I am Eva Goulet, a mature First Nations student with ambition, perseverance, self-determination, and commitment to succeed in my graduate studies. I am currently completing my Master’s Degree in Rural Development at Brandon University.
What education have you taken?
I earned my Mental Health Studies Diploma from Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, AB, from 2004 to 2006. I returned to academia in 2012-2014 earning my Bachelor of Arts, with major in Native Studies and minor in Psychology at BU. I began my Masters in Rural Development at BU in 2015.
What accomplishments are you proud of?
I am proud of my Mental Health Studies Diploma. I am proud to have graduated with Honours and the Silver Medal in Native Studies in my BA. I am very proud to have published an article “My Grandmother’s Teaching” in The Canadian Journal of Native Studies, 2013.
Tell me about yourself.
I am a proud mother, grandmother and one of my greatest blessings and gifts, a great grandmother of a boy and a girl, my “Chapans”—great grandchildren. Perhaps one of my greatest personal strengths is fortitude but I believe in me, and I believe I can accomplish my goals in life. As nothing comes easy amidst hardship and many challenges, I continued and continue with my father’s words echoing in my mind, “where there is a will, there is a way! don’t give up my girl, there is always a way. You need to learn to work hard and be proud of who you are. Educate yourself and get skills to support yourself in the future. Acquired knowledge will never be taken away from you”. Yes, determination, perseverance and fortitude are very powerful for me.
How did you become interested in your field of study?
I always dreamed about attending university and acquiring knowledge, particularly in the field of Native Studies and Rural Development. Unfortunately, I could not attend university during my early life due to family commitment and economic circumstances. Even so, I immersed myself in self-education by reading and acquiring knowledge on my own during my spare time. The opportunity to formally attend university became a reality in 2012, when I became a single mother after a thirty-eight-year relationship. Although the separation and eventual divorce was a painful experience for me, I immersed myself in my studies with all my heart and dedication. This allowed me to further expand my personal growth and development and have a better perspective about family, community, and society. Specifically, I learned about the complex problem of spousal/family violence in Aboriginal communities. I also became very active in campus activities, particularly helping and supporting Aboriginal and international students.
I graduated with a BA Honors in Native Studies in 2014 and was awarded a Silver Medal. This motivated me to continue graduate studies in Rural Development at Brandon University. I have been influenced in my studies by Dr. Wilder Robles, who is a great teacher and researcher. He has inspired me to do genuine contextualized community-based research that makes a difference to marginalized peoples. Dr. Robles is the one who encouraged me to study spousal/family violence when I was not sure what this topic had to do with Rural Development. In one meeting, I asked him “I am not sure if my topic for my thesis has anything to do with Rural Development.” Dr. Robles responded: “It has everything to do with Rural Development. Spousal/family violence seriously undermines social development and I would like you to critically explore this issue.” These words gave me confidence and I decided to study this topic as it was of interest to me because it has affected me greatly.
Thus, my thesis deals with spousal/family violence. Specifically, it examines the factors, processes, and consequences of spousal/family violence in the community of Pimicikamak Cree Nation of Cross Lake, Northern Manitoba. I hope my thesis can greatly contribute to research literature of spousal/family violence in northern Manitoba communities as well as to the formulation of policies and programs addressing spousal/family violence.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
After completing my thesis, I would like to pursue a Ph.D. degree, if my resources allow me. I am also interested in working with Aboriginal communities as a researcher or community development officer. I would like to give back to my community everything I have learned at university. In particular, I would like to design, implement, and manage community-based programs that contribute to the well-being of individuals, families, and communities.
Eva Goulet, a mature student at the Masters in Rural Development program, is a good candidate for this award. She is a volunteer at the BU Indigenous People’s Centre and a role model for many Aboriginal students. She is also an excellent graduate student.
I am very pleased to write this letter in support of Ms. Eva Goulet. As an Assistant Professor of Rural Development at Brandon University, I have had the great pleasure of meeting Ms. Goulet, who has been one of my best and most outstanding students. I am currently Ms. Goulet’s thesis supervisor. Ms. Goulet is a highly gifted First Nation student currently enrolled in the Master of Rural Development program at Brandon University. She is a mature student —mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother—who has consistently demonstrated academic excellence, personal maturity, responsibility and discipline, excellent research skills and a remarkable understanding of and interest in First Nations issues. Ms. Goulet has also demonstrated an impressive ability for synthesizing, analyzing and expressing critical thought in both oral and written forms.
Ms. Goulet is an excellent graduate student at Brandon University. She is comfortable with herself and is well recognized and respected by her peer group. Ms. Goulet is also enthusiastic, energetic, and exceptionally well-organized student. She writes beautifully, is widely read, and demonstrates good qualitative research skills. More importantly, she has focused for graduate thesis on a relevant topic: spousal violence within First Nation communities. Specifically, she is preparing a thesis proposal on spousal violence in the Pimicikamak Cree Nation, a Northern Manitoba community of 5,800 people located 520 kilometres from Winnipeg.
The key research questions of Ms. Goulet thesis are as follow:
(a) What is the social, economic, and psychological impact of spousal violence on intimate partners of the Pimicikamak Cree Nation community?
(b) How has the Residential School system implemented within the Pimicikamak contributed to spousal violence? And
(c) How is the Pimicikamak community responding, or not responding, to family violence?
I have no doubt that Ms. Goulet has the skills, focus, and determination to successfully complete her master’s degree in a timely fashion. I also believe she will be a successful professional and an ideal role model for mature and non-mature First Nation students in the near future.