I raise my hands in deep appreciation to the Xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Səl̓ílwətaɬ, and Skwxwú7mesh Nations for providing me with a place to live, study, and teach. I acknowledge that I am an “uninvited guest” on their traditional, ancestral, unceded, and overlapping territories. My Nisga’a name is Noxs Ts’aawit (Mother of the Raven Warrior Chief). My mother’s side of the family is from the House of Ni’isjoohl and I am a member of the Ganada (frog) clan in the village of Laxgalts’ap in the Nisga’a Nation. On my father’s side of the family, I am settler ancestries (French and German). I have a Ph.D. in Education from the University of British Columbia (UBC). I am an Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Education & Governance (Tier 2) in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University (SFU), Tier 2. During my pre-tenure years, I held faculty appointments in the Faculty of Education at SFU and the Department of Educational Studies at UBC. Since returning to SFU, I am focusing my decolonizing efforts in the Curriculum and Instruction: Equity Studies in Education Program and supporting the Indigenization of the faculty’s governance, programmatic, and course offerings with colleagues, and a member of the Indigenous Education Reconciliation Council. I am also the Associate Director for the SFU Cassidy Centre for Educational Justice (formerly the Centre for Education Law & Society). My scholarship is informed by the Nisga’a Sayt-k’il̓hlw̓ o’osim̓ (Common Bowl) philosophy which guides my engagement of Indigenous methodologies to collaboratively support community-based self-determination needs with Indigenous communities in British Columbia in three areas:
- Teaching and mentoring practices aimed at capacity-building in Indigenous communities, K-12 contexts, teacher education, and higher education in British Columbia;
- Nisga’a language revitalization, educational governance and policy; and
- Strengthening on-going matriarchal led processes to attain B.C. First Nations control of Indigenous research jurisdiction and governance.
My language and cultural revitalization responsibilities intertwine with several research projects including: a project lead for a comprehensive review of School District 92 (Nisga’a) with Dr. Jeannie Morgan, Matriarch Shirley Morven, and Dr. Gwendolyn Point; and a principal investigator of several on-going SSHRC supported research projects to enhance Nisga’a language revitalization, land based practices, and cultural repatriation efforts. I have expanded my research into the international realm by initiating efforts to successfully repatriate the Ni’is Joohl memorial pole with my house and the Nisga’a Lisims Government, which has led to invited presentations, significant media knowledge mobilization, and publications with Commonwealth scholars and universities. My international activism, as a member of the United Nations (UN) Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Canada Working Group on Indigenous Land Based Education, has helped draw attention to the importance of land-based education. I am currently a member of the Museum of Anthropology Great Hall Indigenous Advisory Committee. In the decolonizing realm, I engage visual methodologies as catalysts for decolonizing of systemic change between the university community and Indigenous communities. I produced 14 films as part of a film series with respected Coast Salish Knowledge Holders and leaders titled “Critical Understandings of Land and Water: Unsettling Place at Simon Fraser University”. The film series aims to examine the praxis of land-based education by providing an understanding of the implications of Indigenous rights and sovereignty on Coast Salish lands and waterways while disrupting the glorified settler narrative of Simon Fraser. In 2018, I received the Douglas College Distinguished Alumni Award, and in 2015, the 100 Top Alumni award in the Faculty of Education at UBC (2015), which cited my research as “groundbreaking and exhaustive” in terms of its impact with Indigenous youth and its influence in the areas of Indigenous K-12 teacher and higher education. In 2018, I received the Excellence in Scholarly Teaching Award in the SFU Faculty of Education.