Thompson Rivers University

Education Indigenization researcher receives CRC funding extension

June 2, 2022

Kamloops—A Thompson Rivers University (TRU) faculty member has been renewed as a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair (CRC) for another five years. Created in 2000, the prestigious CRC program promotes research and development excellence in Canadian post-secondary institutions.

Dr. Mukwa Musayett’s (Shelly Johnson) Chair in Indigenizing Higher Education, in the Faculty of Education and Social Work, centres on how university-based research and teaching can better serve Indigenous advancement. Her research serves to ensure universities are responsive to Indigenous peoples, thus increasing their success in higher education, which creates a ripple effect that improves the success of all. Mukwa Musayett’s research aligns with the Calls to Action on Education by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and the Calls to Justice by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. It generates critical applications for other higher education institutions in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

Mukwa Musayett joins fellow CRCs at TRU: Dr. Courtney Mason, CRC in Rural Livelihoods and Sustainable Communities; Dr. Jill Harvey, CRC in Fire Ecology; Dr. Heather Price, CRC in Culture and Communities: Children and the Law; and Dr. Yana Nec, CRC in Applied Mathematics and Optimization.

In December 2016, TRU announced Mukwa Musayett – whose Saulteaux name, given to her in ceremony by the late Saulteaux Elder Bill Whitehorse, means ‘I’m walking with bears’ – from Saskatchewan’s Keeseekoose First Nation, as the country’s first Canada Research Chair in Indigenizing Higher Education. Since then, she’s been laying the groundwork for change.

The Government of Canada announced more than 119 new and renewed Canada Research Chairs at 35 academic institutions for the 2021-1 cycle, which represents more than $102 million nationally. Of the chairholders announced, 40.9 per cent are women, 22.8 per cent are members of visible minorities, 5.8 per cent are persons with disabilities and 3.4 per cent are Indigenous Peoples, which marks an increase in representation for all groups from previous announcements.


“The work Dr. Mukwa Musayett leads at TRU is truly ground-breaking, and I am extremely grateful the federal government has recognized the value she brings to this field of research through the renewal of her role as a Canada Research Chair. Indigenizing higher education is a vital component of Truth and Reconciliation. Universities, including TRU, must strive to make meaningful progress in this area. This recognition for Dr. Mukwa Musayett will guide Canadian higher education and all of society to a better future.” – Brett Fairbairn, TRU President

“Dr. Mukwa Musayett has made important contributions to indigenization of higher education at TRU, and we congratulate her on her renewal as Canada Research Chair. Her valuable research over the next five years will allow us as a university to enhance educational opportunities for Indigenous students, reaffirm our commitment to Indigenous peoples and communities and renew our commitment to ensuring Indigenous student success.” – Dr. Will Garrett-Petts, TRU Vice-President Research (Interim)

“The Faculty of Education and Social Work celebrates the news of Dr. Mukwa Musayett’s re-appointment as Canada Research Chair in Indigenizing Higher Education. Her work includes the development and delivery of a course in the Master of Education program titled ‘Privileging Indigenous Oral Traditions and Storywork in International Indigenous Research.’ Through such course design, Dr. Mukwa Musayett helps TRU to guide research and teaching in a way that is inclusive, respectful and honoring of Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing.” – Dr. Yasmin Dean, Dean, TRU Faculty of Education and Social Work

Michele Young, Manager, Communications Content
Thompson Rivers University
250-828-5361 |

Quick facts

  • There are currently 1,985 Canada Research Chair holders working at 78 post-secondary institutions across the country in a wide range of fields. More than 250 of these chairs are in British Columbia.
  • According to the Government of Canada, the Canada Research Chairs Program invests approximately $311 million per year to attract and retain some of the world’s most accomplished and promising minds.
  • Universities Canada’s 97 member institutions have adopted Indigenous education as a priority. In the spirit of advancing opportunities for Indigenous students, the leaders of Canada’s universities committed to principles—developed in close consultation with Indigenous communities—that acknowledge the unique needs of Indigenous communities across Canada and their goals of autonomy and self-determination.