Women & Gender Studies Institute

WGSI Welcomes Postdoctoral Fellows

We are thrilled to welcome Debby Wilson Danard and Nikoli Attai, who were recently chosen as two of 8 recipients of the 2019-2021 University of Toronto Provostial Postdoctoral Fellows Programme for Black and Indigenous Scholars.  

DR. DEBBY WILSON DANARD is  Anishinaabe, sturgeon clan, born in Atikokan Ontario and member of Manitou Rapids, Rainy River First Nations in Northwestern Ontario. She is a Traditional Knowledge Practitioner, Artist, Author, Lecturer, Water Protector, Life Promotion Ambassador and Eagle Staff Carrier. 

She has actively advanced traditional knowledge, Indigenous research and land as pedagogy, sovereignty and autonomy working with many urban (Friendship Centres, MNO, COO, BANAC) and on-reserve (Zhingwaako Za-iganing, Mnjinkaning) communities and organizations, and several post-secondary institutions. The focus of her community work is often youth specific for strengthening knowledge and understanding water, land and life teachings.

While working as a Suicide Prevention Coach at the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health, she co-founded the Feather Carriers: Leadership for Life Promotion (2015) an aspiring national wise (suicide prevention) practice .  She also held a postdoctoral fellowship at Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care (2017), and is owner of Union Star Consulting Life Teachings Lodge.  Debby is the author of several reports on good governance, life promotion and water teachings for Temagami First Nation, Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres, Chiefs of Ontario, and the Barrie Area Native Advisory Circle.

For her postdoctoral fellowship Debby will build on her original doctoral research, “Medicine Wheel Surviving Suicide-Strengthening Life Bundle” (2016) that focuses on traditional knowledge as a way tried and true (evidence informed practice) to mobilize life promotion community bundles.  

DR. NIKOLI ATTAI recently completed his doctoral work in Women and Gender Studies at the University of Toronto. He is currently working on his first book manuscript titled “Real Queer? Interrogating Human Rights Activism in the Queer Caribbean,” and is co-editing an anthology of essays titled “Free Up Yuhself: Transgressive Bodies and Contestations in the Carnivalesque.” Nikoli is also curating an archive of Trinidad and Tobago’s queer history, as part of a larger project that traces legacies of queer community making and resistance in the Caribbean. 

Nikoli has recently published two peer- reviewed essays. His latest (2019) essay, “LGBT Rights, Sexual Citizenship, and Blacklighting in the Anglophone Caribbean: What Do Queers Want, What Does Colonialism Need?”, appears in the Oxford Handbook of LGBT and Sexual Politics, while another (2017) titled “Let’s Liberate the Bullers: Toronto Human Rights Activism and Inplications for LGBT Activism”, is published in the Journal of Eastern Caribbean Studies. Four other essays are currently in press and scheduled for publication shortly. 

Nikoli’s other research and scholarly interests include queer carnival tourism in Trinidad and Tobago, transgressive community making in the Caribbean and social media visibility by gender-nonconforming people in the Caribbean.