Zoe Todd

Scholars
2011
Mentor(s): 
Study program:
Ph.D. Social Anthropology
Current affiliation:
University of Aberdeen
Localisation:

Zoe is examining the impact of mining development in the Northwest Territories on women's subsistence fishing

Lands, Lakes and Livelihoods: Intersections of Mining, Women's Subsistence Fishing and Environmental Change in Paulatuk, NT

Ms. Todd will study the shifting relationships between Paulatuk women and their physical environment, by triangulating mining exploration, women's subsistence fishing and resource management. Her study will focus specifically on women's subsistence fishing: an activity that plays a crucial role bolstering household economies and fostering social relationships. Governance and non-renewable resource development in the region are historically and inextricably interwoven, yet scholarship on the effects of resource development on women harvesters is sorely lacking. The goals of her final dissertation are to: a) provide people in Paulatuk with written sources to mitigate mining impacts, and b) to contribute to scholarship on indigenous peoples environment perceptions, extractive industries, women's experiences of environmental change, industrial mining, and colonial and post-colonial relations. With the intensification of extractive industries in the High Arctic, this Ph.D. project will aim to serve as a case study to inform future policy.

In the last ten years, Ms. Todd has been involved in diverse community, advocacy, academic and arts endeavours. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in order to further develop her abilities as an engaged thinker and actor. Her interests are broad, ranging from: environmental issues, Arctic and Northern issues, indigenous rights, to urban design and sustainability, art and architecture, and work with local cycling organizations.  She has also worked on resource development issues: planning a youth 'policy and action' workshop (2006), participating in the Mackenzie Gas Project Joint Review Panel hearings as a representative of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition (2007), and helping organize a community panel on oil and gas development in Alberta (2008). Working with the Seminar on the United Nations and International Affairs (2000-2006) and the University of Alberta Global Education Program (2005-2009) afforded her the opportunity to mentor youth from across Canada and inspire them to become active citizens in their local communities. They also nurtured her understanding of national politics and Canada's role in the world.  Through these programs she met inspiring leaders and deepened her appreciation for academic-community partnerships. Apart from her advocacy work, she is also an avid fisherwoman, and is involved in sports: as a teenager, she trained at the Wind Warriors Boxing Gym for four years and mentored inner city youth, and was an Army Cadet for four years. Her artwork has been in the form of politically informed art installations, songwriting, and traditional Metis beading.

Ms. Todd comes by her passion for advocacy and action quite naturally: her great-great-great-grandfather, William Ernest Todd, was a surgeon and Chief Trader for the Hudson's Bay Company from 1816 to his death in 1851. In 1837 he anticipated and stopped a smallpox outbreak during his time as Chief Trader at Fort Pelly. She can't help but feel a profound duty to his legacy and to that of her family - to take all of her knowledge and experience and pursue work that is meaningful, that gives voice to unheard stories, that respects individual and community experiences, that fosters social well-being, and that contributes to concrete policy and action.