Boozhoo, niijiwag! I am a Métis Anishinaabe woman currently living on unceded Lekwungen and WSANEC territories in what is known as Victoria, Canada. I am fascinated by human relationships with the natural world- how we organise ourselves to live on and with the earth, how we see ourselves in relation to our environment, and what our environment inspires us to do. I grew up on shared Anishinaabe, Ouendat, and Haudenosaunee traditional territories in central Ontario, and this experience has shaped me into who I am today. I am filled with memories of fields of wildflowers, afternoons spent following streams, hours in the garden picking weeds, and standing outside on winter nights watching the snow fall. These experiences fed into a sense of responsibility to care for and honour the land. I learned from my family that forests, lakes and streams are the true source of joy, and that a little fresh air will cure many problems.
Reading and my own observations made me increasingly attuned to the manufactured inequalities that exist between humans, and how these inequalities are often related to environmental violence and environmental injustice. These questions led me to a Bachelor’s degree in Global Studies at Huron University College at Western University (London, Canada).
During my degree, I became more aware of and interested in Indigenous sovereignty movements throughout Canada, as well as campesino struggles throughout Latin America. Following my degree I spent four months working for a NGO promoting sustainable agriculture techniques on Guatemala’s southwestern coast, using a farmer-to-farmer methodology. My experiences during this time were formative and opened my eyes to the exploitation and environmental degradation embedded in global industrial agricultural systems. Upon return home I decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria, interrogating the impact of sugarcane expansion on these southwestern Guatemalan coast. I conducted a feminist community-based research project with a community in the region of Retalhuleu, examining the political impact of sugarcane expansion on the community’s capacity to mobilise through collective action.
Throughout my time living on Vancouver Island, I have been active with UVic’s Native Students Union, the Stolen Sisters Organizing Collective to memorialise missing and murdered Indigenous women, and IndigenEYEZ, an Indigenous youth empowerment organisation. I have begun learning Anishinaabemowin, the traditional language of my mother’s family. I am grateful to these Lekwungen and WSANEC territories for teaching me so much and opening my eyes to the power and strength of Indigenous communities, the importance of restoring connection to the land, and the importance of living well through the journey. These years of study, time with communities and friends, and political involvement have helped me to clarify my role: to support social movements with Indigenous voices at the centre working toward healthy and vibrant environments across Turtle Island.
Currently, I am the North American Regional Programme Coordinator for Global Diversity Foundation (GDF). In this position I work to build relationships with Indigenous communities, offer relevant resources that will aid in the protection and revitalisation of their biocultural landscapes, and create transformative spaces of learning and connection for Indigenous environmental practitioners. I am also the Global Environments Network Coordinator, working to maintain GEN as a vibrant and dynamic network.