Stay up to date on the amazing work Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies alumni are doing!

Please see our Alumni pages on the First Nations and Endangered Languages (FNEL) website or the First Nations and Indigenous Studies (FNIS) website.

Get to know our 2020/21 Graduates!

View and download the 2021 CIS Grad Colouring Page, created by FNIS alum, Alexa McPhee.

FNIS Graduate of November 2020

Taralynn Morgan

Taralynn Morgan is Gitxsan and grew up on the Gitanmaax reserve. She completed a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Psychology and minor in First Nations and Indigenous Studies in November of 2020. She is also mom to six month old Bailey. Her favourite class with CIS was Indigenous Feminisms with Dr. Dory Nason. Currently, Taralynn is pursuing a Master of Education degree in counselling and hopes to work in suicide prevention. Congratulations, Taralynn!

FNIS Graduates of 2020

Jessica Adamson

Jessica Adamson is descended from both the Skatin Nation as well as the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council, and has grown up on xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and Sel̓íl̓witulh territories her entire life. Jessica is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts with a major in First Nations and Indigenous Studies and a minor in First Nations and Endangered Languages. A highlight of Jessica’s degree is her time in Tūrangawaewae, Pōkai Whenua through an exchange with the University of Otago in Ootepoti. Before pursuing grad school, Jessica will take time for rest and relaxation. Congratulations, Jessica!

Emma Ettinger

Emma is an agender anarchist, passionate about cooking and cats, and is graduating with a First Nations and Indigenous Studies major and Political Science minor. They are originally from Treaty 7 territory, so-called southern Alberta, and now live on Qayqayt lands. A highlight of their degree has been the opportunity to learn from such engaging and passionate instructors in the First Nations and Indigenous Studies department, who have made them a better thinker, and a better person. After graduating, Emma will continue to work towards their goal of realizing futures beyond settler colonialism. Congratulations, Emma!

Henry Guinn

Henry is a settler of English and Welsh descent raised in Memphis, TN in Chickasaw territory, graduating with a double major in First Nations and Indigenous Studies and Geography. A highlight of his degree was learning and laughing with his practicum cohort. For his practicum project, Henry worked with First Nations Housing and Infrastructure Council to develop a lit review about current conditions of Indigenous-led housing projects and renewable energies. Since graduating, Henry plans to continue studying music, and music sharing traditions like jazz, blues, and swing. Congratulations, Henry!

Sydney Hamilton

Sydney Hamilton is Métis-Cree, with ancestral ties to Lac la Biche, Alberta. She grew up on Treaty 7 territory and is graduating with a First Nations and Indigenous Studies major and Political Science minor. Sydney decided to major in First Nations and Indigenous Studies because the classroom felt like a community. Though practicum was hard, the highlights of her degree are from those meetings and the different stories that were told. Another highlight was her Indigenous Feminisms course with Dr. Dory Nason, which made her understand who she is as an Indigenous woman. Congratulations, Sydney!

Ben Lickerman

Ben Lickerman is a third-generation settler, raised on the traditional territory of the Piscataway Conoy Confederacy in what is today known as Maryland, USA, and graduating with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in First Nations and Indigenous Studies. Ben first got involved with CIS through the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language courses with Larry and Fiona. In his third year, he was part of the Reconciliation Studies program through the Haida Gwaii Institute. Next up, Ben will be unplugging and baking bread in the Yukon for the summer! Congratulations, Ben!

Deirdre Morrison

Deirdre grew up in Aurora, Ontario. She is grateful for the support of family and friends, without whom she would not have been able to earn her degree. Highlights of her undergraduate degree include making memories with her peers in the Indigenous Leadership Collective, participating in marches and going to the beach in between classes. For her practicum project, she worked with Carnegie Community Centre. Up next, Deirdre is taking the year off to study for the LSAT, work and volunteer. Congratulations, Deirdre!

Ellen Preston

Ellen Preston is graduating with a Major in Canadian Studies and a Minor in First Nations and Indigenous Studies. Congratulations, Ellen!

Sarah Russ

Sarah Russ is a member of the Haida Nation whose family is from Old Masset, and is graduating with a major in Anthropology and a minor in First Nations and Indigenous Studies. Some highlights have been having a zoom famous cat and the two short films she created for Decolonizing Documentaries. Her advice to future students is to take chances on courses you’re scared to take or think are out of your comfort zone. After graduation, Sarah will be packing up and moving to the Netherlands to pursue a Master’s degree in Museum Studies at the University of Amsterdam. Congratulations, Sarah!

Joshua Shepherd

Joshua is a Canadian settler of mixed-Chilean and English descent graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Environmental Sciences and minoring in First Nations and Indigenous Studies. One of the highlights of his degree was being part of the team that produced the Journal of First Peoples’ Writing in 2017. Joshua feels very lucky to be one of the few people in his family to have had the opportunity to attend university. Congrats, Josh!

Hannah Stanley

Hannah is of mixed Celtic, Black, and Jewish ancestry and is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Political Science and a minor in First Nations and Indigenous Studies. A highlight of her degree was being a part of a collaborative research team supervised by Dr. Sarah Hunt, titled “Accessing & Practicing Culturally-Safe Prenatal, Postpartum & Maternal Care for Indigenous Peoples in Canada”, where she had the opportunity to hear stories directly from mothers, aunties, sisters, birth keepers and advocates. Hannah will be starting her MA in Political Science at UBC in September 2021, focusing on Reproductive Justice, migration, and colonial policies that specifically target disabled, trans, queer and BIPOC women & youth in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centres. Congratulations, Hannah!

Keirra Webb

Keirra is a white settler with English and Scottish ancestry graduating with a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English (honours) and a minor in First Nations and Indigenous Studies. The shining moments of Keirra’s undergraduate degree are the people she has met along the way: those who braved the heat, hostility, and history of the empire during In Search of Indigenous London, the Musqueam community for welcoming Keirra to Musqueam 101 through her work with CTLT's Indigenous Initiatives, and all the rest who brought a smile to her face over the years. Keirra foresees herself pursuing a master's degree related to higher education within a social justice framework, but until then she will take time to breathe and be. Congratulations, Keirra!

Eric Zheng

Eric Zheng is a settler of Chinese ancestry graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in First Nations and Indigenous Studies and a minor in History along with a de-facto minor in Japanese Language and Culture Studies. Eric particularly enjoyed participating in the Haida Gwaii Semesters program, and the positivity and humour of his entire research practicum class this year. Eric will be returning to UBC in the fall for the Bachelor of Education program and in the future plans to become a Social Studies and Japanese language high school teacher. Congratulations, Eric!

Get to know our 2019/2020 Graduates!

View and download the 2020 CIS Grad Colouring Page, created by FNIS alum, Alexa McPhee.

FNIS Graduate of November 2020

Taralynn Morgan is Gitxsan and grew up on the Gitanmaax reserve. She was drawn to Indigenous studies as she found passion in reading the works of powerful Indigenous people, and found that the more she learned about the past the most she understood the current struggles of her people. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in FNIS, and is currently completing a Master’s of Education in Counselling. Further, in November 2020 she also became a new mother - Congratulations Taralynn!

FNEL Graduates of 2020

Ben Chung

Ben Chung is a non-Indigenous graduate of CIS of Korean and Ashkenazi heritages. He double majored both in FNEL and Linguistics and has interests in language pedagogy, minority language politics and rights, and morphology. On a more personal note, he enjoys cooking and entertaining his small sausage dog, Sundae (pictured).

Ben's ongoing work with the Haíɫzaqv Nation has been transformative, and in particular, the directed studies he undertook with Hereditary Chief and speaker Chester Lawson in his last year was especially important to him. Ben is proud to have been able to be his student and friend throughout their work together and of course, afterwards too! Wálas ǧiáxsix̌a ǧáǧḿ ̣p!


Vanessa Derenzio

Vanessa began her degree as an Anthropology major, but fell in love with FNEL along the way. When FNEL became an official program, Vanessa was very excited and decided to major in both Anthropology and FNEL.

Vanessa's favourite FNEL courses were hən̓q̓əmin̓əm. By the end of the third year, she felt so comfortable with the setting and it allowed her to learn a completely foreign language (in the beginning) in such a positive setting. She really missed the classes when it was over.


Jade LaFontaine

Jade is Salish on her father’s side from Spuzzum First Nations in B.C., and Algonquin on her Mother’s side from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg in Quebec. She is currently completing a Master’s Degree in Second Language Education at McGill University and plans to pursue her PhD at UBC afterwards. Jade graduated with a major in FNEL in November 2019 and is the first official graduate of the FNEL program.



Laura Griffin

Laura graduated from UBC with a major in Linguistics and a minor in FNEL. During Laura’s studies at UBC, the intersection of language reclamation, pedagogy, and digital tools grew her passion. She would like to thank Dr. Patricia Shaw for her help, guidance, and support during her undergraduate journey.


Annie Guerin

Annie graduated with a major in FNEL. She was born and raised in Vancouver on the traditional, unceded and ancestral territory of the Musqueam peoples. Her son has been with her on this journey and she can still remember bringing him in his pajamas to many of both Mark and Daisy’s classes, to which they made her feel incredibly welcome and accepted as single mom and student, which was something she had never expected from a university program. Some of the highlights have been learning some hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language from Larry Grant and her fellow FNEL students.

FNIS Graduates of 2020

Sarah Ann Bednash

Sarah Ann Bednash is a Polish and German settler and was raised on the traditional territory of the Semiahmoo people - residing now on unceded xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, səl̓ilwətaɁɬ, Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw territories. Sarah graduated from UBC with a major in English Literature and a minor in FNIS, but will be continuing at UBC in the Fall to pursue a career in Education. Sarah is also currently working with CIS as the Communications Assistant.



Tiana Bone

Tiana is Anishinaabe from Keeseekoowenin Ojibway First Nation in Treaty 2 Territory, and grew up urban in Dauphin Manitoba. She graduated with a double-major in FNIS and English Literature. In September Tiana will be starting her MA in Social Justice Education at the University of Toronto. Tiana also worked as  a WorkLearn student for AISA (previously ASA) during her final year.

Tiana says "chi-miigwech to everyone who helped and guided [her] along the way to achieving this degree. [She] is very grateful to have met and worked with the CIS community while studying at UBC."


Kimyah Bridges

Kimyah is from the shíshálh Nation, she grew up on the Sunshine Coast, and moved to Vancouver to pursue her academic career in First Nations and Indigenous Studies at UBC. Kimyah is grateful for the meaningful relationships and teachings she has had over the course of the last few years. Kimyah looks forward to future career and academic endeavours and continuing to uphold, honour and learn from her teachings at UBC FNIS. She sends well wishes to all those she met along the way, and all those who guided her to get to where she is today.


Julia Burnham

Julia Burnham is an Acadian settler, and grew up on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of Credit First Nation (Oakville, ON), and has spent the past five years living on unceded Musqueam territory. Julia is graduating with a major in Canadian Studies and a minor in FNIS. Additionally, she plays an active role in campus governance, serving as AMS Vice President Academic and University Affairs and as a UBC Senator. In September, Julia will begin an MA in Educational Studies at UBC, focusing on power, identity and higher education.

Julia's favourite course during her FNIS degree was FNIS 310 with Dr. Dory Nason.  She says "the course was really transformative for [her], and gave [her] the foundations in theory that have sparked further interests to pursue in grad studies."


Natalie Cappe

Natalie was born and raised on the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River, now known as Toronto. She is a fourth generation settler of Polish and Russian descent and of Jewish heritage on both her mother's and father's side and is graduating with a major in FNIS. Now that she has completed her undergraduate degree, she hopes to engage in work to alleviate environmental injustices across Turtle Island. Living in BC over the course of her degree has strengthened her appreciation for the environment and her love of outdoor sports.

During Natalie's practicum, she worked with the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) to begin to explore the role of non-medical cannabis use in First Nations communities in BC. She had the opportunity to speak with health care professionals who serve First Nations peoples to get a sense of the therapeutic reasons why non-medical cannabis is used. Some of the reasons include: harm reduction, mitigation of physical pain, management of psychological trauma, and help with sleep.


Andrea Dsouza

Andrea Dsouza is from Bangalore, India and is graduating with a major in FNIS. She will be attending graduate school this fall at the University of Winnipeg to study Indigenous Community Development. Her favourite course was Musqueam 101, which she attributes to Gina Grant’s cooking. In her spare time, Andrea enjoys swimming, crocheting, playing the piano and singing.



Kate Hodgson

Kate Hodgson is a Scottish settler born and raised on unceded Coast Salish territories. Alongside completing an undergrad in First Nations & Indigenous Studies at UBC, she organizes for climate justice with UBCc350 and Our Time Vancouver.


Memegwāns Johnson-Owl

Memegwāns Johnson-Owl is an Anishnaabe-kwe from Sagamok Anishinawbek and Cree from Montreal Lake First Nation, who grew up in Regina Saskatchewan. She majored in FNIS and minored in political science based on her interest in creating better systems for Indigenous communities, whether that be in the field of justice, politics, sexual health, or education. Her goal is to support Indigenous youth and communities in becoming their best-selves. She believes strongly in the strength and capabilities of our people.

During Memegwāns' practicum project, Nurturing Our Own Narratives: Takes from Indigenous Youth-Led Sexual and Reproductive Justice, she was paired with the Native Youth Sexual Health Network (NYSHN). The project encompassed archival work to develop resources and narratives regarding work the NYSHN has done. Included in this was interviewing intergenerational core governance and fire keeping members of NYSHN. The information gathered from these processes then went towards creating an information sheet and an interactive timeline/map that tells some narratives and history of NYSHN, while also acting as an impactful and inspiring resource for future organizations and youth wanting to improve realities of sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice in their own communities.


Beverly Ma

Beverly Ma grew up in an intergenerational diasporic Chinese household, on the unceded homelands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) and Stó:lō (Sto:lo) peoples. She is graduating with a double major in FNIS and Geography, and continues to root her learning in the stories and teachings of her Cantonese ancestors. In her work, Beverly is interested in amplifying counter-colonial narratives of resilience, particularly at the intersections of environmental and racial justice. She is grateful for her time at UBC, and looks forward to upholding what she has witnessed and experienced, in her future educational and career pursuits.


Russell Nesbit

No information is offered at this time.