The David & Cecilia Ting Lecture Series: Land & Water Rights, Indigenous Perspectives

This three-part lecture series will explore the issues of leadership, environmental rights, and the impact of infrastructure projects on the livelihood of indigenous communities in British Columbia and beyond. Funding for this lecture series is generously provided by the David and Cecilia Ting Endowment for Education for Public Responsibility and the SFU Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences (FASS) Reconciliation Working Group. 

The series is hosted by SFU Economics senior lecturer Martin Santamaria who has an interest in development economics and the health and rights of indigenous communities. 


Photo credit: Andy Holmes on Unsplash

The lecture series is free and open to all. Please register to confirm your spot. 

Part 1: An Indigenous Matriarch's Perspective

Thursday July 13th, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Diamond Family Auditorium

Esteemed Secwépemc Indigenous Matriarch and activist Miranda Dick will speak about some of the challenges currently being faced by First Nations and communities in BC resulting from the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) pipeline project. 

By sharing her personal experiences and insights, she'll shed light on the challenges faced by First Nations and communities in British Columbia due to the TMX pipeline project. She will offer practical strategies for development projects to proceed in a way that honours Indigenous sovereignty and culture.

This lecture will provide a unique opportunity for the public to hear Indigenous voices and participate in the process of truth-telling and reconciliation.


Miranda Dick is a Hereditary Matriarch in the Secwépemc Nation who educates Indigenous youth about safety on the frontlines and around the importance of safeguarding oneself. Dick has organized everything from frontline action camps to land occupations, where she and others use and access their lands in the ways the Secwépemc people always have. These include berry picking camps, bark harvesting, hunting camps and even art camps. At each camp, she has worked hard to meet the health and safety needs of those present.

Part 2: Marakame Speaks

Wednesday November 29th, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Saywell Atrium 

The Wixarika people have been practicing their traditions in different ceremonial centres across Mexico for thousands of years. Their land is considered sacred, hosting unique biodiversity and cultural heritage. Don Ramiro is a Marakame, a traditional healer and leader of the Wixarika from San Miguel Huaixtita. He will speak on the cultural significance of Wirikuta and the impact of Canadian Mining corporations' attempts to set up operations in traditional territories.


Marakame Ramiro Mejiaz from the San Miguel Huaixtita community of the Wixarika Nation of Mexico. He is his community spiritual authority of the ceremonial centre of Black Eagle. He will be accompanied by son Luis Antonio Mejia. Both belong to a long lineage of Marakames (spiritual authorities and healers of the Wixarika nation).

Part 3: Economic Development and Right Relationship with the Natural World

Thursday June 20, 2024, 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Saywell Atrium 

This talk is a unique opportunity to hear Marakame Don Chabelo share about the Wixarika worldview and knowledge and their perspective on how economic development, reconciliation and sustainability can be attained. What is the way forward for humanity in the face of environmental challenges? What does it mean to be in right relationship with the earth, air, water and the natural world, and why is this important?


Marakame Don Chabelo comes from a Wixarika community in the State of Jalisco, Mexico. Following more than 25 years of training he received the title of a Marakame; a spiritual leader, healer and man of knowledge for his people. His responsibilities include visiting sacred sites, bringing offerings and continuing the millenary traditions of his people. Don Chabelo has been traveling widely, teaching about the Wixarika worldview. It’s a true privilege and honor to have him come to SFU.