Senior indigenous research fellow and associate

Melanie Goodchild, moose clan, is a member of Biigtigong Nishnaabeg First Nation in Northern Ontario. She is the founder of the Turtle Island Institute, an Indigenous social innovation think & do tank (a teaching lodge). In her work, she weaves together her unique perspectives of Anishinaabe gikendaasowin (knowledge) with systems thinking/complexity theory and social innovation to address our society’s most intractable problems. Melanie believes in the teaching methods of her ancestors, in “coming to know” on the land, and so she supports initiatives that seek to connect people to ceremony, story, art, language and the land.

Melanie has an HBA and MA in Sociology and is currently completing her PhD in Social & Ecological Sustainability in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo. She is a Research Fellow at the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation & Resilience (WISIR).

Melanie is a facilitator, speaker and advisor to the Jays Care Foundation, the Engineering Change Lab, the Indigenous Innovation Initiative at Grand Challenges Canada, Reconciliation Canada, Centre for First Nations Governance, NASA’s Earth Sciences Capacity Building Program and most recently the Academy for Systems Change. Melanie recently recorded a Dialogues on Transforming Society and Self (DoTS) webinar for the Presencing Institute, with Peter Senge, Otto Scharmer, and Kelvy Bird at MIT. Over 500 people from 56 countries on seven continents tuned in to the live webinar on “Indigenous Wisdom and the Civilizational Shift from Ego to Eco.” She was a participant in the first cohort of the Getting to Maybe Social Innovation Residency at the Banff Centre in 2015. Melanie is now a member of the design team and core Faculty for Getting to Maybe: Systems Leadership Journey residency at the Banff Centre in 2020.

Melanie is an International Women’s Forum (IWF) Foundation Fellow alumna (2015/16), an executive leadership program sponsored by Harvard Business School and INSEAD.

She is a proud member of the Iron Butt Association, riding her Harley-Davidson 1000 miles in 24 hours!

This is "Gikendaasowin Storytelling" by Turtle Island Institute on Vimeo.

Melanie Goodchild - Photograph by Alisha Townsend for Grand Magazine
Photograph by Alisha Townsend for Grand Magazine (PDF)


Turtle Island Institute

University of Waterloo
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