On National Indigenous Peoples Day, the Faculty of Environment celebrates the contributions from the First Nations communities we work with on building economic, ecological and social sustainability. Below are a few highlights of some of these conttributions and collaborations. 

Economic Reconciliation Initiative

Sxwpilemaát Siyám, Chief Leanne Joe (Squamish Nation), is the Transformative Storyteller for Economic Reconciliation for SFU Community Economic Development (CED)’s Economic Reconciliation Program. She is leading the process of convening Indigenous leaders from across the province to guide the development of a Framework for Economic Reconciliation that will support First Nations and non-Indigenous institutions and governments to work collaboratively towards community well-being for current and future generations. Related to this work, SFU CED, along with an Indigenous advisory group, is collaborating with the Province of BC to inform their Investment Readiness Toolkit for non-Indigenous communities and how economic reconciliation can be supported. 

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Coastal Voices 

Applied Ecologist Anne Salomon, a professor in our School of Resource and Environmental Management, leads the Coastal Voices project which is a diverse group of Indigenous leaders, knowledge holders, scientists and artists from British Columbia and Alaska working together, discussing and planning for the profound changes triggered by the return of sea otters.  Through the lens of traditional knowledge and western science, the goal is to collect and share information to build a respectful dialogue to better equip coastal communities and policy makers with socially just and ecologically sustainable strategies to navigate the changes that come with the recovery of this key predator.

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Huyat Our Voices, Our Land

Dana Lepofsky, an archaeology professor partnered with the Heiltsuk Nation on an eight year project to create a new website that illuminates thousands of years of Heiltusk Nation voices and history.  The site uses video, photos and stories to present an engaging overview of Heiltsuk connections to Huyat, one of an immense network of culturally important landscapes in Heiltsuk territory on the Central Coast of BC.  Its where the Heiltsuk have lived for millennia, learning from and caring for the land, plants and animals on which they depend.  From mountaintop to ocean floor, the Huyat website project documents the history of the Heiltsuk by integrating ethnoecological , archaeological, anthropological and audio--visual knowledge and techniques.

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The New Power Couple: Traditional Ecological knowledge and western science unite to inform sustainable management of clams

Dana Lepofsky, an archaeology professor partnered with Oqwilowgwa Kim Recalma-Clutesi, a member of the Qualicum Nation and Q̌íx̌itasu Yímazalas Elroy White and Archaeologist and Member of the Heiltsuk Nation on a multi-year project drawing on traditional ecological knowledge and western science to look to improve food security for Coastal First Nations.

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Deanna Smith shares her experience of being an Indigenous undergraduate student.

“As an Indigenous person, people often see me as the stereotype of being uneducated and out of place”.  But the Archaeology Department, her peers and the faculty became like family, helping her realize the importance and value of Indigenous voices. “We belong in academia. We add a new perspective that needs to be heard.” 

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Archaeology PhD student has a gift of balancing Traditional Ecological and western knowledge

Spencer Greening a PhD Archaeology student and Trudeau scholar has a gift for balancing traditional Indigenous knowledge, research, language and culture with Western scholarship, politics and activism. He works with the Gitga'at First Nation and his research focuses on Language, Place-based Knowledge, and Environmental Stewardship in the Heart of the Gitga'at Territory.

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