My name is Hunter Thomas Lampreau, I am a member of the Secwepemc nation. I am Simpcw on my father’s side and Neskonlith on my mother’s side. I am currently attending Thompson Rivers University working towards a Bachelor of Arts in Geography & Environmental Studies.
Growing up, I spent time on the traditional territories of both sides of my family, and the ecologically diverse ancestral territory of my parents' communities has given me the ability to connect to a vast landscape that has seen various impacts to wildlife & their habitat. Connecting to these territories as an avid hunter, fisher, forager, and geology nerd has nurtured my passion to conserve either untouched, or heavily impacted ecosystems and their inhabitants. That is part of what led me to an interest in environmental studies. This personal motivation is notably charged by something beyond my passion for wildlife and habitat, as a Secwepemc person, I believe we are all entrusted to be responsible stewards over our respective divisions of the territory, as the generations before me have taken their turn in caring for our territories. In order to effectively and efficiently fulfil my turn of responsibility, I understand the necessity of building my understanding of western sciences in stewardship alongside my Indigenous worldview.
I currently work as the Wildlife Strategic Coordinator for Qwelminte Secwepemc, a Government to Government agreement that is seeking to establish a shared pathway for natural resource management between 7 Secwepemc communities and 4 British Columbia Ministries. Alongside this, I am one of the Indigenous co-chair's for the First Nations - B.C. Wildlife & Habitat Conservation Forum. The forum seeks to enable Indigenous governing bodies to participate in wildlife and habitat stewardship across the Province by working on strategic direction setting documents. This combined exposure has helped me to rapidly build experience while Walking on Two Legs to best respect and work with both the western world & Indigenous world in wildlife conservation work.
I elected to attend university because I understood the opportunity to pursue a post-secondary education as something my grandparents never had the chance to do. As attendees and survivors of the residential school system, mostly the Kamloops Residential School located just across the river, the exposure my family had to western education was both tainted and suppressive. Rather than letting this experience continue to dismantle my plausibility of succeeding as a youth, I was fortunate to find strength and support from being on my territory, or when surrounded by my family, friends and values they taught me. These support systems are critical for well-being during the University experience, and T.R.U. faculty have been able to offer both the flexibility to be on my territory, or specific support services if my family and friends were unavailable.
The most challenging part of university has been maintaining my cultural well-being. The intersection of western academia and Indigenous ways of being, knowing and viewing the world often forced me to reconsider just how much I would be able to truly contribute to my territories stewardship. This challenge has also been the best part of attending university. As I get to better understand how to break down the silos and strict requirements of western academia by connecting with faculty, I get to be a part of the paradigm shift that the next generation of Indigenous academics benefits from.
My career goals are specific to my interests and hobbies. As an Indigenous person, witnessing wildlife and their habitats mismanaged is damaging. My goal is to be a part of the passionate and educated Indigenous and non-Indigenous stewards who shift wildlife and habitat management to only be guided by the best available western sciences, and Indigenous knowledge so that the next generation of conservationists can have the same experiences I have.
These experiences all make up my personal interests and balanced lifestyle. I strive to spend as much time as possible on my territory, seeking new experiences in an area my family once freely occupied and utilized to thrive since time immemorial.