Danette Starblanket

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Research Assistant 

Danette Starblanket

A citizen of the Star Blanket Cree Nation, Danette began her studies at the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy (JSGS) as an MPP (Master of Public Policy) student in 2013, moving into the PhD program in 2014. Her PhD dissertation topic is “An Analysis of Government Response to Idle No More”. Before returning to graduate school, Danette attended the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) and gained a Bachelor of Arts (Advanced) in English in 1993, a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in 1994 and a Master of Arts in 2001, both latter degrees in Indian Studies. For most of her professional career, Danette worked with First Nations institutions as a First Nations civil servant and as an educator at FNUniv in Regina and other schools offering insight on treaties.


Janine Ironquill

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Research Assistant

Janine Ironquill is a Nakoda/Dakota from Carry The Kettle First Nation.  She was raised on the Pine Ridge Reservation in Kyle, South Dakota where she learned the Lakota language and ceremonies. Janine is passionate about Indigenous issues and finds her role at Morning Star Lodge very fulfilling because she is able to build relationships with the community.  Janine’s Mother Nellie Ironquill is a traditional healer and has passed down her knowledge of medicines to her daughter. Janine also worked as a Medicine Room Assistant at First Nations University of Canada organizing and planning workshops for the community.  In 2012 Janine studied Theatre/Acting at the FNUniv where she was recruited to dance with the Wambdi Dance Performance Company.  She dances Traditional, Old Style Fancy and Old Style Jingle. Janine loves to dance Old Style Jingle because of its healing concept; she dances for those that need healing. She is an entrepreneur and currently runs her own business called Eagle & Bluebird where she designs and creates beaded earrings, painted parfleche earrings and powwow regalia.  Janine hopes to expand her business and create employment opportunities for Indigenous artists in Canada.


Jaqueline Anaquod

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Research Assistant

Jaqueline Anaquod is a nêhiyaw woman from Plains Cree territory located in Treaty 4. She holds a Bachelor of Health Studies with a Concentration in Indigenous Health from the First Nations University of Canada and an Aboriginal Addictions diploma through Keyano College. Jaqueline is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in the Social Dimensions of Health program and an Indigenous Nationhood certificate in the Indigenous Governance program at the University of Victoria. Jaqueline’s research interests include language revitalization and its connection to Indigenous health and wellness. As a matriarch she has a strong commitment to the preservation and revitalization of her nêhiyaw culture, traditions and language. Jaqueline works to further the advancement of Indigenous women in health and education through social justice work locally, nationally, and globally. Jaqueline has a wealth of experience working in with community to address issues associated with HIV and AIDS.  She credits her knowledge keepers and mentors for their guidance on her journey. Jaqueline believes the land is the greatest teacher and that our first classroom should be our ancestral homelands. “Once you begin walking the path of success it is hard to stop. Keep moving, do not let your path grow over.” 


Research Assistant 

Mackenzie Jardine

I am a Metis woman of Metis Nation Saskatchewan. I am currently pursuing a Bachelor of Health Studies at the University of Regina. I believe it is important to create a representative workforce of Indigenous people within research communities as well as within the healthcare system. My career goal is to contribute to eliminating the health inequities experienced by Indigenous people. I am very excited to be learning from Dr. Carrie Bourassa as well as the rest of the lab team.


Research Assistant

Marlin Legare

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Marlin Legare is a new research assistant who aids in the development and production of research projects from The Morning Star Lodge in Regina, SK. He is also a Citizen of the Métis Nation who is currently studying Indigenous Health Practice out the First Nations University of Canada; he intends to pursue an academic career from there in fields of health science, Indigenous health, and social science.

Marlin was raised in the Northeast area of Saskatchewan in a rural community called Mistatim. He is excited to be working with the Morning Star Lodge studying health sciences, as he is someone who has seen firsthand the positive and the negative of health outcomes for Indigenous individuals in rural communities.

Marlin is also an accomplished Métis athlete. In 2008 Marlin attended the 2008 North American Indigenous Games, and the Canada Games in 2009 for wrestling. In 2009 he also received the SaskTel Indigenous Youth of Excellence Award in the Sports and Recreation Category. He was also a member of the University of Regina Men’s Wrestling Team, where he obtained his B.Sc. Kinesiology. While at the University, he was also involved in First Nations programs such as Sports For Life, Aboriginal History Month, and the 2014 North American Indigenous Games.


Research Assistant

Josh Lavalley

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Joshua was raised in Regina, SK; he is the product of a Metis family who wore their culture on their sleeve. He attended the First Nations University of Canada/U of R, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Studies with a minor in Sociology. Along with his academic work, he has earned a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. He is currently an Instructor at Complete Martial Arts and Fitness, where he strives to help everyone from raw beginners to professional athletes push beyond their self-imposed limitations and achieve their Martial Arts goals. Joshua has also worked in Family Support and Youth Corrections; both of which have helped reaffirm his belief that the reclamation of power for Aboriginal people must begin in the family unit.

Joshua has worked for much of his life to become a virtuous, free thinking individual and seeks to make a difference in the community. His dream is to see young people who realize their potential and spread their influence and creativity in the world, unimpeded by environmental factors.


Research Assistant

Heather O'Watch

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Heather is an adventurous, determined, and outgoing Indigenous woman. She is Nakoda and Cree from the Okanese First Nation located in Treaty 4 Territory. At twenty-two years old, she currently is studying at the First Nations University of Canada enrolled in the Indian Communication Arts Program (INCA) pursuing a career in Journalism and International Development. Heather has work experience internationally in Colombia working in youth and community development. In her free time, Heather volunteers with organizations, volunteer committees and boards that she is associated with including the Canadian Federation of Students in which she holds the elected position as Saskatchewan Representative. When not studying, working, or volunteering Heather enjoys travelling, engaging in cultural driven activities and ceremonies around her community, festivals, and attending social justice events around the city of Regina. Heather also competes competitively in the Indigenous sport Archery and has participated in the 1st World Indigenous Peoples Games in Palmas, Brazil in October 2015 for Team Canada. Heather has a deep passion for Indigenous languages, Treaty education and reconciliation in Canada.


Research Assistant

Erin Goodpipe

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Erin Goodpipe is Dakota/Anishinaabe from the Standing Buffalo Dakota Nation and is a member of the kēkēk clan. She is the eldest sister of six siblings and is married into the Ironstand family. Although born in Vancouver, BC and raised in many parts of western Canada, she currently resides in Regina, Saskatchewan where she is a student in Indigenous Education at the First Nations University of Canada. She is a research assistant with Health Sciences North Research Institute (HSNRI), as well as a community researcher and facilitator on a grant called "Acting Out But In a Good Way." Using arts based methods, she works with Indigenous communities (especially youth) to explore and promote positive health and wellbeing. She is also a television host of an Indigenous lifestyles show called "RezX."


Research Assistant

Ntawnis Piapot

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Ntawnis Piapot is Nehiyaw Iskwew from the Piapot Cree Nation and a direct descendent of Treaty 4 signatory Chief Piapot. She is currently a Research Assistant here at Morning Star Lodge. Ntawnis is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Regina. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism from the University of Regina as well as a Diploma from the Indian Communication Arts Program and a Certificate in Intercultural Leadership from the First Nations University of Canada. Ntawnis is a passionate storyteller and has been a professional journalist for over nine years. She was a Reporter for CBC Saskatchewan, a National Correspondent in Winnipeg for the Aboriginal People’s Television Network. She’s been a VJ for CTV Regina and free-lances nationally for VICE News and locally for Eagle Feather News in Saskatchewan. Ntawnis is a published poet and is currently working on her own book of short stories and poetry. You can find her work in the recently released book titled, “#NotYourPrincess Voices of Native American Women.” For her thesis project, Ntawnis chose to do a documentary that explores the importance of Indigenous Motherhood and how women are using their roles as mothers to build up nationhood, revive culture, and resist colonialism. Ntawnis won an award for her journalistic work on missing and murdered Indigenous women in 2016 when she created a short documentary titled, “It Could Have Been Me.” Because of her work she was part of the CBC team that won the Radio Television Digital News award for Digital Spot News.


Candy Fox

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Research Assistant

Candy Fox is Plains Cree and a member of the Piapot First Nation. She is a graduate of the University of Regina where she attained a Bachelor of Fine Arts for Film Production. Candy is an award-winning actress and filmmaker. Her films usually touch on Indigenous subject matter, her surroundings, identity and the connection she has to her community.

The Toronto International Film Festival named her film, Backroads, as one of Canada’s Top Ten Student Films of 2015. Through filmmaking and videography Candy has been able to create numerous projects and work with youth, community organizations, artists, and community members. Since 2015, she has also been the lead videographer for the television series RezX TV. Candy attributes finding success in life to dedication and following your passion.  Through storytelling she has been able to express the realities, beauty, and humanity she sees in the world – all through a lens. She is humbled to work in her newest position as a research assistant at Morningstar Lodge, delving into Indigenous health based research to create awareness and strengthen our Indigenous communities.