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New MPH alumnus honours her Métis identity through SFU experience
By: Geron Malbas
Logan Burd, a new alumnus of the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS), joined the Master of Public Health (MPH) program for its strong emphasis on social justice and social determinants of health and equity. Coming from her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of British Columbia Okanagan, she tackled the challenge of foreign concepts and theories and an air of anxiety and pressure.
“I am the first Métis person in my family to attend post-secondary education; entering the MPH program, I felt a significant amount of imposter syndrome as a graduate student and a first-generation Métis student,” she explained. “Looking back, it was a challenging but beautiful journey where I learned so much about myself and my identity, and I will continue working in spaces that amplify Indigenous voices.”
For her MPH Capstone project, her group focused on prioritizing Métis health and Métis-specific cultural safety. Burd points out how it became evident that First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Peoples continue to experience racism and discrimination when accessing healthcare services and treatment. The project centred around assisting Métis Nation British Columbia with creating a proposal for their Métis-specific cultural safety training that will be implemented with healthcare providers and practitioners across the health authorities in British Columbia.
Burd emphasizes the importance of engaging in this work for her as a proud Métis Citizen of British Columbia with mixed Blackfeet, Cree, Métis, and European ancestry. She hopes to continue her journey of revitalizing her connection to her Métis identity and culture and ensure Métis perspectives and experiences are included and prioritized in healthcare spaces and systems.
“I know that my ancestors have led me on this path. I am so honoured and privileged to live in a time where I can proudly say I am Métis; I wish more than anything that my grandpa and ancestors could see the progress that has been made today and experience a time where Métis People do not have to hide or be ashamed of their identity,” Burd explains. “I do this work for my family and the Nation; being connected with community and culture has made me feel whole.”
During her time at SFU, she was provided the opportunity to engage with her Métis identity and culture, especially from her peers and professors.
“I appreciate the curiosity of many peers who had questions and created a space for me to share stories about my ancestry and my experiences as a Métis person,” she said. “I appreciate many professors’ efforts and actions towards creating spaces for me to speak about my Métis identity and engaging in decolonizing practices within their classrooms and academia.”
Burd plans to continue her educational journey as a PhD student. Her research will be focused on being in community and understanding Métis youth conceptualizations of community resilience and cultural continuity as protective factors against youth suicide. For students looking for advice, she urges making an effort to network and create connections.
“Get to know your peers, professors, and faculty members because everyone has such different and diverse lived experiences and knowledge to share and learn from.”