By Chris Putnam
University of Saskatchewan professor Dr. Priscilla Settee (PhD) has been awarded an international fellowship to pursue social and environmental justice for Indigenous communities.
Settee, a member of the Cumberland House Cree Nation, is one of 21 Indigenous organizers, activists, social entrepreneurs and cultural practitioners from across North America named a 2021 NDN Changemaker Fellow.
As part of the one-year fellowship from the NDN Collective, Settee has been awarded US$75,000 to engage in work that defends, develops and decolonizes Indigenous communities and nations.
“It feels phenomenal” to be chosen for the fellowship, said Settee, a faculty member in the College of Arts and Science’s Department of Indigenous Studies.
“I wanted to get to work with (the NDN Collective) and this is a really good way to do it. Plus, I get to meet all these amazing Indigenous organizers from all over the continent.”
NDN Changemaker Fellows are chosen based on their past service and leadership as well as their potential to advance solutions to challenges facing Indigenous communities.
Settee is an activist and award-winning scholar whose research focuses on Indigenous food sovereignty, Indigenous knowledge, social economies and the impact of climate change. She was recently one of three recipients of a 2019-20 David Suzuki Fellowship.
Settee plans to pursue several projects during her year as an NDN Changemaker Fellow. She will create art based on a theme of biodiversity preservation and will co-edit a book about food sovereignty as a follow-up to the recently published Indigenous Food Systems: Concepts, Cases, and Conversations.
She also plans to write her memoirs.
“I want to tell my whole story, because I think it’s been a phenomenal life that I’ve survived, and there are many Indigenous women who didn’t,” said Settee.
Settee hopes to use her platform to call out current and historical injustices, but also to “develop alliances.”
“Because I think if things are going to change for us—and clearly there's a great need for change when you look at the socioeconomic statistics, when you look at the massive poverty and environmental destruction and 80, 90 per cent unemployment in some of our communities—there's a desperate need for all people to be on deck who support, who have power to change and work with us,” Settee said.
The NDN Collective is a U.S.-based non-profit organization founded in 2018. Its stated goals include building the power of Indigenous Peoples while fostering justice and equity for all people.