Community-engaged research is deeply personal.
It is simultaneously gut-wrenchingly political. As a team of global collaborators, the “Seascape crew” or team brings together a diverse set of skills, interests and lived-experiences.
Developing the innovative and interactive Seascape Indigenous Storytelling Studio is made possible due to the strengths of the dynamic and diverse Research Team. Our team is comprised of university and community partners from across five disciplines: Indigenous studies, political science, anthropology, geography and visual arts.
Given that our primary research questions address how to develop tools to visually represent and map the impact of energy impact on Indigenous communities we require this interdisciplinary expertise. Our research also draws on the strength of two leading university institutions with expertise in the area of energy development and Indigenous studies, the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria.
Meet the Seascapes Team
Dr. Robina Thomas
Associate Vice-President Indigenous
Dr. Robina Thomas is a member of Lyackson First Nation and Director of Indigenous Academic and Community Engagement. She is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work and holds a PhD in Indigenous Governance.
Dr. Thomas’ research interests include storytelling, residential schools and Uy’skwuluwun: to live with a good mind and spirit. She is committed to understanding anti-racism and anti-oppression and how these stories can be ‘lived’.
Dr. Rachel Yacaaʔał George
Dr. Rachel (Yacaaʔał) George is nuučaańuł of Ahousaht and Ehattesaht First Nations. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political at the University of Alberta Science specializing in Indigenous Politics.
Her doctoral research explores how conceptions of Indigenous justice have intersected with reconciliation initiatives such as truth and reconciliation commissions in Canada and the United States. In particular, she is interested in pathways to decolonization through resurgence and storied practice.
Dr. Dawn Sii-yaa-ilth-supt Smith
Sii-yaa-ilth-supt is Nuu-chah-nulth from Ehattesaht, but grew up in W̱SÁNEĆ (Tsawout) with her late parents, Clyde and Norma Claxton. As a visitor to the lkwungen territories (Victoria, BC) Dawn continues to be grateful for the opportunity to live, work and play in these beautiful territories.
Dawn has spent 27 years working with Indigenous peoples and communities learning to be of service, particularly as it relates to family responsibilities, self-determination and education. Dawn’s education includes a Bachelor’s in Political Science (2003) and a Master’s in Indigenous Governance (2007) from University of Victoria (UVic). More recently, Dawn completed her doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of British Columbia (2018).
Dawn continues to work in education as the Indigenization and Sustainability Strategist for the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Camosun College. Dawn’s research interests and publication contributions continue to focus on Indigenous/non-Indigenous relationships, multidirectional education, Indigenous women and self-determination.
Dr. Sarah Marie Wiebe
Assistant Professor | Co-Director
Dr. Sarah Marie Wiebe grew up on Coast Salish territory in British Columbia, BC. She is an Assistant Professor in the School of Public Administration at the University of Victoria and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Hawai’i, Mānoa with a focus on community development and environmental sustainability.
Sarah is a Co-Founder of the FERN (Feminist Environmental Research Network) Collaborative and has published in journals including New Political Science, Citizenship Studies and Studies in Social Justice. Her book Everyday Exposure: Indigenous Mobilization and Environmental Justice in Canada’s Chemical Valley (2016) with UBC Press won the Charles Taylor Book Award (2017) and examines policy responses to the impact of pollution on the Aamjiwnaang First Nation’s environmental health. Alongside Dr. Jennifer Lawrence (Virginia Tech), she is the Co-Editor of Biopolitical Disaster and along with Dr. Leah Levac (Guelph), the Co-Editor of Creating Spaces of Engagement: Policy Justice and the Practical Craft of Deliberative Democracy.
At the intersections of environmental justice and citizen engagement, her teaching and research interests emphasize political ecology, policy justice and deliberative dialogue. As a collaborative researcher and filmmaker, she worked with Indigenous communities on sustainability-themed films including To Fish as Formerly.
Sarah is currently collaborating with artists from Attawapiskat on a project entitled Reimagining Attawapiskat funded through a SSHRC Insight Development Grant. Sarah is also a Co-Director for the Seascape Indigenous Storytelling Studio, funded through a SSHRC Insight Grant with research partners from the University of Victoria, University of British Columbia and coastal Indigenous communities.
Dr. Jennifer Bagelman
Lecturer | Co-Director
Dr Jen Bagelman is a Geography Lecturer and Deputy Director of the Institute for Social Sciences at Newcastle University, UK.
Her work is primarily concerned with the gendered and environmental impacts of displacement and comprises two interrelated strands.
First, her research critically explores the gendered intimacies of women living in camp geographies. She currently leads a project funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) entitled ‘Birthing across Borders’ which examines how Somali women living in Dadaab’s refugee camps encounter hyper-biopolitical governance during their birthing journeys.
The second area of her work addresses the settler-colonial logics underlying energy development projects that impact Indigenous communities.
As Co-Director on the five-year SSHRC Insight grant entitled ‘Seascape,’ she works alongside researchers based at the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia and coastal Indigenous communities to understand how displacement is embodied and creatively contested through various forms of climate activism.
Dr. Philippe Le Billon
Professor, Political Ecologist
Dr. Philippe Le Billon is a Professor at the University of British Columbia with the Department of Geography and the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs. A political ecologist, he works on governance and conflicts related to extractive sectors, fisheries, and maritime issues. He has written extensively on socio-environmental conflicts (Oil, Fuelling war), including around Alberta’s oil sands and (in Natural Resources and Social Conflict) and Review Panel hearings for the Northern Gateway Pipelines project.
Dr. Charles R. Menzies
Professor of Anthropology
Dr. Charles Menzies (hagwil hayetsk) is a member of Gitxaala Nation and a Professor of anthropology at UBC who specializes in natural resource issues.
Charles is special advisor, cultural resources and heritage research, to Gitxaała Nation.
At UBC Charles directs the Forests and Oceans for the Future research group and the Ethnographic Film Unit at UBC.
Dr. Peter Keller
Professor of Geography
Dr. Peter Keller is Professor of Geography as well as Founder of UVic’s Spatial Sciences Laboratory and Founder and Co-Director of the Mapping Collaboratory. Dr. Keller brings expertise in cartographic design and community development through visualization techniques at multiple scales: from the individual to the international.
Dr. Glen Coulthard
Dr. Glen Coulthard is an Assistant Professor in the First Nations Studies Program and the Department of Political Science. Glen has written and published numerous articles and chapters in the areas of contemporary political theory, indigenous thought and politics, and radical social and political thought. His most recent work on Frantz Fanon and the politics of recognition won Contemporary Political Theory’s Annual Award for Best Article of the Year in 2007. He is Yellowknives Dene.