Prof. Jason Edward Lewis (Cherokee, Hawaiian and Samoan) is the University Research Chair in Computational Media and the Indigenous Future Imaginary, at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada. He founded Obx Laboratory for Experimental Media in 2004, where he directs research/creation projects that engage with the cultural, social, and technological dimensions of emerging new media. Along with the artist Skawennati, he co-directs Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace, Skins Workshops on Aboriginal Storytelling and Video Game Design, and the Initiative for Indigenous Futures. Lewis' creative work has been featured at Ars Electronica, Mobilefest, Elektra, Urban Screens, ISEA, SIGGRAPH, and FILE, among other venues, and has been recognized with the inaugural Robert Coover Award for Best Work of Electronic Literature, a Prix Ars Electronica Honorable Mention, several imagineNATIVE Best New Media awards and seven solo exhibitions. He's the author or co-author of chapters in collected editions covering Indigenous technology and digital media, mobile media, video game design, machinima and experimental pedagogy with Indigenous communities, as well as numerous journal articles and conference papers on these subjects. Lewis has worked in a range of industrial research settings, including Interval Research, US West's Advanced Technology Group, and the Institute for Research on Learning as well as founding a research studio for the venture capital firm Arts Alliance. Lewis was born and raised in northern California.
Angie Abdilla (Trawlwoolway) is the founder & CEO of Old Ways, New. Abdilla works across culture, research, strategy and technology, with Country (known as an entity) centring how Indigenous cultural knowledges inform service design and deep technology for both the public and private sectors. Her published research on Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence was presented at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, where she continues this work to inform the rights of future technologies. Abdilla publicly presents and lectures on Human/Technology inter-Relations at the University of Technology Sydney. Abdilla is a Fellow of The Ethics Centre and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication.
Dr. ʻŌiwi Parker Jones (Kanaka Maoli) is a Research Fellow at the University of Oxford where he works on biological and artificial intelligence in the departments of Neuroscience and Engineering. In the 1980s, he was among the first children to be raised speaking Hawaiian in two generations. Later, as a graduate student, he worked on the adaptation of big data computing for the often fragmented corpora available in endangered languages—a research programme that he has continued to advance, for example by developing hybrid Deep Learning methods that contribute to the preservation and revitalisation of the Hawaiian language (e.g. Shillingford and Parker Jones 2018). As a postdoc, Dr. Parker Jones trained in systems neuroscience—with an emphasis on applications of machine learning to large-scale brain data. His current research is focused on Brain Computer Interfaces.
Dr. Noelani Arista (Kanaka Maoli), Researcher, Writer, Historian, is Associate Professor of Hawaiian and American History at the University of Hawai‘i-Mānoa. Her research and writing focus on Hawaiian religious, legal, and intellectual history. Dr. Arista’s current projects further the persistence of Hawaiian historical knowledge and Hawaiian language textual archives through multiple digital mediums including gaming. Dr. Arista is known for her work in developing new approaches and methods for writing Hawaiian history up from customary modes of keeping Hawaiian knowledge. Her work has also focused on precision in crafting historical contexts as an important first step in approaching the interpretation and translation of Hawaiian language sources. Her work in historiography, the training of Hawaiian intellectuals, as well as translation has prepared her for considering larger questions of cognition, and how artificial intelligence might be created and approached on Hawaiian terms. She mentors many students, instructing them in how to conduct research in Hawaiian language textual archives, and through online digital mediums. She was a contributing author to "Making Kin with Machines," an essay about Indigenous views on Artificial Intelligence, one of ten award winning essays in the MIT competition, Resisting Reduction. Her book The Kingdom and the Republic: Sovereign Hawaiʻi and the Early United States was published by PENN press in 2019. Her creative projects include the extensive facebook archive of mele, translation and photos that she wrote and compiled, 365 Days of Aloha.
Suzanne Kite (Oglala Lakota) is an Oglala Lakota performance artist, visual artist, and composer and a PhD student at Concordia University and Research Assistant for the Initiative for Indigenous Futures. Her research is concerned with contemporary Lakota epistemologies through research-creation, computational media, and performance practice. Recently, Kite has been developing a body interface for movement performances, carbon fiber sculptures, immersive video & sound installations.
Michelle Lee Brown (Euskaldun - Iparralde Region) is Euskaldun, Miarrtiz area (Côte des Basques) and German/German American, but raised on the lands and waters of the Wampanoag. As a PhD candidate, she studies Indigenous political praxis and futures through Indigenous designers’ video games, graphic novels, and machinima at University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa on the mokupuni of Oʻahu in the Kona moku, part of the traditional and ongoing sovereign territories of the Kānaka Maoli. Brown has published peer-reviewed work on the Never Alone video game, a methods chapter on Indigenous political theory approaches to video game research, and a comic in the forthcoming Relational Constellation collection from MSU Press and Native Realities Press. She is currently working on a VR project and a comic based on multiple levels of impostor syndrome.
Brent Barron is Director, Public Policy at CIFAR where he is responsible for engaging the policy community around cutting edge science. He played an important role in the development of the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy, and now oversees CIFAR’s AI & Society program, examining the social, ethical, legal, and economic effects of AI. Prior to this role, Barron held a variety of positions in the Ontario Public Service, most recently in the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science. Brent holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Toronto, as well as a Bachelor’s in Media Studies from Western University.
Scott Benesiinaabandan (Anishinaabe) is an Anishinaabe intermedia artist that works primarily in photography, video, audio, and printmaking. Scott has completed international residencies at Parramatta Artist Studios in Australia, Context Gallery in Derry, North of Ireland, and University Lethbridge/Royal Institute of Technology’s iAIR residency, along with international collaborative projects in both the U.K and Ireland. Scott is currently based in Montreal where he is completing an MFA in Photography and a year-long Canada Council New Media Production grant through AbTeC and the Initiative for Indigenous Futures. Through this project, he is investigating virtual reality as a medium. Benesiinaabandan has taken part in several notable exhibitions across Canada and internationally: Harbourfront’s Flatter the Land/Bigger the Ruckus (2006), Subconscious City at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (2008), GHOSTDANCE at Ryerson Image Centre (2013) and solo exhibitions including unSacred at Gallery 1C03 ( Winnipeg, 2011) and Mii Omaa Ayaad/Oshiki Inendemowin (Sydney, 2012) in Blood Memories (Melbourne, 2013), little resistances at Platform Gallery (Winnipeg, 2015), The Fifth World (Saskatoon, 2015) and most recently Insurgence/Resurgence (Winnipeg, 2017). Benesiinaabandan has received multiple grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, Manitoba Arts Council, Winnipeg Arts Council and Conseil des arts des lettre du Quebec. His work can be found in a number of private, provincial, and national collections.
Merry Coleman received her BA (Hons) in English literature from the University of Winchester. She is an aspiring writer and has a deep-rooted interest in anthropology and sociology, but a lesser grasp of AI and technology studies. Coleman hopes that being involved in this project will help her to gain insight into a different area of academia - one that she have observed from a young age, through her family upbringing and overlaps with degree subjects.
Dr. Ashley Cordes (Coquille) is an Assistant Professor at the University of Utah in Indigenous Communication. Her research lies at the intersections of communication, digital media, and Indigenous studies and is attuned to issues of social power and decolonization. Recent work focuses on crypto and land-based currency as media, and on cultural appropriation in electronic dance music contexts. Cordes’ work can be found in peer-reviewed journals including Television & New Media and New Media & Society. She has a professional background in multiplatform journalism and is currently a 2018-2019 American Philosophical Society Digital Knowledge Sharing Fellow, and Chair of the Culture and Education Committee of the Coquille Indian Tribe.
Kaipu (Kaipulaumakaniolono) Baker Hailing from the lush and cascading cliffs of the Koʻolau in the verdant ahupuaʻa of Kahaluʻu on the island of Oʻahu a Lua in the center of the Hawaiʻi archipelago, Kaipulaumakaniolono recognizes first and foremost the cloud banks that bud at the lofty peaks of those sacred cliffs. A graduate of the Kamehameha Schools Kapālama in 2016 and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in 2019 with bachelors in both English Literature and Hawaiian Language, he continues his studies in the MFA for Hawaiian Theatre program at UHM. His work and research focuses on excellence in Moʻolelo Kaʻao, traditional storytelling, and Mele, song and chant. Kaipu has worked as a tutor of Hawaiian language and appeared most notably in the productions of Kamapuaʻa (2006, 2007, 2008), Lāʻieikawai (2015), and as “Maui” in the Hawaiian language dubbing of Moana (2018). Kaipu practices indigenous futurity in the form of reshaping and remembering traditional narratives, i noho haku ai kanaka maoli i ka moʻolelo maoli o ia lāhui.
Dr. Melanie Cheung is an award-winning neurobiologist from Central North island tribe Ngãti Rangitihi. She is passionate about transforming therapeutic approaches to brain diseases, with less emphasis on drugs, more emphasis on structurally and functionally changing the brain through neuroplasticity-based technologies.
Melanie’s research is underpinned by a belief that that there is significant untapped knowledge and potential within Māori intellectual traditional that has the power to benefit humankind. Subsequently her work has involved intensive Māori community engagement (with elders and families with brain diseases) and development of decolonizing methodologies (incorporating Māori protocols into scientific and clinical practices).
Joel Davison is a Gadigal and Dunghutti man from Sydney Australia. Living culture through an active role in language revitalisation for the Gadigal language, he is also an avid technologist and works at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia as a Robotics Analyst.
Rebecca Finlay leads CIFAR’s strategy to connect outstanding researchers with thought leaders who thrive on research insights relevant to the future of policy, business, health, and international development. She works with a team of knowledge mobilization experts who specialize in knowledge exchange, government relations, public policy, and innovation. In 2017, they launched CIFAR’s AI & Society program that supports the examination of questions AI will pose for all aspects of society such as the economy, ethics, policymaking, philosophy, and the law. Her team also builds partnerships with governments across Canada and internationally. Prior to joining CIFAR, Finlay held leadership roles in research and civil society organizations including as Group Director, Public Affairs and Cancer Control for the Canadian Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute of Canada. She began her career in the private sector building strategic partnerships, including as First Vice President, Financial Institution and Partnership Marketing for Bank One International. Rebecca holds an M.Phil. in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge.
Dr. D. Fox Harrell is Professor of Digital Media & Artificial Intelligence in both the Comparative Media Studies Program and the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT. He is the Director of the MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality (virtuality.mit.edu). His research explores the relationship between imagination and computation. His research involves developing new forms of computational narrative, gaming, VR, social media, and related digital media based in computer science, cognitive science, and digital media arts. Professor Harrell holds a PhD in Computer Science and Cognitive Science from the University of California, San Diego. His other degrees include a Master's degree in Interactive Telecommunication from New York University (Tisch School of the Arts), and a B.S. in Logic and Computation and B.F.A. in Art from Carnegie Mellon University (each with highest honors). The National Science Foundation has recognized Harrell with an NSF CAREER Award for his project “Computing for Advanced Identity Representation.” He was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) at Stanford University and was a recipient of the Lenore Annenberg and Wallis Annenberg Fellowship in Communication. He has worked as an interactive television producer and as a game designer. His book Phantasmal Media: An Approach to Imagination, Computation, and Expression was published by The MIT Press (2013).
Kekuhi Kealiikanakaole Kekuhi (Kanakaʻole ʻOhana-Pele Clan)
Megan Kelleher is embarking on her PhD as one of RMIT’s Vice Chancellor’s Indigenous Pre‑Doctoral Fellows in the School of Media and Communication. The working title of her thesis is ‘Blockchain, Black chains and the battle for systems sovereignty: mutual solutions for governance using Indigenous Knowledge (IK) systems and Indigenous-controlled protocols within the Blockchain’. The research seeks to explore the logical, structural or architectural synergies – or incompatibilities – between IK systems and Blockchain technologies, and the opportunities to embed IK approaches into second-wave automation. Grounded in her Barada/Baradha and Gabalbara/Kapalbara heritage, the research will be approached from an Indigenous standpoint, contributing to the field from an important Australian research perspective. Previous to RMIT Megan was at Creative Victoria in Indigenous Partnerships, and in the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Strategic Communication and Protocol Branch.
Maroussia Lévesque is an attorney and researcher with a background in interactive media. She consults for governments, private sectors, and NGOs about the legal and policy implications of emerging technologies. She was the Conceptual Lead at Obx Labs for Experimental Media during her B.F.A in Computation Arts at Concordia University, and researched IP issues at the Center for Genomics and Policy during her B.C.L./LL.B. law degrees from McGill. Maroussia was involved in the Quebec inquiry commission on the electronic surveillance of journalists, and drafted a foreign policy pertaining to AI and human rights for the Digital Inclusion Lab at Global Affairs Canada. She is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers working group on algorithmic bias and speaks about law in digital spaces in contexts ranging from informal privacy workshops to international conferences and peer-reviewed journals.
Olin Lagon (Kanaka Maoli) is a serial social entrepreneur, innovator and community organizer, currently focused on clean energy. He founded multiple companies, nonprofits, and a foundation including one of the first crowdfunding companies which channeled $100 million to causes worldwide. He holds multiple patents and his designs have been adopted by Global 1000 companies and institutions like MIT. His service includes the U.S. Navy, the Peace Corps, and numerous nonprofits. He’s a past Petra Fellow (Center for Community Change) and East West Center Fellow. Part Hawaiian and Filipino and raised in public housing, Lagon lives in Kalihi Valley with his wife and two young sons.
Dr. Jason Leigh is the Director of LAVA: the Laboratory for Advanced Visualization & applications, and Professor of Information & Computer Sciences at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He is also Director Emeritus of the Electronic Visualization Lab and the Software Technologies Research Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he was previously Professor of Computer Science and Affiliated Professor of Communications. In addition he was a Fellow of the Institute for Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and has held research appointments at Argonne National Laboratory, and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. His research expertise includes big data visualization, virtual reality, high performance networking, and video game design. He is co-inventor of the CAVE2 Hybrid Reality Environment, and SAGE: Scalable Amplified Group Environment software, which has been licensed to Mechdyne Corporation and Vadiza Corporation, respectively. In 2010 he initiated a new multi-disciplinary area of research called Human Augmentics which refers to the study of technologies for expanding the capabilities and characteristics of humans. His research has also received numerous press from news media including the AP News, The New York Times, Popular Science's Future Of, Nova ScienceNow, NSF Science Now, PBS, and Forbes. Leigh also teaches classes in Software Design, Virtual Reality, Data Visualization and Video Game Design. In 2010 his video game design class enabled the University of Illinois at Chicago to be ranked among the top 50 video game programs in US and Canada.
Keoni Mahelona is currently building Te Reo Māori speech recognition tools including text to speech, speech to text, and measuring pronunciation. Mahelona’s main roles are project management and web development, primarily for koreromaori.com and koreromaori.io. They also built the indigenous media platform tehiku.nz which serves as a digital Marae for Te Hiku Media and the five Iwi of Muriwhenua. Their key contribution is the Kaitiakitanga License which serves to guard Indigenous data and IP from misuse while aiming to create opportunities for the advancement of Indigenous peoples.
Caleb Moses (Aotearoa Māori) is a Data Scientist hailing from the Hokianga region in the far north of New Zealand. He has a Postgraduate Diploma in Pure Mathematics from the University of Auckland. His work focuses on machine learning, natural language processing, and automation. Moses is currently working with Te Reo Irirangi o te Hiku o te Ika on language technologies for Te Reo Māori, the language of the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Issac Nahuewai ʻIkaʻaka (Isaac) is a choice taro corm that comes from the rains that sound the metrosideros polymorpha flowers of Hilo. Educated at the University of Hawaii at Hilo with a B.A. in Hawaiian Studies and Anthropology, he is currently in the M.A. program studying Hawaiian Language and Literature. On top of being a student, he is also a part-time teacher at Ka Haka ʻUla o Keʻelikōlani, College of Hawaiian Language at UH Hilo and Ke Kula ʻo Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu Public Charter School. Outside of his roles in education, ʻIkaʻaka loves educating people through musical vibrations; he is a musical director for many bands around Hilo that spread conscious messages through reggae and jazz. He firmly believes that music can be an effective mode to revivify the value of ancestral knowledge and cultural identity in indigenous people.
Kari Noe is both a creative media and software developer originally from Kaua’i, now based in Honolulu, O’ahu. She has earned two bachelor’s degrees, one in Computer Science and the other in Animation through the Academy of Creative Media at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. Currently she is a Graduate Research Assistant at the Laboratory for Advanced Visualization and Applications (LAVA), pursuing a master's degree in Computer Science. Kari has worked on various projects from creating her own animated film, Kai and Honua, to collaborating on a virtual reality Hawaiian navigation application named Kilo Hōkū. She specializes in virtual reality and augmented reality research for cultural preservation and is currently working on her thesis, with the working title: Digitizing Detours, Mapping Hawaiian Knowledge in Virtual Reality.
Danielle Olson is a PhD student in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at MIT and works as a Research Assistant in the Imagination, Computation, and Expressions (ICE) Lab within the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Olson’s research seeks to develop theories and technologies to advance an understanding of embodied identity expression in virtual reality (VR) narratives to reflect the nuance of real-world human interaction. Olson earned her B.S. in Computer Science & Engineering from MIT in 2014, and her S.M. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT in 2019. While at MIT, Olson founded Gique Corporation, an educational nonprofit 501(c)(3) that exists to inspire and educate youth in STEAM. Following her graduation from MIT, Danielle worked as a Program Manager at the Microsoft New England Research & Development Center from 2014-2016. Danielle also previously worked as Summer Program Coordinator for the MIT Online Science, Technology, and Engineering Community (MOSTEC) in the summer of 2016, prior to returning to MIT as a graduate student.
Archer Pechawis (Plains Cree) is a performance, theatre and new media artist, filmmaker, writer, curator and educator born in Alert Bay, BC. He has been a practicing artist since 1984 with a particular interest in the intersection of Plains Cree culture and digital technology, merging "traditional" objects such as hand drums with digital video and audio sampling. His work has been exhibited across Canada, internationally in Paris France and Moscow Russia, and featured in publications such as Fuse Magazine and Canadian Theatre Review. Archer has been the recipient of many Canada Council, British Columbia and Ontario Arts Council awards, and won the Best New Media Award at the 2007 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and Best Experimental Short at imagineNATIVE in 2009. Archer has worked extensively with Native youth since the start of his art practice, originally teaching juggling and theatre, and now digital media and performance. He is currently a member of the Indigenous Routes collective, teaching video game development to Native girls: www.indigenousroutes.ca. Of Cree and European ancestry, he is a member of Mistawasis First Nation, Saskatchewan.
Caroline Running Wolf (Crow Nation), nee Old Coyote, is an enrolled member of the Apsáalooke Nation (Crow) in Montana, with a Swabian (German) mother and also Pikuni, Oglala, and Ho-Chunk heritage. As the daughter of nomadic parents, she grew up between USA, Canada, and Germany. Thanks to her genuine interest in people and their stories, she is a multilingual Cultural Acclimation Artist dedicated to supporting Indigenous language and culture vitality. After working for over 15 years as a professional nerd herder and business consultant in various fields, Running Wolf co-founded a nonprofit, Buffalo Tongue, with her husband, Michael Running Wolf. Together they create virtual and augmented reality experiences to advocate for Native American voices, languages, and cultures. Running Wolf has a Master’s degree in Native American Studies from Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Anthropology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.
Michael Running Wolf (Northern Cheyenne) was raised in a rural village in Montana with intermittent water and electricity. Naturally, he now has a Masters of Science in Computer Science. Though he is a published poet, he is a computer nerd at heart. His lifelong goal is to pursue endangered indigenous language revitalization using Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) technology. He was raised with a grandmother who only spoke his tribal language, Cheyenne, which like many other indigenous languages, is near extinction. By leveraging his advanced degree and technical skills, Running Wolf hopes to strengthen the ecology of thought represented by indigenous languages through immersive technology.
Tyson Seto-Mook received his BS in Electrical Engineering and is currently pursuing a MS in Computer Science from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.
Skawennati makes art that addresses history, the future, and change from her perspective as an urban Mohawk woman and as a cyberpunk avatar. Her early adoption of cyberspace as both a location and a medium for her practice has led to groundbreaking projects such as CyberPowWow and the Skins workshops on Aboriginal Storytelling and Digital Media. She is best known for her machinimas—movies made in virtual environments—but also produces still images and sculpture.
Her works have been presented in Lithuania, Italy, Germany, New Zealand, Hawaiʻi, the United Kingdom, China and across North America in major exhibitions such as “Now? Now!” at the Biennale of the Americas; and “Looking Forward (L’Avenir)” at the Montreal Biennale, and are included in both public and private collections including the National Bank of Canada, Global Affairs Canada and the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art.
Born in Kahnawà:ke Mohawk Territory, Skawennati is Kanien'kehá:ka of the turtle clan. She holds a BFA from Concordia University in Montreal, where she resides. She is Co-Director, with Jason Edward Lewis, of Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace (AbTeC), a research network of artists, academics and technologists investigating, creating and critiquing Indigenous virtual environments. In 2015, AbTeC launched IIF, the Initiative for Indigenous Futures; Skawennati is its Partnership Coordinator.
Dr. Hēmi Whaanga (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Mamoe, Waitaha) is an associate professor in Te Pua Wānanga ki te Ao (The Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies) at Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato (University of Waikato). Whaanga has worked as a project leader and researcher on a range of projects centred on the revitalisation, protection, distribution, and development of Mātauranga and te reo Māori in a digital world. He incorporates multi-method techniques and methodologies to analyse and develop new Mātauranga in a range of linguistic, cultural, and digital contexts including the design of ethical platforms for digitally managing and distributing Mātauranga, oral traditions, Māori ecological knowledge, ecological taxonomies, and naming protocols, Māori astronomical knowledge and kaitiakitanga. He affiliates to Ngāti Kahungunu through his father, and Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Mamoe, and Waitaha through his mother.
Painting by Sergio Garzon. IP-AI © 2019.