Updated: Jul 24, 2020
When I left Parliament Hill to start my doctoral studies in 2007, I was not entirely sure where this would lead me, but I knew I wanted to bring good people and good ideas together in a transformative way, in some combination of academic, public, private and non-profit-sector work. I also knew that there were philosophical, historical and interdisciplinary questions that I wanted to dig into more deeply, in a way that doctoral studies would best allow. I knew a PhD would serve me well regardless of the balance I might strike between scholarship, teaching and pragmatic engagements. While pursuing my doctorate, therefore, I remained involved in various public-policy, community and leadership development engagements and initiatives, including several that I co-founded at the start of my doctoral studies.
Since completing my PhD, I have undertaken or continued various academic and non-academic engagements and initiatives. Uniting these diverse endeavours is the goal of bringing Indigenous and non-Indigenous histories and cultures into deeper dialogue on fundamental human questions and in pragmatic response to critical issues and tangible opportunities. Initially, I assumed a research and teaching position would provide the ideal balance of stability and entrepreneurial freedom of initiative to bring people and ideas together in response to specific needs in our society and culture.
I have recently decided, however, to embrace the more independent professional path of social and idea entrepreneur and scholar. I was prompted to do this for two reasons. On the one hand, several interesting opportunities and requests for my services had arisen. Several weeks ago, for example, I took on a new leadership role as Indigenous Reciprocity Lead for GreenQuest Power, a start-up company that seeks to implement and raise the standards for best practices. https://greenquestpower.com/leadership
More importantly, I realized I wanted to focus my attention and energy more fully on initiatives that I had been exploring or developing for more than a decade, and that there were few full-time positions (in private, public, non-profit or academic sectors) that would allow such freedom of initiative. One of these long-standing projects is the Moose River Heritage and Hospitality Association, an organization I helped found in 2008, whose mission and objective is "Building a Future with our Shared Past." I am now also pleased to start working as its new Executive Director, alongside Fred Rickard, its new Community Coordinator. https://www.facebook.com/Moose-River-Heritage-and-Hospitality-Association-306581379368957/
None of this means that I am setting aside my scholarship. This will continue, primarily through my affiliation with Concordia University's School of Community and Public Affairs, where I am a research fellow and part-time professor of First Peoples Studies. This school is an ideal academic home for a social and idea entrepreneur and scholar engaged in community and public affairs.
All of these endeavours are anchored in the guiding principles and objectives of solidarity and reciprocity (not to mention others) especially at the intersection of the Indigenous, Christian and Western cultures and histories in which I have been immersed since day one. I look forward to sharing more reflections and news over the next weeks, as I navigate further downstream or upstream on this journey.