Michele A Sam is Ktunaxa ʔaqⱡsmaknik—her father’s heritage is Haudenosaunee and Italian with no claims to community, and she honours her fathers’ people by following her mothers’ lineage as is custom. Michele has familial ties across all six Ktunaxa/Ksanka communities and is an “official band member” of ʔaq̓am. Michele returned home to the Ktunaxa homelands as a ‘60s scoop survivor having been adopted and raised in Southern Ontario, by a Dutch Catholic immigrant family to Canada.
Michele’s lifework is guided by principles of: Nation Rebuilding, Good Governance, Restoration of Peoplehood, Cultural Continuity, (Re) Attachment to Lands and Waterscapes, Intellectual Sovereignty and Cognitive Justice, according to place based Indigenous Peoples’ ways of being, doing and knowing.
Michele has earned graduate and undergraduate degrees in Social Work, English Literature and Indigenous Learning, as well as completed course work, comprehensive exams and proposal defense for her PhD focused upon Indigenous Peoples’ place based re-attachment to landscapes and waterways in light of the genocide of Intergenerational Trauma and Stress. She has published on the role of research in: Indigenous Peoples’ Self-development; as a mechanism of Intractable Conflict and Strategic Regional Competition.
She has been consulting and advising for the past 25 years ‘off the side of her desk’ and made the jump to full time small business owner in 2018. Her business focuses upon supporting ‘useful research’ and ‘grounded engagement’ between Indigenous and non-Indigenous entities. She is elected to the Native Courtworkers and Counselling Association of BC board and sits as the Vice-President of the Executive Committee, as well as the Governance Committee. She is also the single sole supporting mom to two older children, a home owner, and the human in the lives of a non-working maremma and two cats. When not working, she can be found outside.