Our faculty are a fun, fabulous and fierce crew of academics.  With backgrounds in anthropology, political science, natural science (botany and biology), medical science (pathology) and planning, they have a wide range of experience and skills to support our SING Canada participants.

Warren Cardinal-McTeague
University of British Columbia

Jessica Kolopenuk
University of Alberta

Laurie Montour
Silent Genomes, University of Victoria

Elizabeth Nelson
Pasteur Institute

Rick Smith
George Mason University

Kim TallBear
University of Alberta

Current Cohort

Our 2022 program saw participants travel to Edmonton, Alberta from across Canada and the US.  From undergraduate to postdoc, Alaska to New Orleans to Ontario and BC, we had 9 participants with us with a variety of experiences, interests and backgrounds.  The group bonded almost instantly and some even discovered that they were related!  It was a great program and a fantastic group.  Get to know the SING 2022 participants a little more…

Summer Beck
Summer BeckQueen's University, Undergraduate BSc - 2nd year
My name is Summer Beck, I am haudenosaunee and I’m from the Niagara region in Ontario. I am currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Health sciences program, on-campus at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario and I am going into my second year. In the summer I work at Whirlpool jet boat in Niagara Falls, I am part of the digital media team. On my days off I’m in the hospital volunteering and shadowing the doctors in the neurocritical care unit. My favourite classes include microbiology and chemistry.

Elijah Buffalo
Elijah BuffaloUniversity of Victoria, Undergraduate BSc - 4th year
My name is Elijah Buffalo and I’m from the Samson Cree Nation in Maskwacis, Alberta, Treaty 6. I live in Victoria with my partner and two stepchildren. I am an undergraduate student at the University of Victoria and I’m working towards a life in medicine and healthcare. I have research interests in metabolism, cancer, and exercise physiology and I enjoy learning how the study of these areas can decolonize and heal Indigenous peoples and communities. I am an athlete in the sport of cycling, and I channel my passion for sport and its role in culture into my podcast Metawewin.
James Dennis-Orr
James Dennis-OrrVancouver Island University, Undergraduate BSc - 4th year
My name is James Dennis-Orr. I am from Vancouver Island British Columbia, specifically Nanaimo. I am a member of the Lower Similkameen Indian band which resides along the southern border of British Columbia, being part of the Okanagan Syilx nation. I am currently finishing my undergraduate degree at
Vancouver Island University with a major in Chemistry and a minor in Biology. I am passionate about analyzing biological systems through the lens of genomics and proteomics. I am excited to learn about the implications indigenous theory has on the political and scientific landscape.
Stafford Maracle
Stafford MaracleQueen's University, PhD Student
Hi, my name is Stafford Maracle, I am part of the Haudenosaunee nation (Mohawk) from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory where I was raised with the beliefs and values shared within my community and longhouse. I am a PhD student in Biology at Queen’s University studying population genetics in fish communities using environmental DNA metabarcoding. I completed my bachelor’s degree in environmental biology where I discovered the potential Indigenous knowledge had to advance and fill gaps in traditional western science. It has become a passion of mine to ensure culture and community becomes an integral aspect of scientific exploration and education.
Yowelunh McLester-Davies
Yowelunh McLester-DaviesTulane University, PhD Candidate
Lauren W. Yowelunh (she/her/hers) is currently a Neuroscience Ph.D. Candidate in the Tulane Brain Institute, in the School of Science and Engineering. Originally from the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, she majored in Biochemistry and Neuroscience earning a B.A. from Lawrence University in 2018. She is interested in the sovereign rights of tribal nations in relation to sponsored and academic clinical research. Her doctoral research focuses on indigenous populations across the Americas and across the life span of neurological development and neurodegeneration.
Nathan Rabang
Nathan RabangUniversity of Alaska Anchorage, Staff
Hello, my name is Nathan Rabang and I am a member of Shxwhá:y Village in British Columbia. I was born on Dena’ina land in Anchorage, Alaska. I was raised on the traditional lands of the Athabascan people. After 18 years in Alaska, I moved to Duwamish lands in Seattle, Washington to pursue an education at the University of Washington. I received a BS in experimental psychology and a minor in bioethics. I am slowly working on an Indigenous Studies masters at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. I currently work at the University of Alaska Anchorage where I work in disability research.
Joanne Speakman
Joanne SpeakmanUniversity of British Columbia, MSc candidate
Joanne Speakman is from the Northwest Territories in Canada. She grew up on Great Bear Lake in Délı̨nę and then in Yellowknife. Spending time on the land inspired Joanne’s interest in biology and water stewardship. In 2020, she graduated with a B.Sc. in environmental and conservation sciences from the University of Alberta. Since then, she’s contributed to environmental research and remediation. Joanne is Sahtúot’įne Dene and she’s passionate about incorporating Indigenous perspectives in her work. Currently, Joanne is studying at the University of British Columbia and her M.Sc. research will focus on health care equity and genetic diagnostic services.
Carmen Tallbear-Edmunds
Carmen Tallbear-EdmundsColorado Mountain College, Undergraduate - 2nd year
Carmen Tallbear-Edmunds (she/her) is a rising second year Outdoor Recreation Leadership student at Colorado Mountain College, located in Leadville, Colorado. She is descended from the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate where her mother, maternal grandmother, aunt and an uncle are enrolled. She is interested in the settler colonial contexts in which most science and related technologies have been developed with respect to land, more/other-than humans, and humans. She is also interested in addressing these issues with Indigenous epistemologies and decolonial practices to remedy past injustices and better care for the land. She is an avid hiker, reader, and dog lover.
Cheyenne Thomas
Cheyenne ThomasUniversity of Rochester, PhD student
Cheyenne (Oneida/Seneca) is an enrolled member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin. She is a second-year PhD student in the Ecology and Evolutionary Genomics Program at the University of Rochester. She has extensive experience with conservation and entomology and continues to lead community science education in partnership with her local AZA zoo. Cheyenne’s doctoral research focuses on genes that facilitate resilience to climate change in a widely distributed species of paper wasp. She plans to highlight Indigenous science and Indigenous voices throughout her academic career.


Our alumni are the heart of our program and the future of Indigenous genomics research in Canada (and globally). Now entering into it’s 5th year, SING Canada’s alumni count is over 50! Our program participants have gone on to complete their PhDs, are working in their communities, for provincial governments and in research labs across north America.

In 2023 we will be adding an Alumni Hub to our website that will allow alumni to connect, access job postings and share updates. We also hope to begin publishing about the program and will be looking for more ways for SING Canada participants to benefit from the program long after the week-long workshop.

Loved the experience in the lab! Makes me want to go back to school and learn more about DNA and everything else we did in the labs! Rick’s presentation was amazing, talking about transgenerational inheritance of stress can affect the mother, fetus, and fetus’ ovum was something my mom always said but never in a scientific view. Deborah’s research is very intriguing and coming from the interest of the people, makes it that more special and genuine. Will be looking out for the paper to come!

2018 Participant

Genomics 101, DNA Extraction 101, Sequencing 101 — how all the above apply to law, policy and ethics is better understood given the hands-on training and wet lab experience, this was truly invaluable learning. I am also honoured and privileged to meet the Indigenous Scientists of tomorrow! I am impressed by their motivation, energy and ethical considerations to genetics, genomics and all of Mother Earth as interconnected, regardless of the participant’s place of origin. Great work to the SING team for a conference well done: )

2018 Participant