Ashley Julian-Rikihana awarded MHRC-Mitacs Summer 2022 Indigenous Mental Health Impact Studentship


Nestuin Wiaqi- Elmi’knik Kekina’ muemkewey: A community-engaged research approach for accessing linguistic resurgence, revitalization, and reclamation efforts.

Funded in collaboration with Mitacs Accelerate, Ashley Julian-Rikihana, a student of Acadia University, will be focusing on Mi'kmaq language revitalization as a tool for community mental health and well-being, in partnership with the Sipekne’katik Health Center.

In this project, Ashley will explore the current programs which exist to attempt resurgence, revitalization, and reclamation for Mi’kmaq culture and language for parents/guardians, infants, and pre-primary toddlers. She will then look at the existing actions that families are contributing towards linguistic survival and the existing barriers to language learning and interaction for parents/guardians.

She will recruit participants through Indigenous recruitment strategies and use qualitative method which include talking circles (focus group), storytelling, and reflexivity (journalling) method to illustrate the intricacies of co-constructing story work with participants and weaving her own experiences with community epistemologies.

Much work needs to be done to encourage language revitalization transmission from one generation to the next generation, and her work is one of the first community-engaged project for nurturing the spirits of parents, children, and elders.

About Ashley

Ashley Julian-Rikihana is a first year doctoral student in Educational Studies at Acadia University where she is a part of the Inter-University Doctoral Program.

Ashley is a Mi’kmaw community member from the Sipekne’katik (See-Bay-Kineh-kah-deek) First Nation Band, Indian Brook 14, Nova Scotia.

Ashley provides a Mi’kmaw lens to the shared responsibility of equity and inclusion in education, is a Treaty Education Speakers Bureau representative and Mi’kmaw cultural and language ambassador.


To view the original version of this article and for more information about Mental Health Research Canada and other MHRC projects, please visit their website.


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