Press Release

Suzy Basile: First Atikamekw PhD Graduate

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Rouyn-Noranda, October 14, 2016 – Suzy Basile, a PhD student in Environmental Sciences at Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT), successfully defended her doctoral dissertation on "The role and place of Atikamekw women in the governance of land and natural resources" on October 13. In addition to being the first Aboriginal student to receive a PhD from UQAT, Suzy Basile is the first member of the Atikamekw nation to be awarded this degree. The ceremony took place at the First Peoples Pavilion on the UQAT Val-d'Or campus.

Of the many challenges associated with governance of land and natural resources, the role and place of Aboriginal women remain the least recognized. The doctoral dissertation of this PhD candidate aimed at identifying the role of Atikamekw women on the land, their place in local and territorial governance, their perceptions related to the state of the land, and their concerns regarding knowledge transmission. A thematic analysis of 32 interviews revealed that Atikamekw women have a deep attachment to their land, have had to adapt quickly to lifestyle changes, are insisting in transmitting and perpetuating knowledge, play an active role in local and territorial decision-making, and value political leadership in women. "Atikamekw women know about the lifestyle of their ancestors and the role that women used to play, a role both predominant and essential to the spatial organization of traditional land activities. Atikamekw women value education and historically have played an instrumental role in its development", says Suzy Basile.

This research shows the importance of making room for women in governance and decision-making, reducing cultural and territorial insecurity through knowledge transmission and land protection, and valuing knowledge on land management in order to build and maintain a stronger connection with the land.

Suzy Basile: A model of excellence rewarded by Fondation de l'UQAT
To highlight the outstanding achievement of this inspiring student, the Fondation de l'UQAT is pleased to award Suzy Basile a $6,000 scholarship from the Aboriginal Forestry Fund. "Jury members acknowledged the high quality of Suzy's dissertation and the rigour of her work. She is a remarkable source of inspiration for Aboriginal students enrolled at UQAT or considering to undertake postgraduate studies", says professor Hugo Asselin, holder of the Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Forestry and Director of the UQAT School of Indigenous Studies. Mrs. Basile will pursue her career at UQAT as a newly appointed professor at the School of Indigenous Studies.

Suzy Basile's doctoral dissertation, entitled "The role and place of Atikamekw women in the governance of land and natural resources", was supervised by professor Hugo Asselin (UQAT) and professor Thibault Martin (UQO - Université du Québec en Outaouais).


Stéphanie Duchesne, Director
Communications and Recruitment Service
Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue
Tel.: 819 762-0971, ext. 2222

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Last update : 2 août 2011