Project Lead

Nancy J. Turner CM, OBC, PhD, FRSC, FLS
Professor Emeritus and Fellow, P.E. Trudeau Fellow 

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Distinguished Professor and Hakai Professor in Ethnoecology, Nancy Turner is an ethnobotanist whose research integrates the fields of botany and ecology with anthropology, geography and linguistics, among others. She is interested in the traditional knowledge systems and traditional land and resource management systems of Indigenous Peoples, particularly in western Canada. Nancy has worked with First Nations elders and cultural specialists in northwestern North America for over 45 years, collaborating with Indigenous communities to help document, retain and promote their traditional knowledge of plants and habitats, including Indigenous foods, materials and medicines, as well as language and vocabulary relating to plants and environments. Her interests also include the roles of plants and animals in narratives, ceremonies, language and belief systems. Read more...


Trudeau Foundation Project Advisors

Dr. E. Richard Atleo (Umeek), BA, MEd, EdD

Dr. Richard Atleo, known as Umeek from the house of λaaqišpiił is recognized as the first Aboriginal person in British Columbia to earn a doctoral degree. Both his education and work show his commitment to First Nations studies and education. He is the author of Principles of Tsawalk: An Indigenous Approach to Global Crisis, which introduces origin stories and draws on the ontological meaning of indigenous culture.

The University of British Columbia alumnus graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1968, a Master of Education in 1976, and Doctor of Education in 1990. Upon completing his doctorate, Atleo conducted province-wide research into First Nations K-12 education in BC, in response to the Hawthorn Report of 1966-67.


Kii’iljuus Barbara Wilson

I am Kii’iljuus, my English name is Barbara Wilson. I am the matriarch of the Saw-whet owl eagle clan from Cumshewa village, Haida Gwaii. I am a Masters Candidate in Education at Simon Fraser University and a Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) Fellow, as well as a published author. I have actively facilitated learning for many years as a guest presenter and Sessional Instructor. My other passions are to write about our world of Xaayda Gwaay.yaay and photography. My intention is to be a positive role model for the young people of our world. Balance, respect, and responsibility, the philosophy of our ancestors is my guide.  To honor and care for our part of the world, leaving it a better place for those who cannot speak or act for themselves including our future generations, is a key component of our responsibility.


Project Assistant

Pamela Spalding, MA, Doctoral Student, Ethnoecology

Pamela has extensive experience in analyzing the challenges in using traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) when applied to issues within government, land use planning, and aboriginal rights. Through her professional and academic experience, she has explored ethical and methodological problems associated with representation, authority, and use of TEK when it is removed from its cultural context. Prior to joining Dr. Nancy Turner's research team at the School of Environmental Studies, University of Victoria (UVic) in 2011, she engaged widely with First Nations' communities in British Columbia and the Northwest Territories, as well as with consultants, academics, and community workers on issues such as First Nations' traditional use studies and land use and treaty negotiations. She began her doctoral research with Dr. Turner in May 2015. Her research asks: If Indigenous people’s relationships to culturally-significant plant species are an expression of Aboriginal rights, how can these rights be affirmed and exercised through long-term sustainable co-management arrangements between First Nations and state governments? Pamela received her BA in Anthropology from UBC and her MA in Anthropology from UVic.  


Event Facilitator

Melissa Hadley, Senior Partner with Cortex Resource Management

Details to come