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Dr. Kelsey Leonard is a water scientist, legal scholar, policy expert, writer, and enrolled citizen of the Shinnecock Nation. An Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo, her research focuses on Indigenous water justice and its climatic, territorial, and governance underpinnings.
Autumn Peltier is the Chief Water Commissioner for the Anishinabek Nation and an Indigenous Rights & Water activist whose journey for justice has made waves around the globe.
Peltier captivated the world’s attention at the age of 12 when she admonished Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, at an Assembly of First Nations event, for the choices he had made for her people and lack of support. She spoke her mind which led him to make her a promise, “I will protect the water.” It’s that promise to which she holds him accountable still today.
At 13, Peltier spoke at the UN General Assembly. Amongst many accolades she’s received the Sovereign Medal of Exceptional Volunteerism from the Governor-General of Canada and Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. She’s been a featured speaker at The World Economic Forum, has been shortlisted for the International Children’s Peace Prize four times, and in 2021 was featured in Maclean’s Top 50 Canadian Power List. In 2022, Peltier was an Honorary Doctorate Inductee from Royal Roads University, received the Daniel G Hill Award from Ontario Human Rights Commission as well as the Emerging Canadian Leader Award from Public Policy Forum.
In the spring of this year, Autumn’s documentary movie The Water Walker, produced by Seeing Red Six Nations, was released on HBO Canada.
SPHERE is presented as part of Nordic Bridges, a year-long cultural initiative led by Harbourfront Centre in Toronto and supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers. Visit NordicBridges.ca to learn more.