"I am deeply grateful for the supportive and compassionate approaches and relationships I have been able to develop with my peers and Dr. Ramirez since starting my PhD as we all navigate these ever-changing landscapes of mental, personal, physical, academic, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing."

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Student Profile: Tsatia Adzich

Geography PhD student in the Faculty of Environment

December 08, 2020
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I am excited to be starting the first year of my PhD in the Geography department at SFU. I am a proud Cree-Metis woman, and am passionate about stories from my community about how we actively resist settler colonial narratives that would erase the vibrant urban indigeneity of my kin and I. I have extensive experience working with urban Indigenous communities in both Canada and Russia: Not only have I lived as an urban Indigenous person in the Metro Vancouver area, but I completed my first MA in collaboration with the Urban Native Youth Association in 2017. In my second MA I had the opportunity to conduct research in the northeastern Russian city of Yakutsk in 2018-2019 where I observed noteworthy similarities between how urban Indigenous women in Vancouver and Yakutsk creatively disrupt settler colonial discourse regarding urban Indigenous communities. It is those observations and associated community responsibilities that inspires this doctoral research. My two MAs celebrated urban Indigenous women’s stories of accessing, belonging to, and nurturing urban community as a practice of Indigenous self-determination through community-centered research. Critical urban geographer Dr. Margaret Ramirez will serve as my senior supervisor, bringing her expertise in cultural, feminist, and racial geographies.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

I chose to come to SFU to work with Dr. Magie Ramirez in the Department of Geography - she is a distinguished expert in gendered and racialized urban geographies and I am excited to work with her over the next four years on my project.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH.

I am continuing the work that I started in my two Masters degrees to bring the urban Indigenous communities in the Metro Vancouver area and in the northeastern Russian city of Yakutsk into dialogue with each other about strategies and experiences of Indigenous community building, governance, international Indigenous relations, and transnational futures. This research critically engages with settler colonial urbanisms from an Indigenous feminist perspective and will contribute to a newly emergent subfield at the intersections of inter/national urban and Indigenous geographies. These contributions are of critical importance given the disparity between the rapidly increasing numbers of Indigenous peoples moving to cities in both Canada and Russia and the lack of attention and celebration these stories and communities endure.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH AT SFU?

In these unprecedented COVID-19 times, being a student is challenging. I am deeply grateful for the supportive and compassionate approaches and relationships I have been able to develop with my peers and Dr. Ramirez since starting my PhD as we all navigate these ever-changing landscapes of mental, personal, physical, academic, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR-FUNDED AWARDS? IF SO, PLEASE TELL US WHICH ONES AND HOW THE AWARDS HAVE IMPACTED YOUR STUDIES AND/OR RESEARCH.

Some of the highlights of the financial support I have received in my academic endeavors has been receiving the SSHRC Masters Scholarship when I was completing my Masters degree at UNBC, which helped support my travel and study in northeastern Russia in 2018-2910. I was honored to receive the Indigenous Graduate Entrance Scholarship here at SFU, which has allowed me space to focus on my studies and community work, as well as my mental wellbeing.

Contact Tsatia: tsatia_adzich@sfu.ca