New position to support First Nations research needs

Yukon College has created a new position to support the research needs of Yukon First Nations. David Silas, a Yukon College student and a Yukon First Nation citizen, is the newly appointed First Nations Engagement Advisor.  

This position will act as a liaison between researchers at the Yukon Research Centre (YRC) and the 14 Yukon First Nations and the bordering First Nations. Silas will begin by exploring the research priorities of First Nations and strengthening the capacity of the Yukon Research Centre to support these priorities.

“This position will continue to build a positive relationship between First Nations and researchers; a relationship fostering trust”, said Tosh Southwick, Director, First Nations Initiatives. “This relationship begins with the YRC insisting that First Nations are partners and not just stakeholders”, said Southwick.

The Yukon Research Centre recently ranked first in Canada for College research intensity and fourth for research partnerships. YRC has established research projects across the territory that involve partnerships with territorial and First Nations governments, industry, and communities. Silas will work with researchers on First Nations research protocols and policies, the dissemination of results, and understanding Yukon First Nations world views.

“There is a shift in academia to include differing world views, and this position is an opportunity to do just that, to combine two world views that work for northerners”, said David Silas, First Nations Engagement Advisor. “I am a citizen of the Selkirk First Nation studying in the Environmental and Conservation Science degree at Yukon College and have worked as a YRC summer student for the past three years; I will use my knowledge and experience to bridge the gaps between these differing world views”, said Silas.

This position was created in response to Yukon College’s strategic direction of expanding research and innovation opportunities throughout the North. A strong college research community is one of the elements to Yukon College becoming Yukon University.

Silas works out of the First Nation’s Initiatives office at the Yukon Research Centre. He is working to meet with all of the Yukon First Nation’s leaders in the upcoming months.

Learn more about David Silas in our student research video from 2014.