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.
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.
BA, University of Victoria
MDiv, ThM, Vancouver School of Theology
PhD, Graduate Theological Union / UC Berkeley