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Student Profile: Spencer Greening
doctoral student in the Faculty of Environment
Spencer Greening (La'goot) is from the Tsimshian community of the Gitga'at First Nation. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Interdisciplinary studies at Simon Fraser University and a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar. His research looks at the relationship between Gitga'at traditional ecological knowledge, language, and history in the context of Indigenous resource management. Spencer holds a bachelor's degree in First Nations/Indigenous Studies and an MA in Anthropology from the University of Northern British Columbia. His broader research interests include Indigenous governance systems, cultural and political identities, and pairing Indigenous oral histories with archeology. All his work revolves around his deep connection to his home community, elders, territories, and the self-determination and decolonization of Indigenous peoples. Spencer is actively engaged with cultural roles and work within the community of Hartley Bay and the greater Tsimshian Nation. His 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.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?
I chose to come to SFU through my supervisor Dr. Dana Lepofsky. She highlighted the amazing community engaged research happening through SFU's Faculty of Environment. This made a wonderful fit for my own work focusing on my Indigenous nation and our knowledge systems.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?
In essence, my research is about telling the story of a sacred watershed in Gitga'at Territory through several lenses. Throughout my thesis story I tell this story by highlighting how Archaeology can work with and compliment millennia of Indigenous oral histories, how Indigenous Language and placenames tell a story of human socio-politics on land, and how traditional ecological knowledge and Indigenous stewardship of ecosystems tell a story of resilience and sustainability we can all learn from today.
WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?
I have deeply appreciated the support, recognition, and respect held for Indigenous researchers working with Indigenous knowledge systems.
HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR-FUNDED AWARDS? IF SO, PLEASE TELL US WHICH ONES AND A LITTLE ABOUT HOW THE AWARDS HAVE IMPACTED YOUR STUDIES AND/OR RESEARCH.
I have been privileged to receive SFU's Aboriginal Entrance Scholarship, SSHRC's Joseph-Armand Bombardier Graduate Scholarship, the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation's Doctoral Scholarship.
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