MEET THE TEAM
As the global community is working to find answers to address global climate change, now more than ever Indigenous communities need to demand our rights, title, lands, territories, culture and identities be protected and included in these solutions. We must equip our communities with the right tools, education and assets to ensure Indigenous knowledge is driving climate solutions that work for everyone. At Indigenous Climate Action we prioritize our people, Indigenous peoples, as agents of change and are committed to hosting events, building educational resources and toolkits, lifting up Indigenous-led and owned strategies that enable renewable energy development, and strengthening our communities to demand our rights are included in climate change solutions.
We, as Indigenous peoples have an opportunity to lead the world on a path of sustainability and overcome the consequences of the fossil fuel era through recognition of our rights and our responsibilities to protect the lands, water and resources we all rely on. Meet the team bringing the vision and mission of the National Steering Committee to life.
Indigenous Climate Action welcomed Eriel Tchekwie Deranger as the organization's first Executive Director in August 2017. Deranger was a founding member of Indigenous Climate Action (ICA) and spent two years in the role of interim director, helping to build the strategic direction of the organization. A member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN), Deranger has a far reaching reputation for challenging fossil fuel development and championing the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Eriel has an extensive experience working within the Environmental Justice and Indigenous Rights field with organizations like the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), Rainforest Action Network (RAN), Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN), and with her home Nation the ACFN. She is also a wife and mother of two.
Sheila is a 2nd generation settler born and raised on the territories of Tcil'Qe'uk Tribe of the Sto:lo Nation, also known as Chilliwack, British Columbia. Her family were dairy and beef farmers in the Sto:lo Valley. Her mother’s family immigrated to Turtle Island in the 1960s from the Netherlands. Her father’s family arrived in the early 1900rds with English & Irish ancestry. Sheila is a mother to a tenacious 5-year-old whose Kokum is Nehiyawak/Cree singer/songwriter Phyllis Sinclair.
Sheila has her roots as an ally with Indigenous communities resisting tar sands and co-creating strategies and organizations the center decolonization and lifts up Indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing - including the emergence of Indigenous Climate Action in 2015. She has been a witness to the gaps in support for Indigenous leadership within the environmental movement and has first-hand experience with how this lack of support has undermined effective strategies to address the climate crisis.
Sheila aspires to uphold values of intersectional feminism and healing justice that emphasizes the importance of centering the needs and experiences of marginalized identities to de-construct systems of supremacy and dominance. Sheila holds it as a responsibility to continuously learn how to identify and interrupt the systems of white supremacy and colonialization that function at a personal, organization and institutional level so as to create space for the emergence of nurturing healthy respectful relationships rooted in authenticity, kindness, decolonization, and anti-oppression. Although she holds a degree in International Development & Globalization Studies from the University of Ottawa and has over 15 years of experience in various roles of leadership within non-profit and government sectors, she credits the bulk of her learning and education from the lived experience as a grassroots community organizer and co-creator of strategies that the center Indigenous rights and local control for grass-roots communities.
As the Director of Development, Sheila brings faith in the potential of philanthropic allies, where mutually supportive relationships of respect, authenticity, and care hold the key to co-creating strategies that center Indigenous leadership and address the climate crisis for the benefit of all of us who seek to call Turtle Island home.
Director of Operations
Andrea has an extensive, continuous, and evolving relationship with music and community engagement, one that brings her to a variety of cultural and educational projects and events. This led her to work with organizations such as Redwire NYM, UMAYC, Indigenous Media Arts Group, Raven Spirit Dance, imagineNATIVE, Toronto Aboriginal Youth Council, TDSB Aboriginal Education, and Naadmaagit Ki Group along with many others. These endeavors resonated in youth work, leading workshops, programming, planning, mentorship, and land-based initiatives. Andrea has been a: youth advocate, advisor, administrator, performer, program facilitator, and communications coordinator, to name of few of her past roles. Andrea is excited to join Indigenous Climate Action to assist and organize the future!
Nigel is a Denesuline organizer, radio host, and humorist from Cold Lake First Nations. As a former student of Humber College in the Comedy: Writing and Performance program one of Nigels main interests is exploring Indigenous culture through humour. Currently this looks like making memes and practicing stand up comedy. His father lived through residential school and passed away at the age of 48 from an alcohol related death. This affected Nigel profoundly and has since worked towards wellness in himself and his community. Nigel organizes with Indigenous Climate Action as well as the Beaver Hills Warriors. The Beaver Hills Warriors mobilize on Indigenous rights working on a Indigenous Food Sovereignty program that seeks to break down barriers between Indigenous peoples and traditional foods. Nigel hosts a radio program called Acimowin on CJSR 88.5. The warrior must act in a way that inspires their community and Nigel tries to embody that in his way of life.