Nikki Sanchez

Indigenous Media Maker, TEDX Speaker, Environmental Educator and Author

Nikki Sanchez

Nikki Sanchez holds a Masters degree in Indigenous Governance and is currently completing her Ph.D. on emerging visual media technology as it relates to Indigenous ontology for climate change mitigation strategies.

A Pipil and Irish/Scottish academic, Indigenous media maker and environmental educator, Nikki is a regular panelist on CBC radio’s the Early Edition and in 2021 she was selected as one of the HATCH 100’s influential change makers and collaborators, who cross-pollinate to accelerate solutions for positive impact and to HATCH A Better World.

As the former David Suzuki Foundation’s “Queen of Green” Nikki focused on environmental journalism, social and digital media to help drive sustainable solutions for a healthy planet. She also created content to bring more racial and gender inclusivity into the environmental movement.

An Indigenous media maker, Nikki’s 8-part documentary VICELAND series “RISE” focused on global Indigenous resurgence. RISE was debuted at Sundance in February 2017 and has received global critical acclaim, winning “best documentary” at the Canadian screen awards.

She is the creator and director of “Decolonize Together” a collective of Indigenous and black women who offer decolonial and anti-racism workshops and curriculum creation. Decolonize Together has been teaching and facilitating decolonization and anti-oppression training for universities, school boards, corporations, and NGOs.

Her TEDx presentation is entitled “Decolonization is for Everyone”.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmxD-z1Y8GA

Nikki has been a wilderness guide and environmental educator in the Nuu-chah-nulth territory of Clayoquot Sound where she was mentored by Nuu-chah-nulth elders Tsahsiits and Qaamina Sam.  She is a guest contributor for the DavidSuzuki.Org website, The Hundreds, Last Real Indians, Intercontinential Cry, Loose Lips Magazine, and ROAR Magazine. She on the BC Women’s Foundation Youth Council, as well as a board member for Sierra Club of BC, Load Bow and Photographer’s without Borders.

In 2020, she released her first book “Spirits of the Coast: Orcas in Science, Art and History” which became a best seller.

Please contact us to book Nikki Sanchez for your next event!

    Topics 
  1. Become a Champion of Equity and Inclusion 

    Across the globe, movements like Black Lives Matter, #metoo, and Land Back have unsettled the status quo and demanded equity for all races, genders, and religions. These ground swells of activism have changed the world and things will never be the same. But where do we go from here? Bringing history to life by investigating the roots of systemic injustice, the values that underlay it, and its myriad of impacts, this presentation explores how we can embrace the present moment of drastic system change and seize opportunities to build a better world. Through her experiences as a filmmaker, activist and educator Nikki illuminates the infinite potential for innovation and creativity possible when we embrace diversity. 

  2. Decolonize Together: How to make the next generation proud

    A history of colonization exists and persists all around us. Nikki discusses what colonization looks like and how it can be addressed through decolonization. An equitable and just future depends on the courage we show today. “Let’s make our grandchildren proud”.

  3. Bringing the Truth: Steps we can all take towards Truth and Reconciliation

    “This history is not your fault, but it is absolutely your responsibility.” A history of colonization exists and persists all around us, but in order to build an equitable and just future, we need to understand our past. Nikki discusses what the history of colonization looks like and how understanding our shared history can liberate us from the harms of the past. This talk will educate and inspire as Nikki explores how the future we hope for is dependent on the courage we show today.

  4. The Environment and the Orca
    In this keynote Nikki shares her journey in 2019 when she had the opportunity to work with biologists, historians, knowledge keepers, poets, artists and photographers to create an anthology of the Coastal Resident Orca Whales. Working across cultures, generations, knowledge paradigms, and narrating between Orca and humans, what unfolded for Nikki was a journey of learning to see and understand our current social and environmental climates from the perspective of the Orca. Nearly two years, multiple awards, and a bestselling book later, she shares her insights  on the multitude of ways the process of colonization irrevocably changed the lives of both the Coastal Resident Orcas and Indigenous peoples of the coast.  Over a hundred years later, we are still experiencing those impacts and developing emergent strategies to survive and thrive. Nikki shares the lessons learned from looking at the story of colonization from the Orcas perspective.
  5. Everyday Climate Solutions: 10 ways to be a friend to the planet (& yourself)

    These days, discouraging news cascades upon us in a seemingly endless cycle. Dire forecasts about everything from impending catastrophic climate change, growing inequity, and racial unrest, to the next unpredictable wave of a global pandemic. It can be very easy to lose hope. Exploring the lessons she attained from over a decade as a wilderness guide in one of the world’s last temperate coastal rainforests, Nikki will share how she tapped into her superpower of resiliency and how this quality lives in us all. Weaving together principles of biodiversity, forest ecology, and trauma-informed practice Nikki shares 10 accessible steps to climate resiliency and inspires audiences to unlock their infinite wells of resiliency to live their best life while riding the waves of these epic times.

  6. Environmental Racism

    While the challenge of climate change and its impacts is well known, few are familiar with the issue of environmental racism. In North America, Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities have fought for hundreds of years to protect the air, land, water, species, and cultural connections to the land from discriminatory policies and actions. Using place-based storytelling to bring this issue to light, Nikki explores environmental racism and its impacts. This important talk is underscored by hope as Nikki shares stories of community resilience and what communities of color can teach us about overcoming the climate challenges of our time

Testimonials: 
VIRTUAL: I am writing to thank you from the bottom of my heart for joining us today and helping us to connect in moving toward personal, courageous and reflective conversations on Intersectionality and the story of Orcas while applying a scholarly anti-racist and decolonial lens on education. The feedback from the participants so far has been full of gratitude and, for my part, I am committed to carrying these conversations forward into future connections with both teachers and the larger community.
BC Teachers Federation
Accepting that [colonization] has happened to all of us, from different angles, is a very productive way to look at colonization. I’m a big believer in the way to motivate change, it to try and find people’s commonality, the links we all have to each other, and use that as a glue to get things done. Nikki’s words show that love and communal understanding are the way. I am grateful for Nikki’s teachings.
Hannah V
Vancouver BC
Nikki’s words are so powerful. I loved listening to her talk and the message she shared. Thank you for being so brave and sharing your wisdom.
Kiera H
Quadra Island BC
I was impressed with her knowledge, charisma and speaking ability. Nikki's track record is remarkable. Just leafing through it, one gets an indication of her priorities and expertise in Indigenous issues, social justice and environmental matters. In my experience, the crisis we face is that the rules of the political and corporate games prevent us from serious action on the environment. It is Indigenous people all over the planet, who offer a profound alternative to the destructive 'resourcist' perspective of most societies. In a time of climate change, toxic pollution, species extinction, ocean degradation and deforestation, we desperately need the perspective that people like Nikki offer us.
David Suzuki
What you are saying here gives me goosebumps over my entire body. The trauma that lives in all of us due to government colonization strategies is outstanding. I believe it’s directly linked to nearly all of our biggest issues as a society. I am deeply inspired!
Druelani D
Victoria BC
VIRTUAL EVENT: Nikki's talk was beautiful and so well received and inspiring. We were so honored to have her be a part of this work!
Sealaska Heritage Institute
VIRTUAL EVENT: Nikki was fabulous and well received during the culturally responsive education conference. It was a pleasure to have her with us.
Sealaska Heritage Institute

Speaker Videos