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Fellowship for forward thinking
Teevi Mackay's research will look into likelihood of establishing university in Canada's Arctic

Myles Dolphin
Northern News Services
Published Monday, January 27, 2014

An enterprising woman from Iqaluit has recently added another feather to her cap after being named a recipient of the 2013-2015 Jane Glassco Northern Fellowship.

NNSL photo/graphic

Teevi Mackay of Iqaluit is one of eight recipients of the Jane Glassco Northern Fellowship. She plans to spend the next 18 months doing research on the potential for establishing a university in Canada's Arctic. - photo courtesy of the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation

Teevi Mackay, who lives and works in Ottawa, is Nunavut's only winner. The eight other recipients come from the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunatsiavut, in northern Newfoundland and Labrador.

The accolade is the latest in a string of successes for Mackay, who also received the Strategic Alliance of Broadcasters for Aboriginal Reflection (SABAR) scholarship in 2012, the Gordon Robertson National Inuit Scholarship in 2011 and the Kakiniit Grant in 2010, among others.

The Jane Glassco Northern Fellowship is an 18-month program for aboriginal Northerners between the ages of 25 and 35 who "want to build a strong North that benefits Northerners."

Mackay, 30, was raised in Iqaluit and considers it her home.

She plans on using the support from her mentors and peers to explore the possibility of establishing a university in Canada's Arctic.

"I want to look at universities specifically in Greenland and Alaska and see how they were able to develop," she said.

"I also want to look at what a university in Canada's Arctic would look like and how it would match the needs of our people. It would have to privilege traditional knowledge."

The University of Greenland, established in 1987, is that country's only university. There are a number of two-year and four-year post-secondary institutions in Alaska.

The fellows will work on a specific group project collectively, sharing information via monthly webinars, but will also be working on individual projects.

One of the mentors tasked to assist Mackay in her research is Frances Abele, a professor of public policy and administration at Carleton University in Ottawa who has written extensively on the need for a Northern university.

Abele is also a member of the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation's advisory committee on the Northern University Project.

"I plan on using some of her research and building on that," Mackay said.

The pair originally met about 10 years ago when Mackay was completing the aboriginal enriched support program at Carleton University, a transitional step designed to help students adjust to university studies.

Mackay said when she initially tried the program, she realized she wasn't ready for it, however, it led to an interesting research opportunity with ArcticNet.

"All of that experience made me want to look into how we could create a university in the North," she said.

She eventually completed the program after graduating from Nunavut Sivuniksavut in 2009.

For the next 18 months, the fellows are presented with a range of options they can undertake, such as producing a documentary or writing a policy paper.

Mackay said she's leaning towards producing a documentary based on her research but might also write a paper.

"This research is at the preliminary stage and, of course, it could develop into something different based on the work ahead," she added.

"I'm also excited about the potential benefits of creating relationships with other fellows," she said..

"Part of the goal is to build on Northern networks across territories, which will help us now but, also, in the future."

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