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Research & Academic Initiatives

Advocacy in Action

One of the ways that The Red Pony Stands® Ojibwe Horse Sanctuary achieves our mission to protect, promote, and preserve the critically endangered Lac La Croix Indigenous Pony breed is acting as a spokesperson for the ponies in a variety of general public and academic settings. We do this by contributing directly to the growing body of academic literature and by serving as community collaborators and partners on culturally-appropriate holistic health research with the Lac La Croix Indigenous Pony and its connections to Indigenous cultures.


All related research and academic initiatives with our Lac La Croix Indigenous Ponies are conducted "in a good way" that is grounded on Indigenous ways of knowing and being, community collaboration, and ceremonial practices with the more-than-human world (i.e.,  two-leggeds, four-leggeds, swimmers, crawlers, winged-ones in both physical and spiritual forms).

Dr. Angela McGinnis, Indigenous Health Researcher

As Founder of The Red Pony Stands® Ojibwe Horse Sanctuary and Assistant Professor in the Educational Psychology program at the University of Regina, Dr. Angela McGinnis (member of Métis Nation of Ontario) leads and supervises all sanctuary-related research using Indigenous methodologies, under the mentorship of Traditional Elders and Knowledge Keepers.

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Grant Funding

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Situating the Horse-Human Relationship in Indigenous Education

Funded by the Faculty-Based Research Centre Knowledge Mobilization Fund; Awarded $4250.41


Principal Investigator: Dr. Angela McGinnis (Faculty of Education, University of Regina)

Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Being: Story Sciencing with the More-Than-Human World

Funded by Saskatchewan Instructional Development Research Unit (SIDRU); Fund Category: Partnerships and Community-Based Projects; Awarded: $10,000.00


Principal Investigator: Dr. Angela McGinnis (Faculty of Education, University of Regina); Co-Applicant: Life Speaker Noel Starblanket (Office of Indigenization, University of Regina); Co-Investigator: Kelsey Moore (M.Ed Thesis Student, University of Regina); Community Collaborator: The Red Pony Stands® Ojibwe Horse Sanctuary

Multiple Ways of Healing as Pedagogical Approach & Practical Model for Indigenous Holistic Wellness

Funded by Indigenous Advisory Committee (IAC) Indigenization Fund at the University of Regina; Awarded: $3918.84


Principal Investigator: Dr. Angela McGinnis (Faculty of Education, University of Regina)

(Re)Connecting Animal-Human Relationships as a Doorway to Indigenous Wellness

Funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR); Fund Category: Catalyst Grant in Indigenous Approaches to Wellness Research; Awarded: $145,789.00


Principal Investigator: Dr. Angela McGinnis (Faculty of Education, University of Regina); Co-Investigator: Dr. M.J. Barrett (University of Saskatchewan); Co-Investigator: Marie Lovrod (University of Saskatchewan); Community Collaborators: Dustin Brass; Corrine Ham; Donald Gamble.

Community-Based Projects

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The Role of the Horse-Human Relationship for Indigenous Education (M.Ed. Thesis)

Lead by M.Ed. Thesis Student, Kelsey Moore (Métis), under supervision of Dr. Angela McGinnis (Faculty of Education, University of Regina) and Life Speaker Noel Starblanket (Office of Indigenization, University of Regina)

National Geographic Short-Documentary

Coming 2019: Daughters of the Wind by Lindsay Marie Stewart (National Geographic Explorer) 


Description: Daughters of the Wind is the second short film in the Natural Connections Project, a multi-media education-based film series showcasing Indigenous schools using innovative teaching and learning practices to engage their students. The project celebrates all aspects of adventure education, experiential & project-based learning, cultural reconnection, environment interaction, and mentorship.

Academic Publications

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Eyininiw Mistatimwak: The Role of the Lac La Croix Indigenous Pony for First Nations Mental Wellness

Published in the Journal of Indigenous Wellbeing by Dr. Angela McGinnis (nee Snowshoe; Faculty of Education, University of Regina) and Life Speaker Noel Starblanket (Office of Indigenization, University of Regina)


Abstract: First Nations youth across Canada face considerably higher risk to develop mental health issues compared to their non-First Nations counterparts. These disproportionate risks have arisen within the context of an extensive history of harmful treatment of First Nations peoples borne of political policies aimed at the destruction of First Nations cultures. Research has demonstrated the importance of culture for positive mental health outcomes among First Nations youth. Like other land-based initiatives, there has been growing interest regarding the importance of equine-assisted learning and therapy for First Nations youth mental wellness. However, there is limited scientific understanding of the mechanisms by which First Nations youth can heal with horses, and even less is known about how equine-assisted programs can be adapted for cultural relevance. The current paper addresses this gap in the literature by introducing the Lac La Croix Indigenous Pony as a potential key player in First Nations youths’ healing journeys. A culturally-responsive framework is offered that highlights the ways in which a mutual helping relationship can be built between First Nations youth and this critically endangered Indigenous horse.

Animals as More-Than-Human Persons: Strengthening Animal-Human Relationships for Indigenous Wellness

Published in Ecopsychology by Dr. Angela McGinnis (Faculty of Education, University of Regina), Dr. Adela Kincaid (Selkirk College), Dr. M. J. Barrett (University of Saskatchewan), Corinne Ham, and Elders' Research Advisory Committee


Abstract: One of the most devastating effects of colonization has been fragmented relations among humans and their more-than-human counterparts. Traditionally, Indigenous peoples positioned animals as equitable partners in interconnected human and more-than human networks, animated with spirit and the ability to act and communicate. Many Indigenous peoples continue to regard animals as sacred and utilize the gifts that they bestow in traditional healing settings. Indigenous understandings of interwoven and reciprocal social networks of human and more-than-human relations must be restored and supported in contemporary health settings in order to “do no further harm” and facilitate Indigenous peoples’ healing journeys. Reconciliation across Western and Indigenous contexts requires learning to work together with the more-than-human world and developing ethical spaces for health research in which holistic wellness is appreciated and understood in the context of all our relations. In order to help (re)connect and strengthen human relations with the more-than-human world, a culturally-adapted and locally-refined animal-human relationship workshop was delivered in a rural Saskatchewan First Nation community where community Elders, adults, and youth participants shared stories about the role of animals for their healing and holistic wellness trajectories. The results revealed that animal-human relationships are physical and spiritual in nature, with both domestic and wild animals playing various important person roles in the lives of community members; these person roles are not metaphorical but rather assume all the sentience and agency that the term person implies. The findings have clear practical and policy implications for health services, education, environmental sustainability, and bio-resource management.

Academic Presentations

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Bringing Back the Buffalo: Indigenizing Institutions through Cultural Practice with More-Than-Humans

Presented by Joely BigEagle-Kequahtooway, Michele Sereda Artist-in-Residence, Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance, University of Regina; Dr. Sherry Farrell-Racette, Associate Professor, Visual Arts, Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance, University of Regina; Dr. Angela McGinnis, Assistant Professor, Educational Psychology, Faculty of Education, University of Regina; Dr. Darlene Chalmers, Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Work, University of Regina; Nina Wilson, of Idle No More; and Winona LaDuke, renowned environmentalist/Executive Director of Honour the Earth on March 29, 2018 at Congress 2018 at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan. 

Indigenous Story Sciencing with the More-Than-Human World

Presented by Dr. Angela McGinnis on February 14, 2018 at the Theory and Methods Seminar Series, Faculty of Education, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan

Creating a Model of Sustainability: An Ecomuseum to Preserve the Lac La Croix Indigenous Pony

Presented by Dr. Adela Kincaid and Dr. Angela McGinnis on October 26, 2017 at  Indigenous Research Day, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan

Interspecies Knowledges: How Our Relationships with More-Than-Human Beings Shape Well-Being

Presented by Dr. M.J. Barrett, Dr. Marie Lovrod, Dr. Angela McGinnis, Dr. Darlene Chalmers, and Dr. Steven Loo on March 24, 2017 at the Interspecies Communication Panel, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan

Healing with Horses: The Role of the Lac La Croix Indigenous Pony for First Nations Youth Wellness

Presented by Dr. Angela McGinnis on June 24, 2016 at the Canadian Indigenous/Native Studies Association Conference (CINSA) Reconciliation through Research: Fostering miýo-pimātisiwin, First Nations University of Canada, Regina, Saskatchewan

The Medicine Horse Way

Presented by Dr. Yvette Collin, Dr. Angela McGinnis, and Sagineshkawa (Lac La Croix Indigenous Pony stallion) on June 24, 2016 at the Canadian Indigenous/Native Studies Association Conference (CINSA) Reconciliation through Research: Fostering miýo-pimātisiwin, First Nations University of Canada, Regina, Saskatchewan