Research Team

Dr. Kari A. B. Chew, Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Kari A. B. Chew is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. She is a postdoctoral fellow for NEȾOLṈEW̱ ‘one mind, one people’ at the University of Victoria’s Department of Indigenous Education. Her scholarship focuses on the motivations and experiences of adult additional language learners who are reclaiming their Indigenous heritage languages. Her current research considers the role of technology in connecting learners who live outside their communities to their languages. She earned her doctorate in from the University of Arizona in 2016.

Nicki Benson, Research Assistant

Nicki is of Jewish ancestry and grew up on Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, səl̓ilwətaɁɬ, and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm territories in Vancouver. In her career as a language teacher, researcher, and education consultant, she has continuously endeavoured to find creative ways to bring about social change through language education. Since 2013, her work has supported Indigenous language reclamation with organizations such as UNICEF Peru, the BC Ministry of Education, and Kwi Awt Stelmexw, a non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) language and culture. Nicki has an MA in Language Education from the University of British Columbia, and she begun a PhD in Indigenous Language Revitalization in 2018 at the University of Victoria under the supervision of Dr. Onowa McIvor. Through a case study with the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Language Immersion Program, her doctoral research aims to determine success factors in adult immersion education for language reclamation. Nicki is the founder of Esperanza Education, the facilitator of the Spanish for Social Justice Teacher Network, the mom of a brilliant two-year-old, and a student of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  

Emily Comeau, Research Assistant

A current research assistant with NEȾOLṈEW̱, Emily was raised in Lekwungen and SENĆOŦEN speaking territories, and later in Treaty Six territory in Alberta. In 2018, Emily completed her MA in Linguistics at the University of Victoria, where her research sought out Indigenous perspectives on literacy in Indigenous language revitalization (ILR) and explored the role of print literacy in ILR, particularly in the context of decolonization. Emily also holds a BA from the University of Alberta in Linguistics and International Studies and a Certificat de Français Langue Étrangère from Université Laval. Since 2014, Emily has been involved in a number of digital projects, including the Endings Project and Le Mariage sous L’Ancien Régime at the University of Victoria, the Database of Algonquian Language Structures and the Blackfoot Oral Stories Archive through the University of Manitoba, as well as various orthography conversion projects. Emily’s interests and passions include language and cultural revitalization, decolonization and decolonialism, Indigenous rights, data sovereignty, digital collections, and multimedia archiving.

Emily’s thesis “Literacy and language revitalization: Leaving a visible trace”:  

Anu Lotay, Research Assistant

Anu Lotay is a Research Assistant with NEȾOLṈEW̱ and a PhD candidate at the University of Victoria. Her PhD research looks at the anthropology of pregnancy loss in the Indian diaspora. Her SSHRC-funded MA (2016), under the advisement of Dr. Stacie Burke at the University of Manitoba, dealt with online social networks, mental health, disclosure and stigma. Mainly, Anu is interested in how people understand their bodies, selves, health and illness, and how they tell their stories at the intersections of race, nationality and gender. Her passion for this subject is informed by her previous degrees, including a Bachelor of Science in Psychology (2011) and a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Anthropology & English (2013). She is also a pop culture junkie, documentary addict, and compulsive tweeter. You can follow her on twitter and learn more about her work at