Canada has not yet come to understand the powerful contribution Indigenous people have, and will continue to make, once access to digital and connected technologies is made possible and equitable. As the original innovators and technological experts on these territories since the time of our indigenous ancestors, we can only imagine what advancements will be designed and implemented by our nation's best and brightest minds. How may we understand reconciliation in this context? What initiatives are already on this sharp edge of social change? How can we deepen our commitment to fair access, reconciliation and reconciliation through innovation?
DENISE WILLIAMS (technologycouncil.ca) is Coast Salish from Cowichan Tribes on Vancouver Island. She is an advocate for social justice and has spent her career seeking out opportunities to play a role in the advancement of Indigenous sovereignty. She is known for her early involvement and leadership in new and innovative initiatives addressing reconciliation and economic development leveraging technology and within the technology space. For the past ten years Denise has worked under the mandate of First Nations communities and leadership in British Columbia to address specific capacity building efforts in education and technology. She has worked federally, provincially and locally with a genuine approach to collaboration and partnership development that builds strong networks capable of moving critical initiatives to the forefront. Denise has an MBA from Simon Fraser University and specializes in social enterprise business development.
ALEXANDER DIRKSEN (alexanderdirksen.com): A proud Métis policy wonk, Alexander is passionate about helping to craft an inclusive and equitable future for our country through the meaningful advancement of reconciliation. Currently based at Reconciliation Canada (Government Relations and Stakeholder Engagement) and the Banff Forum (Operations Manager), Alexander has also served as a nonprofit consultant on projects for SFU RADIUS and as a researcher at the Centre for Global Research at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Alexander holds an M.A. in Global Affairs from the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto and a B.A. (with Honours) in International Studies from Simon Fraser University.
JEFF WARD (animikii.com) is the founder and CEO of the technology company, Animikii Indigenous Technology (Animikii). Jeff is a proud Manitoban - Métis and Ojibwe on his father’s side and European on his mother’s side - but now resides in Victoria, BC and works on the traditional territory of the Songhees People. Jeff is a serial entrepreneur; he’s launched a variety of businesses and his track record as an entrepreneur reaches back to his high school years. Jeff first launched Animikii in 2003 and has orchestrated and managed its growth ever since. He is passionate about technology, entrepreneurship and building mutually-beneficial partnerships. Everything he does in business is geared towards supporting and uplifting his family, his communities and the Indigenous population of Canada overall.
This PeaceTalk is hosted in partnership with the First Nations Technology Council. We would also like to extend a thank you to Amnesty International and LUSH for making our PeaceTalks possible.
All donations for this event will go towards the HiVE's #LoveForALift fund: to install a platform stairlift up its flight of 30 stairs, making the community hub for social impact inclusive and accessible for folks of all abilities.
About the First Nations Technology Council
The First Nations Technology Council is an enterprising non-profit that was created by First Nations communities and endorsed by the First Nations Leadership Council with a vision and a mandate to lead the advancement of digital technologies in First Nations communities in BC. The Technology Council plays a specific role in convening communities, government, academic institutions and the social innovation sector to facilitate the development of digital ecosystems that are balanced in approach, harmonious with First Nations values and sustainable in operational and growth strategy. With digital skills development at the heart of its purpose and work, the Technology Council offers a unique opportunity to get involved in building an Indigenous technology ecosystem led by First Nations and ground-breaking in the province.