Current Lab Members

Ashley Churchill (Secwépemc/Simpcw First Nation)
M.A. student, UVic INTD Program
Ashley is Secwépemc from Simpcw First Nation, and is a master’s student in the Interdisciplinary program at the University of Victoria, working in both the Anthropology and Geography departments.

Ashley has an associate degree in Environmental Studies from Douglas College and a BA in Geography with a minor in Indigenous Studies at the University of Victoria. Ashley has focused on community-based research, Indigenous land stewardship, cumulative effects, and impact assessment processes. She has also completed multiple apprenticeships on protecting Indigenous ecological knowledge, decolonizing curriculum, capacity support software development, and continues to provide subject-matter support for the development of applications and tools for managing and analyzing impacts on Indigenous Title, Rights, and Interests.

Brontë Elphick-Miner
Undergraduate Honours Student, UVic Geography
Brontë is an undergraduate honours student completing her BSC in Geography and BA in Indigenous studies at the University of Victoria. Brontë is a settler raised on the lands of the Katzie and Kwantlen Nations. Now situated on Metulia, the homelands and waters of the Lekwungen speaking peoples as well Á,LEṈENEȻ,  the W̱SÁNEĆ homelands and waters, Brontë’s research focuses on shifting urban agriculture and settler food support initiatives towards frameworks that uphold Indigenous food sovereignties. With a focus on action-based research Brontë has undertaken the restoration of 200m2 area of urban parkland into a Kwetlal (Camas) food ecosystem to explore how projects of restoration and land return can contest the regime of colonial-spatial power within settler-colonial cities. 

Matt Gilbert (Gwich’in Athabascan)
Community Lab Member
Hello, shoozhrii Matt Gilbert ooshii. I’m a writer, filmmaker, and photographer. I’ve worked across the United States as a community-development coordinator and political organizer. I drove across Canada a few times and even studied in England. I toured Indian Country and visited multiple reservations, and eventually returned home to Arctic Village and Fairbanks, Alaska, where I became a writer and Gwich’in Map researcher. I am Gwich’in Athabascan originally from Arctic Village, Alaska. I grew up in Alaska and lived most of my life there, but have worked all over the country and have studied in England as well. 

I have a Bachelor’s Degree in English and studied under award-winning authors, until I became an author myself. I have two books published and more to come. I am a former journalist, reporter, and have taught high school Gwich’in language classes. I have been a guest speaker in college classes and have done book signings. I am now retiring from writing and community work and focusing on stabilizing into a professional career. On rare occasions, I do speaking engagements.  

Aidan Gowland
M.A. student, UVic Geography
Aidan is a Master of Arts student in the Department of Geography at the University of Victoria. Aidan’s research focuses on Indigenous access to public spaces, particularly National Parks, and how reduced access to (and jurisdiction over) these lands affects Canada’s compliance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. How, for instance, can reconciliation between Parks Canada and Indigenous nations be achieved while Indigenous territories are still legally under Parks Canada’s control? Aidan is also a co-chair of the Canadian Herpetological Society’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, focusing on making the applied sciences a safer and more comfortable space for queer, transgender, Indigenous, and POC practitioners. While currently situated in critical human-environmental-political geography, Aidan’s background is in history, political science, applied physical geography, ecology, and spatial analysis.

Kate Herchak (Inuk from Kuujjuaq, QC, with ties to Nunavut)
Kate is VIDEA’s Manager of Indigenous Governance and Decolonial Practices & Policy. Kate’s background is in Indigenous Family Support Work and in Justice Studies at Royal Roads University where she was awarded the Lt. Governor’s Medal for Inclusion, Democracy & Reconciliation. Now, Kate is completing her Masters of Geography at the University of Victoria. Her research is centring Maasai youth in traditional economies and community.

Kate is passionate decolonizing education and integrating Indigenous knowledge systems and perspectives into spaces to create meaningful relationships and change.

Jugal Patel
Graduate Student, Department of Geography, McGill University
Jugal is a GIS specialist and animal geographer studying participatory agent-based models of socio-ecological complex adaptive systems. As a research associate, Jugal assists and consults with Indigenous communities applying Geographic Information Systems to solve socio-ecological issues. As an industry professional Jugal designs and develops custom, full-stack data analytics and visualisation solutions. Jugal is particularly interested in GIScience, mobility, complex systems, critical education, and Indigenous self-determination. 

Deondre Smiles (Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe)
Principal Investigator, Assistant Professor, UVic Geography

Christine Todd
Affiliate Member
Christine is a Pakeha (settler), from Aotearoa/New Zealand, mum, and scholar in Critical Indigenous Geography. She has lived and worked in Aotearoa/New Zealand, Australia, California, and Vancouver Island on the traditional territories of the Ngati Whatua, Yugambeh, Kumeyaay, Lekwungen, and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples. Her research draws on Indigenous theory to reconsider the role of geography in the structured repossession of Indigenous lands, resources, and cultures. Christine has assisted on a GIF project looking at Indigenous actions and responses to Climate Change.

Marissa Weaselboy (Shoshone-Yomba Nation/Cree)
Ph.D. student, UVic Geography

%d bloggers like this: