Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians
In Anishinaabe culture, the Ojibwe peoples are known as keepers of tradition and story. My cultural role is not only as a teller of stories, but more importantly as a keeper of stories – a role that reflects my career ambitions as a researcher. Research is a form of storytelling, and one way that I am to fulfill my clan role as a healer and teacher is to keep and share Native community stories through CBPR interventions.
Mishkwa Unungo Kwe niidiznikaz. Niin Tara Maudrie niidiznikaz. Baawitigoininiwag onjibaa nookomis, and nindede. Inawemaagan Waantiyong nindojibaa. Miiahiikenh nindibendaagoz.
This Anishinaabe greeting explains, both explicitly and implicitly, our accountability and relationships to our people, traditional lands, culture, and community roles. Her greeting states that she is Anishinaabe, more specifically Ojibwe, named in her language as Red Star Woman, and her English name, Tara Maudrie, translates to Mother Earth in many languages. She is a citizen of the Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Ojibwe Indians and her father, grandfather, and grandmother are from Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, where her ancestors have lived since time immemorial. Before Tara was born, her family moved close to where the river bends, also known as Detroit, Michigan where she lived her whole life. She is what many call an ‘urban Indian’ meaning that, like 71% of American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) in the U.S., she lives in an urban area where AI/AN specific healthcare is extremely underfunded or non-existent and AI/AN populations are deemed ‘invisible’— these inequities drive her research interests. Another central part of her identity is that she is a member of the Snapping Turtle clan, a clan whose responsibility within her tribe is teaching and healing. In Anishinaabe culture, the Ojibwe peoples are known as keepers of tradition and story. Her cultural role is not only as a teller of stories, but more importantly as a keeper of stories – a role that reflects her career ambitions as a researcher. AI/AN peoples’ storytelling strengthens our relationships to our communities and facilitates co-learning and knowledge sharing, two key tenants of Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR). Research is a form of storytelling, and one way that she fulfills her clan role as a healer and teacher is to keep and share Native community stories through CBPR interventions.
Prior to joining the Center for Indigenous Health, Tara worked as a program assistant at Detroit American Indian Health and Family Services and completed her Bachelor's of Science degree in Pre-Physical Therapy and Exercise Science at Oakland University. She completed her MSPH in the Human Nutrition Program at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Spring of 2021. While completing her MSPH degree, she worked with the Center as a practicum student with Dr. Victoria O'Keefe and Dr. Melissa Walls. During her MSPH, she led a mixed methods study of food insecurity in partnership with the Baltimore Native Community. Tara is currently pursuing her PhD in the Social Behavioral Interventions Program at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
She is passionate about urban Native health and food security and hopes to continue to explore these issues and advocate for policy change throughout her PhD. She is advised by Dr. Victoria O'Keefe. You can keep up with her work through PubMed and ResearchGate.