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Congratulations to MA Student Daniela Navia on receiving the Chancellor’s Graduate Medal!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Daniela Navia is a Latina feminist from Bogota, Colombia. Her SSHRC-funded Master’s research in the Department of Anthropology focused on using arts and storytelling to create a better understanding of how colonialism impacts Indigenous youth in the child welfare system. Her work has received numerous awards including the City of Calgary’s Chief David Crowchild Memorial Award and the J.B. Hyne Research Innovation Award. She is currently working for the Government of Alberta as the research consultant for the Arts sector. 

In her thesis entitled “Uncovering Colonial Legacies: Voices of Indigenous Youth in Child Welfare (dis)Placements” Daniela examines how settler colonialism shapes child welfare (dis)placements. She uses the term (dis)placement as a point of departure to understand the historical connection between the child welfare and residential school systems. Indigenous youth collaborators, who recently exited the child welfare system, contributed to this research through arts and storytelling. Their verbal and artistic testimonies attest to the degree that child welfare is part of larger historical and political processes including dispossession of land and resources, assimilation of Indigenous peoples, gendered violence, and violent indifference. She argues that youth resistance to dominant systems takes a distinct urban form and is a means of their survival that carries strong potential for change. Daniela’s thesis highlights the value of a collaborative research praxis and contributes to broader debates on how Indigenous people experience colonialism and continuously create opportunities for transformation.

Daniela's MA Thesis was supervised by Dr. Saulesh Yessenova.