NAISA North Virtual

Sustaining Indigenous Liveliness
May 15th-June 15th

Welcome to NAISA North Virtual, hosted by the Dechinta Centre for Research & Learning. We are honoured that you have joined us.  Our program will run from May 15 to June 15, with new content each week. Our organizing committee held an open call and commissioned panels and art from Northern Indigenous peoples. We wanted to use the NAISA platform to showcase research in northern Canada and beyond by northern Indigenous community researchers, Elders, land based practitioners, artists and makers, academics, and students.  We wanted to make the presentations accessible to as many people in the north as possible. We strived to create  collaborative, nurturing, and reflective spaces that celebrate Indigenous excellence.


Our panels, films, round tables and performances focus on northern issues; land based research; land based education; decolonial feminisms; self-determination, governance and law; 2SLGBTQQIA+ issues in the north, solidarity & internationalism, and northern creative practice; and youth leadership.  


Our logo was designed by northern Tutchone artists and academic Lianne Leda Marie Charlie. 


Mahsi Cho for spending time thinking with us. 

Mahsı̀ | Mársı | Máhsı | Hąį’ | Quana | ᖁᔭᓐᓇᒦᒃ (Qujannamiik) | Quyanainni | Kinanāskomitin| Miigwech 

NAISA North Organizing Committee

Spirit Emulsion
Siku Allooloo















A woman’s connection to her mother in the spirit world reactivates Taíno culture and presence, revealing a realm unseen. Meanwhile, amidst a backdrop of flowers everywhere, an act of ancestral sovereignty extends into the future. Filmed on Super 8 and developed by hand with plant medicines, Spirit Emulsion evokes a language for Taíno filmmaking based in the earth and cosmos, breathing an ancestral connection into new form.

Written, directed, and co-produced by Siku Allooloo (Inuk/Haitian/Taíno).

Share your thoughts on Spirit Emulsion HERE

Siku's Bio

Siku Allooloo is an Inuk/Haitian/Taíno writer, interdisciplinary artist and community builder from Somba K'e, Denendeh. She is an alum of Dechinta's first pilot semester, and has served as a facilitator for several semesters over the years. Siku is an artistic innovator who often reimagines conventional forms as imbued by her cultural traditions, oral history, and land-based practice. Her artwork has exhibited nationally in several groundbreaking Indigenous art exhibitions (including INUA, the inaugural exhibition at Qaumajuq-Winnipeg Art Gallery, 2021-2023). Her writing has been published nationally and internationally (The Guardian, Canadian Art Magazine, Truthout, The Capilano Review, and Chatelaine). She is also a programmer with Available Light Film Festival (2021, 2022),  imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival (2021) and BlackStar Film Festival (2022).


Siku is currently leading a series of experimental and documentary film projects in honour of her mother, Marie-Hélène Laraque, and her life's work.

Think Alongside Siku (Further Media and Resources)

Film honouring Taíno activists shot on an old school camera, developed with plant medicines,

INDÍGENA trailer: The untold story of a revolutionary at the heart of the American Indian Movement and the return of a people five hundred years in the making. Feature in development. Written and Directed by Siku Allooloo (Inuk/Haitian/Taíno). Co-produced by Jessica Hallenbeck (Lantern Films) and Siku Allooloo (Akia Films).

Caribou People, Siku Allooloo


150 Acts of Reconciliation
Crystal Gail Fraser and Sara Komarnisky

Responding to the nation-wide sesquicentennial celebrations of the colonial nation state, we published “150 Acts of Reconciliation for the Last 150 Days of Canada 150” in August 2017. This list challenged readers to take up reconciliation as an everyday practice within their homes, workplaces, and communities through specific suggestions for learning and action. Later, we created a collaborative poster project with Wolf Clan and Tagé Cho Hudän/Big River People artist Lianne Maria Leda Charlie. Since then, thousands of Canadians have taken up our list in all kinds of ways, changing hearts, minds, relationships, and structures through everyday acts of reconciliation.


Most recently, the tragic news of thousands of unmarked graves on the sites of former Indian Residential Schools in Canada made headlines internationally. The announcement in late May 2021 from the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc First Nation, and subsequent related news of more unmarked graves, rattled the foundations of this country and prompted many Canadians to rethink their relationship with Canadian history, their commitment to reconciliation, and the current state of Indigenous affairs in this country. Combined with the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we have witnessed a renewed and profound interest in reconciliatory work and our innovative and immensely popular 150 Acts of Reconciliation, including in the NWT and Yukon. We propose a series of engagements to focus on building new relationships of solidarity in the North with the aim of advancing reconciliation and encouraging Indigenous Nations to continue decolonial and self-determining work.

Share your thoughts HERE

Facing the violence of colonialism in discussions around residential schools can be very difficult. Click here for a list of resources that are meant to assist in taking care of yourself and those around you.

Participant Bios

Dr. Crystal Gail Fraser (she/her) is Gwichyà Gwich'in and originally from Inuvik and Dachan Choo Gę̀hnjik, Northwest Territories. Her PhD thesis, T’aih k’ìighe’ tth’aih zhit dìidìch’ùh or By Strength We Are Still Here, focused on the history of student experiences at Indian Residential Schools in the Inuvik Region between 1959 and 1996. Crystal’s doctoral dissertation was awarded the 2020 John Bullen Prize by the Canadian Historical Association for her thesis and her work makes a strong contribution to how scholars engage with Indigenous research methodologies and theoretical concepts, our understanding of Indigenous histories during the second half of the twentieth century, and how northern Canada was unique in relation to the rest of the settler nation. Crystal is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History, Classics, & Religion and the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. She is committed to community through her work with many organizations, including the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and Gwich'in Council International. With her partner and daughter, Crystal has lived on Treaty 6/Homeland of the Métis Nation since 2004.

Dr. Sara Komarnisky is a settler scholar who has over 15 years of experience with multidisciplinary and multimethod research projects grounded in community. Much of this work has been focused squarely on addressing health and wellbeing from a community level perspective to produce insightful knowledge and create policy change – from ethnography of transnational life, to material culture and archival research on hospital art and craft, to surveys about youth smoking and drinking, to community-based research to inform tuberculosis policy.  Sara is presently Research Chair, Health and Community at Aurora College in the Northwest Territories. In this role she is leading the development of an applied health research program for the NWT - working in partnership with communities, researchers, students, and policymakers to do research, share knowledge, and drive action on important issues in the territory. Sara has lived on Chief Drygeese Territory since 2018 with her partner and two children.

Think and Act Alongside Drs. Fraser and Komarnisky

150 Acts of Reconciliation for the Last 150 Days of Canada’s 150,


Respectful Engagement


One of our goals in hosting NAISA North was to provide a nurturing space for northern Indigenous peoples to share their work, to generate new knowledge and connections, and to make that sharing accessible to as many Indigenous northerns as possible. We know from Indigenous practices of gathering, thinking, making and sharing that this is best done in community for the benefit of the community and alongside thinking through our global connections. These practices are an intervention into the way the academy generates and shares knowledge, and this is reflected in our organizing of this virtual gathering.  


Most of our presentations include a spot for you to respond to a prompt based on the performance, round table, panel or artist talk. These spaces are meant for the audience to engage with the work and each other, to share work that relates to the theme, to provide encouragement and thanksgiving to the presenters and to expand our collective thinking on the presentation.  We are using the Padlet App. You can join for free, or simply start posting links, videos, audio, text, and photographs. Our team is moderating these discussion boards


Round Table: Northern Indigenous Youth Land Based Leadership

Chair: Noel-Leigh Cockney, Dechinta Centre for Research & Learning

Participants:  Kyla LeSage, Rachel Culderay, Rena Mainville, Morgan Tsetta, Kristen Tanche

In the north, young Indigenous land based practitioners and artists are leading the way in developing, delivering and advocating for Indigenous land based education.  This Round Table explores the knowledge these researchers have generated through land based practices such as hide tanning, building an Inuvialuit sod house in the Beaufort Delta, filmmaking at Łiwe Camp, traveling the rivers and lakes by canoe,  and developing and delivering community land based programming.

Share your thoughts HERE

Participant Bios

Noel-Leigh Cockney is from Tuktoyaktuk and Inuvik, Northwest Territories. His whole life he has grown up along the coast of the Arctic Ocean hunting and fishing. Once he graduated from high school in Inuvik he went to college in Wisconsin, at Northland College, for four years and graduated with a major in Outdoor Education and minor in Native American Studies. After graduating, he worked for six years for NOLS, instructing backpacking, rock climbing, and whitewater canoeing courses all over the United States. He moved back home in the winter of 2018, working in tourism for over two years, before finding his current position at the Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning as their safety coordinator and regional programmer.


Rachel Cluderay was born and raised in Sǫǫ̀mbak’è (Yellowknife), Denendeh where she still lives today. She is a nêhiyaw-English paddler and land-based program advocate. In 2019, she completed a Bachelor of Commerce specializing in entrepreneurship at the University of Victoria. Rachel also has a certificate in Land-Based Research from Dechinta/ UBC. Currently, Rachel is studying a Masters of Indigenous Land-Based Education at the University of Saskatchewan where her work focuses on developing a canoe training from an Indigenous paradigm. Being on the Land makes Rachel feel whole. This is why she is passionate about strengthening peoples connection to Land as she believes it is the foundation for the resurgence of Indigenous cultures, languages, and ways of being.


Kyla LeSage is Vuntut Gwitchin from Old Crow, Yukon, and Anishinaabe from Garden River, Ontario. She grew up on Chief Drygeese Territory in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Kyla is a Dechinta Alumni where she received credits toward her UBC Degree in Political Science and Indigenous Studies. She now works full time for Dechinta as the land based academic and regional outreach coordinator.


Kristen Tanche is Łıı́d́lıı̨̨Kųę́ ́First Nation, Dehcho Dene from Łıı́d́lıı̨ K̨ ųę́ ́/Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories. She was raised in Southern Canada and the Northwest Territories. As a young adult, she returned to her Mother’s home community of Łıı́d́lıı̨̨Kųę́ ́/Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories, to re-connect with her family, community, and Dene culture. Kristen is an alumni of Dechinta, the Aurora College Social Work Program, and the Jane Glassco Northern fellowship. Kristen currently works in health and wellness for her regional Indigenous Government Organization, Dehcho First Nations. Kristen is passionate about the North’s well-being and people in her community and region.


Rena Mainville is Sahtu Dene and Metis from Tulita in the Northwest Territories, born and raised in the Northwest Territories of Canada. Rena has a Bachelor of Early Childhood Care and Education from Capilano University, Rena also took Indigenous Studies at Langara College and works full time as a Land-Based Educator with Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning. Rena also lends her voice as a Junior Advisor to the Arctic Athabaskan Council and collaborates with the First Nations Pedagogy Network. Rena passionately advocates for culturally safe Indigenous land based learning and language revitalization for Indigenous children, families and communities.


Morgan Tsetta is a Yellowknives Dene First Nation filmmaker and photographer, currently living on unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Watuth Nations, colonially referred to as Vancouver, Canada. With a passion for film, photography, and her Native culture, Morgan is committed to emphasizing the voices of Dene people and the power of self-representation for Indigenous sovereignty. After graduating film school, Morgan began work with Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning as their Digital Media Coordinator to connect with her sub-arctic home community in Denendeh and her Dene culture whilst simultaneously continuing her documentary filmmaking career.

Learn more about the work of these panelists:

Learn more about Dene Zhatie in the Dehcho region from Dehcho First Nations, in this video and booklet project, Titled “Nahenáhodhe” – Our way of life


See Kristen paddling the Dehcho in “I Hold the Dehcho in My Heart / Sedze Tah Dehcho E’Toh”,


See Morgan’s film on fish camp, and Kyla’s land based coordinating in “Łiwe Camp: Fishing and Governance on Dene Land”


Read more about Rena’s work with children and youth:


Read Rachel, Noel, Kristen and Kyla in Ndè Sı̀ı̀ Wet’aɂà: Northern Indigenous Voices on Land, Life & Art and watch for our NAISA North book panel.


See a short video of Noel’s sod house building

The Sod House Workshop at Galiptut with Noel-Leigh Cockney

Noel-Leigh Cockney, Dechinta Centre for Research & Learning






Dechinta NAISA North virtual presents: A Rough Cut on the construction of the Sod House at Galiptut with Noel Cockney. Produced by the Inuvialuit Communications Society and the Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning.


Wellness Resources


Powwow Yoga with Acosia Red Elk


13-min Gentle Morning Vinyasa Flow with Mel Douglas of the Black Women's Yoga Collective 


10-minute Bedtime Yoga with Mel Douglas of the Black Women's Yoga Collective 


Guided Meditation | Affirmations for BIPOC


Guided Meditation for Anxiety & Stress 


Dora Kamau


Seven Essential Listens From the Indigenous Podcasting Boom 


The best podcasts for relieving stress, distracting yourself, or taking a break 


4Rs Youth Movement: Podcasts


You are made of Medicine: A Mental Health Peer Support Manual 


Rest for Resistance