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Dr. Tracy Bear is a Nehiyaw’iskwew (Cree woman) from Montreal Lake First Nations and Director for the McMaster Indigenous Research Institute (MIRI) and Assistant Professor for the Faculty of Social Sciences. Prior to her 2021 move to McMaster, she was the Academic Lead and Professor of a hugely successful MOOC, (massive open online course) called, ‘Indigenous Canada’ which continues to grow with 3, 000 new learners every week. Tracy continues to collaborate with Canadian celebrity, Dan Levy, and her University of Alberta team to facilitate a live question and answer period on Youtube to discuss Indigenous history and contemporary social issues. ‘Indigenous Canada’ currently has over 450,000 students with a growth of 3,000 learners every week.
Tracy also a co-produces a popular storytelling and performance-based show called ‘Tipi Confessions’ which also includes a research-creation laboratory series. Since 2010, Tracy has been volunteering and teaching in prisons, and in 2018 with a team of Unruly Women began a project called ‘Indigenous Women & Youth Resiliency Project’ that supports a ‘pipeline from prison to post-secondary' for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated Indigenous women. Tracy’s intersectional research includes social justice, prison abolition, body sovereignty, sexuality and gender, and contemporary Indigenous art & politics. Her favourite quote is borrowed from Theodore Roosevelt, “... If I fail, at least I fail while daring greatly, so that my place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”