Matriarch Illuminations – “Making law and policy – matriarch traditions”

Jessica Wood, known as Si Sityaawks (Woman who creates change), from the Gitxsan and Tsimshian First Nations with roots among the Tahltan and Nisga’a Nations, is engaging in a dialogue with Centre Academic Director Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, Aki-kwe.

The event is part of a 5-part series called Matriarch Illuminations, hosted by Jessica Wood, the current Policy Practitioner Fellow at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at UBC.

Students, staff, faculty and community members are invited to pour themselves a cup of tea and sit around the virtual table to listen.

Format: A 45 min discussion, 15 min Q&A from 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm on various evenings on Zoom

Audience: All are welcome. Questions will be prioritized from Indigenous, Black and People of Colour attendees.

Zoom details will be provided by email upon registration.


Student Host: Lilian Shams-Amiri, Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs

Guest Speaker Bio: Dr. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, Aki-kwe, is the Academic Director of the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre (IRSHDC) at UBC. 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.

Learn more about the Matriarch Illuminations series online.

For technical assistance, please email lindsay.marsh(at)