In the spotlight

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Statement on behalf of the UNBC-FA Executive Committee and UNBC-FA Equity Committee

The confirmation of the findings of the 215 missing children from the Kamloops Residential School is distressing. We can only imagine the grief and pain that the families and communities of the missing children are enduring. Our thoughts are with their families and communities, the residential school survivors and our grieving colleagues. We support returning these children to their families and communities with proper protocols. The lives of these children and the lives of survivors, and their stories, will never be forgotten.

By | 2021-06-08T16:17:32-07:00 June 8th, 2021|Categories: NEWS|Comments Off on Statement on behalf of the UNBC-FA Executive Committee and UNBC-FA Equity Committee

Distinguished Academic Award Recipient 2019: Dr. Brian Menounos

Dr. Brian Menounos is Professor in the Department of Geography and holds a Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Glacier Change at the University of Northern British Columbia.

Dr. Menounos was nominated for his research in building connections between historical climatology and ongoing work on climate forecasting, and the significant consequences for public policy planning. His research to date provides a detailed picture of the current health of glaciers and ice in western North America, outside of Alaska.

Another important outcome of his research has been the influence on organizations like the Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia who, as a direct result of Dr. Menounos’s advocacy, formally accepted global climate change as a result of human activities, and passed a motion of expectation that its members “consider the impact of their work on climate.” This position represents a philosophical and practical shift in approach from previous beliefs about extreme climate-related events. Furthermore, it will encourage engineers and geoscientists to develop different measures and approaches in support of better preparing for extreme climate-related events.

Commenting on Dr. Menounos’s work, nominees describe him as follows:

“Dr. Menounos is a creative and accomplished scientist who has made major contributions to Canadian earth science. His research exemplifies the emergence of physical geography as a geophysical science, where great questions are broken down using sharp quantitative tools. Brian is widely recognized nationally and internationally by his peers.”

“Whether being sought for his opinion and advice by national political leaders, academic leaders or local high-school teacher[s], Dr. Menounos has shown tremendous energy and dedication to his public engagement related to his scientific work.”

By | 2022-02-22T15:27:43-08:00 February 13th, 2020|Categories: In the spotlight|Comments Off on Distinguished Academic Award Recipient 2019: Dr. Brian Menounos

Distinguished Academic Award Recipient 2017: Dr. Judy Thompson

This award recognizes the contributions to the non-academic community made by faculty members who are at an early point int heir careers. Edōsdi, which literally means someone who raises up pets andchildren, or more simply, “someone who is a teacher,” was born and raised inLa̱x Kxeen (Prince Rupert, BC) on Ts’msyen territory and is a member of theTahltan Nation. Her clan is crow and her crest is frog. For almost 25 years, as a student, educator and researcher, Edōsdi has builtrelationships with Aboriginal communities, which includes connections withyouth with their Elders. Edōsdi  has developed many courses and programs,which have often included ways to Indigenize curriculum, decolonize teaching,and provide support for Aboriginal learners.

Edōsdi / Dr. Thompson completed her PhD at the University of Victoria, where she also completed an MSc in Environmental Studies. Edōsdi’s doctoral dissertation, Hedekeyeh Hots’ih Kāhidi – “Our Ancestors Are In Us”: Strengthening Our Voices Through Language Revitalization From A Tahltan Worldview, employed a Tahltan research paradigm and spoke to the ways in which the voices of her people can gain strength and healing through the revitalization of her language. Dr. Thompson’s doctoral research guided the development of a Tahltan Language and Culture Framework, which focuses on governance, programming, documentation, and training and professional development. Since 2012, she has also been the Tahltan Language and Culture Lead for her Nation.

Commenting on the impact of her work, one of her nominees described Edōsdi as follows: “Edōsdiis a remarkable woman. A member of the Crow Clan of the Tahltan Nation, through her mother’s side, she was born and raised in Prince Rupert on Ts’mysenterritory. I got to know all of her family over the years, including herTahltan grandparents Charles and Julia Callbreath.  Edōsdi spent many hours with these wonderful elders and travelled with them several times Telegraph Creek where they were raised. The time she spent with these and otherelders gave her exceptional insights and experiences and, I am convinced, gaveher the determination and commitment to become the wonderful teacher andresearcher she is today. She also gained many of the traits and skills thatmake her so successful: integrity, thoughtfulness, compassion and empathy, anda delightful sense of humour.”

By | 2020-02-13T10:04:54-08:00 December 17th, 2018|Categories: In the spotlight|Comments Off on Distinguished Academic Award Recipient 2017: Dr. Judy Thompson


Dr. Antonia Mills

Dr. Mills earned her BA from Radcliffe/Harvard, and her PhD from Harvard.  Her research interest include First Nations land claims, religion and law, and reincarnation beliefs and cases . Dr. Mills has conducted field work with the Beaver Indians since 1964.  Dr. Mills co-edited (with Richard Slobodin)  Amerindian Rebirth:  Reincarnation Belief Among North American Indians and Inuit (1994), and is the author of Eagle Down is Our Law:  Witsutit’en Feasts, Laws and Land Claims, published by UBC Press (1994).  This latter book is the result of her spending three years living in Witsuwit’en territory and serving as an expert witness and writing an expert opinion report for the Delgamuukw case. Her book, supported by a SSHRC Grant, “Hang On To These Words:  Johnny David’s Delgamuukw Testimony” was published by the University of Toronto Press (2005).  She has beeen awarded a Shastri Indo-Canadian Instituted Fellowship for “A Longitudian Study of Young Adults who were said to Remember a Previous Life.”  She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses and one on “Indigenous Perspectives on Reincarnation and Rebirth” (at both levels).  Dr. Mills has also published in a wide variety of journals such as Culture, B.C. Studies, and the Journal of Anthropological Research, and chapters in books.

By | 2019-09-13T10:55:01-07:00 July 18th, 2016|Categories: In the spotlight|Comments Off on DISTINGUISHED ACADEMIC AWARD RECIPIENT 2015: DR. ANTONIA MILLS



On April 3, 2013, honored guests and dignitaries, university administrators, and academics representing the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria, the University of Northern British Columbia, and Royal Roads University gathered to recognize three very deserving recipients of the 9th annual CUFA-BC Distinguished Academic Awards.

It was a privilege to witness one of our very own, Dr. Kathy Lewis, receive the 2013 Academic of the Year Award for her research on pine beetle-infested wood which she used to defend Canada at a Softwood Lumber Agreement arbitration hearing in 2012. Partly as a result of Dr. Lewis’ testimony, Canada won the arbitration avoiding a penalty estimated at $380 million.

The purpose of the Distinguished Academic Awards is to acknowledge outstanding accomplishments in research and scholarly work that benefit communities and the public.

“Dr. Lewis’ defence of Canada’s trade interests demonstrates the immense potential value of university-based research.” Rick Kool, President, CUFA-BC

By | 2019-09-13T10:55:06-07:00 July 3rd, 2013|Categories: In the spotlight|Comments Off on DISTINGUISHED ACADEMIC AWARD RECIPIENT 2013: DR. KATHY LEWIS


Dr. Chris Opio and his family at the CUFA-BC Awards banquet on April 11th (from left to right): Elliot, Nathan, Chris, and Therese.

The CUFA-BC Distinguished Academic Awards are presented annually to recognize outstanding faculty members at BC’s public universities who use their research and scholarly work to benefit the general public. Sheryl MacKay, host of CBC Radio One’s North by Northwest, emceed the awards dinner held on Wednesday, April 11th in Vancouver.

Dr. Opio received the 2012 Academic of the Year Award for his work establishing sustainable clean water resources in Northern Uganda. He founded the Northern Uganda Development Foundation in Prince George to support his work and to date has established 42 wells providing clean water to more than 50,000 people. Other award recipients included UBC-Okanagan’s Dr. Cigdem Eskicioglu who received the 2012 Early in Career Award for her groundbreaking work on processing organic waste into energy (in the form of methane gas) and organic fertilizer. Her work diverts waste from landfills, protecting our environment and creating valuable resources. UVic’s Dr. Eric Sager received the 2012 Paz Buttedahl Career Achievement Award for his lifelong commitment to connecting his historical research to contemporary issues. His is also dedicated to making his research available to the wider community, through newspaper articles, websites and public presentations.

“Dr. Eskicioglu’s work on adapting European technology to process BC waste has led to many innovations and scientific advancements”, said Dr. David Mirhady, President of CUFA BC. “Dr. Opio’s commitment not only to establishing wells, but also to teaching communities how to manage and care for their water resources is truly inspiring. Dr. Sager’s connection of the past to our present and future speaks volumes about his commitment to the wider community.”

By | 2022-02-22T15:23:22-08:00 February 7th, 2013|Categories: In the spotlight|Comments Off on 2012 DISTINGUISHED ACADEMIC AWARD RECIPIENT: DR. CHRIS OPIO