News Release

New IRPP fellow to focus on Métis-First Nations relations

June 3, 2024 Print

Montreal, June 3, 2024 – The Institute for Research on Public Policy is proud to announce that Kurtis Boyer has been appointed its first Alphonsine Lafond – Tom Molloy Memorial Fellow on Leadership and Innovation in Indigenous Governance.  

Boyer, who holds the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School Research Chair in Métis Governance and Policy and is an assistant professor of public policy at the University of Saskatchewan, will receive $30,000 in research funding over two years for his work on a new project titled Kinship and Collaboration: Strengthening Métis and First Nations Intergovernmental Co-operation  

Alphonsine R. Lafond, who is a member of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation and the daughter of former IRPP Board director George Lafond, said her family is delighted to launch the fellowship. It is named in part to honour her grandmother and namesake, Alphonsine Lafond, in support of Indigenous women and their families.  

“She was a trailblazer in Canadian political leadership as chief of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation and as a senator in the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations. She was a proud mother and grandmother whose husband served in two wars. She would be proud to see her legacy of transformative leadership continue through this fellowship,” said Alphonsine R. Lafond. 

The fellowship is also named for former lieutenant governor of Saskatchewan and chancellor of the University of Saskatchewan, Tom Molloy. He negotiated numerous agreements and treaty settlements with Indigenous Peoples, including the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement that led to the creation of the Territory of Nunavut. Said his daughter Kathryn Pally, who was also involved in establishing the fellowship, “This initiative honours the shared vision of Alphonsine and Tom, as well as their collective forefathers and grandmothers, that Canada held an intrinsic promise for all of its inhabitants to live in peace and harmony with each other.” 

Through the fellowship, Boyer will investigate how existing governance structures and dialogues between Métis and First Nations in Saskatchewan contribute to effective intergovernmental relations. Ultimately, the research project will deepen understanding of governance in Canada by addressing how provincial policies and frameworks impact the dynamics of Métis and First Nations governance and their relations.  

“Kurtis’s project offers a valuable opportunity to study how Métis and First Nations can collaboratively address issues of shared concern and jurisdiction and develop leadership and processes that are conducive to effective Indigenous intergovernmental relations,” said Charles Breton, executive director of the IRPP’s Centre of Excellence on the Canadian Federation. 

ABOUT THE FELLOWSHIP: The Alphonsine Lafond – Tom Molloy Memorial Fellowship on Leadership and Innovation in Indigenous Governance is funded thanks to a donation from the Alphonsine Lafond Fund for Innovation, which was established by, Alphonsine R. Lafond through the Saskatoon Community Foundation. Kurtis Boyer will hold the fellowship from June 1, 2024 through to May 31, 2026. The fellowship was awarded following a national call for applications, and a review process by an external advisory committee working with the IRPP’s Centre of Excellence on the Canadian Federation.  

ABOUT THE CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE ON THE CANADIAN FEDERATION: The Centre of Excellence on the Canadian Federation is a permanent research body within the Institute for Research on Public Policy. Its mission is to build a deeper understanding of Canada as a federal community. 

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