Experts on National Indigenous History Month

Fine Arts, Social Sciences, Engineering, Humanities, Libraries

A basket holding copies of Xʷkʷənəŋistəl | W̱ȻENEṈISTEL | Helping to move each other forward, UVic's Indigenous Plan during the 2023 launch event.

The following University of Victoria experts are available to media to discuss National Indigenous History Month (June) and National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21):

Ry Moran (Libraries) is the inaugural associate university librarian, reconciliation at UVic. He is an expert on truth and reconciliation in Canada as the former director of statement gathering for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) and the founding director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. Moran can discuss a wide range of topics related to cultural heritage, memory and broad efforts of truth and reconciliation. (Email:

Hayalthkin’geme Carey Newman (Visual Arts) is a multi-disciplinary Indigenous artist, master carver, filmmaker, author and UVic’s Impact Chair in Indigenous Art Practices. He strives to highlight Indigenous, social, and environmental issues as he examines the impacts of colonialism and capitalism, harnessing the power of material truth to unearth memory and trigger the necessary emotion to drive positive change. His current projects include creating the Witness Blanket VR Experience, an immersive virtual reality experience of his acclaimed art installation. Note: he will be in residence at the Great Circle Earthworks in Ohio between June 21 to July 1, and therefore unavailable. (Email:

Niiyokamigaabaw Deondre Smiles (Geography) is an Indigenous geographer whose research interests lie at the intersection of several fields, including critical Indigenous geographies, human-environment interactions, political ecology, tribal cultural resource preservation, and science and technology studies. They are investigating the political ecologies and political economies of Indigenous death and Indigenous relationships to space in general. This work is part of a broader years-long research agenda focusing on Indigenous/settler contestations over Indigenous remains and burial grounds. (Email:

Christine Sy (Gender Studies) is an expert in Anishinaabe studies, Indigenous studies, Indigenous gender studies, Indigenous women’s sovereignty through land-based relationships, Indigenous feminisms, creative writing and Indigenous research methodologies. Note: she is unavailable June 3-6 and limited availability June 12-14. (Email:

Jessica Vandenberghe (Engineering) is a member of the Dene Thá First Nation, a Sixties Scoop survivor and was raised in an inclusive German farming family in northern Alberta. She has worked in the oil sands, mining, regulatory, infrastructure, consulting industries and academia. As the assistant dean, community and culture within UVic’s Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science, she believes that we can walk together to heal, build strong relationships, teach ethical and respectful behaviour, and be changemakers to create progressive and inclusive organizations and communities. (Email:

Natasha Wawrykow (Clinical Psychology) is the Indigenization Advisor for the Department of Psychology. She pursues collaborative Indigenous community-driven counselling opportunities and research topics that promote reconciliation and prosperity for the Indigenous community. Her teaching focuses on the clinical training of graduate students (i.e., Psychological First Aid Indigenous Community Practicum) and multicultural competency skills that aid supporting the mental health needs of Indigenous Peoples. (Email:


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Media contacts

Simone Blais (University Communications and Marketing) at

In this story

Keywords: arts, community, indigenous, music, theatre, alumni, administrative, reconciliation

People: Ry Moran, Carey Newman, Deondre Smiles, Christine Sy, Jessica Vandenberghe

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