Rio Tinto Helps Create a New Research Chair on Indigenisation at UQAC

Pictured: Gilbert Dominique, Chief of Mashteuiatsh; Mike McKenzie, Chief of Uashat mak Mani-Utenam; Sébastien Ross, Managing Director of Quebec Operations for Rio Tinto; Francis-Verreault-Paul, Head of First Nations Relations at UQAC; André Tremblay, President of the UQAC foundation; and Ghislain Samson, Rector of UQAC.

Rio Tinto is proud to provide $1.5 million through the Rio Tinto Aluminium Canada Fund for the creation of an institutional research chair on the indigenisation of higher education, in partnership with the University of Quebec at Chicoutimi (UQAC).

Sébastien Ross, Managing Director of Quebec Operations, was present at the announcement of this partnership today, along with representatives of UQAC and the chiefs of the communities of Mashteuiatsh and Uashat mak Mani-Utenam. The chair’s research areas will be developed for and by the Indigenous communities with which UQAC has been working since its creation with a view to promoting, among other things, the training of the next generation of Indigenous scientists.

The creation of this research chair will make it possible to take another step towards reconciliation by promoting the development of a new generation of Indigenous talent and researchers in all fields of study,” said Ross.

The first phase of the agreement will last five years and focus on developing the model, its operation, and its scientific programming through the creation of a space for dialogue and co-construction with the Innu and Atikamekw communities. Phase 2 will begin in 2022 with the establishment of a research and training infrastructure by and with First Peoples, based on the concerns, issues and challenges of each individual community.

Ross added that, “Rio Tinto is proud to support this growing community of researchers who are taking a fresh look at the issues facing our society by giving First Nations their rightful place in the construction and transmission of knowledge.”

One of the main actions planned is the development of a major scholarship programme to encourage students to pursue higher education. Another action involves planning and implementing activities to support engagement, awareness, training, and knowledge-transfer for Indigenous communities and other audiences.