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.
Eriel Tchekwie Deranger
Eriel is a Dënesųłiné woman (ts'ékui), member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and mother of two, coming from a family of Indigenous rights advocates fighting for the recognition, sovereignty and autonomy of their Indigenous lands and territory in what is now known as Treaty 8, Canada.
In 2015, Deranger worked with local Indigenous organizers to help build out the foundations of Indigenous Climate Action, becoming one of the core co-founders of the organization. She formally stepped into the role of Executive Director in July of 2017.
Prior to ICA, Deranger worked with her First Nation to build out one of the largest inter-sectional keep it in the ground campaigns: The international Indigenous Tar Sands campaign - challenging the expansion of Alberta’s Tar Sands. As part of her role she brought international recognition to issues in her territory with celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Darren Aronofsky, Neil Young, Daryl Hannah, James Cameron and many others, drawing attention across the globe.
Deranger has written for the Guardian, Yellowhead Institute, The National Observer, Red Pepper Magazine, been featured in documentary films including Elemental (2012), interviewed for national and international media outlets including Democracy Now!, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), and CBC.
Melina Laboucan-Massimo is Lubicon Cree from Northern Alberta, Canada. She is the founder of Sacred Earth Solar and the Campaign Director at Indigenous Climate Action. She has worked on social, environmental and climate justice issues for over 15 years. Melina has worked, studied and campaigned in Brazil, Australia, Mexico, Canada and across Europe focusing on resource extraction, climate change impacts, media literacy, energy literacy and Indigenous rights & responsibilities.
Melina is the host a new TV series called Power to the People which documents renewable energy, food security and eco-housing in Indigenous communities across North America. She is also a Fellow at the David Suzuki Foundation with a focus is on Climate Change, Indigenous Knowledge and Renewable Energy. Facing the firsthand impacts of the Alberta tar sands in her home community, Melina has been a vocal advocate for Indigenous rights and environmental justice. For over a decade, Melina worked as a Climate and Energy Campaigner with Greenpeace Canada and the Indigenous Environmental Network. She has written for a variety of publications and produced short documentaries on the tar sands, climate change, water issues and Indigenous cultural revitalization.
Melina holds a Masters degree in Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria with a focus on Renewable Energy in Indigenous communities. As a part of her Masters thesis, Melina completed a 20.8 kW solar installation in her home community of Little Buffalo in the heart of the tar sands which powers the health centre. She has also worked to solarize the Tiny House Warriors and continues to build more solar projects in Indigenous communities. Melina also works on the issue of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women after the suspicious death of her sister Bella, whose case still remains unsolved.
She currently serves on the boards of NDN Collective and Seeding Sovereignty. She also sits on the Advisory Council for the Indigenous Clean Energy Social Enterprise.
Youth Engagement Lead
Nigel Henri Robinson
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.
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.
Lindsey Bacigal is of Chickasaw, Polish and Irish descent. She was born on raised on Peoria, Anishinabewaki, Odawa and oθaakiiwaki‧hina‧ki territory, also called Owosso, Michigan. Lindsey was not raised with her Indigineity, but over the past few years, has been on a journey to feel more connected to this part of her identity and is excited to continue on this path.
Lindsey comes from a working class family and was not raised around activism, so her activist journey did not begin until her secondary education. Attending a primarily white, Catholic institution presented itself with many opportunities to work against conservative values and through this, Lindsey became an outspoken advocate for the rights of marginalized groups and a headache for administration (a title she was very proud of). Following her graduation in Communication and Women’s Studies, Lindsey was energized but wanted to learn more, so she went on to earn a Master’s in Gender, Globalisation and Rights from the University of Ireland, Galway. Her final thesis explored the intersections between gender-based environmental violence, Indigenous womxn, colonialism, and human rights.
While writing her dissertation, Lindsey also began work as the Communications Coordinator at Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada. In this position, she became acquainted with the colonial and oppressive systems of Canada, but also experienced the strength and resiliency of Inuit women. In the coming months following her move to so-called Canada, Lindsey became heavily involved with the climate justice movement, joining Climate Justice Ottawa and working on the Our Time for a Green New Deal campaign. She also began work on a project with the Sunrise Movement to develop tools for hubs to forge better partnerships with other like-minded groups and organizations.
Lindsey is incredibly excited to work as part of the Indigenous Climate Action team and looks forward to uplifting Indigenous voices and shutting down colonizers.
Interim Operations Director
Kyla is a Métis, Black woman born and raised in Amiskwaciwâskahikan / ᐊᒥᐢᑲᐧᒋᐋᐧᐢᑲᐦᐃᑲᐣ (Edmonton). Over the years Kyla has worked with a number of non-profit organizations focusing on anti-oppression, advocacy, and community-building. Her experiences and interests are centred around Indigenous solidarity, sustainability, community health, and food justice. The goal of her work is to build more resilient, just, and healthier communities.
Diane grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, near the valley of the North Saskatchewan River. She grounds her identity in her two grandmothers, one from Glasgow and one from the Hong Kong area. She has an Undergraduate degree in Art and Design and a Masters of Resource and Environmental Management. Diane’s projects in her studies focused on using art to communicate environmental and social issues, and design as a tool to structure community collaboration and idea sharing.
Diane has worked with several non-profit and civil society organizations over the last ten years on work relating to environmental protection, international development, activism and advocacy, and knowledge sharing/convening. Lately, she has largely focussed on youth leadership, climate change, Indigenous rights and sovereignty, and political engagement from the grassroots to the United Nations.
Diane recently began working with Sacred Earth Solar and collaborating with Indigenous Climate Action. She is honoured to be using her skills in allyship and solidarity with Indigenous leaders in the environmental movement, and feels privileged to support and learn from Melina Laboucan-Massmio, Executive Director of Sacred Earth Solar and Program Director of Indigenous Climate Action. Diane is currently taking the Certificate in Dialogue and Civic Engagement through Simon Fraser University to expand her skills in holding space for people to come together over important issues. She is looking forward to learning more about Indigenous climate solutions, as well as how we can build more human organizations and societies by exercising concepts such as healing justice, valuing difference, and intersectional movement building.
Community Engagement Lead
Jayce Chiblow is Anishinaabe from Garden River First Nation, Ontario. She has an Undergraduate degree in Biology, a Masters of Environmental Studies and is currently attending the Indigenous Youth Policy School through the Canadian Roots Exchange. Jayce’s Masters research was conducted in her community where she brought together youth, community leaders, and knowledge keepers in a workshop-style gathering focused on climate action through an Indigenous food sovereignty approach.
Throughout her education journey, Jayce worked for Ogamuah Annag Consulting, an Indigenous-owned environmental services company where she gained valuable experience in consultation, community engagement, report writing and much more. More recently, she has been working with the Indigenous Environmental Justice Project through York University, led by Dr. Deborah McGregor where she gained experience in project management, workshop facilitation, presentations, research with Indigenous peoples and more.
Jayce's passion for environment work began at a young age where she was invited to be a Youth participant for the Chiefs of Ontario at the Nuclear Waste Management Organization information sessions. This experience shaped both her personal and education goals, ultimately leading her to Indigenous Climate Action where she is excited to be continuing meaningful work with Indigenous communities.