MEET OUR GUEST SPEAKERS!
Dr. Kiera Brant-Birioukov
Assistant Professor at York University
Dr. Kiera (Kaia’tanó:ron) Brant-Birioukov is a Haudenosaunee (Kanyen’kéha:ka) educator and educational theorist from Kenhtè:ke (Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, ON). She is an Assistant Professor of Wüléelham Indigenous education at York University. Kiera completed her PhD in Curriculum Studies at the University of British Columbia in 2021. Her doctoral dissertation is entitled Kanenhstóhare: The Educative Possibilities of Estrangement, Homecoming, and Indigeneity, where she theorized the possibilities of estrangement/homecoming in education by drawing upon the Haudenosaunee teachings of kanenhstóhare (lyed corn). Following the teachings of corn, Kiera traces the process of making Mohawk corn soup as a curriculum of renewal. With a focus on community partnerships and knowledge resurgence, Kiera’s work is inspired by ancestral knowledge that renews our ancient relationship with the natural world. She is also passionate about seed sovereignty, gardening, and language revitalization.
Dr. Lorrilee McGregor
Assistant Professor at NOSM University
Dr. Lorrilee McGregor is an Anishinaabe-kwe from Whitefish River First Nation. Dr. McGregor is an Assistant Professor at NOSM University in Sudbury, Ontario, where she teaches about Indigenous peoples’ health. She is the Chair of the Manitoulin Anishinaabek Research Review Committee that serves seven First Nation communities on Manitoulin Island.
Historian and Archivist
Krista McCracken is an award-winning public historian and archivist. They work as a Researcher/Curator at the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre, at Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Krista’s work focuses on community archives, Residential Schools, access, and outreach. Krista is currently pursuing their PhD in Library and Information Management via Manchester Metropolitan University and San Jose State University. They have two ongoing book projects, Decolonial Archival Futures with Skylee-Storm Hogan-Stacey and Trans and Gender Diverse Voices in Libraries with Keahi Adolpho and Stephen Krueger, which was released in July 2023.
Undergraduate Student at York University
Cheyenne is a non-status First Nation person, specifically Mohawk from Six Nations of the Grand River, also mixed with Mi’Kamq. Currently, she is a 3rd-year undergraduate student at York University, majoring in psychology and minoring in Indigenous Studies. She has been a student leader at York for a year and a half now, working as a Peer Academic Assistant with an Indigenous Focus in partnership with the Centre for Indigenous Student Services & Learning Skills Services under Student Engagement, intended to provide academically relevant resources for community members.
Yara Libertad Gálvez-Pozo
Teacher at Toronto District School Board
Yara Libertad Gálvez-Pozo is the daughter of peasant immigrants from Wallmapu Chile. Her identity continues to be influenced by their journey of identity reclamation. Her experiences in Canada have been of feeling excluded and a sense of not belonging. However, it was not until she entered the Waaban Indigenous Teacher Education Program (WITEC) led by Dr. Susan Dion that she finally felt the puzzle pieces of her Indigeneity coming together. Yara has a Bachelor of Honours Anthropology from York University and is currently in the Wüléelham Master of Education. She is a teacher working within the Toronto District School Board. She has worked in community centres such as Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood and Community Health Centre, where she led, and assisted in the development, planning and implementation of community-based leadership initiatives for both younger and older members of the DPNCHC community. As well she was a mentor and coach at Centro Cultural Latinoamericano, Toronto where she facilitated and encouraged content that enabled youth to specify concrete steps toward their life goals. Activities involved an amalgam of art expression through music, storytelling, and visual arts. Yara believes that her work is ongoing. She is constantly in check of her biases, internalized isms, privileges, and looking at how she can continue work that supports social justice movements and worldviews.
Dr. Brian Rice
Professor at University of Manitoba
Dr. Brian Rice is a full professor and holds the position of Indigenous land-based educator in the Department of Kinesiology and Recreation Management at the University of Manitoba. He is also one of the first graduates of the Indigenous Knowledge and Recovery of Indigenous Mind doctoral programs developed by Dr. Apela Colorado in the 1990’s. Originally born in Buffalo, New York, Dr. Rice is an enrolled member of the Indigenous Mohawk Nation at Kahnawaké, Quebec, Canada. Besides being a teacher and an interim principal for four years in an Indigenous-operated school, he has taught full-time in the departments of Native Studies, Religious Studies, Continuing Education, and Education over a 30-year period. He continues teaching courses in Indigenous history and culture, both national and global. He has published three books: Seeing the World with Aboriginal Eyes; The Rotinonshonni: A Traditional Iroquoian History Though the Eyes of Sawiskera and Teharonhia;wako; and A History of Newcomer and Indigenous First Encounters from the East to the Mid-west for Educators. He has also published various chapters and articles on Indigenous issues, history and culture within various books centred on peace studies. He did his doctoral coursework in California, Hawaii, Mexico, Thailand and Senegal and has presented in Guyana, Ireland, Israel, Palestine, Thailand, Australia, Myanmar, Kenya, and Japan, as well as other regions in the United States and Canada. Previous to writing his dissertation and as part of his research methodology, he embarked on a 700-mile walking journey following the path of the Peacemaker who confederated five warring Indigenous nations, including the Mohawk, that later influenced the federation of the 13 thirteen American colonies becoming the United States of America. He then contributed by helping to facilitate journeys consisting of elders and community members back to their traditional homelands.
Dr. Romila Verma
Instructor at University of Toronto
An innovative teacher, researcher, speaker, and documentary filmmaker, Dr. Verma is one of the leading voices on global water issues. She is an Instructor with the School of the Environment and Department of Geography at the University of Toronto. She teaches courses on environmental science and water management. Her research work focuses on climate change impacts on freshwater and watershed management. Her other notable work is on source water protection and hydrological analysis of river systems. She is the founder of Not-for-Profit organization- Water Speaks, an initiative that strives to translate the voice of water through research, education, and action. Her award-winning documentary, Water Be Dammed… narrates a compelling journey of Satluj River in Punjab, India, by tracing the story of challenges, hopes and aspirations of water’s will to survive and Rejuvenate. As the Founding Director of Trans Africa Pipeline (TAP), she is working on solutions to provide clean, safe water to the residents of the Sahel region of Africa. TAP is an 8,000 km long freshwater pipeline which will provide clean, potable drinking water to 28-30 million people in 11 countries of the African Sahel through desalination plants. She has received recognition from India’s Aadhi Aabadi Society for her 20 plus years of contribution in the field of teaching, research and finding creative solutions for sustainable freshwater designs. She is also the recipient of best research paper award on climate change by the Environmental Adaptation Research Group (EARG). Outside of work, Dr. Verma is an avid waterscape painter in acrylic. She also enjoys hiking, cooking, gardening and above all, spending time with her family and friends.
Dr. Matthew Wildcat
Assistant Professor at University of Alberta
Dr. Matthew Wildcat is a member of Ermineskin Cree Nation. He is the Director of the Indigenous Governance and Partnership program and an assistant professor of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. He is a co-Director of the Prairie Indigenous Relationality Network. Matthew also provides governance and strategic advice to various Indigenous organizations and runs the Relational Governance Project, which looks at how First Nations co-govern with each other.
Dr. Frank Tough
Professor at University of Alberta
Professor of Native Studies at the University of Alberta and Director of the Métis Archival Project (MAP Lab). He has served as an expert witness in ten long-shot, court cases concerning the adjudication of constitutionally-protected Aboriginal and treaty rights. Several cases (R. v. Morin, R. v. Laviolette, R. v. Belhumuer, and R. v. Goodon) resulted in judicial recognition of Métis harvesting rights. In particular, his expertise with archival records has been deployed to assemble evidentiary support for assessing claims to existing Aboriginal rights/title. He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the York University Geography Alumni Network (2017), and in 2019, Tough was awarded the Order of the Métis Nation by the Métis Nation Council for “dedicated work and volunteerism in the protection and promotion of Métis Nation rights”.
Dr. Hiliary Monteith
Postdoctoral Fellow at McMaster University
Hiliary Monteith is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Anthropology and Indigenous Studies at McMaster University with a PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Toronto. Her work focuses on socio-ecological factors impacting Indigenous health and cardio-metabolic disease. She is currently collaborating with Six Nations of the Grand River and Sandy Lake First Nation, focusing on early life factors contributing to diabetes etiology, water security initiatives, and cultural resurgence. Hiliary is a settler of Scottish, Irish, French, German, and English ancestry currently residing in Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.
PhD Candidate at University of Toronto
Rohini Patel is a PhD candidate in the department of history at the University of Toronto. She studies histories of science, technology, and environment, postcolonial and feminist science studies, and histories of empire and capitalism.
Dr. Joey-Lyn Wabie
Associate Professor at Laurentian University
Dr. Joey-Lynn Wabie is an Algonquin Anicinabe ikwe from Mahingan Sagahigan (Wolf Lake) First Nation in Quebec. She is an associate professor in Indigenous Social Work at Laurentian University located on Atikameksheng Anishnawbek territory (Sudbury, Ontario). Joey-Lynn works in the community at the grassroots level focusing on wellness, culture, and bringing people together. Her research interests are Indigenous youth's perspectives on Truth & Reconciliation, spiritual wellness/healing, and land-based teaching/learning.
Dr. Crystal Fraser
Associate Professor at Laurentian University
Dr. Crystal Gail Fraser (she/her) is Gwichyà Gwich'in (with English and Scottish heritage), originally from Inuvik and Dachan Choo Gę̀hnjik, Northwest Territories. Dr. Fraser is an Assistant
Professor in History and Native Studies at the University of Alberta. Her award-winning research focuses on the history of student experiences at Indian Residential Schools in the Inuvik Region,
1959 to 1996. Dr. Fraser Crystal serves on national and international committees; she is a member of the Governing Circle of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, a director for Gwich'in Council International, and is a founding member of the National Advisory Committee on Residential School Missing Children and Unmarked Graves in 2022.