Presidents Dream Colloquium

Photo credit: Ken Lertzman

President's Dream Colloquium on Indigenous Peoples and Local Community Perspectives on Sustainability and Resilience

Panikpak Letitia Pokiak + Spencer Greening

Join the Conversation with Panikpak + Spencer

Event Details

Date: Thursday, November 17

Time: 7:00 – 8:30 PM

Location: Room 1900
Fletcher Challenge Canada Theatre
SFU Harbour Centre

Note: A recording of the lecture will be made available following the event.

This event is co-sponsored by The David and Cecilia Ting Endowment For Education for Public Responsibility.

Honouring cultural teachings in the context of industrial colonialism and climate change: Inuvialuit and Ts’msyen perspectives on resilience

In this final President’s Dream Colloquium, Letitia Pokiak and Spencer Greening speak to questions of ecological and cultural resilience confronted by their respective communities. Within the context of settler colonialism and advanced industrial capitalism, these two scholars will talk about the myriad issues arising from climate change and resource extraction in the Canadian western Arctic and northwestern British Columbia, home of Inuvialuit and Ts’msyen peoples, and how their communities are approaching these twin crises through principles of traditional sovereignty and governance structures, place-based relationships that emphasize sustainability and longevity, and longstanding traditions of cultural knowledge and power tailored to present circumstances. 

About the Speakers

Panikpak Letitia Pokiak is from Tuktuuyaqtuuq located in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, of the Western Arctic, NWT. As an Inuvialuk, she was raised traditionally on Inuvialuit nunangat, which frames her lens and worldview.

She completed the MA Anthropology program at the University of Victoria in September 2020 with the culmination of her thesis defense, for which she received the Western Association of Graduate Schools (WAGS) & Proquest Distinguished Masters Thesis Award for the fields of Humanities, Social Sciences, Education and Business.

Prior to grad school, Panikpak was instrumental in establishing the Giant Mine Oversight Board office, as well as supporting the implementation of the Giant Mine Environmental Agreement, which guides the remediation of the Giant Mine located Yellowknives Dene First Nation territory. Panikpak was an Indigenous Support Worker for the School District No. 71 for five years, on the unceded traditional territory of the K’omoks and Pentlatch People of Vancouver Island.

With her anthropology background, Panikpak was involved in a number of archaeological expeditions on home territory, including the 2010 Archaeological Survey in Aulavik National Park in which the HMS Investigator was rediscovered; she and the archaeology crew received the Excellence Award from Parks Canada.  Panikpak aims to support and empower Indigenous Peoples in their sovereignty, rebuilding and well-being efforts. 

Spencer Greening (La’goot) is from the Ts’msyen community of the Gitga’at First Nation (Hartley Bay). Spencer is currently a PhD student in the Faculty of Environment at Simon Fraser University, where he is studying the relationship between Gitga’at Traditional Ecological Knowledge, language, and deep-time archaeological history in the context of Indigenous resource management.

He has worked professionally within his nation for many years, having previously sat on elected leadership council, and regularly engaging in government-to-government relations. All of his work revolves around his deep connection to his home community, elders, territories, and the self-determination and decolonization of Indigenous peoples.

His broader research interests include Indigenous governance and legal systems, Indigenous harvesting and ecosystem management, cultural and political identities, and Indigenous oral histories. When not doing research, Spencer is actively engaged with cultural roles and work within the community of Hartley Bay and the greater Ts’msyen Nation, and strives to be on the lands and waters harvesting as much as possible.  

This event is co-sponsored by The David and Cecilia Ting Endowment For Education for Public Responsibility.

Lecture Topics