Spencer Greening


M.A.: University of Northern British Columbia 2016

B.A.: University of Northern British Columbia 2011

Awards: Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar 2018-2021

Supervisor: Dr. Dana Lepofsky

Research Areas: Indigenous Ethnography, Historical Ecology, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Resource Management

Ph.D. Research:  

Al’algyax Laxyuubs Gitk’a’ata (The Territory of the Gitga’at Speaks): Language, Place-based Knowledge, and Environmental Stewardship in the Heart of Gitga’at Territory

Spencer’s Ph.D. research emphasizes the importance of Indigenous knowledge and stewardship of land in the context of colonial management practices and law. Specifically, it explores how the connections among Indigenous pedagogy, language, and the sharing of place-based knowledge are linked to heritage preservation, identity, and more sustainable environmental management. Spencer is analyzing one of the Cultural Keystone Places in his home territory, in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, where his Elders were born and raised in a life of fluent Gitga’at culture, language, and ecological relationships. By working with their ancestral knowledge systems, he is able to highlight local Indigenous knowledge and its vital role in academic scholarship, Canadian law and policy, and the promotion of environmental awareness. His research is also unique as it is led by his community and rooted in Indigenous research methodologies and frameworks. This ensures its contributions to cultural continuity, self-determination, Indigenous research, and decolonization.

Other Interests:

Spencer is actively engaged with cultural roles and work within the community of Hartley Bay and the greater Tsimshian Nation. He also works with the local school district that serves several Tsimshian villages and the city of Prince Rupert, teaching Tsimshian language and culture, while working with the Sm’algyax language committee. Spencer’s personal connection to this work is very important, when he is not engaging with it professionally, he is spending as much time as he can on his traditional territory learning from his Elders.


Ritts, M. and S. Greening. “Gyitwaaltk: A Musical Dialogue.” in B.C. Studies; Call forSounds. Issue 198, Summer 2018. 

Lepofsky, Dana. Chelsey Geralda Armstrong, Julia Jackley, Spencer Greening, JenniferCarpenter, Brenda Guernsey, Darcy Mathews, Nancy J.  Turner. “HistoricalEcology of Cultural Keystone Places of the Northwest Coast” in AmericanAnthropologist, Vol. 119, Issue 3. September 2017.