FOUNDING DIRECTOR OF ANCESTRAL SERVICES

SAMANTHA MATTERS

"Tansi, Samantha dishiniskaashoon. I am a proud member of the Métis Nation of Alberta. I most often lead and contribute to contracts and services that centre foresight strategy, Indigenous futurisim, restorative practice, and decolonized engagement."

QUICK INFORMATION

HERE'S A QUICK OVERVIEW OF THEIR PROFILE.

PRONOUNS

She / Her

IDENTITIES

Woman, Indigenous

LOCATION

Amiskwaciy Waskahikan (Edmonton)

LANGUAGE

English, Michif-Cree

EXPERTISE

Futurism, Strategic Foresight, Anti-Racism, Restorative Practices and Conflict Resolution, Indigenous Engagement, Youth Engagement, Decolonization, Public Policy and Governance

PAST WORK

Co-founder at The Poison and The Apple, Executive Director at Centre for Indigenous Innovation & Technology, Engagement Coordinator at Government of Alberta, Youth Programming Coordinator at Indigenous Clean Energy

A SHORT BIOGRAPHY

SOME REASONS WHY THEY'RE ON OUR TEAM.

Samantha is an accomplished academic, published Indigenous researcher, and foresight strategist. Sam is a Métis woman with mixed settler identity whose family has roots in the Meadow Lake region of Saskatchewan and central Alberta. She is the Co-founder of The Poison and The Apple, a bilingual non-profit organization that highlights youth-led social-environmental projects and aims to bring under-represented voices to the Canadian environmental sphere. Drawing on her experience from both the public and non-profit sectors, Sam’s foresight work explores possible futures through the lens of Indigenous futurism, ancestry, and equity.

Sam studied at the University of Alberta Augustana Faculty in Camrose, Alberta, Canada where she completed a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science. Graduating with honours, her undergraduate research focused on learning the Indigenous histories and traditional knowledge associated with the Beaver Hills region in Alberta. She worked closely with Cree and Métis elders, and this work was published in the Canadian Journal of Native Studies (2016). In 2014 Samantha received the Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award for this work. She furthered her education in Tkaranto (Toronto) in 2019 where she completed a Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation at OCAD University.

Specializing in Indigenous and decolonizing futures from a Métis perspective, Sam’s graduate research is the first of its kind and was completed in close partnership with the Métis Nation of Ontario. In 2020 this research was awarded the Association of Professional Futurists Student Recognition Award and OCAD University’s Presidential Medal.

Sam began her career working as an Engagement Coordinator in the department of Indigenous Relations at the Government of Alberta where she focused on consultation and engagement around environmental policy development. She left her government role to live and work in Iceland for several months before her career transitioned to the non-profit sector. Sam spent two years working in science outreach at the Telus World of Science - Edmonton. During her time in Toronto, she was also the Executive Director of a young non-profit organization, the Centre for Indigenous Innovation and Technology which aims to address the underrepresentation of Indigenous Peoples in the technology and innovation sectors in Canada.

She represented graduate students on the Board of Governors of OCAD University and was chosen to sit on the University’s Presidential Selection Committee. Recently returning to Edmonton, Samantha is now bringing her commitment to amplifying Indigenous voices to her work with Future Ancestors Services and fellowship roles, including Apathy is Boring’s RISE program and the Next Generation Foresight Practitioners (NGFP) Award Fellowship.

INTERVIEW

BEYOND THE BIOGRAPHY Q+A.

Why do you do what you do?

My work is largely shaped by my identity and lived experience as a Métis woman who grew up in rural Alberta, disconnected from the culture and my Métis kin. As the first of my family to pursue post-secondary education, it was my academic journey that started me down the path of reclaiming my Indigenous identity and becoming re-acquainted with my ancestors. 


I am a researcher, a creator, and a facilitator. While my academic background is diverse, spanning both science and design, my work has always centred on creating space for and amplifying Indigenous voices. I am the Co-founder of The Poison and The Apple, a non-profit organization that aims to bring under-represented voices to the social-environmental sphere in Canada. I am also a foresight strategist and researcher that specializes in Indigenous futures, traditional knowledge, social policy, and ancestry-informed strategy.

Every day I am inspired by my peers, colleagues, mentors and friends that are doing challenging work in equity, decolonization and reconciliation.

I find inspiration in the connection I have with the land and the teachings that have been shared with me. My work is very much a reflection of my journey of reclaiming my Métis identity. 

How does your lived experience and identity contribute to your qualification as a service deliverer?

My lived experience of growing up in rural Alberta outside of a small agricultural town combined with my identity as a white-passing Métis woman has given me deep insight into the complexities of identity and the impact of privilege. In reclaiming Métis identity, I had to come to terms with all aspects of my identity, including the fact that my settler family purchased the land on which I grew up and became deeply connected with. I had to face questions such as who was dispossessed of their traditional territory when my settler ancestors arrived? 

Coming to understand the Métis as a people that walk between two worlds has allowed me to explore the intersections and tensions in my work with compassion. Continually assessing how the privilege that I hold as a white-passing Indigenous woman has impacted the trajectory of my life underscores my responsibility to transfer the benefits of my privilege to those who lack it. With these understandings, I am able to situate myself contextually in the work that I do and explore intersectionality in my research and training to develop shared insights and meaning with my clients. 

What does it mean to you to act as a future ancestor? 

For me, being a future ancestor means navigating the space in time that exists between our ancestors and our descendants in a good way. It means negotiating a relationship between the past, present and future simultaneously. 

As future ancestors, we are accountable to the teachings, actions and intentions of those who came before us. It is up to us to learn about our ancestry, and in some cases, re-build lost connections. As future ancestors, we also hold a responsibility to share our learnings with our descendants and the generations that will follow, and ensure that the world they inherit is one in which they can thrive. 

Acting as a future ancestor also means recognizing the privilege we hold in our ability to connect with and learn from our ancestors. It means that we must acknowledge that there are many across what is currently known as Canada, whose ancestral accountability was stolen from them. As future ancestors, we carry an understanding that rediscovering ancestry can be a painful and disorienting experience, and we have a responsibility to create safe spaces for the healing and regeneration that comes with this rediscovery.

CONNECTING

THEIR WORK STATUS WILL GIVE YOU A GENERAL IDEA OF THEIR AVAILABILITY AND CAPACITY.

WORK STATUS

Accepting Contracts Full-Time

TIME ZONE

MST

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