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Dr. Richard Atleo to speak at collegePosted: May 1, 2012

Well-known First Nations scholar, speaker and elder, Dr. E. Richard Atleo, will give a free presentation at College of the Rockies on Thursday, May 10. During his visit to the region he will also spend time with the elders and members of the Ktunaxa Nation.

“The Ktunaxa Nation would like to welcome Dr. Atleo to Ktunaxa Territory,” said Ktunaxa Nation Chair, Kathryn Teneese. “He is highly respected within the First Nation community and we are grateful for the opportunity the College has provided for our citizens and local residents to hear him speak.”

Dr. Atleo will be exploring the themes put forth his books Tsawalk: A Nuu-chah-nulth Worldview (UBC Press, 2004) and Principles of Tsawalk: An Indigenous Approach to Global Crisis. Tsawalk basically means “one” and it encapsulates an understanding of the universe as an integrated and orderly whole, expressed as heshook-ish tsawalk—everything is one.

In Tsawalk: A Nuu-chah-nulth Worldview he introduces an ontology – a branch of metaphysics which deals with the nature of being – which is drawn from Nuu-chah-nulth origin stories. His latest publication, released November 2011, Principles of Tsawalk: An Indigenous Approach to Global Crisis, elaborates on some pragmatic applications to the meaning of the first book.


Dr. Atleo, whose Nuu-chah-nulth name is Umeek, is a hereditary chief who taught in the First Nations Studies Department at Malaspina University College from 1994 to 2004. He is currently Research Liaison at the University of Manitoba and Associate Adjunct Professor at the University of Victoria. He has served as co-chair of the Scientific Panel for Sustainable Forest Practices in Clayquot Sound and is supervising a First Nations Root Garden Research Project on the West Coast.

Over his varied career he has been a social worker, an elementary school teacher, a principal, a federal ministerial assistant, an assistant superintendent of education, a lecturer and Research Associate in Anthropology at UBC, and a visiting assistant professor of resource and environmental management at Simon Fraser University.

At the completion of his doctorate he conducted province-wide research into First Nations K-12 education in British Columbia. He has lectured at Nicolas Copernicus University and the University of Silesia in Poland as well as in Germany at Greifswald University, Luneberg University, and Urania, a Scientific Society founded in Berlin in 1888. He has participated in cervical cancer research with the Vancouver Cancer Agency as well as been involved with Contemporary and Traditional Medicine with a focus upon HIV Aids in Ghana, Africa.

His presentation at College of the Rockies is free and takes place at 7 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre (Room 250) on Thursday, May 10. Seating is limited so attendees are urged to come early. Dr. Atleo’s books will be on sale at the event and he will be pleased to sign them following his presentation.

For more information contact Dr. Laura Cooper at 250-489-2751 ext. 3224 or email:

By Donna Kraus-Hagerman/COTR



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