Nikki Sanchez

Nikki Sanchez

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Indigenous Media Maker, TEDX Speaker, Environmental Educator and Author

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”.

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.

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Speaking topics

Decolonizing Diversity: Aligning Values with Actions in the Workplace

Nikki Sanchez, founder of the renowned collective “Decolonize Together,” offers a groundbreaking keynote on transforming workplaces into hubs of diversity, equity, and inclusivity. Drawing from her extensive experience collaborating with diverse organizations, from the YMCA and Warner Brothers and everyone in between, Sanchez provides a fresh perspective on aligning actions with values to foster thriving cultures and unparalleled success.By weaving together personal anecdotes, empirical evidence, and innovative strategies, Sanchez empowers audiences to embark on a journey towards meaningful change. This keynote offers a transformative vision for creating workplaces that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusivity. By embracing decolonial approaches and aligning actions with values, organizations can cultivate cultures of belonging where every individual thrives and contributes to collective success.

Key themes explored include:

  • Intersectionality and Representation: Sanchez advocates for recognizing and honoring the intersecting identities within the workforce. She underscores the importance of representation across all levels of the organization, ensuring that diverse perspectives are valued and amplified.
  • Cultural Competence and Sensitivity: Emphasizing the significance of cultural humility, Sanchez provides practical insights for cultivating a workplace culture that respects and celebrates diverse backgrounds. From language inclusivity to inclusive practices, she offers tangible strategies for fostering cultural competence.
  • Allyship and Solidarity: Sanchez elucidates the transformative power of allyship in advancing equity and inclusivity. By fostering solidarity among colleagues and leaders, she illustrates how individuals can leverage their privilege to uplift marginalized voices and drive systemic change.
  • Decolonizing Leadership: Through her own journey as a leader, Sanchez challenges conventional leadership paradigms and advocates for decolonized leadership practices rooted in empathy, collaboration, and accountability. She offers tools and frameworks for cultivating inclusive leadership that fosters trust and empowers teams.
  • Measuring Success Beyond Metrics: Moving beyond conventional metrics, Sanchez redefines success in the context of diversity, equity, and inclusivity. She emphasizes the importance of holistic evaluation, including qualitative measures such as employee well-being, sense of belonging, and community impact.

Climate Solution Allies: Biodiversity blueprint for a beautiful future

In “Biodiversity: Blueprint for a Beautiful Future,” Nikki Sanchez illuminates the intricate web of life on our planet and the invaluable insights it offers for building a sustainable and resilient world. With her tenure at the David Suzuki Foundation and extensive academic research, Nikki seamlessly integrates case studies and scientific findings to showcase the remarkable adaptability of species in the face of climate change.

Through poignant anecdotes and firsthand encounters with wildlife, Nikki shares the profound wisdom she has gleaned from years of intimate interaction with diverse ecosystems. From the majestic Orca whales of the Pacific Northwest to the vibrant coral reefs of the tropics, she highlights the resilience and ingenuity of non-human intelligence in navigating environmental challenges.

In a powerful conclusion, she offers practical and actionable steps that every individual can take to contribute to a hopeful future. From simple lifestyle changes to community activism, she empowers audiences to become agents of positive change in their own lives and communities.

Representation Matters

“Representation Matters” is a triumphant and inspiring talk that will deeply resonate with your audience. Nikki’s authenticity, resilience, and passion for social change will leave attendees feeling unified and empowered to champion diversity and inclusion in their own spheres of influence.

As a mixed-race Indigenous youth displaced by war, she struggled with shame and internalized racism due to the negative portrayals of her community in mainstream media. However, her career in media eventually led her to co-create an award-winning series for VICE and become a writer for esteemed publications like Elle, Patagonia, and a voice in The New York Times, as well as designing funding programs to support emerging BIPOC media makers.

Yet it wasn’t until a film she starred in premiered on Hollywood Boulevard did she see a positive portray of her own people on the big screen. She shares this journey and evokes the audiences to consider how the media shapes our perceptions of identity, heritage, and community. By amplifying marginalized voices and narratives, Nikki argues, we can create a more just and equitable world. 

The Alchemy of turning Pain into Power: You are the One We have been Waiting for!

The pace of change in our world is unprecedented, demanding that leaders and teams navigate uncertainty with resilience, agility and grit. Often we are too busy to ask ourselves whether we are living for ourselves, or for others.

A study of people on their deathbed found that 76% of people said their one regret is that they lived to please others, and not for themselves.But what would our lives and workplaces look like if we alchemized every challenge or injury into a superpower?

Amidst her own journey as a bi-racial woman displaced by war Nikki has committed her life’s work to justice, peace and healing. Although her work  championing these issues at 13 when she was the youngest voice to speak at the United Nations on behalf of Canada, like many women & non-binary folks she was unable to escape the realities of sexualized violence, poverty, and systemic discrimination.

Through profound personal transformations rooted in wilderness exploration, ceremony and guidance from her elders, Nikki embraced the pain as a gift which expanded her worldview to one brimming with possibility. Grounded in her connection to the land and her culture, Nikki has dedicated herself to acts of service, illuminating pathways to empowerment for others & sharing her story to support others to live a life they love. 

Nikki’s transformative message resonates globally, inspiring audiences to embrace cultures of service, gratitude, and boundless potential. Takeaways include:

  • Creating communities of support and resilience
  • Understanding how inclusivity & gender equity influences workplace performance.
  • 10 everyday strategies to enhance well-being amidst stress, anxiety, and burnout.
  • How to activate your personal light to be a transformative power for positive change 

Nikki’s message is a beacon of hope, offering practical insights and empowering narratives that catalyze personal and organizational growth. Join her & together embark on a journey of self-discovery, resilience, and collective impact.

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.

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”.

Video clips

Nikki Sanchez - Decolonization Is for Everyone

Nikki Sanchez

Nikki Sanchez - Decolonize Together

Speaker testimonials

Nikki was AMAZING. I received so many amazing notes of gratitude for bringing her voice into our space at this time! Nikki delivered exactly the message and presence that I had envisioned last year when the idea of bringing her in for Earth Day! And beyond her keynote, we have begun so many inspiring connections that we continue to take our relationship with Nikki beyond this moment. Overall, this has been such a great experience, and I am so appreciative of your partnership with me through our journey to make this milestone event possible!


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

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