General Meeting – Thursday, April 21, 7 PM | In Person and via Zoom | Susan Howard, Victoria Women’s Transition House

Susan is honoured to work with the incredible team at Victoria Women’s Transition House (VWTH) in support of women and children fleeing intimate partner violence and abuse. Trained as a classical ballet dancer in the professional school at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Susan turned her passion for the arts to non-profit income development and has more than 20 years non-profit leadership experience with diverse organizations in communities across Canada in fund and community development, marketing, communications and board and executive management. A graduate of SFU with a degree in business and liberal studies, she has a particular interest in integrated fund development and communications programs. When not working, Susan enjoys yoga, fitness, reading, cooking and attending performances and concerts. In addition to her work with VWTH, Susan is President of the Board of Directors for Dance Victoria, and consults on a project basis for BC non-profit organizations.

Susan will provide an overview of the Victoria Women’s Transition House shelter, programs and services as well as some of the issues surrounding gender based violence.

General Meeting – Thursday, January 20, 7 PM | via Zoom | Ndèye Sokhna Dieng, PhD candidate, University of Victoria

Ndèye Sokhna Dieng is a doctoral candidate in environmental politics. Her thesis is co-supervised by the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) and the Alassane Ouattara University (in Côte d'Ivoire). Working at the crossroads of political science, political economy and socio-history, her research focuses on social and political issues related to public policies enacted in Côte d’Ivoire to regain forest cover. These policies emerge in a context of increased deforestation due to cocoa production in the country. 

General Meeting – Thursday, November 18, 7 PM | Windsor Park Pavilion | Summer S. Okibe, LLM Candidate, University of Victoria

An Insight into the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP)

Summer Okibe is a 2nd-year LLM student at the University of Victoria. Her research interests include Indigenous Law, Aboriginal Rights, Governance, and Indigenous Feminism. Her research, in a nutshell, is focused on the effect of the “Proof of Aboriginal Title in Court.”

Summer is the founder of Indigenous Law Advocacy Network, an initiative that advocates for the rights of Indigenous peoples in Africa and North America. She is also the co-founder of Spursome, a not-for-profit organization that provides financial assistance to prospective graduate students.

Her presentation will focus on the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada; a discussion into the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP); Why UNDRIP came as a gift to Indigenous peoples; Specific Articles of UNDRIP that protect Indigenous peoples rights and affects the State and the caveat in UNDRIP.

General Meeting – Thursday, October 21, 7 PM | via Zoom | Caitlin Stockwell, First Peoples Law LLP

Caitlin is a graduate of UVic's Faculty of Law and the Environmental Law Centre's intensive clinic program. She currently works for and with indigenous people across Canada at "First People's Law." Her job there is to advance indigenous laws and governance and inherent and constitutionally protected rights. She is described by Calvin Sandborn, the head of UVic's Environmental Law Centre, as a "brilliant, young environmentally-minded lawyer."

In the not-so-distant past, National Parks and protected areas in Canada have been used to dispossess Indigenous peoples of their land and limit their ability to exercise their inherent rights. Currently, many Crown-protected areas have limited Indigenous involvement and continue to restrict activities with impacts on Indigenous Nations’ rights and responsibilities. Canadian governments must respect the authority of Indigenous governments to decide how the land and water in their territories are managed to achieve conservation and cultural objectives, and acknowledge the role of Indigenous Knowledge in addressing conservation- and protection-related challenges. This is where Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas come in. Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCA) is an umbrella term for a range of Indigenous-lead protected area initiatives. As a common feature of IPCAs, Indigenous governments have the primary role in identifying and protecting the land base and waters in accordance with their Indigenous laws while preserving and managing continued access for harvesting rights and cultural practices. 

This presentation provided a brief background on the colonial history of Parks in Canada and discussed examples of Indigenous lead IPCAs across Canada that are being used to centre Indigenous laws, governance, and knowledge systems while achieving conservation objectives. The presentation also addressed how IPCAs can help achieve biodiversity conservation and healthier ecosystems, which in turn benefit all Canadians.