Earth Island Speakers Bureau

Speakers on Indigenous Communities

  • Jettie Word

    Executive Director, Borneo Project

    Jettie Word has worked extensively with rural communities facing threats to their livelihoods and territories around the world for over 10 years. Originally from New Mexico, she has a dual Masters of Public Administration in Sustainable Development from the London School of Economics and Sciences Po, and a Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University. Areas of expertise include tropical forests, deforestation, logging, indigenous rights, conservation, and grassroots organizing.

    See also: Conservation

  • Sarah Diefendorf

    Executive Director, EFC West

    As executive director of EFC West, Sarah Diefendorf works to empower environmentally vulnerable communities throughout the United States and Africa. She trains Indigenous peoples and rural and low-income populations in leadership, entrepreneurship, and management skills to help them protect their health, safeguard their natural resources, and become resilient. Her areas of expertise include climate change and impacts on Indigenous communities; climate adaptation with Native American tribes; southwestern and California Native American tribes and sustainability/sovereignty, especially in the areas of pollution, waste, and water; grassroots engagement and empowerment, including environmental justice; challenges facing small, rural, and poor water systems; women and climate change in Uganda and Kenya.

    See also: Environmental Justice

  • Toby McLeod

    Project Director, Sacred Land Film Project

    Christopher (Toby) McLeod is the project director of the Sacred Land Film Project, which tells inspiring stories of Indigenous peoples’ resistance to the destruction of their sacred sites and cultures. Toby has produced and directed numerous award-winning documentary films, including Standing on Sacred Ground (2013), a four-part series that aired on PBS; In the Light of Reverence (2001); Poison in the Rockies (1990); Downwind/Downstream (1988); and Four Corners: A National Sacrifice Area? (1983). His first film was The Cracking of Glen Canyon Damn with Edward Abbey and Earth First! Toby has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.A. in History from Yale University, and he is the recipient of a Student Academy Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Toby has worked with Indigenous communities as a filmmaker, journalist, and photographer for more than 40 years.

  • Janet MacGillivray

    Founder, Seeding Sovereignty

    Janet MacGillivray is an environmental attorney and social change activist. She founded Seeding Sovereignty at Standing Rock to amplify the role of Indigenous knowledge for environmental justice and regeneration. Janet is a former whistleblower who has worked in legal and leadership positions at the Environmental Protection Agency and national and international organizations. At Seeding Sovereignty, Janet directs the Climate Justice Program and develops campaigns and advocates for systematically oppressed communities.

    See also: Energy and Climate, Environmental Justice

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