Our Elders and Scholars
Gary L. Evans
Dip. CS, BA, Hons. BComm, MBA, PhD
Interim Dean, Full Professor
Faculty of Indigenous Knowledge, Education, Research, and Applied Studies
Dr. Evans (Maliseet Heritage) prior to embarking on an academic career was Senior Partner and CEO for KPMG Consulting for Central Eastern Europe and prior to that appointment was Partner in Charge of Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals and Energy for the London, U.K. office of KPMG for tax, audit and consulting. As a partner in a professional firm Dr. Evans spend substantial amount of time with corporate boards and the executive management of major international corporations.
After retiring from professional practice Dr. Evans has dedicated his time to research and teaching at the University of Prince Edward Island and completed his PhD in Corporate Governance at Liverpool John Moores University. Dr. Evans continues researching corporate boards globally and is on the editorial board of three academic journals, has been the guest editor for special corporate governance journal publications and is considered a leading author within the field of corporate governance. Dr. Evans developed the Board Culture Theory using Classical Grounded Theory. Dr. Evans’s research crosses many areas including: music, indigenous knowledge, corporate governance, disruptive technology and grounded theory. Dr Evans is a participating partner with Luminary a national non-profit indigenous organization supporting indigenous research and business development across Canada.
Hobbies: Training horses, dogs, piano and drumming.
Judith (Judy) Clark
UPEI Elder in Residence
Advisor to Dean
UPEI Mawi’omi Indigenous Student Centre, Student Affairs
Dr. Judith Clark is a Mi’kmaq woman Elder from Epekwitk, and member of Abegweit First Nation. Judy is a survivor of the Lennox Island Indian Day School and presented at the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls. She has a long history of community service and activism within PEI and Canada. In recognition of her work and knowledge, Judy was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Prince Edward Island in 2017, and a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.
Judy has received valuable teachings the Elders of Mi’kma’ki and her family. She has also been influenced by a variety of Elders and teachings from across Turtle Island. She is humbled by the knowledge and skills that have been passed on by Mi’kmaq Elders and works to fulfill the responsibility of those teaching. Judy strives to ensure people have a better understanding of the Mi’kmaq of PEI. With the support of her husband, John, she leads her life in accordance with the teachings of her Elders. She is a proud mother of two daughters and has three granddaughters and a grandson.
Advisor to the Vice-President Academic and Research on Indigenous Affairs
Doctorate Candidate at Western University
Ms. Corinne Chappell, member of the Mi’kmaq First Nations, joined UPEI as the Advisor to the VPAR on Indigenous Affairs in 2021. Her work includes planning, developing, and implementing Indigenous initiatives at UPEI. This includes providing guidance on stakeholder collaborations and helping to develop a better understanding of and response to the Calls to Action that relate to post-secondary education as outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s final report. Ms. Chappell has played an important role in the development of the new Faculty of Indigenous Knowledge, Education, Research, and Applied Studies.
Ms. Chappell holds Master of Education degrees from both UPEI and St. Francis Xavier University and is a Doctor of Education student at Western University. She has been teaching for over 20 years at the high school level. She co-founded and chaired the PEITF Aboriginal Education Advisory Committee and is a member the National Indigenous University Senior Leaders’ Association, based at First Nations University of Canada. Ms. Chappell is also widely regarded as a Mi’kmaq artisan, creating garments and art pieces that blend traditional styles with modern fashion.
Patrick Augustine, PhD
Assistant Professor (Elder)
I am Mikmaw from Elsipogtog First Nation. My doctoral research was on the dispossession of the Mi’kmaq from their traditional district of Sikniktuk, often called Chignecto. I wrote about my First Nation’s relationship to their traditional lands as a determinant of health. My maternal ancestry – Simon, Levi and Augustine Families – are from the Sikniktuk district in Southeastern New Brunswick. My paternal ancestry – Augustine, Thomas, Bernard, and Paul Families – are also from Sikniktuk and Epikwitk aq Piktuk districts of Prince Edward Island and the Northern Shore of Nova Scotia.
My academic research centres on the supplementary texts to treaty negotiations examining the spirit and intent of the Maritime Treaties between the Wabanaki and the British Crown.
Margaret Augustine is a feminist academic who is finishing a doctoral degree in Geography with a specialization in Political Economy at Carleton University (Ottawa). Her doctoral dissertation title is “The Problematization of Women’s Work on a Maltese Island in the context of Post-European Union Membership.” Her other research interests focus on documenting Mi’kmaq Traditional Knowledges using bio-mapping territorial occupancy methods. Ms. Augustine has co-authored a forthcoming Mi’kmaw cookbook featuring stories of food within the traditional Mi’kmaq districts of Sikniktuk and Epekwitk aq Piktuk. She is married to Dr. Patrick Augustine (Elsipogtog First Nation).
David D. Varis
Assistant Professor and Member of UPEI Indigenous Circle
Doctoral Student at University of Prince Edward Island
Mr. David Varis, Peguis First Nation, long-standing Indigenous instructor with the Department of Sociology and Anthropology as well as Saint Thomas University, has been supporting the development of the new Faculty of Indigenous Knowledge, Education, Research, and Applied Studies since inception. Mr. Varis has worked alongside numerous faculty, staff, students and external stakeholders in the implementation of Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action, and continues to introduce more Indigenous knowledge and subject matter for students.
Mr. Varis holds a Bachelor of Arts from Acadia University and a Master of Criminology from Ottawa University, and is a PhD of Educational Studies student at the University of Prince Edward Island. He has spent most of his career with the federal public service leading Indigenous substance abuse research and program development projects for Correctional Services Canada. Current research involves collaboration with Simon Fraser University’s School of Criminology on Indigenous offender risk assessment, and working with the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI’s Indigenous Justice Program. Mr. Varis is also interested in Indigenous narrative expression and production through various multiple media including literature, film, and theatre performance.
Kwe' Ni'n Teluisi wape’g paqt’sm! My name is Bradley Cooper, spirit name White Wolf, and I am a proud Mi’kmaq descendant of Epikwitk (Prince Edward Island). I have earned a Bachelor of Computer Science from UPEI and a Master of Business Administration from Francis Marion University. It is my passion to advocate for the rights of off-reserve Indigenous peoples in PEI and across Canada, which I have done for over the past 10 years through my work with different Indigenous non-profit organizations.
I believe that reconciliation will always be an ongoing process that every Canadian will have a role to play in, and I never turn down the opportunity to answer and explore questions on Indigenous politics.
I was born on a beautiful Island Known as U’namaki’k Cape Breton Island. I brought three beautiful adults into my life and four creative and outgoing grandchildren that are living close to my home in We’koqmaq. I must include my two Bengal cats and they are very playful Pi’kun and Wa’pikat.
I have been teaching over 28 years sharing the Mi’kmaw Knowledge and the teachings. I am looking forward to instructing the Mi’kmaw Language and the Mi’kmaw Cultural ways to the UPEI students. I have a strong passion in teaching the Mi’kmaw Language and Mi’kmaw Cultural ways. I truly love learning about our Indigenous Cultural ways and our Mikmaw ways including the traditional ways.
Karla Green, MEd
Kwe’ ~ Mi’kmaq / Hello-Bonjour ~ English-French Canadian.
My name is Karla Green. I was born in Newfoundland and my relations are French Mi’kmaq from Acadia (maternal) and Ireland (paternal). As a member of the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nations, my predominant research interest has been Indigenous and inclusive education in early childhood. I have been working in early childhood since 1988 and I currently work full time as an Early Childhood Inclusion Consultant with the Dept. of Education and Lifelong Learning in PEI.
I became a post-secondary instructor to continuously learn more, and therefore teach more about First Nations, Metis, and Inuit to the future leaders. I am excited to help motivate a new generation of intellectuals that will model anti-bias and inclusive social and educational communities for future generations.
Dr. Roach O’Keefe (Métis) works with Provincial Government (since 2009) in Organizational Development as Corporate Human Resources Planning Consultant and is responsible for Strategic Business HR Planning and Reporting, Employee Engagement (surveying and initiatives), and Learning and Development, and Leadership Development for all Civil Service Employees.
She enjoys teaching and researching part time as an assistant professor at the University of Western Ontario, and a sessional lecturer at both University of New Brunswick and University of Prince Edward Island. She has been involved in over 18 research projects in multiliteracies, indigenous family literacy, kindergarten, professional development/ professional learning communities, and leadership development. She has published many articles in peer reviewed journals and presents regularly at academic conferences both locally and nationally. She has served as a board member/ director to the National Canadian Evaluation Society, Co-editor for the Journal of Childhood Studies, as a member of the Residential Schools Education - Atlantic Collaboration Committee (Addressing Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action).
Dr. Roach O’Keefe began working with indigenous communities in 2005, co-designing and implementing culturally relevant family literacy programs through consultation with Elders and community members in Epekwitk (PEI) and continued this work in Eskasoni (We'kwistoqnik), Nova Scotia. She has received teachings from the Edlers in the Mi’kmaq community, and has continued her learning through the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. She and her husband Sean live in Stratford with their son Emerson, and two miniature poodles: Sophie and Georgia. When they are not at the hockey rink, ball field, or beach, they love to read, travel and spend time with family and friends. She is honoured to be part of the new team with UPEI’s Faculty of Indigenous Knowledge, Education, Research, and Applied Studies (IKERAS) and excited to help students learn Indigenous knowledge and history.
Erin Reid, Métis, is a published Indigenous author and researcher. She has supported educator and student learning across many cultures. She has served as an Indigenous literacy consultant, provincial curriculum writer, Indigenous content reviewer, Indigenous panel contributor, and professional development creator and facilitator. She has studied internationally in Norway and the United States.
Erin holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from Minot State University and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Management from Royal Roads University. She is an Indspire Educator nominee who has taught in and led school communities across northern and western Canada. Her research interests involve Indigenous dialects, phonemic influences with reading acquisition, educator mentorship, and effective use of technology in Canadian classrooms.
Tiffany Sark, a Mi’Kmaq woman raised on beautiful Lennox Island First Nation, a graduate of UPEI. Tiffany has aways been a strong advocate of Mi’Kmaq culture and history. Tiffany was instrumental in leading obtaining the first Native Daycare on Lennox Island which still operates today. Upon completing her degree at UPEI, Tiffany was hired as a Cultural Director for the Lennox Island Mi’kmaq Cultural Centre for 16 years, along with this role Tiffany organized and facilitated thousands cultural events and culture awareness sessions for many organizations and groups. Tiffany is an Indian Day school survivor and has ultimately gained knowledge and understanding of her history through her healing process of researching and gaining vital information about the Mi’kmaq culture and history.
Tiffany has been a part of many organizations and boards over the years and notably was also the President of First Nation Cultural Education Centres, a national organization based in Ottawa. Tiffany was a board member for 16 years.
Tiffany believes in sharing and learning about her history and culture in many forms and is proud to be a member of the Indigenous faculty at UPEI. Through confidence, self-belief, and determination one can accomplish what one sets their mind to. Being a knowledge sharer is one of the greatest things one can do to make the world a better place.
Tiffany is employed with MCPEI as a Health Resolution Emotional and Cultural Support Coordinator for Indian Residential School, Indian Day School and MMIWG survivors and descendants. Tiffany is a mother, daughter, auntie, and cousin to many.
Barbara Smith, originally from Kahnawake First Nation (off reserve), whose spirit name is Golden Eagle Dancing Woman, is a wife, daughter, mother, auntie, sister, and grandmother. Mrs. Smith is a women traditional dancer, member of Aboriginal Women’s Association of PEI as well as Native Council of PEI with a BA (Psychology), BEd (Elementary), and MEd from UPEI. She has worked as a full time Academic Resource Teacher for the past 19 years at John J. Sark Memorial School in Lennox Island, PEI. Other positions have included Core French Teacher, Social Studies Teacher and Art Teacher.
Additionally, Barbara has been engaged in research projects (Building Healthy Mi’kmaq Communities in PEI), Student Counsellor Training for Aboriginal Survivors for Healing, and has given countless presentations on First Nations Culture and Spirituality at all levels within the education system. She has been an Aboriginal Education Workshop for Teachers’ Facilitator for PEI Department of Education, and continues to advance Indigenous knowledge and pedagogies.
Lori St. Onge
Lori St. Onge is the Indigenous Relations Coordinator for the Province of PEI. She was the Director of Indigenous Justice for the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI for 14 years before accepting the position with the province in 2021. As a Gladue report writer, Lori has trained countless Indigenous professionals in writing these reports, and still works to advance restorative and healing options for Indigenous offenders through her own report submissions. Lori graduated from the University of PEI with a Master in Business Administration, Bachelor of Arts and a Diploma in Public Administration. She also holds a certificate in Human Resource Management, Conflict Resolution and Circle Keeping. Lori is a proud Mi’kmaq woman from Lennox Island First Nation.
Sessional Lecturer, Member of the Indigenous Circle of UPEI
Morgan is of Peguis First Nation Cree, MB and Acadian, PEI-NB ancestry, and was raised on Epekwitk (PEI). Morgan earned a Master of Arts from the School of Criminology at Simon Fraser University. She has had the privilege of learning from Indigenous Elders and communities on the Unceded Coast Salish Territory, specifically Vancouver, BC, for six years. During her time in Vancouver, she completed her MA Thesis entitled “Justice in the Words of Elder: Stories, Teachings and Wisdom on Unceded Coast Salish Territory” while also working for the First Nations Health Authority of British Columbia, which supported Indigenous peoples’ health and wellness by reconnecting them to both traditional and contemporary ways.
Morgan is a mother of two beautiful Cree-Mi’kmaq babies, who love attending Mawi’omi on their unceded territory of Mi’kmak’i. Morgan and her partner, a member of Abegweit First Nation, love to spend time crafting beadwork, dreamcatchers, and ribbon skirts to reconnect and regenerate love for traditional artwork in the community. She is honoured to return to UPEI as a sessional instructor where she earned an undergraduate BA degree in Psychology in 2012.