The Episkenew Fellowship is named after Jo-Ann Episkenew (1952-2016), a member of the Riel Local of the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan and distinguished scholar in English and Health Sciences. Episkenew worked as a professor and department head of the Department of English, and acting Dean of Academics at the First Nations University of Canada. She also served as the director of the Indigenous People’s Health Research Center at the University of Regina. Her book, Taking Back Our Spirits: Indigenous Literature, Public Policy, and Healing was published by the University of Manitoba in 2009. It won both the Saskatchewan Book Award for Scholarly Writing (2009) and the Saskatchewan Book Award for First People’s Writing (2010). In her review of Episkenew’s book, Cheryl Suzack (2013) stated that it “analyzes the capacities of Indigenous literatures to ‘de-educate’ both settler-colonial and Indigenous communities from the trappings of colonialism.” In 2015 Episkenew was awarded the YMCA Regina Women of Distinction Lifetime Achievement Award, followed by the Indspire for service to education in 2016.
The ISTLD Episkenew Fellow will work with the ISTLD team to facilitate and coordinate support for faculty who participate in the Decolonizing Teaching: An Integrated Seminar Series and Grants Program, specifically around incorporating Indigenous content, issues, or perspectives into their courses. In addition to co-designing and facilitating the seminar series, the Episkenew Fellow will provide curricular support to the project teams to complement the research and administrative support provided by ISTLD staff, and help introduce faculty to SFU’s Indigenous community. Both the Decolonizing Teaching Program and Episkenew Fellowship will receive funding from the SFU's Vice-President, Academic, until August 2020.