FOUNDER AND MANAGING DIRECTOR
"Taanshi, Larissa dishinikaashoon. I carry Métis ancestry from Penetanguishene, and Afro-Carribbean ancestry from Jamaica. I most often lead and contribute to contracts and services that centre anti-racism, climate justice, restorative practice, and decolonized engagement."
HERE'S A QUICK OVERVIEW OF THEIR PROFILE.
She / Her
Afro-Indigenous, Woman, Disabled, Racialized, Indigenous, Black
Mohkinstsis (Calgary, Alberta)
English, French, Michif-Cree
Anti-Racism, Climate Justice, Race-Based Data Collection, Public Policy and Governance, Restorative Practices and Conflict Resolution, Global Development, Youth Engagement, Indigenous Engagement, Decolonization
Policy Advisor for Ontario Anti-Racism Directorate and Ontario Ministry of Energy, Indigenous Grant Coordinator at Alberta Non-Profit, Indigenous Policy Advisor at York University
A SHORT BIOGRAPHY
SOME REASONS WHY THEY'RE ON OUR TEAM.
Larissa is a restorative circle keeper, published Indigenous and anti-racism researcher, award-winning ribbon skirt artist, and proudly passes on Métis and Jamaican ancestry to her daughter, Zyra. She is the Founder of Future Ancestors Services, a youth-led professional services social enterprise that advances equity and climate justice through lenses of ancestral accountability and anti-racism.
Under Larissa's leadership and since their launch in April 2020, the organization has mobilized +$20K in donations for anti-racist and climate justice initiatives. Larissa and her team seek to increase their clients' capacity to honour people and Planet through their minds, work, and spaces, and do so while leveraging decolonized and Indigenized approaches to 'doing business.' Among their +140 diverse clients are small youth-led collectives and non-profits; Canada's most influential law firms and publishing houses; and the highest offices of Canadian government.
Larissa graduated from York University with a Bachelor of Arts in International Development and Communication Studies in June 2018, Summa Cum Laude, with 2-year-old Zyra on her hip. After experiences such as starting a library in Accra, Ghana, studying international law and volunteering in Istanbul, Turkey, and representing her university at several global United Nations events, Larissa redirected her efforts to home. She led several anti-racism and Indigenous research initiatives at the university, and shortly after brought this experience to Ontario’s Ministry of Energy and Ontario’s Anti-Racism Directorate as a policy advisor; the 2018 G7 as an expert advisor and youth delegate; and many of her related volunteer roles. Larissa's experience has led to her specializations in raced-based data collection, Indigenous and anti-racism research, accessibility, restorative circle keeping, restorative practice and conflict resolution, climate justice, and public policy.
Through programs such as the CohortX Climate Justice, the Action Canada, and the Youth Climate Lab FutureXChange fellowships, and now the FIreweed Fellowship, Larissa continues her learning of Northern Indigenous climate knowledge, climate policy, anti-racism opportunities in environmentalism, and doing business with traditional and decolonized approaches.
BEYOND THE BIOGRAPHY Q+A.
Why do you do what you do?
By prioritizing equity and climate justice in my work and life, I am striving for the just futures I and my communities have defined and continue to defend. I leverage Indigenous teachings of future ancestry to frame our ways of being because it provides a narrative by which we can all understand ourselves as being accountable to the actions, inactions, faults, and resiliency of our ancestors, while also finding collective power in our agency to act with impact as future ancestors.
How does your lived experience and identity contribute to your qualification as a service deliverer?
What I do is an extension of who I am, which is someone shaped by their culture, ancestral love, and values of Earth and community. I am a mixed urban-Indigenous woman of Métis ancestry from Penetanguishene, Ontario and Afro-Caribbean ancestry from Jamaica. I pass this ancestry on to my daughter, Zyra Nova Hunchak.
My lived experience as an Indigenous and Black woman; a survivor of sexual violence and poverty; a person living with a chronic pain disability; having lived in both rural and urban settings; and as a young mother gives me the genuine capacity to carry out my responsibilities as a future ancestor with unique insight and consideration. The perspectives I carry and amplify are frequently underrepresented in the environmental movement in what is currently as Canada and the professional services sector- a reality I am too often confronted with. As of late, my role as Founder and Managing Director at Future Ancestors Services Inc. has become my most significant vessel of action in response to this reality.
What does it mean to you to act as a future ancestor?
We are all future ancestors, and we all play a part in shaping the future the next generations will inherit.
When I look at my daughter, Zyra, I see our future generations personified, I see our ancestors personified. When I am on the land, I see our future generations personified, I see our ancestors personified. To be a future ancestor, to me, means seeking to connect with our ancestors and to understand the consequences of their actions and inactions. It also means actively allowing this insight to inform one's personal actions, with the understanding that our actions and inactions will have consequences on our future generations.
I've gathered many of my teachings about future ancestry from Métis, Annishinaabe, Cree, and Blackfoot teachings and Elders; however, I have seen these teachings reflected in every Indigenous community I've encountered around the globe.
As per my teachings, my work as a future ancestor begins and ends with climate justice. Climate action cannot be equitable or sustainable without climate justice; the physical consequences of environment and climate change cannot be removed from the social and political implications and causes. Climate justice means that climate action done on any of the globe’s Indigenous lands must centre Indigenous Peoples, knowledge systems, and sovereignty, and the lived experiences of and barriers to equity-seeking groups. Climate justice is also intrinsically tied to the decolonization of Indigenous identities and the recognition of African indigeneity; the strength of our ability to connect with ancestors, land, and our inherent Indigenous rights is determinant of environmental sustainability. It is with this understanding that I move forward with my work and advocacy.
THEIR WORK STATUS WILL GIVE YOU A GENERAL IDEA OF THEIR AVAILABILITY AND CAPACITY.
Accepting Some Contracts, Booking 4 Months in Advance