Honouring AECD Students


Meagan Saulnier: AECD Community Projects Coordinator for Mitacs Co Attachment project/Research Assistant in the Faculty of Health and Human Services at Vancouver Island University. 

Kwe, My Name is Meagan Saulnier and I am of mixed European descent on my mother’s side and Irish Acadian French and Mi’kmaq on my father’s side from the Eastern Woodland Territories- what is now known as Nova Scotia. I was born on Cree territory in Manitoba and grew up on Coast Salish-Musqueam territory. As a teen, I moved and since then have been a grateful visitor on the unceded territory of the Lkwungen people. I live with my fabulous and fierce daughter Nakoa, partner Karif and wolf-dog Staqeya. I was a Youth and Family Counsellor at Craigflower Elementary and currently work at Surrounded by Cedar Child and Family Service as a cultural continuity worker and a Youth Council Coordinator.

 Some of my interests involve being on the land, dancing, sports, music travel, and drumming.

I am honoured to be a part of some very important research that is being done within the AECD through Mitacs working alongside Danielle Alphonse. We are looking at attachment through an indigenous perspective/worldview. We are doing this through three parts: initially reviewing literature, then hosting an engagement meeting with 3 community partners.

Hulitan Child and Family Services, specifically looking at their Journeys of the Heart program which is a cultural preschool that focuses on attachment. Aboriginal Child and Youth Mental Health- Dr. Harjit Aulakh, a psychologist with a background in attachment (western training) but works closely with indigenous communities. Katy Scoones Maria Sampson and I discuss the weaving program we brought to Esquimalt Nation and the attachment work that was done at Heartfelt Farm- art and equestrian therapy. Members and Workers from Esquimalt will be present as well. This is exciting because it gives a breadth and variety of knowledge and wisdom-at a community agency level, government level and at a nation level. The intent of this meeting is that we get ideas/input as to what attachment looks like within their work and direction /hopes of what they want to see done with the collective knowledge that will be generated.

Finally, we will be writing based on the literature review and engagement meeting with the intention of providing an addition to Bowlby’s theory of attachment in the AECD program as it is important to have an understanding of what attachment and family systems look like when working in and with our indigenous communities especially with our little ones - the most scared.

Welalio With Gratitude,  



RoseMary Antony: AECD Research Assistant for the Mitacs Co Attachment Project

My name is RoseMary Antony. I am a second year Early Childhood Education student at Vancouver Island University.

I am grateful to be in the field of education as I believe learning is a lifelong journey. Listening and engaging with children helps me to reflect on my knowledge and teaching practice. Every child is special and their voices and stories need to be heard.

As an educator, it gives me great joy to empower children to believe in themselves and nurture their curiosity. My faith and spirituality guide me to truly appreciate every opportunity in life and strive for better.

I enjoy reading fiction and listening to music, travelling, meeting new people, and exploring their heritage makes me happy.


My name is Kumi, but my original name is Kumudini, which means a flower. I am from Sri Lanka and I have been here in Canada for the last 13 years. I have been working with children for my whole life. I think it is my passion, I studied masters in sociology, and I did some research about special education. 

I completed my Early Childhood Education and Care program at VIU and that is where I met my professor Danielle Alphonse, and I learned about the First Nation people and their history from her. Learning First Nations culture, I felt so close to my home even though I was far away from my home because the culture and the tradition are very similar to mine. I felt so much better at connecting and understanding Indigenous cultures. 

I had a practicum placement in an aboriginal setting child care center, I felt I have a connection with similar teachings and I recognized that I wanted to learn more. That is the time I got this opportunity to help my professor with her research about the attachment in aboriginal children. Attachment is a bigger part of children live especially with indigenous families and children. 

I learned a lot from supporting this research, not only Canadian aboriginal but also other parts of the world. This helps me to recognize the value of the culture as well as the children I work with, also to build relationships with families and the land I live in now. This knowledge and the feeling of belonging to the place I live in makes my life so much happier as well as I could help children that feel the same way of giving their privilege to learn their culture and history.That will help them to be part of the land as well as feel belonging.

I am thankful to my professor Danielle Alphonse for giving me this opportunity.

Kumudini Smith (Kumi)


Melanie Midgley: AECD Research Assistant Elders’ project and Tillicum Lelum Qeq project.

With a background in Early Childhood, Primary and Special Education, Melanie Midgley is a Métis educator-researcher committed to inclusive learning environments that recognize the importance of reciprocal relationships, emergent curriculum and community.