SKC’s Lambert Wins Mellon Fellowship

May 15th, 2012 | By | Category: 23-4: Investing in Education, Empowering Tribal Communities, Tribal College News

Dr. Lori Lambert in Cairns, Australia, with Mark Warcon, a mental health worker who is an Australian South Sea Islander and a Northern Cheyenne.

Salish Kootenai College’s e-learning coordinator, Dr. Lori Lambert (Mi’kmaq/ Abenaki), a Medical Ecologist/Anthropologist, received the prestigious Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship for Faculty Research from the American Indian College Fund.

To research Indigenous methodologies in psychology, Lambert traveled with Dr. Carol Baldwin, department head for psychology at SKC to South Sea Islander and Aboriginal communities in Australia; a Saysi Dene community in northern Manitoba, Canada; and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai community on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana.

There is a paucity of Indigenous mental health providers in Native American communities in the United States, Australia, and Canada. Not only is mental health care lacking in these communities, but so is expertise in culturally appropriate ways of collecting and interpreting information on mental health care and mental health. With suicides increasing on Indian reservations and among urban Indian peoples, it is imperative that Indigenous educators and researchers educate students in psychology and research.

Lambert has presented her findings to graduate students at the University of Idaho, University of Montana, and North Carolina State University. She and Baldwin are now collaborating on a book about psychology research for use with undergraduates.

“Dr. Baldwin and the psychology students at SKC are the inspiration for me to do this work,” says Lambert. “Dr. Baldwin initiated a bachelor of science degree in Psychology with a focus on Indigenous Psychology. I teach the Indigenous research class. I wanted our students to understand that research for Native people is not a new activity, but our methodologies have been overshadowed by the dominant western academies.” Lambert adds that Native people are beginning to reclaim their research heritage by placing more emphasis on the role of research in ensuring our existence as unique tribal nations. “We are regaining our voices with the emerging literature being written by Native scholars in mainstream universities,” she says. “I hope to contribute to that literature.”

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