March 14, 2015


About the First Nations Innovation Project

Remote and rural First Nation communities are using broadband networks and information and communications technologies (ICT) in many innovative ways – to support e-health, e-learning, e-business, e-administration and many other applications and services. Community members use ICT to access services online and communicate with people everywhere.

A team of First Nation organizations and researchers was studying and celebrating these achievements from 2005 to 2018. We recognize the value of research to support and develop understanding, evidence-based policy and transformative change. Our research project is now called First Nations Innovation (FNI). Since 2005, our research was supported by SSHRC and in-kind donations by our research partners.

Further down this page is a list of our partners, staff, students and collaborating co-authors.

Click here to access all the FNI publications.

Project benefits

FNI is creating new benefits for Canada by:

  • Sharing and documenting First Nation innovative success stories and best practices with other First Nations, academics and the Canadian public
  • Supporting First Nation ownership, control, access and possession of ICT tools, infrastructure and capacity through appropriate and respectful documentation and presentation of innovative practices by First Nation partners
  • Developing an understanding of how First Nations are using technologies for community, social and economic development
  • Making the links between broadband networks in First Nations and self-determination, treaties, and national and international policies such as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Research partner representatives

Partner representatives in the First Nations Innovation project are community technology intermediary organizations. For their publication co-author contributions, search for their names on the FNI publication list: Click here to access the FNI publication list.

  • Keewaytinook Okimakanak (KO) the Northern Chiefs Council, a tribal council serving First Nations in northwestern Ontario. The representative is Penny Carpenter, Director of KNET:
  • Atlantic Canada’s First Nation Help Desk, part of the Mik’maq Kina’matnewey education organization in Nova Scotia, serving all the First Nations in Atlantic Canada. The representative is Kevin Burton, Coordinator of the Help Desk:

The university lead partner is the University of New Brunswick (UNB). Partner universities are Université Laval and the University of Alberta.

FNI project staff

Here is the list of staff on the project when FNI ended in March 2018. For their publications, search on the FNI publication list: Click here to access the FNI publication list.

  • Dr. Susan O’Donnell, Primary Investigator, Researcher and Adjunct Professor, UNB Department of Sociology. Contact:
  • David Perley, Co-Investigator, Director of the UNB Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre, Faculty of Education. Contact:
  • Dr. Rob McMahon, Co-Investigator, Assistant Professor, University of Alberta, Faculty of Extension. Contact:
  • Dr. Renée Fountain, Co-Investigator, Université Laval, Faculty of Education. Contact:
  • Brian Beaton, UNB Doctoral Candidate, Faculty of Education, and Associate of the KO Research Institute. Contact: (Brian’s successful proposal to SSHRC for a Doctoral Fellowship Award: Beaton-SSHRC-Research-Proposal)
  • Martin Bertrand, Laval M.Ed. student, Faculty of Education
  • Amanda Almond, UofA M.A. Community Engagement

Former students on the project

The project has provided research training and community engagement opportunities for many university students. For their publications, search on the FNI publication list: Click here to access the FNI publication list.

  • Sylvia Blake, SFU PhD. Communication (2015-2016)
  • Trevor Smith, Concordia MSc. Geography, Urban & Environmental Studies (2015-2016)
  • Jennifer Leask, UofA M.A. Communications and Technology (2015-2016)
  • Chardelle Prevatt, UofA M.A. Communications and Technology (2015)
  • Chris George, UNB M.Phil. Policy Studies (2014-2017)
  • Ashley Julian, UNB M.Ed. (Critical Studies), Faculty of Education (2014-2016)
  • Shaina Peter-Paul, STU Native Studies (2016)
  • Rob McMahon, UNB Postdoctoral Fellow Sociology (2013-2015)
  • Mary Milliken, UNB Ph.D. Sociology (2009-2013)
  • Duncan Philpot, UNB Ph.D. Sociology (2013-2015)
  • Emily Lockhart, UNB M.A. Sociology (2011-2012)
  • Gene Kondusky, UNB Ph.D. English (2012-2012)
  • Jason Woodman-Simmonds, UNB PhD. English (2011-2012)
  • Tanya Wasacase, UNB Ph.D. Interdisciplinary Studies (2011-2012)
  • Kerry Gibson, UNB Ph.D. Clinical Psychology (2008-2011)
  • Jessi Jones, UNB Computer Science (2009-2010)
  • Marie-France Gratton, University of Ottawa, M.A. (2009-2010)
  • Dianne Simms, UNB Ph.D Clinical Psychology (2008-2010)
  • Brecken Hancock, UNB PhD. English (2008-2009)
  • Fenwick McKelvey, York/Ryerson M.A. Communication and Culture (2007-2008)
  • Sonja Perley, UNB M.Ed. (Critical Studies), Faculty of Education (2004-2009)

Collaborating co-authors

In addition to the partners and current and former staff and students listed above, many other collaborators have contributed to our research as co-authors on FNI publications. To access their publications, search for their names on the FNI publication list: Click here to access the FNI publication list.

  • Philipp Budka, University of Vienna, Austria
  • Terrance Burnard, Keewaytinook Okimakanak, KNET, Ontario
  • Kevin Burton, Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey, Nova Scotia
  • Penny Carpenter, Keewaytinook Okimakanak, KNET, Ontario
  • Peter Campbell, Keewaytinook Okimakanak, Ontario
  • Arlene Chasle, Timiskaming First Nation, Ontario
  • Shelley Chief, Timiskaming First Nation, Ontario
  • Corinna Chong, National Research Council / University of New Brunswick
  • Heather Coulson, Keewaytinook Okimakanak, Ontario
  • Elizabeth Daniels, National Research Council / University of New Brunswick
  • Ida Denny, Eskasoni First Nation, Nova Scotia
  • Lyle Fabian, Katlodeeche First Nation, Northwest Territories
  • Elizabeth Gorman, National Research Council / University of New Brunswick
  • Connie Gray-Mckay, Mishkeegogamang First Nation, Ontario
  • Michael Gurstein, Centre for Community Informatics Research and Training, BC
  • Heather Hudson, University of Alaska Anchorage, USA
  • Lyle Johnson, Keewaytinook Okimakanak, KNET, Ontario
  • Crystal Kakekaspan, Keewaytinook Okimakanak, Ontario
  • George Kakekaspan, Fort Severn First Nation, Ontario
  • Matthew Kakekaspan, Fort Severn First Nation, Ontario
  • Crystal Kakekakekung, Mishkeegogamang First Nation, Ontario
  • Tina Kakepetum-Schultz, Keewaytinook Okimakanak, Ontario
  • Cal Kenny, Keewaytinook Okimakanak, KNET, Ontario
  • Tim LaHache, Kahnawake First Nation, Quebec
  • Adi Linden, Keewaytinook Okimakanak, KNET, Ontario
  • Michael Mak, McMaster University, Ontario
  • Thomassie Mangiok, Pirnoma Technologies Inc., Quebec
  • Fenwick McKelvie, Concordia University, Quebec
  • Orpah McKenzie, Keewaytinook Okimakanak, Ontario
  • Roseanne Miles, Fort Severn First Nation, Ontario
  • Heather Molyneaux, National Research Council, New Brunswick
  • Raymond Mason, Keewaywin First Nation, Ontario
  • Leonard Polson, Long Point First Nation, Ontario
  • Henry Rodgers, Long Point First Nation, Ontario
  • Andrew Sark, Lennox Island First Nation, Prince Edward Island
  • Franz Seibel, Keewaytinook Okimakanak, Ontario
  • Jesse Simon, Elsipogtog First Nation, New Brunswick
  • Richard Smith, Simon Fraser University, BC
  • Trevor Smith, Concordia University, Quebec
  • Anita Tenasco, Kitigan Zibi Anishnabeg, Quebec
  • Lyle Thomas, Fort Severn First Nation, Ontario
  • Brian Walmark, Keewaytinook Okimakanak, Ontario
  • Sylvia Ward, Atlantic Canada’s First Nation Help Desk, Nova Scotia
  • Gilbert Whiteduck, Kitigan Zibi Anishnabeg, Quebec
  • Tim Whiteduck, First Nations Technology Council, Quebec
  • Denise Williams, First Nation Technology Council, BC