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Presenters & Participants

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[ please check back frequently as list of presenters and participants is being updated regularly ]


Nefertiti Altán – Is currently the lead trainer at the School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL) in Oakland California, a year-round training center that helps to build the capacity of organizers and leaders of grassroots organizations through intensive trainings in political education, organizing skills and popular education. She is also a part the U.S based co-coordinator of Mujer U’wa, an organization that supports Indigenous U’wa women in Colombia in building their leadership in fighting for indigenous rights and self-determination.

Originally trained as a youth organizer with the Brown Berets in Watsonville CA, Nefertiti went on to sharpen her skills in local immigrant rights & racial justice movements, and as a bilingual community health educator. Before SOUL, she worked in Venezuela, supporting regional resistance to US militarization in Latin America & solidarity efforts against the coup in Honduras.

Dave Bleakney is a postal worker who, for the past 15 years, has been the national education representative (anglophone) for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. He is published in various periodicals, books and publications including contributions to Learning from the Ground Up: Global Perspectives on Social Movements and Knowledge Production and the International Encyclopedia on Protest and Revolution.

Ian Caplette:  My  ḵ’amksiwa̱h name is Ian Caplette and it is the canadian legal entity I hold title to. I have a gyigyet name from a young Haida matriarch and it is Ki’laas, which is what the Haida called my people, the Tsimshian, long ago. I was born in Tsleil Waututh homelands but my people are the Tsimshian. I belong to the Gitendaa community and the Gisbutwaada Clan. I belong to the House of Gamiyaam and have been a welcomed visitor to various Coast Salish homelands and waterways for many years.

I thank and acknowledge the Coast Salish people I have had the pleasure of learning from and I am grateful for their patience and guidance as I live in their homelands. Despite the oppression of their responsibilities to ensure that those who visit and live in their lands conduct themselves with respect and honour, they welcomed me to visit and live in their homelands. In respect of their genuine hospitality, I freely offer my skills and my abilities to assist them in any and all ways as they struggle to resist against all forms of colonialism including the re-colonization reactions of the surging left. I currently reside in Snuneymuxw homelands and go to school in Metula, the homelands of the Lekwungen and WSANEC peoples, where I am a student at the University of Victoria in the Master of Arts in Indigenous Governance program.

My interests are in decolonization of Indigenous peoples, values, homelands, waterways, spirituality and philosophies. I am also interested in the extirpation of colonialist education from the “public” sphere and the protection of Indigenous peoples, values, and philosophies from exploitaion, appropriation, and extermination from Settlers and their governments.

George Caffentzis was a co-founder of the Midnight Notes Collective and a coordinator of the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa. His is now working with the anti-student loan debt movement group: He has taught in many universities in the US and at the University of Calabar (Nigeria). He has written many essays on social and political themes. His published books include “Clipped Coins, Abused Words and Civil Government: John Locke’s Philosophy of Money, “Exciting the Industry of Mankind: George Berkeley’s Philosophy of Money”; “No Blood for Oil! (an e-book accessed at His co-edited books include: “Midnight Oil: Work Energy War 1973-1992)”; “Auroras of the Zapatistas: Local and Global Struggles in the Fourth World War”; “Thousand Flowers: Social Struggles Against Structural Adjustment in African Universities.”

Stephen Collis is the author of four books of poetry, the most recent of which, On the Material (Talon Books 2010), was the recipient of the 2011 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. Forthcoming books include several parts of the on-going poetic documentary of revolution, “The Barricades Project,” and a philosophical exploration of the concept of “change.” A chapbook, Lever, was published in the fall of 2011 by Nomados Books. He teaches poetry and poetics at Simon Fraser University, where he is a 2011/12 Shadbolt Fellow; since October he has been involved in Occupy Vancouver, writing for

Glen Coulthard is a member of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation and an assistant professor in the First Nations Studies Program and the Department of Political Science at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Glen has written and published numerous articles and chapters in the areas of indigenous thought and politics, contemporary political theory, and radical social and political thought. His community-based projects have included participating in and helping establish (as a founding collective member) Camas Books and Infoshop (Victoria), Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning (Yelowknives Dene Territory), The Frank Paul Society (Vancouver), and the Purple Thistle Institute (Vancouver), among other projects.

Silvia Federici is a long time feminist activist, teacher and writer. She was a co-founder of the International Feminist Collective, the New York Wages For Housework Committee, the Radical Philosophy Association Anti-Death Penalty Project and the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa. She has taught at the University of Port Harcourt (Nigeria) and Hofstra University. She has authored many essays on feminist theory and history. Her published books include: “Caliban and the Witch. Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation”; “Enduring Western Civilization: The Construction of the Concept of Western Civilization and its Others” (editor); “Thousand Flowers: Social Struggles Against Structural Adjustment in African Universities” (co-editor).

Arthur Manuel is a spokesperson for the Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade. Former Chief of the Neskonlith Band and chairperson of the Interior Alliance of BC First Nations, Manuel has been a leading voice of opposition to the Canadian government’s agenda to “extinguish” Aboriginal and Treaty rights and assimilate Indigenous peoples into the Canadian body politic. Active locally in defense of Shuswap land (during the expansion of the Sun Peaks resort), and at the national level, he has also taken the struggle international, following in the path of his father, the late George Manuel, President of the National Indian Brotherhood and founder of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples.

Claudia Medina is a filmmaker, educator, writer and visual artist from the Sunshine Coast. She develops and implements curriculum for workshops that combine community development, conflict resolution and ecological awareness through filmmaking to diverse groups nationally and internationally. Claudia has recently completed a master’s degree in Visual Culture from the University of Barcelona with a focus on visual culture and ecology. Recently she has co directed a short documentary about alternative economics called “Life After Growth”, which is currently being developed into a longer film, called “The Good Life – New Economic Cultures Emerging”. Her latest fiction film, “Animal Blessings” set in the Friuli region of Italy, is an ode to the agrarian culture that no longer exists in the region. Most recently, Claudia created a community multi media installation that explored our relationship to the natural world. Her projects explore possibilities of reconnection – to nature, to community, to a sense of personal and collective agency as we navigate through times of crisis and renewal.

Farah M Shroff PhD, is an educator, researcher and activist. For many years she has worked for social justice for women, communities of color and Indigenous peoples and others–mainly in health and social issues. Indigenous knowledge is one of the emphases in her work and she works on holism She teaches part time at UBC, works independently as a consultant and teaches yoga, dance and martial arts. A Kenyan-born Indian (Parsi), she lives on unceded Musqueum land with her partner Roozbeh and their children Zubin and Arman.

Harsha Walia is a South Asian activist who has been involved in migrant justice, Indigenous solidarity, Palestinian self-determination, anti capitalist, anti imperialist, feminist, and anti racist movements for over a decade. She works at the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre and is currently involved in No One Is Illegal, February 14th Women’s Memorial March Committee, Downtown Eastside is not for Developers campaign, Northwest network of Anti-Authoritarian People of Color, and is a board member of the South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy. Her writings have appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, academic journals, and anthologies.

T’ Uy’ Tanat-Cease Wyss – Skwxw’ u7mesh Nation Ethnobotanist, media artist, educator, and activist. Food Security has been the leading force of Cease’ s life journey. She has witnessed, as a child, her family being robbed of their salmon from DFO, as well as the police, and has stood up with other Indigenous Peoples, to fight for native peoples’ rights to hunt, gather, and fish in their traditional territories. Community Gardening and Community Kitchens have become the contemporary common grounds to fight for healthy foods and food systems, and traditional foods and medicines being brought back to the people. Cease has been actively gardening throughout her entire life, and attributes her gardening skills to her family. Her father is a master gardener, as were her Nahanee family ancestors, who started a farm near Stanley Park at the turn of the century, which was once called Kanaka Ranch. This was located at Coal Harbour.


Gil Aguilar is a member CIPO-VAN, a Vancouver-based organization working alongside indigenous communities in Oaxaca, Mexico. In the last three years, he has also been working with migrant agriculture workers who come to work in Canadian fields to face hardship and discrimination. Gil is also a member of the Other Campaign and is positively crazy about bicycles!

Herb Barbolet is An Associate with both the Centre for Sustainable Community Development and the Dialogue Centre at Simon Fraser University and a Research Associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. He founded and for 10 years was Executive Director of FarmFolk CityFolk. He was an organic farmer and also for 13 years on CBC Almanac Food Panel.  Herb helped found Local Food First, a consortium of organizations developing a business approach to re-localizing our food supply. He also is a member of: the Vancouver Food Policy Council, the Vancouver Peak Oil Executive and Health Canada’s Food Expert Advisory Committee. Among many publications he co-authored Every Bite Counts: Climate Justice and BC’s Food System.

Wayde Compton is a Vancouver writer whose books include After Canaan: Essays on Race, Writing, and Region, Performance BondBluesprint: Black British Columbian Literature and Orature and 49th Parallel Psalm. He and Jason de Couto perform turntable-based sound poetry as a duo called The Contact Zone Crew. Compton is also a co-founding member of the Hogan’s Alley Memorial Project, an organization dedicated to preserving the public memory of Vancouver’s original black community. (See HAMP’s blog here.) He is also one of the publishers of Commodore Books. Wayde Compton teaches English composition and literature at Emily Carr University of Art and Design and Coquitlam College. He is the 2011 Vancouver Public Library Writer-in-Residence. website:

Bharat Chandramouli is an environmental scientist and social justice activist who believes that cooperative and community based management of our land, water, air and resource commons will lead to a sustainable path out of the current predicament that has lead to unjust exploitation. It is also time to reclaim the “free market” tag: The current model of Crown ownership and Crown giveaways of commons has nothing to do with markets. Bharat lives and works in Coast Salish territories in Victoria and is active with the Council of Canadians.

David Chariandy was a Board member of the Vancouver Public Library System from 2009-2011.  He is also a literary critic and fiction writer who teaches in the department of English at Simon Fraser University.

Ivan Drury lives on Unceded Coast Salish territory in the Downtown Eastside. He works as an anti-gentrification organizer and researcher for the Carnegie Community Action Project and is an elected board member of the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council. One of his main projects over the last year has been SRO hotel tenant organizing within the context of pushing for “social housing” as an alternative to housing insecurity and gentrification.

Anastasia Gaisenok is an educator and activist. She works for the Justice Education Society of BC where she develops educational resources and delivers training on justice-related issues, including gender-based violence and gender inequality. She also serves on Oxfam Canada’s board of directors, and is a committed supporter of the We Can End All Violence Against Women BC Campaign.

Pat Howard is Professor Emerita, SFU School of Communication. She retired in 2008. She began her research career in the 1980s as a China scholar investigating agricultural and industrial management reforms. In the 1990s, she began analyzing the confrontation between local or traditional knowledge systems and the dominant knowledge systems that provide the rationale for processes of modernization and technology transfer in the third world. She also studied comparable confrontations in industrialized country workplace settings undergoing management reforms to introduce new technologies and labour processes. Her work on science and public policy from 2000 onward analyzed a spectrum of applications of genetic engineering in agriculture and food production, medicine, and human reproduction. Her analyses of regulatory policy design and implementation examined the nexus of a reductionist, entrepreneurial science, economies dominated by transnational corporations, and governments committed to a neoliberal vision and agenda.

Kirpa Kaur is an ever aspiring political spiritual activist. Based in Vancouver, she volunteers closely with the Sikh Research Institute on Sikh and social justice education for both Panjabi and non-Panjabi communities of BC; she is one of the co-founders of I am Community, a local peer support program for South Asian single mothers and their children; co-founded the first South Asian specific mentorship program and youth-speak-back forums for at-risk gang youth that were implemented in school districts of Vancouver and Surrey, BC. She recently joined the Board of Directors of SaFaR (Sikh Feminist Research). She is working on her Masters in counseling and community psychology with a focus on education and policy through a social justice, critical, anti-oppressive, anti-colonial and feminist framework. She continues to work towards building bridges of solidarity between activist spaces and the South Asian community.

Dorothy Kidd has worked with various forms of media commons since the early 1970s in Canada, and more recently in the US. Her writing documents the communications dimensions of social justice movements around the world. She’s currently researching contentious politics in Korea and China.

Mike Krebs is a Vancouver-based indigenous activist of mixed Blackfoot and european descent.  He is currently active with the Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign.

Harold Lavender has participated in and  supported many struggles for social justice and against capitalist domination. He has lived in the Downtown Eastside  for the last 10 years and been active in defending the neighbourhood against gentrification and displacement  and for community control by the low income, indigenous and oppressed communities. He is an elected board member of the Downtown Eastsdie Neighbourhood Council.

Susan Lee is a descendant of the Chinese Head Tax. Susan is an organizer with Justicia BC. Justicia strives to promote the rights of migrant farmworkers & farmworkers without status. Promoting workers rights entails fighting for spaces where workers themselves can articulate their concerns without loosing their work or being repatriated.

PJ Lilley is a mom in Surrey, and a long-time community organizer. Drawing from lessons taught by past battles of OCAP, (+ KWRU, Seattle Solidarity Network) she hopes to advance direct action strategies for defending working class neighborhoods from deepening exploitation by bosses, bankers & landlords (+ their corrupt cops & politicians.) Seeking to learn & share tips to expand our tactical toolkit: from meeting people where they are at –in their workplaces / schools / laundries / daycares etc.– to organizing methods that pick targets, formulate demands, escalate responsibly, and fight to win.  Against technologies of surveillance & control, PJ was an early open source hacktivist and Creative Commons agit-prop contributor, building tactical communications to strengthen resistance. Interested in critical reflections of our history, not nostalgia, she looks for honest, straightforward evaluations of past successes (and failures) in order to do better next time. PJ is also a (somewhat slack) urban beekeeper, and views capitalism as an alarmingly urgent threat to their species survival and ours.

Alex Mah is a mixed race transperson who has worked in social and environmental justice movements for the past 10 years on un-ceded Coast Salish terrirories. He organizes with No One Is Illegal – Vancouver, and the Calamites: an anti-capitalist collective. He currently works as a support worker in seasonal emergency shelters and as a front line worker at the BC Compassion Club Society.  Alex also facilitates workshops on creating trans-positive spaces, and in 2007 directed the film “Checkpoint” focusing on trans, gender variant, and two-spirit men of color and their relationships to government identification.

Gene McGuckin was a 1960s U. S. student radical and draft-dodger who crossed the border in 1970 and became a committed Marxist revolutionary five years later in Toronto. He has spent most of the past three decades as an officer of Communications, Energy, and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) Local 1129 while laboring at a paper-recycling mill in Burnaby. He served as shop steward, member and then chair of the grievance / negotiating committee, local president, local vice-president, trustee and—for 22 years—editor of the local’s monthly newsletter. In 2004, he was one of the leaders of an eight-month strike. As a frequent local delegate to union conferences and conventions, he was active over 20 years with the oppositional B. C. Action Caucus, with the Prepare the General Strike Committee (which he co-founded in 2002) and with the Fightback Solidarity Caucus. From all these vantage points he has fought to organize union members against employer attacks on working people and also against bankrupt union defense tactics and strategies at the local, provincial, and national levels. Now retired, he continues the struggle.

Laurel Irons is a community / outreach acupuncturist with a focus on accessible, holistic, patient-led health care. she provides low- or no-cost acupuncture for community groups and organizations, including the bc compassion club and resources for addictions & mental health, women, transgender folks, youth, sex workers and pwa’s. her roots are with social justice and anti-oppression work & she enjoys working within resistance movements to help encourage and support community wellness and resilience.

Lisa Moore is co-founder and coordinator of Rhizome Cafe, a community space and social justice resource hub in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood of Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories. At Rhizome, she coordinates collaborations with a wide range of community groups working on issues including migrant justice, queer youth empowerment, environmental justice, and indigenous sovereignty. She is also a member of the Coordinating Collective of the Rhizome Movement-Building Center, which strives to provide participatory training and capacity-building support to groups engaged in grassroots organizing. Outside of Rhizome, Lisa is a long-time migrant justice and workers’ rights organizer who worked for many years with Mujeres Unidas y Activas in the San Francisco Bay Area, and is currently an organizer with the National (U.S.) Domestic Workers Alliance.  

Dana Mohammed Olwan is Ruth Wynn Woodward Junior Chair and Assistant Professor in the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at SFU. She is former national chair of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights and a member of Faculty for Palestine.

Setareh Mohammadi is an Iranian exile who has been living on unceded Coast Salish Territories – Lekwungen, Skwxw’ u7mesh, Tsleil-Waututh, and Musqueam – for most of her life.  Raised within activist communities, Setareh has been surrounded by and involved with anti-capitalist social and environmental justice since her beginnings. She is a registered holistic nutritionist and interested in the relationship between ancestoral / family / cultural food knowledge, capitalism, colonialism, racism, trauma, migration / diaspora, bodylove and gender liberation, art, and mother earth. As the 2nd generation in her family to have a refrigerator, setareh places importance on (re)learning her traditional / cultural food knowledge in a far away luscious land of no pomegranate trees. When Setareh is not wild harvesting, growing, preserving, cooking, and eating food with others, she creates visual art, writes shy poetry, swims in the wild wild west ocean, or sits at her Mamanjoon’s side soaking in her old poetry and songs.

Dawn Morrison:  In the years away from her ancestral Secwepemc (Shuswap) community, Dawn’s work in various capacities throughout her 20 year long career in Horticulture has literally kept her in touch with her Indigenous roots through applying an ecological approach to studying and working with plants. Her Secwepemc heritage along with her technical and practical background in horticulture and ethonobotany, as well as her passion for environmental and cultural revitalization lead her to a long lasting career in Aboriginal adult education and community self-development.

Dawn returned home in 2000 to re-connect with her ancestral ties in Secwepemc territory and has since committed to learning and working with Elders and traditional hunters, fishers and harvesters to improve the health and well being of the Secwepemc peoples, the land we have traditionally lived on and our language and way of life. As a Community Self-Development Facilitator Dawn works from a basis of Indigenous food sovereignty and eco-cultural restoration and has an educational background in the areas of horticulture, adult instruction, restoration of natural systems, and business management.

Some of Dawn’s most recent professional developments include participating in various roles with several indigenous and non-indigenous organizations such as: the B.C. Food Systems Network – Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty (Coordinator/Chair), 1st Annual Interior of B.C. Indigenous Food Sovereignty Conference (Coordinator), Around the Kitchen Table Project – Aboriginal Women’s Group working on HIV/AIDS Awareness and Prevention (Community Facilitator), B.C. Healthy Living Alliance Community Capacity Building Strategy – Community Development Leader, Neskonlith Indian Band Comprehensive Community Planning (Coordinator), Coordinator for the BC Food Systems Network 13th Annual Gathering, and Project Associate on various other land, culture and ecology related projects.

Heather Morrison is a Doctoral Candidate at Simon Fraser University School of Communication, where her focus is transforming scholarly communication to a knowledge commons. Heather is a also a librarian and a long-time advocate for open access. Links to Heather’s thesis-in-process and other writings can be found through her webpage:

Russell Myers is from the Tsilhqot’in nation; working toward learning language, land and culture, and actively participating in resisting land alienation and dispossession. Completed a Masters in Indigenous Governance from the University of Victoria, though continuing to apply comics and art to communicating the message of history and Indigenous peoples’ responsibility.

Cecily  Nicholson is a poet and organizer who lives along the Fraser River, Unceded Coast Salish territory.  She has worked for many years in the Downtown Eastside community.  Current work includes a curatorial project in the VIVO Crista Dahl Media Archives involving the reclamation of film related to early 1970s conditions of Civil and Indigenous rights, relations, resistance and solidarity.  Triage (2011) is her first book.

Kat Norris, is from Lyackson, one of the Salish Nations. She is a residential school survivor of Kuper Island Residential School who has lived and grown in Los Angeles California, Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Kat belonged to the American Indian Movement and is the spokesperson for the Indigenous Action Movement, most notable action, is the Inquiry into the death, by Vancouver City Police, of Frank Paul.

Isaac Komalathukizhakkathil Oommen is an emigrant storyteller from the Arabian Peninsula and south India. He is involved with freelance journalism, graduate-level research into alternative media centers (SFU CMNS), and also grassroots media collective the Vancouver Media Co-op.

Billie Pierre is a Nlakaâ’Pamux/Saulteaux woman based in Vancouver. She was part of the Native Youth Movement, a founder member of the Redwire magazine and engaged in others Native struggles on Coast Salish Territories. She’s talking about the necessity to defend the lands and the Native people and also about her involvement in some of those fights.

Press release is a collective of movement-based poets. we first came together out of a shared desire to bear witness to various forms of community resistance and building, initially producing a free chapbook of anonymous submissions, contributions and collaborative pieces, and participating in opposition and critique of the olympics on unceded coast salish territories. mostly women and people of colour, the group continues to ask each other and our communities how to generate poetry, dialogue and vision without being co-opted by processes of cultural gentrification.

Sozan Savehilaghi is a migrant justice organizer with no one is illegal vancouver – coast salish territories. she is also a member of calamites: an anti-capitalist network.

Jeff Shantz has been a rank&file labour organizer since a teenager (he is out of the Windsor auto plants).   He’s been involved in CAW, CUPE & the IWW, where he’s helped to form flying squads and worker’s committees in his own locals, as well as autonomous flying squads bringing together unemployed, unionized and non-unionized workers to take direct solidarity actions.  His book _Active Anarchy: Political Practice in Contemporary Movements_ looks to build upon tendencies towards mutual aid and solidarity that are present in everyday life, in order to develop a real world alternative both to capitalist and statist institutions and social relations.  He is the editor of a recent collection of essays against the criminalization of dissent, called “Law Against Liberty”.  He currently lives in Surrey & teaches at Kwantlen. >>

The Purple Thistle – The Thistle is a youth-run community centre for arts and activism. We are located in East Vancouver and have a couple of hundred regular participants. We are a free place (both free-of-charge, and we are interested in freedom) where youth can engage with each other and their community. The Centre is a physical space to root ourselves, a place to work together, and a site to learn new ways for radical organizing for social change.

Rachel Tutte is a physiotherapist working in the public system, and has been a union and social justice activist for many years. She is the labour co-chair of the BC Health Coalition, a Vancouver and District Labour Council delegate, and one of the main organizers of the annual World Peace Forum. is a grassroots climate justice group focused on shifting resources from urban roadway building to solutions such as electric public transit. Stop the Pave is best known for opposing the Gateway freeway building program, including the South Fraser Perimeter Road freeway now under construction in Surrey and Delta.

Ben West is the Healthy Communities Campaigner for the Wilderness Committee. He is responsible for organizing campaigns related to fighting climate change and reducing toxic pollution.  In all his work Ben is driven by his passion for environmental justice and ecological literacy.  In his spare time Ben is a videographer, juggler, twitter addict and wannabe stand up comedian.

Mary Williams is from the Lil’wat nation. She speaks Lil’watul. She has been featured in films and other media because of her important work for Indigenous land-based rights. Mary Williams has a long history of leading efforts for self-determination of Indigenous peoples. Educated at UBC as a teacher she has taught traditional ways of life to community members in Mount Currie and elsewhere. Mary and her husband John Williams have 9 children, many grandchildren and great grandchildren. They have grown their own food and, as their ancestors have done, fished for salmon. They do not believe in the concept of government funding because it does not lead to people being free and independent. Successfully fostering self-reliance for their family they have earned their living from their own resources. Internationally Mary Williams has connected with other Indigenous communities and others engaged in land-based struggles for human rights.

Rita Wong is the author of three books of poetry: sybil unrest (co-written with Larissa Lai, Line Books, 2008), forage (Nightwood 2007, awarded Canada Reads Poetry 2011 and the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize), and monkeypuzzle (Press Gang 1998, for which she received the Asian Canadian Writers Workshop Emerging Writer Award). Her work investigates the relationships between contemporary poetics, social justice, ecology, and decolonization.

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