I am connected to the Living Lab Project now through my relationship with UVIC as a PhD student in Anthropology as a Research and Planning advisor for the Indigenous Resurgence Research Project. As a senior Indigenous First Nations adult learner I believe I have a considerable amount of lived experience in my work in social policy and community development and in my lifetime of volunteering in various capacities as a mentor or on committees working with various levels of government. I am very appreciative of the opportunity to work with the Living Lab Network to extend the influence of the Network in important areas of climate action, Aboriginal rights and governance, outdoor education and Indigenous history and life on the land and traditional marine territory, and in assisting with professional development and mentoring of Indigenous post-secondary learning in a variety of capacities.
Initially, I was involved with the project as an elected leader and member of the W̱SÁNEĆ School Board. The important work of the Network inspired me in some ways to return to UVIC. I appreciate the opportunity to work with younger learners as they have so much grasp of possibilities using technology/media to enhance knowledge accumulation and exchange, I appreciate the learning opportunities and ability to be stimulated by the thoughts and aspirations of Indigenous youth who exemplify the richness of Indigenous future.
I really like the opportunity to be led in reconnecting with our Friends and Relatives in Washington State through relationships with Dr. Nick Stanger and others. As well I appreciate working and learning from Dr. Darcy Mathews in his place-based learning with Songhees youth and children in the summer learning project. This exchange and revival of Indigenous First Nations use and occupation, learning from the land, and celebration of place-based outdoor learning is so stimulating to the children and youth, and being inspired and mentored by role models/mentors from their community as post-secondary learners is also incredible. I appreciate wherever I can to be of influence in building capacity in the Indigenous Learning Community at UVIC in important departments of human and social development to improve curriculum to include Indigenous history and perspective to positively shape change and opportunities for changing the future relationships with Indigenous children, families, and communities. Along with the opportunity to showcase the Indigenous work going on at UVIC, I think it is important to personally support Indigenous faculty that do secure employment with recognition and support.
I also have a great interest in SENĆOŦEN language revitalization and food and medicine plant opportunities and getting out on the land and water. Celebrating the young Artists too always is energizing for me. Also, the opportunities to educate the general public by having a camas garden restoration is important and possibly an interpretative walking tour around UVIC that has signage identifying important plants, for example, yew tree/huckleberries/stinging nettle and also has information on Totems or other Indigenous art commissions on the grounds would be exciting to help restore “place”. As my late Dad once told me “I walked all over this place when I was young… up the mountain (PKOLS) snaring, hunting with my slingshot, and gathering crab/clams down the beach”. Also, Nancy Turner took Tsartlip summer students for a walking tour and related a wonderful story about the late Violet Williams to her Granddaughter who was having a difficult childbirth. She was helped by a medicinal tea made from the bark of the yew tree.
I appreciate how actively the Living Lab team helps to keep us connected via email, zoom, and newsletter as well as many invitations for site visits and other interactions with attention to COVID protocol. As a former teacher, I appreciate the sharing of classroom learning tools for elementary and secondary learners and opportunities for Elders and youth to learn from each other.