Our Team


MARY ELLEN TURPEL-LAFOND (AKI-KWE)

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.


ELIZABETH SHAFFER

PhD | Executive Director
elizabeth.shaffer@ubc.ca | 604.822.0885

Elizabeth Shaffer is the Executive Director 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 School of Information 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. She is also cross-appointed as an Assistant Professor for UBC’s School of Information.


Research

KRISTIN KOZAR

MLIS | Digital Collections Specialist
kristin.kozar@ubc.ca

Kristin Kozar is a Digital Collections Specialist at the Centre. A member of the Hwlitsum First Nation, she served on council for 6 years. She has completed her MLIS degree with a concentration in First Nation curriculum in 2018 and has previously worked at what was formerly known as UBC Aboriginal Health and has worked on a project where she researched and analyzed how to use Blockchain to give Indigenous peoples and communities autonomy over their own records. Further, Kristin has been a keynote speaker at the ACA conference on the topic of “Data Sovereignty for Indigenous Sovereignty”. She currently works at the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre where she is the co-lead of the Oral Testimony project and works primarily with research and engagement.

Kristin believes interpersonal relationships, sharing influence, having a willingness to learn and cultural humility are imperative for work with Indigenous communities, individuals and content.

In Kristin’s free time, she loves to read, hang out with her two boys and go for long walks with her dog.


DAVID MCATACKNEY

MLIS | Research and Engagement Strategist
david.mcatackney@ubc.ca

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.


Records and Collections

NAOMI LLOYD

PhD | Metadata Team Lead
naomi.lloyd@ubc.ca

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.


NOAH DURANSEAUD

MAS | Digital Collections Specialist and Researcher
noah.duranseaud@ubc.ca

Noah Duranseaud is a Digital Systems Specialist 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.


EMILY LARSON

MAS, MLIS | Digital Collections Specialist
emily.larson@ubc.ca

Emily Larson is a Digital Systems Specialist 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.


KATIE POWELL

MA | Digital Collections Specialist and Researcher
kathryn.powell@ubc.ca

Katie Powell is a Digital Systems Specialist and Researcher 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.


Programming and Education

KIM LAWSON

MLIS | Research and Community Liaison Librarian
kim.lawson@ubc.ca

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.


SHANNON ROBINSON

Education and Programming Strategist
shannon.robinson@ubc.ca

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.


JESS BOON

BSW | Youth Engagement Strategist
jess.boon@ubc.ca

Jess Boon is the Community Outreach Coordinator at the Centre. Jess is a recent graduate from the UBC School of Social Work, and has extensive experience in youth work positions. 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, working on a youth-driven podcast project and creating a youth advisory council.


Communications

JULIE GORDON

Senior Strategic Communications Manager
Julie.gordon@ubc.ca

Julie Gordon is the Senior Strategic Communications Manager at the Centre. She joined UBC in 2018 and prior to joining the Centre led communications initiatives for the Indigenous Research Support Initiative, Community Engagement office, and Office for Indigenous Strategic Initiatives. Before that, she ran a consultancy business that provided strategic and creative communications services in support of environmental and social justice work. In this time, she supported the work of several BC First Nations and Indigenous umbrella organizations. She has bachelor’s degrees in English and Environmental Studies and is a graduate of the Writer’s Studio and Graduate Studio at Simon Fraser University.


Administration

PARAS DEACON

Administrative Manager
paras.deacon@ubc.ca | 604.822.6941

Paras Deacon is the Administrative Manager 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.


LUC DESMARAIS

Exhibitions & Facilities Coordinator 
luc.desmarais@ubc.ca | 604.822.6941

Luc Desmarais is the Exhibitions & Facilities Coordinator 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.


Student Staff

GRANT BIRD

Research and Engagement Assistant

Grant Bird is majoring in First Nations and Indigenous Studies and is currently in his 4th year. Once his degree is completed, he will continue in medicine as an emergency specialist and hopes to work in northern communities. He is Woodland Cree from Treaty 6 Territory and Homeland of the Metis. He is thankful for being hosted on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.


LINNET CHAPPELKA

Research and Engagement Assistant

Linnet Chappelka is a student at the UBC iSchool pursuing degrees in Library Information Studies and Archival Studies with a First Nations Curriculum Concentration. Linnet has previously worked with human rights archives and remembrance projects to encourage visibility of and engagement with the historical and current impacts of genocides. She grew up on the lands of the Pequot, Mohegan, Chesapeake, and Puyallup peoples and now resides on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.


CAITLIN PURDOME

Collections Assistant

Caitlin Purdome is a current student in the UBC iSchool Dual Master of Archival Studies and Library and Information Studies program with the First Nations Curriculum Concentration. They are passionate about reparative description, creating respectful access points for library and archival materials, and disrupting colonialism in information institutions. Prior to attending UBC, they worked in academic libraries in Southeast Alaska on Lingít Aaní.


FELICITY COLLINS

Collections Assistant

Felicity Collins is from Kehewin Cree Nation, located in Treaty 6 territory within the province of Alberta. She uses the pronouns She/Her and is enrolled in the Master of Archives and Master of Library and Information studies program. Her focus is on Indigenous data sovereignty and how that can be reflected in the information profession, along with learning what practices can be brought back to her Nation. Felicity is also involved in leadership positions with student groups in the iSchool that focus on archives, and diversity and inclusion. In her downtime she is an avid gamer and cannot wait to explore Vancouver once it is safe to do so.  


OLIVIA DONE

Collections Assistant

Olivia Done is currently in the Dual Master of Archival Studies and Library and Information Studies program at the UBC iSchool. She did her undergraduate degree at UBC focusing on linguistics and language revitalization. Olivia is passionate about increasing meaningful access to materials within libraries and archives along with learning how best to represent Indigenous ontologies within records.


LAURA GUGLIELMIN

Collections Assistant

A current Master of Archival Studies student in the First Nations Curriculum Concentration, Laura Guglielmin brings a background in history, museums, and archives, and are especially focused on disrupting colonial contexts of memory work, prioritizing community engagement, and maintaining a critical approach to their studies and professional experience.


KENZIE LITTLELIGHT

Communications and Project Assistant
kenzie.littlelight@ubc.ca

Kenzie Littlelight assists with communications and project tasks at the centre while attaining a BA in political science and a minor in law and society at UBC. Kenzie is a proud member of the Tsuut’ina nation on treaty 7 territory in southern Alberta and is thankful for her ability to learn, work, and live on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples.


ZOÉ MCDANIEL

Communications and Project Assistant

Zoé McDaniel is a fourth-year Anthropology major and has spent the last three and a half years building and strengthening intersectional research framework skills. She worked on the BC Society of Transition Houses “Cedar Blankets” project last summer, conducting research related to housing barriers for Indigenous women and translated the MMIWG Calls to Justice into an advocacy plan for the housing sector. She is currently the Public Programming & Events Assistant at the Museum of Anthropology.


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.


ELIM REN

Collections Assistant

Elim Ren is a Collections Assistant at the IRSHDC. She is a current MLIS student at the UBC iSchool, and is grateful to work and study on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. Having previously worked with records at the University of Toronto and the University of Victoria, Elim is dedicated to learning about truth-telling work in academic institutions and the process of decolonizing collections to support Indigenous-informed access to information.


KIRA VANDERMEULEN

Collections Assistant

A current student at the UBC iSchool, Kira Vandermeulen is beginning her second year of a Master of Library Information Studies and Archival Studies Degree. She has previously worked within a library setting to increase accessibility of learning materials through open educational resources. Here at the Centre on the traditional territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), she will be assisting with records management as well as the collections.