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Reconciliation and Research

Humber's Research Analyst Graduate Certificate Program invites you to its stellar annual research event, the RAP Research Forum. The 2021 Research Forum continues its tradition of showcasing insightful student work, and hosting enlightening speakers. This year's distinguished panel will address the theme, Reconciliation and Research. The panel will discuss how the paradigms that structure and support positivist, scholastic, and commercial approaches to research might be restructured and invigorated in the light of Indigenous ways of knowing, being, and doing, so as to revivify the relationships between the researcher, the researched, and the community.

Panel Speakers

Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux

Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux, Ph.D.

Chair on Truth and Reconciliation
Lakehead University, Orillia & Thunder Bay

Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux served as Vice Provost for Indigenous Initiatives at Lakehead University for three years. Effective September 2016 she was appointed as the 1st Indigenous Chair for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada for Lakehead University and she continues to develop pathways forward to reconciliation across Canada. Cynthia is responsible for the development and implementation of the President’s Council for the Truth and Reconciliation and eight modules designed to engage the staff, faculty and administration of the Lakehead community.

Cynthia was the inaugural Nexen Chair for Indigenous Leadership at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and remains a faculty member in the Indigenous Learning program. She is a board member for the Teach for Canada non-profit which addresses the needs of Indigenous schools in Northern Ontario. Cynthia was inducted as a “Honourary Witness” by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in 2014, and is the Chair of the Governing Circle for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba.

She is a member and resident of the Chippewa of Georgina Island First Nation in Ontario and has dedicated her life to building bridges of understanding between peoples. She sees endless merit in bringing people from diverse cultures, ages, and backgrounds together to engage in practical dialogue and applied research initiatives. She is deeply committed to public education and active youth engagement from all cultures and backgrounds.

Cynthia co-founded a youth project out of the University of Toronto, the University of Saskatchewan and Lakehead University. Information on the Canadian Roots Exchange (CRE) can be found at:

David Danto

David Danto, Ph.D., C. Psych.

Program Head, Psychology 
University of Guelph-Humber
Chair, Canadian Psychological Association
Standing Committee on Reconciliation

Dr. David Danto’s primary research goal is to support Indigenous Peoples in the application of Indigenous knowledge, practice, and culture on treatment initiatives that address the complex harms incurred by colonization. These initiatives include, among others, land-based approaches to wellness and healing. His research is within the field of psychology and includes advocacy efforts within the discipline at large to draw attention to the ways that the field itself has caused, and can continue to cause harm, in its interaction with Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Part of Dr. Danto’s overall research goal is to bring attention to the similarities in the suffering of Indigenous Peoples around the world as a result of colonial forces and the importance of respecting Indigenous resilience, knowledge, history, and Peoples globally.

To achieve these research goals, Dr. Danto employs collaborative, Two-Eyed Seeing approaches to combine European interpretative analysis with Indigenous approaches to research. He utilizes narrative-based storytelling protocols, with limited open-ended question prompts, and interprets data to find commonalities. These commonalities are then reviewed and edited by participants to ensure accuracy and rigour. His approach avoids coding, decontextualizing, or utilizing predetermined Western constructs in the categorization or interpretation of narratives. Importantly, the community is involved in all aspects of his research, including proposal, design, data collection, analysis, and interpretation stages.

Dr. Danto believes an important aspect of the application of his research is to draw attention to issues of Indigenous resilience and cultural literacy to mainstream psychology. In working with Indigenous communities and co-creating an output which is within the realm of Western psychology, he hopes his work operates to inform colleagues of issues and approaches that they may not have previously identified, particularly within the intersections of ethics, human rights and clinical training with the field of psychology.

I rely on the advice of one of my supervisors in grad school - Dr. Connie Fischer, who often said it is important to ask yourself the question: "For whose sake?" Subsequently, I share my potential research question within the community, listening very carefully for that which participants deem important and I keep this question in the back of my mind until a research question is fully formulated that the community wants answered. We then move forward collaboratively discussing methods. I am also cognizant of the power differential that may exist when a community that may have urgent and significant mental health needs, is visited by an 'expert.' Therefore, it is important to emphasize a not-knowing approach, validating the community members as the experts of their experience and ensuring that in utilizing a two-eyed seeing approach, the Western eye does not colonize the Indigenous eye, so to speak.

- Dr. David Danto

Date & Format


Thursday, November 18, 2021


12:00 PM to 1:45 PM


Virtual (Zoom)




12:00 pm - 12:10 pm

Welcome and Land Acknowledgement

12:10 pm - 1:00 pm

Panel Discussions with Q&A

1:00 pm - 1:10 pm

Student Poster Gallery

1:10 pm - 1:40 pm

Networking with Industry Professionals

1:40 pm - 1:45 pm

Closing Remarks

Contact Information

Mona Nouroozifar, Forum Chair

Mary Takacs, RAP Program Coordinator

Nicole Tonus-Conti, RAP Placement Advisor