Current Students – Master’s Program

Mackenzie Birdgenaw

My name is Mackenzie Birdgenaw, and I was born and raised in Carleton Place, Ontario. I am a first generation Indigenous student in my first year of pursuing my Master’s in Indigenous and Canadian Studies. I am a member of the Moose Deer Point First Nations.

I was drawn to the School as part of my previous studies in the Museum Studies program at Algonquin College, as well as my work experience with various museums portraying Indigenous histories and peoples. It is my hope that in learning more about the interdisciplinary aspects of the School that I can educate myself further about Indigenous peoples and the considerations of ethically curating collections.

In particular, it is my goal to better my understanding of the political relationships between Canadian and Indigenous peoples, as well identifying aspects and evolution of Indigenous arts and their politics.

In my free time I enjoy camping, writing, and visiting museums.

Samantha David
Samantha is a first year MA student of Filipino and Mi’kmaq heritage. She graduated from Carleton University with a Bachelor’s of Public Affairs and Policy Management with a specialization in International Studies. Her honors research essay, focused on a comparative analysis of traditional knowledge-western science collaborations through policy frameworks generated in New Zealand, the United States and Canada. With a desire to further her understandings of how international diplomatic tools can be used to compliment a nation-to-nation relationship within Canada, she has opted to continue her research at the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies at Carleton.

Currently, Samantha is a junior analyst for the International Engagement Division at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, where she facilitates scientific diplomacy through her assistance on a number of international files.

Her academic research interests are focused on innovation driven by traditional knowledge, Indigenous-Canadian relationships, global issues and research diplomacy. Samantha spends most of her spare time consuming literature and world news on a regular basis. She is also an active volunteer with Ottawa’s music festival scene and is always seeking out new experiences to broaden her understanding of other cultures.

Alison Leclaire

Alison LeClaire joined the Federal Government as a foreign service officer after completing a BA in Political Science from York University in 1987. 

 She has represented Canada at missions abroad in Brazil, Sweden and, most recently, in Geneva at Canada’s mission to the United Nations at Geneva.  Her Ottawa professional experience has covered a range of issues, including human rights, environment, China, and policy planning. 

 She currently works at Global Affairs on Arctic issues as well as on relations with Eastern Europe and Eurasia.

Sidney Moran

My name is Sidney Moran, and I am a first year graduate student in the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies, focusing on Indigenous Studies! This past year I graduated from Brock University with a B.A. in Sociology, specializing in Criminology and minoring in Indigenous Studies. I am originally from a small town called Paris Ontario, which is located on Haudenosaunee land and is very close to Six Nations reserve.

I was lucky enough to work for Indigenous Services Canada this past summer which has illuminated a number of focus areas for my research. My research interests include using an ecofeminist perspective to draw connections between the experiences of Indigenous people worldwide and also examining the importance of decentralized governments.

Nansen Murray

I am starting my Masters in Canadian and Indigenous Studies in the Heritage Conservation stream. I’m excited to come back to Carleton having completed my undergraduate degree in the College of the Humanities in 2014. My research interest is the issues that appear at the intersection of heritage conservation and competing interest groups, specifically: multiple levels of government, including First Nation governments, and environmental and economic interests. I think heritage conservation can be environmentally responsible while not stifling modern economic opportunities.

I grew up in the Yukon Territory and my passion for the land of my birth is constant. I am a lover of the outdoors and spend as much time as I can either hiking, skiing or biking. Another constant for me is my interest in heritage and the places where different cultures have developed from. What took slightly longer was for these interests to coalesce to a point where I could study and work in Yukon heritage. I have been lucky to have a chance to work for the Yukon Government both with Archaeology and with Historic Sites. With Archaeology I was introduced to the length and breadth of the First Nation occupation this land, while for the last two summers I have been researching and documenting historic sites all over the Territory with a focus on the Klondike Gold Rush and the economic development brought about by the Second World War.

Megan Proper

I am a first year M.A. student born in Alliston, Ontario. I completed a B.A. and M.Phil. at Trinity College, Dublin, specializing in medieval and early modern colonial cartography. I also completed a B.Ed. at Acadia University and have spent the last year teaching at the secondary level in Nova Scotia.

I want to discover the interconnections between language, land use and community; to explore the ways language frames knowledge, and how these ways of knowing manifest in relationships with ourselves, our communities, and the land around us. My research interests span the uses of traditional plants as medicine, Indigenous agricultural practices, Ojibwe grammar and etymology, and the teachings of the medicine wheel.

Emma Rae

Emma is a first year M.A. student at the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies, focusing on the relationship between gender and the natural environment. She previously attended Carleton, earning her Bachelor’s degree in Humanities with a minor in Canadian Studies.

Emma was born on Algonquin territory in Ottawa, and is of Scottish, English, Irish and Ukrainian ancestry. Interested in genealogical research, she is currently exploring the histories of her ancestors from their homelands to Turtle Island. Emma‘s research interests also include the history of women’s persecution and women’s mysticism, and exploring artistic expressions of these topics.

Emma currently works at Infrastructure Canada as the department’s Gender Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) Focal Point. She aims to create equitable and intersectional policy and programs throughout her career in the public service.

As an active member in both her professional and personal communities, Emma continues to push for LGBTQ2+ inclusion and equity, environmental sustainability, and strong and diverse women’s networks.

Avery Steed

Avery was born in Tiohtiá:ke (Montréal, Québec) and moved to Algonquin territory in Ottawa a decade ago. A recent alumnus of Carleton University, Avery graduated from the Bachelor of Humanities with a Minor in Indigenous Studies in Spring 2017. Avery’s passion for academia was reinvigorated through the Indigenous Studies courses she took as electives in the later years of her degree.

Avery’s research interests are informed by intersecting themes in her work with various branches of the federal government, academic pursuits in both the Humanities and Indigenous studies, and a passion for the outdoors. During her time working for Banff National Park two years ago, she began to contemplate, as an area of research, the role of Parks Canada as an instrument for nation-building through the creation of the National Park system. She is also interested in the concept of “green colonialism”— that is, when environmental calls to action lead to government intervention despite overlapping assertions of Indigenous sovereignty.

In her spare time, Avery enjoys visiting her four siblings (who reside in varied locations across Turtle Island), growing and propagating plants, hiking, yoga, ballet, and sampling new craft beers!

Catherine Stockall

Catherine Stockall is a first year MA student originally from unceded Mi’kmaq territory in Sackville, New Brunswick. She recently graduated with an honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Canadian Studies from Mount Allison University, after having completed the Foundation Year Programme at the University of King’s College. Her undergraduate thesis explored the experiences of Indigenous peoples with law enforcement and the construction of Indigenous criminality within the settler state.

Catherine’s current research interests consider the role of heritage sites in maintaining particular manifestations of the settler state. While working at a museum, Catherine noticed the ways that museums construct particular narratives of Canada, focusing on false and sanitized histories of nationhood, while excluding others.

While studying for her Master’s degree, she plans to examine how to challenge the ongoing legacy of settler colonialism through museums and cultural sites.


Kiersten Vuorimaki

After graduating with a Bachelor of Humanities with Combined Honours in History from Carleton University a decade ago, I completed a diploma in Applied Museum Studies at Algonquin College. Graduate studies were always the ultimate goal, and after taking a few career related detours, I am back as a first year M.A. student in the SICS Heritage Conservation stream. I also intend to concurrently pursue the ICSLAC’s Curatorial Studies graduate diploma. Heritage places have always fascinated me, as well as the way we identify, value, conserve, interpret and repurpose those places.

During my years working at the Bytown Museum, and the Ottawa Art Gallery, I developed an appreciation for the local cultural organizations of Ottawa, and began to see the divide between the perceptions of local heritage, and national heritage in our city. As a newcomer to Ottawa, it fascinated me how the story of Ottawa as a city is often overshadowed by the importance it holds as the Capital. My Master’s research will explore the built heritage of Ottawa, and specifically how the city was developed after 1857 with the express purpose of functioning as the nation’s capital.

In my free time I am an avid local sports fan, bibliophile and lover of other peoples’ pets. I am also a food and sports writer for the local arts and culture blog apt613.

Jayme Walker

I am a first year M.A. student in the school of Indigenous and Canadian Studies focusing on Heritage Conservation. I was raised in a small farming community in south-western Ontario near Georgian Bay. This area is known as the ‘Grey Highlands’ due to its elevation and the heavy influence of Scottish settlers on the region.

I completed my B.A. in History and Political Science at the University of Toronto in 2004 and an M.A. in Public Administration at Carleton in 2007. I then went to work for the federal government at Service Canada in the Marketing/Communications branch where I conducted market research and sought to improve service delivery by improving the departmental website.

I’ve since developed a passion for learning about Heritage Conservation; specifically the management of Canada’s National Parks and Historic Sites. This began by noticing the UNESCO brand attached to numerous prime tourist destinations and wondering who was responsible for protecting the many beautiful, iconic places in Canada. I am also interested in questions of national identity and cultural policy and felt that the Indigenous and Canadian Studies program at Carleton would be a perfect fit.

In my spare time I enjoy outdoor recreation, martial arts, yoga, literature and cheering on the Blue Jays and Maple Leafs.