A Gwich’in PhD Candidate seeking to expand Canadians’ knowledge of their past with a vision of social justice for marginalized populations.

An elder gave Crystal Fraser the Gwich’in name T’aih, which means “strength,” perhaps in anticipation of what she would need as she made her way through childhood, the teen years and even her young adult life.

Raised in Inuvik and at her family’s fish camp on the Mackenzie River, Crystal had the strength to overcome many challenges, including growing up in a family embedded in the legacy of residential schools, leaving home at a young age, and dropping out of high school in Grade 10. Relying on her strength, however, Crystal received her high school diploma at age 23 and is currently completing her graduate studies in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Native Studies.

Lauded by one of her professors as “sure to be one of the most important Canadian historians of the next generation,” Ms. Fraser has consistently exhibited a deep engagement with the historical community (locally, nationally, internationally), First Nations activist organizations, and women’s groups.

Although still in training, she is sought after by people and organizations in Canada and beyond. Her research on residential and other schooling for indigenous people in the north since the Second World War exposes the continuing colonization of people in Canada virtually up to the present.

Mentorship is a specialized skill that Crystal has mastered, showing her leadership characteristics through facilitating, assisting and supporting rather than directing or managing.

Crystal has the unique ability to bridge the gap between the local and the academic, fostering new and meaningful conversations about indigenous rights, social policy, and local political landscapes.

Join NDP Member of Parliament, the Hon. Niki Ashton, human rights advocate, Nazanin Afshin-Jam McKay and PhD student, Crystal Fraser as they share with participants the defining moments that inspired them to focus and achieve their goals. Learn about their visions and dreams and how they turned them into goals and then reality.