Jessica Kolopenuk

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Native Studies


Assistant Professor, Faculty of Native Studies



Jessica Kolopenuk (Cree, Peguis First Nation) is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. Her doctoral project, The Science of Indigeneity: DNA Beyond Ancestry is a study of how, in Canada, genomic knowledge is impacting what it means to be Indigenous in the fields of forensic science, biomedical research, and physical anthropology. She identifies productive spaces where Indigenous peoples might intervene to govern the genomic sciences that affect their bodies, territories, relatives, and peoples. Over the past two years she has been involved with developing the Indigenous Science, Technology, and Society Research and Training Program and Network (Indigenous STS), which aims to support scientific literacy and capacity among Indigenous peoples. Additionally, Jessica is a co-organizer of the Summer internship for INdigenous peoples in Genomics Canada (SING Canada). She is also currently working with the Government of Canada and with the National Geographic Society respectively, to development Indigenous-led and decolonial science policy and bioethics. In 2018, she was awarded the Canadian Science Policy Centre’s Award of Excellence in Science Policy.


EXNS 2801 - Indigenous Peoples and Technoscience

This course introduces students to the long and complicated relationships between science and technology fields, broader dynamics of colonialism, and increasing demands for Indigenous governance of the sciences and technologies that affect them.

NS 376 - Indigenous Demography and Disease

This course focuses on the historic epidemic diseases that devastated Indigenous communities following the arrival of Europeans in this hemisphere. Students will study evidence for health and disease and for the size of the Indigenous population before contact, the epidemiology and impacts of infectious diseases that accompanied Europeans to the Americas, and the transition to a different disease profile in the 20th century. Indigenous and European approaches to well-being and disease will be considered. Prerequisites: NS 110, 111 and 240 or 290 or consent of the Faculty.

NS 520 - Theoretical Perspectives in Indigenous Studies

This seminar introduces students to the history of and various theoretical concepts deemed important to the discipline of Indigenous Studies..

NS 620 - Advanced Theoretical Perspectives in Indigenous Studies

This course engages students with theoretical concepts seminal to the discipline of Indigenous Studies. Students will gain a thorough understanding of the Indigenous Studies theoretical field and will be able to specifically identify theory relevant to their explicit research project. Through Indigenous theory, students will be able to identify ethical issues in relation to research with Indigenous communities.

Browse more courses taught by Jessica Kolopenuk


“Pop-Up” Metis and the Rise of Canada’s Post-Indigenous Formation

Author(s): Jessica Kolopenuk
Publication Date: 2018
Publication: American Anthropologist
Volume: 120
Issue: 2
External Link:

Red Rivers

Author(s): Jessica Kolopenuk
Publication Date: 2018
Volume: 49
External Link:


Author(s): Jessica Kolopenuk
Publication Date: 2016

My Girl

Author(s): Jessica Kolopenuk
Publication Date: 2014
Publication: aboriginal policy studies
Volume: 3
Issue: 1
External Link:

A New “Indian Register” for Indigenous DNA?

Author(s): Jessica Kolopenuk
Publication: Policy Options
External Link: