Our team


LLB, SJD | Academic Director
turpel-lafond@allard.ubc.ca | 604.822.6941

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, Aki-kwe, is the Academic Director of the Centre. She is a Canadian lawyer, former judge, legislative advocate for children’s rights and a professor at UBC’s Allard School of Law. She holds a law degree from Osgoode Hall at York University, a master’s degree in international law from the University of Cambridge, and a doctorate of law from Harvard Law School. As a member of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, Aki-kwe was the first Treaty Indian to be named to the judicial bench in Saskatchewan. She has served as a Representative for Children and Youth for BC, and continues to draft legislation, provide legal advice and speak to all levels of government.


PhD | Director, Digital, Strategic and Indigenous Partnerships
elizabeth.shaffer@ubc.ca | 604.822.0885

Elizabeth Shaffer is the Director, Digital, Strategic & Indigenous Partnerships at the Centre. Prior to joining the IRSHDC, she was Director of Collections at the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, overseeing initiatives focusing on the digitization, preservation, and pedagogical use of Holocaust survivor testimonies and the development of digital systems in support of anti-racism education and exhibition curation on issues of genocide. She holds a Master of Archival Studies degree and PhD from the Information School at UBC. Her current work and research focus on critical inquiry into how information policy, practices and systems emerge and evolve in contemporary digital spaces, with particular attention to social justice issues, impacts of colonialism, and collections that document traumatic human events.



PhD | Assistant Director, Research and Engagement
tricia.logan@ubca | 604.822.9921

Tricia Logan is the head of Research and Engagement at the Centre. Tricia is a Métis scholar with more than 18 years of experience working with Indigenous communities in Canada. She has held roles at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the Aboriginal Healing Foundation and the Legacy of Hope Foundation. She has a Master of Arts in Native Studies from the University of Manitoba, and completed her PhD in History at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her PhD is entitled Indian Residential Schools, Settler Colonialism and Their Narratives in Canadian History. Originally from Kakabeka Falls, Ontario, Tricia has worked with Survivors, completed research on the Métis experience in residential schools, and worked with Métis communities on a Michif language revitalization project.


MLIS | Research and Engagement Strategist

David McAtackney is the Research and Engagement Strategist at the Centre. He is originally from Belfast in Northern Ireland, but has lived and worked on the traditional, ancestral and unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples since 2012. David is a Masters of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) graduate from UBC’s School of Information, and he graduated from this program with a First Nations Curriculum Concentration. In his previous role David was a Research Analyst for over two years with the First Nations Health Authority. Overall, he has worked in a variety of social science and health science research roles on projects with a variety of Indigenous communities and organizations, including with the First Nations and Indigenous Studies department at UBC, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Musqueam First Nation, Gitxsan First Nation, and Cowichan Tribes.



MLIS | Communications Strategist
jessica.woolman@ubc.ca | communications.irshdc@ubc.ca | 604.822.6603

Jessica Woolman is the Communications Strategist at the Centre. She has worked on several exhibitions as part of an annual Indigenous history month awareness campaign at UBC, working with communities and UBC partners. She has served as a consultant for both the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) band office and community members on various communications and marketing related projects, including the development of a series of children’s books. She has held roles at UBC Library and UBC iSchool as a communications and marketing coordinator, and has more than a decade of experience working in libraries. She has a settler background, but has lived on the Musqueam reserve for the past six years.

Records and collections


PhD | Metadata Team Lead

Naomi Lloyd is the Metadata Team Lead and oversees the Centre’s content management system. She has a master’s degree in library and information studies from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and a doctorate in history from UBC. An immigrant to Canada, Naomi is of South African settler ancestry. Naomi recognizes that modern library and archival practice emerged from, and remains indebted to, a colonial context. In her work with systems, records, and metadata, she is committed to representing disruptions to colonial information practices, and is grateful for the guidance of residential school Survivors, Indigenous information professionals and their allies, and Indigenous communities more broadly, in this regard.


MAS | Digital Systems Consultant

Noah Duranseaud is a digital systems consultant at the Centre. Their work is informed by their background in their masters of archival studies and their time as a Finding Aid Writer at the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, where they gained experience working in a facility that focuses on the needs of Survivors. Noah’s focus on the relation between archives and social justice are key elements in the importance of their role at the centre. Noah’s work at the Centre involves research projects using various archives’ digital collections and communicating with the Centre’s collections team.


MAS, MLIS | Digital Systems Consultant

Emily Larson is a Digital Systems Consultant at the Centre, where she focuses on user experience, interactive and emerging technologies, and processing archival materials. She has a MAS and MLIS from the University of British Columbia School of Information. As an information professional, her work centres on the importance of storytelling and the power dynamics of information. She is located in Vancouver on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.


MA, MAS | Archives and Research Consultant

Anne Lindsay is a consultant for the Centre. Currently pursuing a PhD in history at the University of Manitoba, her career has focused on archival primary source research, particularly in areas relating to settler interactions with Indigenous peoples, as well as fur trade-era history. She has worked and continues to work as a researcher for a number of Indigenous communities, including work focusing on the present implications for educational planning that stem from the colonial history of education in specific communities. In addition to this work, she has held positions in archives and research with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba and before that with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and continues to work both formally and informally with individuals trying to locate information about their own or their family’s connections to Residential and Hospital Schools.

Education and programming


MLIS | Research and Community Liaison Librarian

Kim Lawson is the Research and Community Liaison Librarian at the Centre. A member of the Heiltsuk Nation, Kim is involved in community governance work. Her Master’s thesis, “Precious Fragments: First Nations Materials in Archives, Libraries and Museums,” was written to acknowledge Indigenous cultural professionals (archivists, librarians, and knowledge keepers), doing important memory, information and cultural work that was largely unknown outside their communities and undocumented in LIS literature. She was Archivist/ Librarian at the Union of BC Indian Chiefs while finishing her MLIS from UBC iSchool and worked at Xwi7xwa Library (UBC). She sees the interconnectedness of education, cultural humility, and information services as a crucial aspect of Indigenous informatics and community resilience.


Education and Programming Strategist

Shannon Robinson is an Education and Programming Strategist at the Centre. She hails from intersection of Treaty 6 and Treaty 7 territory in Red Deer, Alberta, but holds an undergraduate degree in Art History and First Nations & Indigenous studies from the University of British Columbia. Shannon has worked as a program coordinator for the Native Youth Program, supported public programming at the City of Red Deer and held an internship in Education and Public Programs at the Museum of Anthropology. She appreciates every opportunity to work with and learn from community. She strives to establish pathways for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples to come together in a good way.


BSW | Youth Engagement Strategist

Jess Boon is the Youth Engagement Strategist at the Centre. Jess is a recent graduate from the UBC School of Social Work, and currently also works as a youth worker for the East Side Boxing Club. She previously worked in East Van with youth in or from foster care. Her focus on empowering youth voices and making meaningful accommodations for marginalized youth supports her work at the Centre developing content regarding child welfare and related topics, and creating a youth advisory council.



Administrative Coordinator

paras.deacon@ubc.ca | irshdc.info@ubc.ca | 604.822.6941

Paras Deacon is the Administrative Coordinator at the Centre. With her expertise in project planning and organization, and institutional knowledge about UBC processes, she oversees finance, human resources and administrative tasks for the Centre. She has previously held roles at UBC’s Equity and Inclusion Office and the First Nations House of Learning, and has experience in dealing with multiple stakeholder groups. She holds a Masters in Community Development from UBC, and has a certificate in conflict resolution from the Justice Institute of BC.  


Project Manager 
luc.desmarais@ubc.ca | 604.822.6941

Luc Desmarais is the Project Manager at the Centre. Luc has worked as a museum professional in British Columbia for over 10 years, specializing in artifact collection management, exhibition development, and museum project management. With notable stints at UBC’s Museum of Anthropology and Beaty Biodiversity Museum, the breadth of his experience has allowed him to emerge among the young leaders of Vancouver’s museum scene. Luc’s experience and knowledge on the subject of deaccessioning museum artifacts have led him to developing workshops and best practice procedures for the BC Museums Association, sharing that knowledge across the province.


Summer 2020

Katie Powell MA | Collections and Research Assistant kathryn.powell@ubc.ca

Katie is a Collections and Research Assistant at the Centre where she assists the team with systems and metadata development as well as grant applications. A current Dual Master of Archival Studies and Library and Information Studies student at UBC’s School of Information, she lives, works, and learns on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

Russell Nesbitt | Research Assistant russell.nesbitt@alumni.ubc.ca

Russell Nesbitt is a Juris Doctor Candidate at the Peter A. Allard School of Law and a graduate of UBC’s BA program in Psychology and First Nations and Indigenous Studies. Russell has previously worked at Xwi7xwa Library and the First Nations House of Learning at UBC and is active on campus on a variety of committees and programs. Russell will be working across a number of portfolios this summer, including research, engagement and communications.

2019/2020 Academic Year

  • Stephanie Friesen, Master of Archival Studies, (May 2020)
  • Ramona Litwinowich, Dual Master of Archival Studies and Library and Information Studies (November 2021) 
  • Katie Powell, Dual Master of Archival Studies and Library and Information Studies (December 2021)
  • Marianna Schultz, BFA Creative Writing (May 2021)
  • Jess Wylie, BA in Psychology (April 2022)