Welcome to the blog for the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. Posts on this site are the opinion of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Federation, its staff or its board of directors. Entries are posted in the language of the author.

Members of the university research community are invited to make guest blog submissions on issues relating to the wellbeing of the humanities and social sciences research and learning enterprise in Canada. Click here to read the Federations’ blog policy. Please send your submission to

International student explores Indigenous youth wellbeing with arts and culture

Guest blog by Robyn Dugas, Content Specialist, Mitacs

Jessica Blain was a third-year undergraduate student from Australia’s University of Sydney.Through a Mitacs Globalink Research Internship at Concordia University, she helped evaluate the impact of a community-based theatre program on the wellbeing of young people in a remote First Nations community in Northern Saskatchewan. Her experiences showed her the potential for arts-based programs to provide a positive space for fostering creative development and leadership among Indigenous youth.

Participatory arts and culture activities...

Category Tags

Read more »

Effective policy making needs voices from the social sciences and humanities

Guest blog by Steve Higham, Policy Analyst

Poorly informed policy decisions can have significant and lasting consequences. Often, critics assume that negative policy decisions can be avoided if only decision makers are guided by data and scientific evidence. However, data and evidence are not the only factors that inform the policy-making process. On most issues, decisions will be influenced by cultural and political considerations, with corresponding beliefs, principles, and values that a government may or may not support.

This is not necessarily a negative aspect of the policymaking process. Without proper context and understanding, decisions based...

Category Tags

Read more »

Sounding Thunder: The Stories of Francis Pegahmagabow

Brian D. McInnes, Professor, Department of Education, University of Minnesota Duluth 

Francis Pegahmagabow (1889–1952), a member of the Ojibwe nation, was born in Shawanaga, Ontario. Enlisting at the onset of the First World War, he became the most decorated Canadian Indigenous soldier for bravery...

Category Tags

Read more »

Litigation and negotiation work together to advance Aboriginal rights, says professor


As a historian specializing in Aboriginal rights and history, Arthur J. Ray has often been called as an expert witness in court proceedings involving Aboriginal land claims.

After decades of research, and many appearances in court, Ray found himself wondering whether the adversarial legal arena was the best forum for settling Aboriginal rights issues. Wouldn’t it be better to negotiate these things instead?

In a new book that examines how native peoples’ rights are handled in five countries, Ray concludes that there’s no single, direct path to Aboriginal rights. What seems to work best, he says, is a mix of litigation and negotiation – tempered by an awareness on the part of everyone concerned that different groups can have very different perspectives on the same event.


Category Tags

Read more »

Letters show women were politically engaged during the 1837-38 rebellions


In the 19th century, there was a sharp distinction between home life – a private domestic world that was essentially feminine – and the public life of business and politics, which was dominated by men.

In a new book, Mylène Bédard of Laval University demonstrates that the boundary between the two worlds was more permeable than it had been believed, particularly for women. By analyzing letters written by some of the women in the lives of the “Patriotes” – the leaders of the 1837-38 rebellions in Quebec – Bédard shows how these women were involved in the political world from which, officially, they were excluded.

Bédard’s book, Écrire en temps d’insurrections : Pratiques épistolaires et usages de la presse chez les femmes patriotes (1830-1840) (Writing during the insurrection : Letter-...

Category Tags

Read more »