Prof. Jesse Popp

Weaving Indigenous and Western ways of knowing to advance environmental and ecological science is the focus of a new chair at the University of Guelph.

Prof. Jesse Popp has joined the School of Environmental Sciences as the Ontario Agricultural College Chair in Indigenous Environmental Stewardship. She will join U of G Sept. 1.

Popp comes from Mount Allison University, where she holds a Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Indigenous Environmental Science.

She is a member of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory in Ontario.

“Jesse is a catalyst for Indigenous environmental stewardship,” said Prof. Jon Warland, director of the School of Environmental Sciences. “I am so pleased she is joining us. This is an incredibly important role for our University, and our new bachelor of Indigenous environmental stewardship. Jesse is the perfect fit for this leadership role.”

Popp’s research focuses on Indigenous guardianship while emphasizing the ways in which two-eyed seeing — using one eye to see the strengths of Indigenous knowledges and ways of knowing, and the other for the strengths of Western knowledges and ways of knowing — can advance environmental and ecological science.

“My inclusive, interdisciplinary research, with holistic perspectives, has become more important than ever,” said Popp. “The number of species at risk across the globe are increasing, jeopardizing ecological integrity and traditional ways of life.”

She will continue to develop her nationally recognized, multidisciplinary research program, which is focused on terrestrial ecology in contexts relevant to Indigenous communities. She will collaborate with researchers on campus, nationally and internationally, and with Indigenous peoples and communities.

“Ultimately, my research contributes to conservation, sustainability and the progression of the natural sciences in the spirit of reconciliation,” said Popp.

Popp has a PhD and an M.Sc. from Laurentian University. She has published 21 peer reviewed papers, chapters and reports, and has taught courses on topics such as “Climate Change: Indigenous Perspectives,” “Indigenous Medicines, Foods, Agricultural Practices” and “Seminars in Environmental Issues: Indigenous Perspectives.”