Our people

Our team reflects the diversity of Indigenous identities across Turtle Island and internationally as we identify as Indigenous peoples from: Coast Salish, Vancouver Island; Mi’kmaq, east coast; Turtle Mountain Ojibwethe and Ubuntu, Southern Africa.

Research and teaching faculty

Dr. Devi Dee Mucina

Program Director
Indigenous Governance

Devi Dee Mucina is an Indigenous Ubuntu from the Ngoni and Shona people of southern Africa. He received his PhD from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, department of Sociology and Equity Studies, University of Toronto.

His academic interests are Indigenous African philosophies, decolonizing Indigenous masculinities, Indigenous fathering and other-fathering, and using Ubuntu oralities and disability studies to understand the social memory of Indigenous children.

Office: HSD A260
Dr. Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark

Associate Professor
Indigenous Governance
Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe) received her PhD in American Studies from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, in 2008. Her doctoral research focused on Anishinaabe treaty-making with the United States and Canada and serves as the foundation for her manuscript, Unsettled: Anishinaabe Treaty-Relations and U.S./Canada State-Formation (in progress, University of Minnesota Press, First Peoples Series).
Dr. Dawn  Smith

Assistant Professor
Indigenous Governance

Dawn Smith is Nuu-chah-nulth from Ehattesaht, but grew up in W̱SÁNEĆ (Tsawout). She received her EdD in Educational Leadership and Policy from the Faculty of Education and the University of British Columbia.

Her research focus is in Nuu-chah-nulth self-determination, feminism, strict laws of nature and medicines and decolonization. Dr. Smith has the forthcoming publication “Decolonising our futures: Neo-colonial Criminal Injustice and the Mass Imprisonment of Indigenous Women”. She is also the author of “Indigenous Communities in Canada: Nuu-chah-nulth, Beech Street Books”; “Narratives of Memory, Migration, and Xenophobia” in the European Union and Canada; Chapter 2 “I-witness Holocaust Field School Experiences, Indigenous Peoples, and Reconciliation in Canada”; and co-authored “Building Transdisciplinary Relationship through Multidirectional Memory Work and Education.”

Dr. Gina Starblanket

Associate Professor
Indigenous Governance
Gina Starblanket is Cree and Saulteaux and a member of the Star Blanket Cree Nation in Treaty 4 territory.

She is principal investigator of the SSHRC-funded Prairie Relationality Network, co-author of Storying Violence: Unravelling Colonial Narratives in the Stanley Trial (ARP: 2020), and co-editor of Visions of the Heart: Issues Involving Indigenous Peoples in Canada (OUP: 2019). Gina’s research focuses on Indigenous political life and takes up questions relating to decolonization, gender, Indigenous feminism, treaty implementation, and relationality.
Dr. Hōkūlani  Aikau

Indigenous Governance
Hōkūlani K. Aikau is Kanaka ‘Ōiwi (Native Hawaiian).

Dr. Aikau is an interdisciplinary scholar with training in American Studies and Sociology and teaching experience in Political Science, Indigenous Politics, Native Hawaiian Politics, and Pacific Islands Studies. Her research focus is contemporary Native Hawaiian Identity and Politics; Indigenous Resurgence and Climate Change in the Pacific; Indigenous Environmental Justice; Native Feminist Theory; American Race Relations and Food Sovereignty.

Cross-listed faculty

Dr. Robina Thomas

Associate Vice-President Indigenous; Associate Professor (School of Social Work)

Qwul’sih’yah’maht (Robina Thomas) is a member of Lyackson Coast Salish First Nation. She holds a BSW, MSW, and a PhD in Indigenous Governance. Robina is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work and is the Executive Director, Indigenous Academic and Community Engagement.

Program staff


Program Assistant
Indigenous Governance
Office: HSD A260
Shawna McNabb

Administrative Officer
Indigenous Governance
Office: HSD A260