Wilkes, James

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Name: James Wilkes
Research Project: Nunatsiavummiut Land Use, Knowledge and Connection to Place Study: Responding to the Strange Lake Mineral Exploration and Development Project
University: Trent University
Position: Research Assistant
Academic background: Ecosystem Management Technology (Fleming College); BES Honours in Environmental Studies (York University); MA in Canadian and Indigenous Studies (Trent University)
Contact information: visualvoices@hotmail.com

About the researcher:  

I am a cultural ecologist and photographer dedicated to social and environmental justice, land protection, Indigenous rights and Canadian rights. My educational and experiential background is rooted in diverse understandings of the environment, coupled with interests in politics, science and spirituality. I have been fortunate to live in several remote communities and I have traveled extensively throughout the Americas and East Asia. My graduate studies at Trent focused on Indigenous environmental decision-making and I had the opportunity to work closely with the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) Indigenous Nation in northwestern Ontario. My thesis highlighted the need for improved environmental decision-making models that i) respect the relationships, responsibilities and knowledges of Indigenous peoples; ii) recognize the rights, laws and autonomy of Indigenous communities; and iii) involve Indigenous people in fair, open and meaningful ways. Since completing my degree, I have worked as a researcher with Dr. Chris Furgal on projects related to the collection and representation of Inuit Knowledge to support environmental decision-making. Currently I am helping to conduct a land use and knowledge study, involving map biographies and interviews, in collaboration with Inuit communities and the Nunatsiavut self-government on Labrador’s northeast coast (Nunatsiavummiut territory).