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Caring for the land: Indigenous leadership, biodiversity and climate action
Valérie Courtois and Dahti Tsetso, who serve as director and co-director of ILI, are on the frontlines of conservation and climate leadership. Their Indigenous Guardians program oversees some of Canada’s most important and biodiverse land, and helps train young Indigenous folks in land stewardship and conservation. Their work and knowledge has been celebrated as a critical piece of climate action, while also maintaining traditional culture and sovereignty. The Liberals’ new budget referenced the program.

Join Courtois and Tsetso, along with Canada’s National Observer founder and editor-in-chief Linda Solomon Wood, for an hour-long discussion on Indigenous biodiversity leadership amid the climate crisis.

May 13, 2021 04:00 PM in Vancouver

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Linda Solomon Wood
CEO @Observer Media Group
Linda Solomon Wood is an innovator, entrepreneur, and award-winning journalist. As CEO of Observer Media Group and founder and editor-in-chief of the National Observer, she works to strengthen and support public service journalism that investigates corruption, celebrates innovation, and illuminates and helps to make sense of the complex political and social challenges people face today. She previously founded Vancouver Observer and has led both publications to win Canada's top awards for public service, investigative journalism and excellence in reporting. She started her career as an investigative reporter at The Tennessean in Nashville, where she won the United Press International awards for Best Public Service Reporting and Best Investigative Reporting. She later freelanced for publications including The Los Angeles Times, Orion, and the International Herald.
Valérie Courtois
Director @Indigenous Leadership Initiative
Valérie Courtois is a registered professional forester who specializes in Indigenous issues, forest ecology and ecosystem-based management and planning. She is a member of the Innu community of Mashteuiatsh, located on the shore of Peikuakami, or Lac-St-Jean. Courtois holds a degree in forestry sciences from the Université de Moncton. She has served as a forestry advisor for the Assembly of First Nations of Québec and Labrador, forestry planner for the Innu Nation, and as a consultant in Aboriginal forestry, including certification and spatial planning, and caribou planning. In 2007, she was awarded the James M. Kitz award from the Canadian Institute of Forestry for her early-career contributions to the forestry profession. Courtois has been the Director of the Indigenous Leadership Initiative since 2013. In addition to her work in conservation and planning, Courtois is an avid photographer.
Dahti Tsetso
Deputy director @Indigenous Leadership Initiative
Dahti Tsetso is the deputy director of the Indigenous Leadership Initiative. She is Tłı̨chǫ Dene and played a leading role in the launch and operation of the Dehcho K'éhodi Stewardship and Guardians Program and the establishment of the Edéhzhíe Dehcho Protected Area and National Wildlife Area. Before joining the ILI, Tsetso served as the director of Lands & Resources for Dehcho First Nations in Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories. She worked collaboratively with the Nation’s ten member communities to develop a Guardians program that approaches conservation from the Dene perspective. The Dehcho K'éhodi program is founded on honouring the Dene Laws, strengthening the Dene language, and fostering connections between Elders and youth and currently employs about 20 Guardians a year.