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Lynn Konwaia’tanón:we’s Jacobs Joins the Staff of the Indigenous Leadership Initiative

Press Release

Ottawa, May 22, 2024  The Indigenous Leadership Initiative (ILI) welcomes Lynn Konwaia’tanón:we’s Jacobs as a Policy and Operations Advisor. Jacobs is Kanienkehá:ka of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy on her father’s side, adopted into the Turtle Clan, and mixed settler ancestry on her mother’s side. She brings extensive experience in community land stewardship, as well as international work focused on biodiversity and plastic pollution.

“Lynn is a terrific addition to the ILI team,” said Valérie Courtois, the Executive Director of the ILI. “Her expertise will help uplift Indigenous-led conservation and stewardship at all levels—from in the community to the global stage. We’re especially excited for her to help support First Nations Guardians programs in communities near major population centres and address the challenges they face honouring stewardship responsibilities near urban areas.”

Before joining ILI, Jacobs spent more than two decades working in her community on land stewardship initiatives, habitat monitoring, mapping, protection, and restoration. She helped to establish a new Environment Protection Unit for the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke and acted as its inaugural Director for five years. She then joined the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada as Director of Programs, where she supported the organization’s decolonization goals and environmental programs in Canada and Africa.

Jacobs has also worked at the international level on biodiversity and plastic pollution issues, where she strives to elevate Indigenous science, approaches, rights, and voices for solving the planetary crises.

“I am proud to join the Indigenous Leadership Initiative team,” said Jacobs. “Indigenous communities located near urbanized areas, like my community, are facing disproportionate impacts from adjacent industry, transportation, development, pollution, habitat degradation, land loss, and many other impacts. I am looking forward to supporting their land and water stewardship efforts, as well as supporting ILI’s efforts to advance the needs and rights of Indigenous Peoples in the biodiversity protection processes at the national and international levels.”

Jacobs’ role at ILI will focus on integrating Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas and Guardians programs in national biodiversity policies, action plans, and legislation. She will also draw on her experience with the Convention on Biological Diversity to reflect the leadership and rights of Indigenous Peoples in caring for lands and waters in ongoing CBD processes.

And as the Guardians movement expands around urbanized areas, Jacobs will work with First Nations to support their vision for caring for lands and waters. Strengthening this stewardship will deliver broad benefits for a country where about 90 per cent of the population lives within 240 kilometres of the southern border.

Lynn holds a Bachelor of Environmental Science in Ecology, a Master of Environment and Management, and she is currently a PhD candidate and Leadership for the Ecozoic Fellow at McGill University. Her doctoral research is focused on plastics and colonialism, impacts to Indigenous Peoples, and Indigenous-led solutions. She lives and works from her home community of Kahnawà:ke, located on the shores of the St. Lawrence River near Tiohtià:ke (Montreal).

Media Contact: Jenn Wesanko: 604-347-5988

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