Indigenous Governance speaker series

All are welcome to attend our new Indigenous Governance Speaker Series. Presented online, via Zoom, Tuesdays from 12:05pm to 12:50pm. 

Tuesday, October 26
12:05pm - 12:50pm
Online, via Zoom
Dr. Samantha Darling
Photo: Dan Bushnell, 2021
Dr. Samantha Darling
The Capacity Behind the Decisions: The Role of Research Capacity in Impact Assessment

Capacity, or lack thereof, is an often-cited challenge in the day-to-day operations of northern governance mechanisms, such as impact assessment (IA). I examine capacity at multiple scales (individual, organizational and network) and from different perspectives to clarify what capacity constraints look like in practice. I consider IA processes as knowledge-based activities, which shifts focus towards meaningful knowledge exchange and mutual support, while still acknowledging logistical challenges that arise. I draw on the experiences of IA practitioners in the Yukon to identify facilitators and challenges to the adoption and distribution of new knowledge, including the respectful consideration of Traditional Knowledge alongside new science. Adjustments to our approach to capacity building for IA would support development decisions and the consideration of the wide variety of existing perspectives within those decisions.

Dr. Samantha Darling biography

I am a born and raised Yukoner and grew up on the Traditional Territories of the Jilḵáat Ḵwáan. Originally a physical geographer with beginnings at Yukon College, I have ten years of research and field experience in the Yukon. After my Masters, I was recruited to work with the YC management team developing the bones of the current IGD program and coordinating the FNGPA certificate. My experiences working with these programs led me to pivot towards the intersection between science and governance mechanisms for my PhD. Most recently, my focus has been on capacity challenges seen in impact assessment processes, particularly around research and knowledge. Overall, my work approaches capacity building from a knowledge-based perspective, where adjustments to the current system could alleviate some shared capacity constraints and facilitate discussions around development decisions.

Upcoming speakers

Dr. Rhiannon Klein

Reviewing and Redefining Relationships: Modern Treaty Implementation in Yukon

Tuesday, November 16
Online, via Zoom

Dazawray Landrie-Parker

Indigenous engagement and the nuclear energy sector

Tuesday, December 7
Online, via Zoom

Past speakers
Gillian Staveley

Gillian Staveley

Master of Arts in Anthropology (MA)
Director of Land Stewardship and Culture with Dena Kayeh Institute

Reconnection – Grounding Kaska Values to Dene K’éh Kusān

There is a resurgence happening within Indigenous communities about connecting back to our lands, language, and laws to find the healing we need during this troubling time in our world. The Kaska Dena communities are working towards finding ways to use our strong land ethics to help manage our traditional territory according to our values that are rooted in our ways of knowing, doing, and being.

Today in a world where Indigenous-led conservation is recognized and being increasingly supported, the concept of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCA's) is the answer to many of the important conservation and reconciliation initiatives in the North. There are challenges, opportunities, and responsibilities around being a leader in stewardship and it is a relationship that we can all be a part of.

Gillian Staveley biography

Gillian Staveley is a Kaska Dena member whose heritage lies in the Muncho Lake region of Dena Kēyeh in Northern British Columbia. Graduating from UBC in 2014 with a Masters in Anthropology, Gillian’s research explored the importance of multi-generational environmental knowledge. In addition, it focused on issues of colonialism and political ecology – all topics that are relevant to Indigenous communities across the globe.

Through Gillian's connection with her heritage and culture, she has actively promoted the conversation of what Indigeneity means in the 21st century. Gillian has worked predominantly in the resource development sector as a traditional land use practitioner, consultant, and archaeologist. In her past work as the Regional Coordinator for the Kaska Dena in British Columbia, her goal was to ensure that through the Government to Government relationship that exists between her Nation and the Province, that the respect for Kaska Laws – Dene K’éh Gū́s’ān and the commitment under the United Nations Declaration of Indigenous Peoples is upheld in all consultations and engagements with her Nation.

Gillian currently serves as a Director of the Dena Kēyeh Institute (DKI), a non-for-profit society created by the Kaska Nation to empower, preserve, and protect the Kaska Dena language, oral traditions, history, culture, and traditional knowledge. Gillian's primary work as the Director of Land Stewardship and Culture has been focused on her Nations Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas proposals within the Kaska Ancestral Territory.

As a mother of two strong and energetic Kaska boys, her livelihood is encompassed around watching them grow, live, and experience the world around them in Dena Kēyeh, ‘the people’s country.’