Bios of speakers

(in alphabetical order)

for conference schedule and logistics, go here

The Beehive Collective: The Beehive Collective is an all volunteer non-profit graphics workshop who’s mission is to cross pollinate the grassroots by creating iconic imagery that can be used as popular education and organizing tools. They create graphic narrative murals that tell stories of neo-colonisation, corporate globalisation and grassroots resistance using metaphors illustrated in pen and ink. www.beehivecollective.org

Sergio Campusano, leader of the Diaguita Descent Community Los Huasco Altinos in Chile.

Since he assumed the role of president, Sergio has been fighting against the greed of the mining corporations and the local agriculture companies in order to maintain the rights of his People. He has participated pressing charges in countless times even against the Chilean State and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. He’s conscious they’re fighting not only to represent the living, but the ancestral thought of preservation of the ecosystem for the entire world, for the children of us all. In this clear idea is impregnated the principles of AUTO-DESTINY, AUTONOMY, and the right of the indigenous peoples of AUTODETERMINATION.

Ulises García is a human right activist from Perú.  He became a community leader in Tambogrande Peru and known for his work throughout Peru and in a number of countries in Latin America after the assassination of his father Godofredo Garcia Baca in march 2001.

Ulises’ father was the leader of the main opposition to a Canadian mega-“development” mining project, owned by the Canadian mining company Manhattan Minerals , and was a beloved leader of the community of Tambogrande.

Since the assassination, Ulises Garcia continued to lead and support the struggle of his community of Tambogrande, as well as other communities in Latin America , for the right to self determination and the right to maintain their sustainable agriculture lifestyles.

Tambogrande remains a symbolic case as it was the first community to hold its own referendum and successfully expel a powerful global mining company.  Ulises has traveled and continues to work with Indigenous communities throughout Latin America to promote referendums in mining conflict areas.

Ulises currently resides in Canada with his family and remains active in raising awareness about the issues related to the environmental and development harms and human rights violations caused by mining projects.  He is the founder of a grassroots organization called Tropico Seco, which focuses on the promotion of peaceful resistance and the holding of community and municipal referendums in Latin America concerning development initiatives.  Tropico Seco also supports community controlled development projects such as tree planting projects.

Leah Henderson brings campaign, organizing, and non hierarchal leadership training experience gained over three years as the lead organizer on ForestEthics’ successful Ontario Boreal campaign. Leah was also co-founder of EDAN, Alberta’s grassroots independent earth justice network, and one of the first to focus on Tar Sands. Leah has worked with community activists in Six Nations, Grassy Narrows, and Ardoch First Nations.

Cleve Higgins got involved in the opposition to Canadian mining companies a couple years ago through the Montreal section of the Mexican Frente Amplio Opositor (FAO). He is now working with the McGill research group for the Investigation of Canadian mining in Latin America (MICLA) to finish his undergradate thesis on institutional invesment in Canadian gold mining companies. On May 10th he’ll be staking a mining claim on Mount Royal, and then heading to southern Mexico to make connections with the growing opposition to Canadian mining in that part of the continent.

Alex Hundert is co-founder of Aw@l, one of Ontario’s most active and growing grassroots independent activist groups. Alex has been a pillar in leading a solidarity campaign to support Ardoch, Six Nations and Grassy Narrows in Ontario. Alex recently helped found The Kitchner-Waterloo Center for Social Justice– a community convergence space for activism and street involved youth.

Tsering Lama is the National Director of Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) Canada, a grassroots non-profit advocacy group of students and young people comprising of 40 chapters in schools and universities, and 4000 members across Canada.  Through advocacy work, education and high-profile non-violent direct action, SFT Canada campaigns for the Tibetan people’s fundamental rights for freedom and independence from Chinese rule.  One of SFT Canada’s key campaigns is targeting Canadian mining companies that have lead the recent foreign gold rush into Tibet.

Marjolaine Lapointe is a mother of two, auntie to many, and a teacher with Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB. She enjoys beadwork, singing, and her passion is Indigenous Language and Culture revitalisation.

Mireille Lapointe is the Co-chief of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation. She has been a teacher for 32 years,and Has been involved in anti-nuclear issues forever and with Robertsville for the last 2 years. Rights and fairness for Indigenous peoples is her life and passion.

Allan Lissner is an independent documentary photographer, journalist, painter, and graphic designer based in Toronto, Canada. Born in Denmark to a Danish father and a Philippine-Canadian mother, Allan was raised in Ethiopia, Liberia, USA, Nepal, Lithuania, Denmark, Jordan, Bangladesh, and Canada. Some of the organizations Allan has done work with include Amnesty International, GlobalAware Independent Media, Oxfam Canada, Make Poverty History, Norwegian Church Aid Tanzania, the Sierra Club, the United Nations Development Program, and the United Nations Women’s Association in Bangladesh. His photo project, “Someone Else’s Treasure”, is an ongoing multimedia documentary project which brings to light some of the experiences of people around the world – including the Philippines, Tanzania, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Chile, and Canada – whose lives have been impacted by the global mining industry.

Tundu Lissu is a Tanzanian lawyer and activist, campaigning on behalf of the human rights and socio-economic interests of rural communities. Between 1999 and 2002 he was a Research Fellow at the Washington DC-based World Resources Institute (WRI) where he researched environmental policy and the politics of natural resource management and their impacts on rural rights and livelihoods.

He is well known in Tanzania for his political activism. He was at the forefront of the struggle to protect coastal communities against industrial shrimp farming in the Rufiji Delta in 1997-98. Since 1999 he has been at the forefront of the struggle by communities affected by large-scale industrial mining in Tanzania. He has written, exposed and campaigned widely against the rights abuses of the large-scale mining sector and economic exploitation and social dislocation caused by it. He has personally defended hundreds of villagers and community leaders persecuted for their opposition to the way foreign mining companies operate.

Bob Lovelace, representative of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation

Bob Lovelace was born into a line of Tslagi Indians through his great grandparents Mungle, grandfather, and mother, a heritage he honours. Bob attended cultural school as a child, joined AIM for several years while at University, and in Fall 1979 joined AAFN’s Honourary Chief Harold Perry to research, negotiate, and then launch an uncompromising legal defence of the wild rice stands near Ardoch Algonquin land. He has stood strong with many allies and friends in this “Rice War.” For nearly 25 years Bob has remained a steadfast and determined representative for the Algonquin communities of Ardoch, Sharbot Lake and many others, seeking to invigorate a sense of dignity and freedom in all Algonquin Peoples . . . Bob is a teacher to those wishing to learn more about tradition and ceremony. He is in addition an eloquent spokesman for Native rights, utilizing both English and Algonquin languages.

Lovelace is most well-known outside the Ardoch Algonquin community for his stand against uranium mining, for which he incarcerated in 2008 with no objection from the Province of Ontario at the time.

Mama D [Cree/Métis /Jewish] [Needah Marie Maskwa-Fortune], is also the artist previously known as Donna Marchand. She is a Horizon Dancer, lawyer, educator and lover of cats. She has been involved for the last 12 years in the battle for complete transparency in human production and searching for life in the age of genetic engineering. Confusing? Of course.

Bodia Macharia an active member of the GSU Social Justice Commitee. She was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo where she spent most of her early life. She is PhD candidate at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include examining various aspects of subjectivity in contemporary francophone literature of black diaspora. She has authored articles and presented communications on Congolese women, gendered resistance, identity politics, myths and symbols, as well as narratologic analysis in postcolonial narratives. She wrote “Political Economy of the Assassination of Patrice Emery Lumumba: The Implication of Belgium, the CIA and the US” as the capstone thesis to earn her Bachelor degree from the Applied Political economy track of International Studies at the University of Arizona.

Mike Mercredi was Born in Fort McMurray, AB and raisied in Fort Chipweyan AB. He spent his youth on the land hunting, fishing and trapping in the Summer and certain weeks in Winter.

He was previously employed by Syncrude before he quit and got in campaigns against the Tar Sands.

Mike now works for the Athabasca Chipewyan FN (ACFN) in their IRC department as a GIS techinical specialist, was a Traditional Environment Knowledge (TEK) and Traditional Land Use Occupations (TLUO) facilitator. He will speak on the frontline struggles in Fort Chipewyan including a plague of tar sands related cancer.

Christian Pena was born in Concepcion Chile before emigrating to Toronto with his family after the coup of 1973. He teamed up with creative partner and actress Michelle Morgan  and began the “Pascua Lama Project”(tentative title) and spent the better part of a year living in the affected communities by this project while traveling throughout the country.“Combing photography and filmmaking for me has always been a tool to explore and understand the human condition and learn about my own history. Each of my projects to date have combined this approach and in each I become more an active participant in the story I tell”

Cecilia Rosalia Paiva, born of the Quechua Nation, is an independent

poet, writer and journalist. Active in positions reflecting her

concern for social justice especially for indigenous people, she lives

in Toronto and is active in the Venezuela-Canada Coalition and a

member of the Pachamama Association.

Arthur Petahtegoose, Former Chief of the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek or the Whitefish Lake First Nation located near Sudbury, site of the biggest mines in Canada.Under his leadership, the Nation recently launched a $550 billion lawsuit against the Canadian federal government and the Ontario government, on the basis that the area of the Sudbury mines belongs to the Nation, as does the revenue generated by their operations for the last century. The Nation is also suing the two governments for health and environmental damage.

Justin Podur is a writer and editor for ZNet (www.zmag.org), part of Z Communications, an alternative media organization dedicated to political analysis and support for movements for social change. He has reported from Haiti, Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Israel/Palestine, and Mexico. He has also written on South Asia and North America. He has written for Z Magazine, Frontline (India), New Politics, New Left Review, rabble.ca, and other publications and is part of the Pueblos en Camino collective (www.en-camino.org). He runs a blog (www.killingtrain.com). He is based in Toronto.

Judy Rebick is the CAW-Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy at Ryerson University in Toronto. Judy was the founding publisher of rabble.ca, Canada’s most popular progressive online publication. She is the author of several books, the most recent of which is Ten Thousand Roses: The Making of a Feminist Revolution. For most the 1990s, Judy was the host of a national TV show on CBC Newsworld. Previously, she was president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, Canada’s largest women’s group.

Lorraine Rekmans was born in Elliot Lake, Ontario. She is of Ojibwa-French descent and is a member of the Serpent River First Nation. Lorraine has a background in journalism. She published an Aboriginal newspaper in Northern Ontario, and has also worked as a reporter at the Elliot Lake Standard. As the former Executive Director of the National Aboriginal Forestry Association (NAFA), Lorraine worked on national and international forest policy. Lorraine assisted in writing a number of international declarations dealing with both uranium and forestry, and attended the World Uranium Hearing at Salzburg, Austria, as a witness to the effects of uranium mining on the environment. She also co-chaired a dialogue between non-governmental organizations, indigenous peoples and nation states at the United Nations Forum on Forests.

Tanya Roberts-Davis is currently working on a publication profiling women’s experiences from communities impacted by– and resisting–mining projects, based in India with the “International Women and Mining Network”. She has worked on campaigns against oil, gas, mining and dam developments while based in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and supported a campaign to expose the ecological and social devastation caused by the Canadian company, Uranium One, in South Africa. When at home in Toronto, she is involved in collectives organizing with im/migrant, worker, and First Nations communities, and has been active in campaigns against Canadian mining companies.

Malcolm Rogge is a filmmaker and writer based in Toronto. His debut feature documentary film, Under Rich Earth, had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. After four years studying theatre, philosophy and literature in Winnipeg, Malcolm completed a Masters in Environmental Studies at York University and a Bachelor of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He melds his passion for art and politics using diverse approaches in film and video. His experimental, short fiction and non-fiction films and videos have been exhibited in festivals and galleries across Canada. Rogge has also worked for human rights and environmental organizations in Canada and Ecuador, and he is on the editorial board of a national magazine devoted to politics and social justice.

Grahame Russell is a non-practising lawyer and global human rights and development activist.  Education:  University of Guelph [BA in Latin America & Development studies]; University of Ottawa [LLB, Faculty of Law].  For over 10 years, Grahame lived in Mexico and Central America, working with grassroots organizations and NGOs on environment, development and human rights issues.  Since 1995, Grahame is co-director of Rights Action (www.rightsaction.org, info@rightsaction.org) that raises funds for community-controlled development, environment and human rights projects in Guatemala, Honduras, Chiapas, El Salvador and Oaxaca; and that carries out education and activism work in the USA and Canada related to global human rights, enviro- and development issues.

Dr. Stephen Scharper is Assistant Professor, Centre for the Study of

Religion, University of Toronto. His field is eco-theology and

liberation theology. He is the author of numerous book on these

subjects. He writes a column on religion and the environment for the

Toronto Star. He has written on First Nations resistance to mining and

respect for Mother Earth.

Sakura Saunders is an editor for protestbarrick.net, a news site that networks organizations and community groups organized against Barrick Gold around the world. Formerly staff at CorpWatch.org and a freelance journalist, her radio work has aired on Sprouts Radio, CorpWatch Radio and Democracy Now, while her written work has been published regularly in CorpWatch, The Dominion, and Fault Lines as well as other publications.

Steven Schnoor is in the latter phases of a PhD in Communication & Culture at York/Ryerson Universities, and teaches in the Communication Studies department at Concordia.  For several years, he has been working on the issue of Canadian mining companies operating in Central America — an interest that began in January 2005, when, while working in Guatemala with a Canadian environmental NGO, Steven was mistaken for a rep of a Canadian mining company and found his life in danger because of it.  He began to explore why people were so angry, and has since been working with video to explore and expose the dilemmas that a number of Central American communities are facing when confronted with a Canadian metal mine in their backyards.  Film work includes “Desalojo (Eviction)” and “All That Glitters Isn’t Gold: A Story of Exploitation and Resistance.” Steven is presently working on a larger documentary looking at the broader implications of mining in the surrounding regions.

Jethro Tulin, CEO, Akali Tange, concerning the Porgera mine, Enga Province, Papua New Guinea.

Native to the rocky highlands of Papua New Guinea (PNG), Jethro Tulin is a popular organiser and founder of the Akali Tange Association (ATA), a human rights organization documenting abuses at the Porgera mine, owned by Toronto’s Barrick Gold.

Jethro has been organizing within and outside the Barrick’s Porgera mine since its inception (then owned by Placer Dome. In 1989, he registered Porgera’s first mine workers union and became its first secretary. Years later, after spending time abroad and involved in other aspects of Papua New Guinea’s nascent union movement, Jethro returned to Porgera to find the situation with the mine and the surrounding villages had worsened dramatically. So, in 2003, he founded the ATA, which has operated in Porgera with an all-volunteer staff and material support from friends, victims’ relatives, and even local businessmen and officials.

Salimah Valiani is a researcher in the areas of world historical political economy, and international development. She has worked as a policy analyst and advocate in non-governmental organizations in Canada and South Africa, as well as in the Canadian trade union movement. Her publications include academic articles, institutional papers, and poetry collections – reflecting her work and other experiences in North America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

While serving as ‘Researcher and Educator’ in the Global Economic Justice Program of KAIROS – Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, she collaborated with partner organizations in Indonesia, India and the Philippines, advocating in the areas of mining and human rights, international trade and investment, and women workers’ rights.

Her work at the Alternative Information and Education Centre in Cape Town involved research and advocacy training on the topics of mining and monopoly in the South African economy, the unemployment crisis in South Africa and people-oriented development policy alternatives.

She is currently completing a PhD in Sociology (Carleton University) on the global integration of nursing labour markets.

Cory Wanless is an articling student at Klippensteins Barristers & Solicitors – a small social justice law firm that uses the law to fight for corporate accountability, fairer treatment of aboriginal people, and the protection of the environment.  Currently, Klippensteins represents three Ecuadorians in a lawsuit against Copper Mesa Mining Corporation (and some of its directors) because of alleged human rights abuse committed in connection with a proposed open pit mining project in the could forests of the Ecuadorian Andes and against the Toronto Stock Exchange for providing access to the capital that enabled this abuse.

Cory strongly believes that people (including legal persons) should exist in a way that is respectful of other people and the environment.  He is sad that this is not happening of its own accord.

More information about the case can be found at http://www.ramirezversuscoppermesa.com.

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