Dr. Karine Duhamel



Dr. Karine Duhamel is Anishinaabe-Métis and holds a Bachelor of Arts from Mount Allison University, a Bachelor of Education from Lakehead University and a Masters Degree and Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Manitoba. 

Dr. Duhamel was formerly Adjunct Professor at the University of Winnipeg where she developed and taught courses on the history and legacy of residential schools and Director of Research for Jerch Law Corporation, conducting research related to a number of cases related to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.

Until 2019 and the end of its mandate, Dr. Duhamel was Director of Research for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, drafting the Final Report, as well as managing the Forensic Document Review Project and the Legacy Archive. Since that time, she has focused on this issue in other ways, including as Curator at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, independent consultant for Indigenous women's organizations and most recently, through an appointment within the MMIWG Secretariat with Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC). She also continues to be active by working with groups across the country to foster awareness of Indigenous histories and contemporary issues.

Dr. Duhamel is a member of the Board of Directors for the International Council of Museums, a board member for the Facing History Board of Scholars, a Council member for the Canadian Historical Association, a Speaker for the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba and Co-Chair of the Expert Group on Indigenous Matters for the International Council of Archives.

On Dialogue

As an Indigenous scholar, Dr. Duhamel understands the value that lies, often unexplored, within the experiences and the knowledge of community members. In particular, the idea of dialogue to find solution or resolution is a concept with a long history in many different First Nations, through such practices as sharing circles, governing councils, and councils of Elders. Dr. Duhamel practice rests on the notion of All My Relations, a phrase that is often uttered at the end of a prayer and that indicates the extent to which we are all connected as relatives, across Turtle Island. The implication of All My Relations includes both rights, as Indigenous people, as well as responsibilities for the connections that exist between us and the natural world, and between us and non-Indigenous people. As such, using All My Relations as the cornerstone of her practice helps Dr. Duhamel to see herself and to communicate to others the importance of sustained dialogue and exchange to find solutions for a better Canada.

Dialogue-based practices for living and being well are the heart of projects that Dr. Duhamel has pursued in the past. At the beginning of her professional career, she worked as a classroom teacher in both Ontario and Manitoba. It was there that she developed a love for educating others and for engaging in conversations to speak to, and to work through, difficult knowledge. She was able to use these skills later on, as well, as Curator for Indigenous Rights at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Working directly with communities such as the Ahiarmiut, Shoal Lake 40 First Nation and the Metis in St. Boniface as well as individuals such as Ellen Gabriel, Duke Redbird, David Serkoak, and others, she worked to generate important conversations for education and ultimately, for transformation.

More recently, as Director of Research for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls from 2018 to the end of its mandate in 2019, she was able to see firsthand, through sitting with family members and survivors of violence, the importance of listening deeply and of engaging in dialogue to center key teachings. These were shared in the Inquiry’s Final Report, Reclaiming Power and Place, which she drafted during her tenure. As the Report makes clear, in every story shared among the thousands she heard, witnesses identified, through their truths, the importance of dialogue in finding safety and the central concept of our work – that our women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people are sacred and that we are the sum of our relations. In particular, a series of four guided dialogues illuminated innovative approaches and shared understanding of the pathways ahead for specific communities of Indigenous people and helped the National Inquiry to share, on a much more comprehensive level, what needed to happen next.

Dr. Duhamel is now employed as a public servant pursuing relationships with Indigenous partners. She is also an active contributor to the Canadian Historical Association, building new dialogue and engagement with precariously employed historians seeking to change how universities and history departments support emerging scholars. Dr. Duhamel was the 2021 Welch Community Dialogue Award recipient, offering sessions for the public and for the SFU community focusing on trauma-informed engagement. She was also the 2021 Holtzman Family Scholar (Facing History and Ourselves), and have worked with community foundations across Canada as a presenter for boards and for the public on issues like MMIWG2S+, treaty relationships, and the legacy of residential schools.

About Karine's Fellowship

Dr. Karine Duhamel's fellowship work at the Centre focuses on working with Indigenous communities and groups to articulate and communicate the importance of different issues including trauma and healing, cultural and personal safety, and what it means in distinctions-based and diversity-led practice to seek reconciliation. Dr. Duhamel believes in the potential for positive change that is generated through community-drive initiatives, dialogue and engagement. During her fellowship, Dr. Duhamel will lead and support Indigenous programming and education and consult on relevant Centre projects.

There is a pressing need to engage in more dialogue-based initiatives to better understand what it really means to learn from Indigenous people. This includes healing, safety and a host of other issues, seen through the intersectional lenses of lived experience and structural change and according to distinctions - or identity-based lenses of experience. 

Specifically, safety within Indigenous communities is so much more than the absence of active violence, and it may be defined differently depending on the circumstances for various groups or in different locations. However, current data collection and analysis practices, which focus on quantitative data, can work to mask structural and systemic problems, as well as place-based and perspective-based solutions that might be identified through qualitative data collection and through dialogue. These limited quantitative data are often used, especially in government, to determine funding and allocations – the fact that they may mask more than they reveal is an impetus to do things differently. As such, the increasing interest and priority around violence prevention-related data is an opportunity to engage new dialogues around this question, including how Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people can be safer and how we can measure the impact of governmental and societal initiatives in confronting violence. 

The dialogues that Dr. Duhamel will pursue as part of her fellowship will address these questions by developing a holistic and Indigenous-based safety index specific to MMIWG2S+ through dialogue with survivors and frontline service providers and then explore how to use those data to shift the way that we conceive, plan and evaluate programs and services.

Selected Publications

  • With Marion Buller, “Our Gifts: Considering the Power of Story-Telling in Confronting Violence.” In Shelly Johnson, ed., Privileging Indigenous Oral Traditions and Storywork (submitted to UBC Press, forthcoming 2021)
  • “‘I am Here for Justice, I am Here for Change’: Indigenous Epistemologies and Strategies for Change in Confronting Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls,” in Remembering and Memorializing Violence (University of Toronto Press, forthcoming 2021)
  • With various authors, “COVID-19 and Indigenous Health and Well-being: Our strength is in our stories,” Royal Society of Canada COVID-19 Indigenous Research Group (2020)
  • “Opinion: “Indigenous communities in Canada are resilient, but not invulnerable,” The Globe and Mail, September 28, 2020
  • With various authors, “Truth Commissions and Their Contributions to Atrocity Prevention,” Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities (2019)
  • “Canada/Kanata: Re-storying ‘Canada 150’ at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights”, Journal of the Canadian Historical Association / Revue de la Société historique du Canada (Fall 2018)
  • “All My Relations: Indigenous Childhoods and Indigenous Children at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights”, Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth (Fall 2018)
  • Duhamel, Karine. “Ahiarmiut relocations and the search for justice: The life and work of David Serkoak.” Northern Public Affairs Vol. 6, Issue 1 (Fall 2018). Page 4
  • “Gakina Gidagwi’igoomin Anishinaabewiyang: We Are All Treaty People”, Canada’s History Special Issue: Treaties and the Treaty Relationship (Spring 2018)
  • “Indigenous Women, Intersectionality and Activism at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights,” co-authored with Julia Peristerakis, in Feminism and Museums: Intervention, Disruption and Change, Vol. 1, edited by Jenna Ashton (London: MuseumsEtc., 2017), pp. 344-371

Dr. Karine Duhamel is also a Dialogue Associate. 

Visit Dr. Duhamel's Associate Page