for coastal research, new innovation and communication is enhanced by his strong connection and working relationship to the people living in the region.

On today’s episode Dustin shares: 

  • His journey as a physical scientist co-creating climate change research with Arctic communities.
  • His observations on Southern verses Northern populations understanding of climate change science and research.
  • Preparing a three-minute elevator pitch for Northerners as a researcher.
  • Preparing his students for climate change research in the North.
  • Decolonizing research as a physical scientist.
  • Learning about the land through a wholistic lens by speaking to local community members.
  • Inuit knowledge leading the research question. 
  • Research ethics and NWT Scientific Research License.
  • Incorporating traditional Inuit knowledge in research including co-creating a documentary with Inuit knowledge keepers titled, “Sharing Knowledge Together on the Beaufort Coast.”
  • The importance of “visiting” and “coffee time” in Northern research.
  • His timeline of research in a calendar year including how often he visits the communities in the Beaufort Delta and his research priorities during each visit.
  • Citizen science and ice break-up in the North.
  • The climate change community-monitoring program in the Beaufort Delta.
  • How the community of Tuktoyaktuk (Tuk) uses the climate change research to mitigate the impacts of coastal erosion.
  • Pelly Island coastal erosion. Pelly Island is losing its coastline at a rate 20 to 30 times faster than anywhere else in Canada. 
  • How he does knowledge translation with Arctic communities: formal verses informal methods.
  • Science communication via social media and multimedia research.
  • Climate change research in Canada verses Europe: the co-production of knowledge with Indigenous communities verses science-based methods.
  • How covid-19 impacted his research plans: more community based monitoring and co-analysis of research results. 

Access the Google Drive Transcript
Selected Links from this Episode

Connect with Dustin
What did you learn about from this interview?
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Shelley Wiart is the owner of all common law and statutory trademark rights in the word mark WOMEN WARRIORS, and the logo marks.