Tropical Leaves

ABOUT
ME

Kwisa'lakw: Woman who travels to places far away

My whole life I have been a bridge between indigenous and non-indigenous worldviews and experiences.  As a Haíɫzaqv woman who also has european heritage and passes for white, I grew up in the 1980’s and 1990’s at a time when indigenous rights movements were starting to have big impacts at the national level.

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AND - I also grew up knowing that I was indigenous, but very assimilated into middle class settler society in many ways. I grew up in an upper middle-class, white-collar neighbourhood as the daughter of commercial fishers.  I suffered many of the traumas most indigenous people experience, but with economic privilege.  I developed high levels of resilience and completed four university degrees, despite the fact that the educational systems were alienating and I experienced significant culture shock and racism.  My grandparents went to residential school and indian day schools.  My mother went to indian day school and is a 60's Scoop survivor.  I am impacted by intergenerational trauma, and I have inherited so much resilience and strength from our people's will to survive. 

This last part is key for me: We can't continue to focus solely on the trauma of the past.  There is so much brilliance and strength in indigenous culture - not everything was destroyed.  I look forward to sharing with you on your journey to a brighter shared future.

I hold a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies from the Graduate Theological Union at UC Berkeley - my doctoral work focused on the general differences between indigenous and euro-Western worldviews. I am a member of the Haíɫzaqv nation on the central coast of BC. I live and work as a visitor on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the  xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples.

Education

  • BA, University of Victoria

  • MDiv, ThM, Vancouver School of Theology

  • PhD, Graduate Theological Union / UC Berkeley