Research is Healing: Speaker Bios

Nicole Augustine, MSW, is a Mi’kmaq woman who carries a wealth of knowledge and experience. She completed two undergraduate degrees at St. Thomas University, a Bachelor of Arts (2009) and the Mi’kmaq Maliseet Bachelor of Social Work (2020). Nicole completed the Advanced Standing Master of Social Work at Wilfried Laurier in 2021, and then went on to Carleton where she completed a graduate diploma in Indigenous Policy and Administration (2022). Nicole’s education has brought unique opportunities and has led her to work with various Indigenous organizations and several research positions with different universities. Throughout her work and her educational journey, and more recently with her business Piloiangitasi Consultation Services, Nicole offers a “different way of thinking” to addressing the social, political, economic, and cultural impacts of colonization while focusing on the resurgence of ceremony through Indigenous research methodologies.

Elder Chris Brooks, BA (Criminology) is from Saint Mary’s First Nation. He is a traditional Lodge Keeper, Sacred Pipe Carrier and Knowledge keeper, and has been working as a Mental Health and Addictions support worker in his community, Sitansisk (St. Marys), since 2019.  Elder Chris has a Bachelor of Criminology from St. Thomas University and is currently working on his “Child and Youth Care Addictions Support Worker” from Eastern College in Fredericton. As well, he is on the Board of Directors for “Turning Leaf”, a John Howard affiliate and on the Board of Directors for “Habitat for Humanity” for SMFN. Elder Chris has been a youth mentor for “Mawiw” for the past five years and started up the Legal Advice Clinic at SMFN. He is also the General Service Rep for AA. Elder Chris is now retired from 23 years of service with Correctional Service Canada.

Stephanie Francis, BA, BSW, is a Mikmaq woman with ancestry in Wolastokuk and is a member of Sitansisk (St. Mary’s First Nation). Stephanie, Mestapegiejit ka’amit epit, has experience and wisdom gained through life and ceremony.  As an Indigenous social worker on the east coast, she has many years of experience working on the front lines in both Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik communities throughout the Maritimes.  Coupled with a Bachelors of Arts and a Bachelors of Social Work, she has been able to learn a unique skill set in translating Indigenous knowledge and worldview while honoring the spirit of the teachings from those who’ve come across her life’s journey.

Robert Henry, Ph.D., is Métis from Prince Albert, SK and an Assistant Professor at the University of Saskatchewan, Department of Indigenous Studies. He is the Scientific Director of the SK-NEIHR, and holds a Canada Research Chair Tier II – Indigenous Justice and Wellbeing. Robert’s research areas include Indigenous street gangs and gang theories, Indigenous masculinities, Indigenous and critical research methodologies, youth mental health, and visual research methods. He has published two photovoice projects Brighter Days Ahead (2013) and Indigenous Women and Street Gangs: Survivance Narratives (2021) with Indigenous men and women involved in street gangs. Robert has also published in the areas of Indigenous masculinity, Indigenous health, youth subcultures, Indigenous methodologies and ethics, and Indigenous criminal justice.

Tara Pride, MS, Ph.D.(c) is of mixed Mi’kmaw and settler ancestry and a member of Sipekne’katik First Nation. She is a licensed Occupational Therapist, Coordinator of the Atlantic Indigenous Mentorship Network, and 4th year PhD candidate in the Faculty of Health at Dalhousie. Tara’s PhD research is exploring the experiences of Indigenous occupational therapists and the need to create an Indigenous Community of Practice (CoP) within the profession. She is moving onto an Assistant Professor role in the School of Occupational Therapy at Western University in January 2024 where her program of research will focus on continuing her doctoral work, as well as exploring Indigenous mentorship and supporting other Indigenous health research projects.

Dennis C. Wendt, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology at McGill University, and the Director of the Cultural and Indigenous Research in Counselling Psychology (CIRC) lab. He also is an Associate Member of the Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University. For the past 12 years, Prof. Wendt has collaborated with Indigenous communities in Canada and the United States in exploring, developing, and evaluating culturally relevant interventions pertaining to mental health, substance use, and community wellness.

Mark Asbridge, Ph.D. , is the interim Principal Investigator, CRISM Atlantic Node, and Professor and Interim Head of the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology at Dalhousie University. His substantive interests are in the areas of addictions, public and population health, evaluation research, injury prevention, road safety and public policy. He is particularly interested in the intersection of substance use and various health outcomes, with a special emphasis on young people.

Tamara Joseph, B.Sc., is an Indigenous biology researcher from Elsipogtog First Nation, New Brunswick. She earned B.Sc. with a major in marine biology in2019. Her current research includes many topics such as fish biology, two-eyed seeing, community engagements, and reviewing laws involving moderate livelihood fishing or child welfare. Tamara’s life-long research goal is to study the evolution and adaptation on culturally significant species to assure resilient populations for the next seven generations.

Bo Augustine, B.A.,  raised in Elsipogtog First Nation, embarked on a transformative journey at 29. After embracing sobriety, he gained profound wisdom through cultural ceremonies such as the Sweat Lodge, Fast and Sundance. With academic achievements, a Political Science BA from University of New Brunswick and a BA in Social Work from St. Thomas University, Bo has held roles as an environmental land protector, addictions counselor, Restorative Justine Caseworker, and Justice Lead. Currently, as a Registered Social Worker and Executive Social Work Support for the Elsipogtog Administration team, Bo provides valuable insights on the social determinants in regards to poverty, mental health, and addictions. His focus now lies in structural social work, using the concepts of two-eyed seeing. Bo is a respected community member, constantly seeking ways to help their community and others.

Hailing from Neqotkuk, Torey Solomon, BSW, is a proud neurodiverse Wolastoqiyik ehpit/woman wikuwoss/mother cpahkatomuwin/wife, and social justice warrior. Torey recently graduated with distinction from the Mi’kmaq Maliseet Bachelor of Social Work program at St. Thomas University. Throughout her academic career Torey focused her research on the neurological impacts of trauma, the connection between trauma and addiction, and alternative methods for healing, recovery and wellness. Torey is currently working with Sexual Violence New Brunswick as the Indigenous Community Engagement Coordinator, collaborating with community-based organizations and Indigenous leaders to develop a trauma-informed approach to addressing sexual violence in Indigenous communities and advocating for policy change and systemic reform to address the root causes of sexual violence and promote social justice for Indigenous peoples.