Toxicology and Societies Speaker Series - Jessica Koski

photo of Jessica Koski

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Title: Indigenous Communities, Toxics and Environmental Injustice in the Great Lakes Region of North America

The speaker will weave together her various roles and experiences as an Indigenous woman researching, advocating, and serving in the Great Lakes region of North America. The presentation will provide a regional overview and highlight Indigenous toxic concerns in the context of Indigenous environmental justice and the roles Indigenous communities are leading to protect the largest system of freshwater in the world. 


About the Speaker: Jessica Koski

Jessica Koski is Anishinaabe-Ojibwe from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She is an incoming doctoral student at the University of British Columbia’s Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability where her research will focus on Indigenous rights implementation challenges and opportunities in the U.S. and Canada in the context of resource struggles. She has a master’s degree in Environmental Management focused in Social Ecology and Environmental Policy from the Yale School of the Environment (2011). Jessica’s master’s research at Yale focused on Indigenous activism and environmental justice issues facing Indigenous communities in the Great Lakes region of North America.

Upon graduating from Yale, she brought her education home to her Tribal community in Michigan to assist in addressing legacy and new mining issues in the Lake Superior basin. During this time, she provided numerous talks to local, regional and other audiences on the Tribe’s environmental and cultural concerns associated primarily with sulfide mining, led the development of a Statement on Mining Activities Impacting Anishinaabeg to the United Nations, and served on the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council’s Indigenous Peoples Work Group and the Steering Committee of the Western Mining Action Network, a network supporting communities affected by mining across North America.

She currently lives in the Minneapolis area where she serves as a Branch Chief, Program Manager and Regional Fish & Wildlife Biologist for the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs Midwest Region. In her current role, she supports the protection and restoration of Tribal natural, cultural and subsistence resources throughout the Midwest and Great Lakes region and oversaw the development of a $15M Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Distinct Tribal Program in close partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She additionally serves as the U.S. Chair for the U.S.-Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement Annex 10 Science Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) Task Team which recently completed a Guidance Document on TEK including how TEK can direct research questions and priority setting for addressing community-based chemical concerns.

Watch the video recording of Jessica's presentation.

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