Keynote Speakers & Guest Speakers
National Chief Perry Bellegarde
Perry Bellegarde, re-elected National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations in 2018, holds a wealth of leadership experience. He’s spent the past thirty years putting into practice his strong beliefs on the laws and traditions instilled in him by the many Chiefs and Elders he has known over the years. Passionate and unrelenting in creating real, measurable progress on the priorities that matter most to First Nations, National Chief Bellegarde is a strong advocate for honouring and implementing Inherent and Treaty rights, title and jurisdiction.
Dr. Lorna Wanosts'a7 Williams
Hon. Scott Fraser
Dr. Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams is Lil’watul from Mount Currie. She is professor emerita from the University of Victoria where she was Indigenous Education director and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous knowledge and learning. Dr. Williams will bring her inspiring story and wealth of knowledge about documenting and revitalizing Indigenous languages in British Columbia, Canada and beyond, as a language speaker, advocate and academic.
Scott Fraser was elected MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim in 2017. Prior to that he was elected as the MLA for Alberni-Qualicum in 2005, and MLA for Alberni-Pacific Rim in 2009 and 2013. He is the Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
Scott served as the Official Opposition spokesperson for Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, and Caucus Deputy Whip.
From 1996 to 1999 Scott served as the mayor of the District of Tofino and was involved in the creation of the first UNESCO World Biosphere designation in British Columbia.
Scott has also served on many organizations, including Alberni Clayoquot Regional District Board, Vancouver Island Regional Library Board, Clayoquot Sound Central Region Board, Tourism British Columbia, Vancouver Island Health Board, Tofino/Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, treaty advisory committees, fisheries committees and the Family Court Committee.
Scott was born in Ottawa, Ontario and has been a resident of B.C. since 1980. His background includes small business, labour, harbour management, fisheries and shellfish aquaculture.
Scott lived in Tofino with his wife and daughter for over 12 years. They now live in the Nanaimo Regional District – Area G.
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett was first elected to the House of Commons in 1997 and was re-elected in 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2015, representing Toronto—St. Paul’s. Minister Bennett has previously served as the Critic for Public Health, Seniors, Persons with Disabilities, the Social Economy, and Aboriginal Affairs. In 2003, she was named Minister of State for Public Health. She has served as a minister since 2015, and is currently the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations.
Prior to her election, Minister Bennett was a family physician and a founding partner of Bedford Medical Associates in downtown Toronto. She was also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. Her fight to save the Women’s College Hospital of Toronto inspired her to enter politics. Minister Bennett is an active representative of Toronto—St. Paul’s. She has organized over 75 town halls, quarterly meetings, information sessions on parliamentary affairs, and special activities for her constituents since 2000. She and her office have assisted hundreds of constituents with their immigration, tax, pension or employment insurance concerns.
Minister Bennett speaks passionately about citizens’ participation in the democratic process. She advocates for health, the environment, women’s involvement in politics, and persons with disabilities.
Dr. Te Taka Keegan is a Computer Science senior lecturer at the University of Waikato in New Zealand and an authority on Māori language technologies. With a background in hardware engineering and with research interests in Māori language technologies, indigenous language interfaces and multilingual usability, Dr. Keegan has been a driving force behind several important projects involving the Māori language and digital technology. These include assisting Google with the translation of Google web search, Google Translate and other Google technologies into Māori; developing the Microsoft Keyboard, MS Windows and MS Office in Māori; maintaining the Māori Niupepa Collection at the New Zealand Digital Library Project; the translation of Moodle; Te Kete Ipurangi, and the Māori macroniser.
Dr. Larry Kimura
Dr. Kevin Lowe
Dr. Larry L. Kimura, PhD (Hawai’ian), is Associate Professor of Hawaiian Language at Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawaii Hilo. He is chairperson of the Hawaiian Lexicon (new Hawaiian words) Committee for the Hale Kuamoʻo Hawaiian Language Center of the College focusing on Hawaiian curriculum development and teacher licensing for Hawaiʻi’s DOE K-12 Hawaiian Immersion / Medium Programs. Dr. Kimura is a Co-Principal Investigator for a NSF & NEH grant to digitize and archive spoken native Hawaiian speech documentation. He has been recording Hawaiʻi’s last native Hawaiian speakers since 1966 and most significantly through his hosting the Ka Leo Hawaiʻi radio program of some 525 hours of first language Hawaiian speakers for sixteen years, from 1972 – 1988. Dr. Kimura is the first President and Co-Founder of Hawaiʻi’s first Pūnana Leo Hawaiian language immersion preschools.
Dr. Kevin Lowe is a Gubbi Gubbi man from southeast Queensland. He is currently a Scientia Research Fellow at the University of New South Wales where his research has looked at establishing a community-focused, whole-school model that will underpin sustainable improvements in Aboriginal education. Kevin has expertise in developing Aboriginal language policy, curriculum development and its implementation. Recently he has worked with Aboriginal students and parents to understand their aspirations for the wider inclusion of language and cultural programs in schools, and a review of all recent Australian research on effective school-based Indigenous language and programs.
Eddie Ávila currently resides in Cochabamba, Bolivia and is the Director of Rising Voices (RV), the digital inclusion initiative of Global Voices. Through training, mentoring, and network building, RV works directly with communities interested in adopting and adapting technology to address self-identified needs. One of RV’s focus areas is how these digital tools can play a role in language revitalization efforts among Indigenous and endangered language communities in Latin America and around the world. Prior to that, he co-founded the Voices Bolivianas project, providing digital media training to Indigenous students in the city of El Alto, that led to the creation of the first Aymara-language blog and other social media activities.
Tracey Herbert is CEO of the First Peoples’ Cultural Council (FPCC), a First Nations-run provincial Crown Corporation that supports the revitalization of Indigenous languages, arts, culture and heritage in British Columbia, Canada. She is St'uxwtews from the Thompson Okanagan region of B.C.’s interior. Tracey leads FPCC in providing funding and resources to B.C.’s 203 First Nations communities, monitoring the status of Indigenous languages and developing policy recommendations for First Nations and government. During her tenure at FPCC, grants for language and arts programs have grown to include a $50-million commitment by the provincial government for Indigenous language revitalization. Tracey has also been a tireless advocate of Indigenous language revitalization at all levels of government. Her leadership in language preservation, program development and language technology tools has shaped policy and influenced government with the introduction of draft federal language legislation. In 2018, Tracey was awarded the Order of British Columbia in recognition of her work.
Oliver Loode is Managing Director of URALIC Centre for Indigenous Peoples NGO (Tallinn, Estonia) where he coordinates the programme of Finno-Ugric Capitals of Culture and the project SANA2019: Civil Society Network for Preservation and Revitalization of Indigenous Finno-Ugric Languages. Between 2014-2016 he served as Expert Member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), including as Vice-Chair and Rapporteur. He has also worked as Head of Cultural Programmes at Minority Rights Group International (London). Before entering the field of indigenous peoples’ rights, Oliver was a cultural tourism development and place marketing consultant in the Baltic States and Russia.
Daniel Kaufman is an assistant professor of linguistics at Queens College at the City University of New York and a founder and co-director of the Endangered Language Alliance, a non-profit organization working to document and sustain languages spoken by Indigenous and immigrant communities in New York City. In this latter capacity, he works with various communities from around the world on questions of grammar, language use, language transmission, linguistic rights and discrimination in urban diasporas. As a linguist, his research focuses primarily on the Austronesian languages of the Philippines and Indonesia and in this connection, he also serves as co-editor of the journal Oceanic Linguistics.
Ko Putahi te maunga, Ko Wairoro, Ko Omapere ngā Wai, Ko te Uri o Hua te hapu, Ko Ngāpuhi te iwi.
Putahi is my mountain, Wairoro and Ōmāpere are my river and lake, Te Uri o Hua is my tribe, Ngāpuhi are my peoples.
Hema is an environmental science scholar, community science liaison, activist, story teller, indigenous digital platform designer, drone flyer, keeper of ancestral knowledge, grandmother, and educator from Aotearoa/NZ. The Wai 262, flora, fauna and cultural heritage claims, is the intergenerational legacy that led Hema to advocate and reconnect peoples to the ancient guardians of land, skies and water. Her inspiration has come from ancestral intellectual and spiritual capital that demands visibility and sustainability in a changing world. Hema co-founded a Kōhanga reo and Kura Kaupapa in the 80s, she continues to support education for Māori and Pacific learners and integration of Kaupapa Māori within a tertiary curriculum.