Our contributors

Lauren Kaljur is an investigative journalist specializing in environmental, economic and Indigenous affairs. In her role as producer and reporter at The Discourse, Lauren produced in-depth news stories in service of underrepresented communities. Her contributions as an investigative reporter for national collaborative projects, The Price of Oil, Troubled Water and Tracking Trans Mountain have appeared in publications across the U.S. and Canada. Before her role at The Discourse, Lauren reported for the Yukon News, CBC and Arctic Deeply. Lauren is an avid photographer, videographer and audiophile, carrying a Master of Journalism degree from the University of British Columbia.

Megan Peloso's background and passion is in water stewardship, policy and governance, and she currently works to bring this perspective to land use planning initiatives with the provincial government in the Skeena region of BC. She holds a Masters in Natural Resource Management and Environmental Studies from the University of British Columbia. She is Ottawa-born and has lived in B.C. for 8 years. Megan now calls Smithers home, and acknowledges this area as the rightful home and territory of the Witsuwit'en people.

Roger Ritsema lives on Wet’suwet’en territory where the beautiful Wetzinkwah flows, and enjoys getting out and experiencing all that northern BC has to offer. 

Terje Oestigaard is an archaeologist, researcher and Docent at the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University, Sweden. Since 2006, he has worked with the Nile basin countries and conducted fieldworks in Egypt, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda. Previous to his research in Africa, he conducted contemporary and archaeological fieldworks in Bangladesh, Greece, Jordan, India, Nepal, Palestine as well as in Scandinavia. He is also the author of The Religious Nile. Water, Ritual and Society since Ancient Egypt (I.B. Tauris, London, 2018).

Kevin Haughton has called British Columbia home for most all his life, and his life's travels have taken him to the furthest remote reaches of the globe. A husband and a father of two girls, he has fit a great deal into his life thus far. Kevin is a commercial pilot, a professional touring drummer and an inventor, among other things, and bringing clean water to the world is his proudest role yet. This renaissance man, lives by one solid mantra "if love is the truest measure of a man's wealth — this makes me the richest man that I know."

Dr. Sera Young is an assistant professor of anthropology at Northwestern University, a private research university based in Evanston, Illinois. The focus of her work is on the reduction of maternal and child-undernutrition in the first 1000 days, especially in low-resource settings. Methodologically, she draws on her training in medical anthropology (MA, University of Amsterdam), international nutrition (PhD, Cornell) and HIV (Fellowship, University of California San Francisco) to take a biocultural approach to understanding how mothers in low-resource settings cope to preserve their health and that of their families. 

Lynn Martel is the author of two books of adventure and ten mountain biographies. She has been writing about the unique and dynamic lifestyle of western Canada’s mountain community for more than two decades. Through magazine and newspaper articles about out­door adven­ture, his­tor­i­cal biogra­phies, social issues and cur­rent events, through nature and envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence, and through mountain-inspired art, writ­ing, film­mak­ing and photography – including her own – Lynn’s writing celebrates and delves beneath the surface of living, playing, working and learning in western Canada’s mountain world. See her work at lynn@lynnmartel.ca.

Délani Valin is the editor at Culturally Modified. She is a Cree-Métis writer with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from Vancouver Island University. She writes poetry, fiction, and non-fiction about culture and identity. Her work has been awarded the Malahat Review's Long Poem Prize, and subTerrain's Lush Triumphant Literary Award. She was nominated for a 2018 National Magazine Award.

Amy O'Rourke recently completed her Masters of Resource Management, with a specialization in Coastal and Marine Management, at Háskólasetur Vestfjarða (University of the Westfjords) in Ísafjörður, a remote community in Iceland’s Westfjords. Her thesis and ongoing research centres around the collection and classification of marine debris, seeking to understand how specific fishing sects and operations contribute to the vast quantity of debris throughout Iceland’s coastal environments. Amy grew up in Calgary, Alberta and completed a BAH in Political Science and English at Queen’s University. Here, she also partook in environmentally focused extracurriculars, cementing her passion for enacting tangible environmental change. Follow her ongoing beach clean ups on Instagram: @beachtrash_.

Our past contributors

Mariam Durrani is an anthropologist, a teacher, a writer, a media-maker, a feminist and a committed advocate for social justice. She teaches anthropology at Hamilton College in New York State.

Phillipa Beck owns Full Circle Yoga and a B&B in northern BC. She teaches yoga class, runs silent backcountry retreats, and hosts the Sip & Stretch Series: Wine Tasting, Beer Tasting, and Tea Tasting with Yoga.

Elli Wills is an artist and one of her favourite mediums is writing. In college she wrote for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) chapter of Her Campus Media, the leading online magazine dedicated to, written by and focused on empowering college women. She was also published in Montage, the UIUC undergraduate literary arts journal. As a recent graduate, Elli completed an internship at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, where she worked with the museum’s social media manager to produce, promote and analyze content. Before the end of the internship she had the distinct pleasure of interviewing a fellow intern for the museum’s Intern Spotlight blog series. A Chicagoland native, Elli aims to explore the world through writing, illuminating the unique stories of nature, art and people along the way.

Mike Sosteric is an associate professor of sociology at Athabasca University, primarily interested in human development and the unfolding of full human potential, in particular the obstacles that undermine and the mechanisms that might facilitate development and expression of full human potential. He is also the author of Rocket Scientists’ Guide to Money and the Economy.

Miles Howe is a PhD candidate in the department of Cultural Studies at Queen's University. His research focuses on the history of counterinsurgency in Canada.

Quvisuq (Quvi Taylor) is Iñupiaq/English/Scottish/Irish born and raised on Witsuwit'en territory. After training as a singer, then a registered nurse, he is now raising food and children on Stz'uminus territory.

Tamim Kalash is from Idlib Governorate and was born in Raqqa, Syria in 1978. Currently, he lives in Turkey. Tamim studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Damascus, and graduated from the Department of Visual Communications in 2006. His first work in the field of cinema was a short narrative film, which was a graduation project (“Thousand and One Nights”) in 2006. In 2008, he filmed and directed a documentary entitled “The Inhabitants of History.” The documentary film "Eyes in Qaah" (2016) is his first film on television (the Arab TV and the Syrian TV channels) and also it participated in several festivals in Europe and America. Recently he finished his new documentary film "Portrait," but it has not yet been displayed. 

Melissa Sawatsky is a writer currently living on unceded Witsuwit'en territory in Smithers, BC, where she works at the Smithers Public Library, as well as serving on the board of the Bulkley Valley Community Arts Council. She also facilitates creative writing workshops for young writers. Her work has appeared in Room Magazine, Northword, The Maynard, Poetry is Dead, Sad Mag and Rhubarb, among other publications and anthologies. She has an MFA in creative writing from the University of British Columbia.

Trina Moyles is an award-winning Canadian author and journalist. Her work has been widely published in The Globe and Mail, The Walrus and Modern Farmer. Her first book, Women Who Dig: Farming, Feminism, and the Fight to Feed the World (University of Regina Press), has received critical praise from scholars and authors, including Raj Patel, who calls the book “haunting, powerful, and important.” Learn more at www.trinamoyles.com / www.womenwhodig.com.

Jane Stevenson was born in Newfoundland, raised in Kitimat and has called Smithers, BC home for just over 18 years. She has written two historical nonfiction books, The Railroader's Wife and A Trail of Two Telegraphs. Her fiction has been published in journals across Canada and she is currently working on a novel set in Kitimat in the 1950s.

Shelley Worthington is a student at Vancouver School of Theology working towards a Master of Divinity degree. She is from the prairies, born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, on Treaty 7 territory, and currently lives on Witsuwit'en territory in Smithers, B.C. Her first degree is in community rehabilitation and her work revolves around community/citizen engagement, facilitation and conflict management.

In years past, Joanne Campbell wrote fiction and fact for print and radio. Then, with a Master of Arts in Communication from Royal Roads University, she came to Smithers, B.C. and spent a decade as publisher of Northword Magazine. Now, she is an expeditor exploring her options. In the future, she will come back as a cultural anthropologist and explain why rich men try to catch the wildest of fish, only to let them go.

Hayley Aikman is a postgraduate student in anthropology at Victoria University of Wellington. Her current research for her MA focuses on motherhood, and the way that mothers outside of heterosexuality experience parenting in New Zealand. She is also interested in decolonization and critiques of capitalism, and the way that these relate to gender, sexuality and kinship norms.

George Nicholas is an anthropological archaeologist who has worked closely with and for Secwepemc and other First Nations in British Columbia and Indigenous groups worldwide for the past 30 years. He is Professor and Chair of Archaeology at Simon Fraser University and adjunct professor at Flinders University, Australia. George was the founding director of SFU’s Indigenous Archaeology Program in Kamloops (1991–2005). His work focuses on Indigenous peoples and archaeology, intellectual property, heritage protection, the archaeology and human ecology of wetlands, and archaeological theory and practice, and includes an activist orientation. He was also the director of the Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage (IPinCH) project, a seven-year international collaboration organization concerned with the theoretical, ethical and practical implications of commodification, appropriation and other flows of knowledge about heritage.

Sandrina de Finney is an associate professor and graduate advisor in the School of Child and Youth Care, University of Victoria (Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ nations). Sandrina is a research advisor with the Siem Smun’eem Indigenous Child Welfare Research Network and the research lead for Sisters Rising: Honoring Indigenous Body and Land Sovereignty. In these roles she focuses on recentering land-based, customary caretaking practices for Indigenous families, and advocates for community-based Indigenous praxis in child welfare, foster care, adoptions, and youth and girlhood studies.

Carla Lewis is from the Gitdumden Clan of the Witsuwit'en Nation. She is an anthropologist, photographer and mother to her feisty eight-year-old son.

Landis Wyatt has lived in Liberia since 2007, working for Universal Outreach Foundation, a West Vancouver-based charitable organization. Along with the beekeepers of Liberia she has spent the past six years marvelling over bees.

Landis Wyatt

Rhory Gillies is a consulting archaeologist who has worked in cultural resource management for the past six years throughout British Columbia and the United Kingdom. He attended Simon Fraser University and graduated from their archaeology program in 2012. Later, he moved to England where he attended the University of York and completed his MA in Landscape Archaeology. He currently lives in the Okanagan, B.C., working as an archaeologist for Ursus Heritage Consulting Ltd. Rhory is passionate about adventure and travel and enjoys experiencing different cultures through their food, music and art, architecture and history. Prior to his studies and throughout his career in archaeology, Rhory has spent many years living and travelling overseas, exploring Europe, North Africa, South America, North America, Southeast Asia and New Zealand.

Joanne Hammond is an archaeologist and anthropologist in BC, where she lives and works in the unceded territories of the Secwepemc, Syilx and Nlaka’pamux nations. She serves on the Kamloops Heritage Commission and is a program advisor with Simon Fraser University's graduate professional program in heritage management. Joanne is active in outreach with schools, museums, community groups, professional organizations and governments to educate learners of all ages about Indigenous archaeological heritage and the history of Indigenous peoples and the Canadian state. She believes that we can craft socially responsible and morally defensible approaches to heritage research and interpretation that can produce outstanding human stories. Joanne’s on the web at republicofarchaeology.ca and on Twitter @KamloopsArchaeo.

Paul Colangelo established himself as a documentary photographer focused on environmental issues and wildlife while living in Vancouver, BC. Through his long-term project, Our Home and Native Land, Paul dedicated himself to shedding light on the seismic shift of core national values in Canada regarding resource development. This body of work explores the country's wildlife and cultural hotspots, revealing what is at risk and reminding us why they were once a celebrated part of the national identity. His work in the Sacred Headwaters helped lead to its protection in 2012. Paul is a National Geographic grantee and a fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers. His archive is represented by National Geographic Creative. Today, Paul lives in Toronto with his wife and three daughters. More of his work can be viewed at www.paulcolangelo.com.

Keli Watson has been studying and working as an applied archaeologist for over 20 years. Keli completed her BA in Archaeology of the Near East at Wilfrid Laurier University and her MA in interdisciplinary studies at the University of Northern British Columbia, where she combined anthropology with First Nations studies to apply practisable methods of involving First Nations rights and traditions with the practices of field archaeology and artifact analysis. Keli has had an exciting career in cultural resource management where she has worked as a lab manager, field director, project director and senior archaeologist on a variety of projects throughout Ontario and British Columbia.

Jezelle Zatorski has been a practising Indigenous archaeologist for 20 years in both British Columbia and Alberta. Jezelle studied at the University of Northern British Columbia and completed her BA in archaeology at the University of Calgary. Starting her career as a Dakelh First Nation assistant representing Lheidli T’enneh First Nation, Jezelle has continued on the path of engaging local Indigenous groups as a traditional knowledge facilitator and socioeconomic advisor in Indigenous community relations, and working on traditional land and resource use studies, traditional ecological knowledge studies and environmental impact assessments across Canada.

Amanda Follett Hosgood was born and raised in Ontario. She graduated from Carleton University’s journalism program in 1997 and headed west to Canmore, Alberta where she worked as reporter and assistant editor at the Canmore Leader and Banff Crag & Canyon. In 2006, she moved farther north and west to Smithers, B.C., completing a Master of Arts in Communication Specializing in International and Intercultural Communication through Royal Roads University in Victoria, B.C in 2009. She lives with her family on Wet'suwet'en territory.

Sean O’Rourke is an interdisciplinary studies (psychology and geography) graduate student at the University of Northern British Columbia researching the intersection of meaning in life and land-use with Eveny reindeer herders in Siberia. Although he grew up in Calgary, Sean has lived in northern BC for the past two years. He has spent the past four years undertaking anthropological and psychological research in collaboration with Indigenous communities throughout the circumpolar north.

Rick Budhwa is the publisher of Culturally Modified and an applied anthropologist who has worked within the realm of Indigenous cultural resources for nearly 25 years. Rick attended the University of Western Ontario where he received his BA in anthropology. Later, he completed a post-baccalaureate diploma in archaeology and master’s degree in anthropology/First Nations studies/archaeology at Simon Fraser University. He currently teaches at Northwest Community College and is the principal Crossroads Cultural Resource Management. Rick has been formally adopted into the Gitdumden Clan of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation in the traditional territories where he lives with his wife and two boys.

Michelle Larstone is a Smithers-based communications and community-engagement practitioner. She enjoys community choir, urban cycling and reading with friends.

Jeffrey Monaghan is an assistant professor of criminology at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.

Nikki Skuce enjoys commuting by bike but has never self-propelled herself across the country, let alone the continent. She is the director of the Northern Confluence Initiative based out of Smithers, B.C.

Dr. Stephanie J Silverman is the interim associate director of the Ethics, Society, and Law Program at Trinity College, University of Toronto, the Vice-President of the Canadian Association of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies (CARFMS), and an International Adviser with the International Detention Coalition. She works primarily on the socio-legal ethics of incarcerating asylum seekers and other migrants in Canada and the United Kingdom.

Shkendie Kaba is an Authorized Canadian Immigration Consultant and a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants who graduated from the Immigration Consulting Diploma Program at Ashton College. She manages her own immigration consulting practice, KABA Immigration Services, in Victoria, BC. Shkendie’s practice areas include permanent residency applications for economic immigrants and members of the family class, Labor Market Impact Assessments (LMIA), temporary work permits, study permits, business immigration and Canadian citizenship applications. Having immigrated herself, she understands the hurdles and challenges that immigration involves and is dedicated to help her clients succeed.

Richard D. Lewis is one of Britain’s foremost linguists. He brought Berlitz to East Asia, Portugal and Finland and spent several years in Japan, where he personally tutored Empress Michiko and five other Japanese Imperial Family members. When Cultures Collide, his guide to world business cultures, has sold over one million copies, is in 15 languages and won the prestigious US Executive Book Club award. He currently lectures throughout the world on cross-cultural issues and writes prolifically. His latest book, with Kai Hammerich, is Fish Can’t See Water. In 1997, Richard received a Finnish knighthood, for his 40 years’ experience helping Finland develop international links, including preparations for EU presidency. In 2009, he was promoted to Knight Commander, Order of the Lion of Finland. For further details, check out his book, The Road from Wigan Pier.

Sarah Duignan is a PhD candidate studying the anthropology of health at McMaster University. Growing up in Peterborough, Ontario has strongly influenced her connection to the natural world and to food and landscapes. She graduated with a BSc in 2013 from Trent University and then moved to the prairies for a master’s degree in anthropology at the University of Manitoba (2015). She currently works with Indigenous communities, collaborating on health research that situates wellbeing in connection with water quality and access for her doctoral research. She is also the creator and host of AnthroDish, a podcast about food, culture and identity. She currently lives in Toronto with her rad partner and her cheeky little toddler.

Emily Bulmer is a freelance writer living in Smithers, B.C. on the territory of House Gitemden, Wet'suwet'en First Nation. When she has time, she loves exploring her corner of the universe: the mountains and rivers of the Skeena watershed.

Sangsun Choi is a visual storyteller whose work focuses on an ethnographic approach to social minorities and vulnerable people. His documentaries and photographs explore not only the value of truth but also an artistic representation of human life. Originally from South Korea, he has made dozens of pieces about child labour, North Korean defectors, war refugees, disabled people and immigrants. Sangsun has presented his work at film festivals worldwide, including Athens International Film and Video Festival, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, RiverRun International Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival, ETHNOCINECA-International Documentary Film Festival Vienna. He is also a winner at the Broadcast Education Association Festival of Media Arts in 2018. Sangsun is currently working as an assistant professor of media production at Malone University in Canton, Ohio.

Lydia Howard, originally from New Zealand, has a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English literature and a diploma in creative writing. Lydia grew up on a sailboat and spent her childhood writing, drawing and imagining. She has worked in education policy, provided communications for non-profit organizations, dabbled in freelance writing and written and illustrated a children’s book. Lydia lives in Smithers, B.C. and currently spends most of her time chasing after her four-year-old daughter and two-year-old son.

Ofonime Inyang is a theatre and communication teacher in the University of Uyo, Nigeria. He is a writer, director and essayist with many plays, poems, essays and creative productions to his credit. He is currently the General Secretary of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) and a member of several research and artistic organisations in and outside Nigeria. He is the Chairman of the Departmental Production Committee and coordinates the Play Production Season in the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Uyo.

Emily McGiffin is a postdoctoral fellow at York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies. Her work on South African oral poetry has appeared in Green Letters and Third World Thematics and is forthcoming as a book tentatively titled Land, Labour, and Poetry in the Making and Unmaking of Apartheid South Africa. She lives in Hazelton, BC.

Michelle Vander Wal is an elementary school teacher in southwestern Ontario. After gaining a BA in North American archaeology, Michelle pursued a Master of Theological Studies in Early Christian History. Finding a teaching job that kept the same hours as her three children led her to complete a B.Ed. as a second career. Michelle enjoys teaching social studies in her classroom and educating a new generation of Canadians to appreciate a wide variety of cultures and ask critical questions about their world.

Erica McCollum finished her doctorate in sociology from UBC last year. She also obtained her MA in Adult Education and Community Development from the University of Toronto where she studied participatory governance in the Toronto Community Housing Corporation. She studies culture, political participation and social psychology and is currently working on publishing articles from her work on culture and political participation. She is also focusing on being a new mom with her six-month-old baby, Taykla. She lives in Smithers, BC, where she loves to get out cross-country skiing and hiking.

Erica McCollum

Moe Kafer recently opened Roadhouse Restaurant in Smithers with her sister after spending 17 years in England working as a food photographer and filmmaker. Her award-winning photography captured not just food, but the people who created it and the places that inspired the flavours; she created beautiful culinary narratives that brought to life the culture of food by illustrating the ingredients and prepared dishes, the settings in which they were inspired and prepared, and the people who cook them: chefs, cooks, food producers, restaurants, hotels, markets or locals. Moe takes a photojournalistic approach to her food photography and films, using primarily natural light and highlighting the beauty of the food, working both in-studio and on-location to create high-impact visuals for advertising, publishing and editorial clients. See more of her work at www.moekafer.photoshelter.com.

Trevor Jang is a writer based in Vancouver. His investigative journalism focused on Indigenous issues and communities has appeared in Discourse Media, B.C. Business magazine, CBC Indigenous, Reveal from the Centre for Investigative Reporting and the National Observer. Trevor was a recipient of the 2016 CBC Indigenous Fellowship through the Canadian Journalism Foundation and a chosen participant of the 2017 Literary Journalism Residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. He is a mix of Chinese-Canadian and Wet'suwet'en Nation descent. See more of his work at www.trevorjang.com.

When asked, Christine Bruce—who currently lives and works in Witset (formerly Moricetown)—describes herself as the "village cheerleader." Witset has a long history of colonization and trauma, but the members are working hard to find their past while plugging into the future. Inspired, Christine tells their stories through a celebratory lens. As the Communications Coordinator, her role entails sharing Witsuwit’en news and events through a wide range of media including a monthly newsletter, all social media outlets, a Flickr page, a blog, and until recently, a weekly spoken word broadcast on CICK 93.9 FM. This year, she’s registered for a Community Economic Development course at Simon Fraser University, where she hopes to improve her skills as a cheerleader and a storyteller.

Tyler McCreary is an assistant professor in the Department of Geography at Florida State University. His research focuses on how Indigenous-settler negotiations shape the governance of northern resources, labour markets, and communities.