Get to know Kaella-Marie Earle, Southwestern Ontario Chapter & Indigenous Inclusion Co-Chair
- When you’re flying, are you all about the window seat or the aisle seat? I prefer the window seat, because I like to sip coffee and enjoy the first glimpse of my destination. But I’m willing to give up the window seat if my travel partners haven’t seen where we are going before!
- How would you spend an afternoon in a new city? I like to look for an interesting place to eat. I think food says a lot about a community, and is often a reflection of the cultures that exist there. I also ask Google what’s good in the area and Google never lets me down.
- Outside of YPAC, I’m passionate about revitalizing Indigenous culture. I’m of Anishinaabe heritage (Ojibwe/Odawa/Potawatomi around the Great Lakes) and I’ve spent a lot of my time learning the language and culture. I’m the founder and director of Maamiwi Gibeshiwin, a platform I designed for young Indigenous people to reclaim their cultural identity through an annual multi-day retreat. I also designed it as professional development for non-Indigenous people to become allies. 2020 is our 4th year running and we were just awarded a $30,000 grant to run this year’s camp that will focus on food sovereignty. An Indigenous master chef will be teaching there as well as a famous Indigenous painter. It’s really exciting. You can check out our 2019 mini-doc outcome work on YouTube (search Maamiwi Gibeshiwin), and my LinkedIn page for a graphic novel that we released in 2019.
- Why did you join YPAC? I joined YPAC because I think it’s a great opportunity to help our industry build relationships with Indigenous people and see that its not just a political thing. The pipeline industry gets a bad rap in the media and I want that to change. There’s this huge opportunity for us to be leaders in the development of renewable energy (through the use of Indigenous knowledge and practices in engineering) and in advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. Not to mention Indigenous people are the fastest growing, youngest population in Canada. The way we hire and train people needs to change to accommodate this and we have a collective responsibility to reconciliation including through employment, procurement, and building partnerships with Indigenous peoples. Indigenous communities can and should be at the decision-making table in operations. I want to work on this throughout my career in engineering by growing myself and growing others.
- What new or rediscovered hobbies are you doing while practicing social distancing? I actually made SO MANY THINGS. I made like 6 batches of lavender-sweetgrass and lavender-sweet orange soap, bath bombs, essential oil rollers, lavender bath salts. I learned how to bake a mille feuille, rosemary parmiagiano reggiano focaccia, spicy tomato couscous soup, all kinds of cookies and cakes. I decided to try out for the Great Canadian Baking Show in Toronto next spring. I love making stuff. I’ll cook something nice up for my YPAC friends when COVID-19 is over. 😊
- How you think the Canadian pipeline industry will change by the time you end of your career? The pipeline industry will have executive teams that contain Indigenous leadership. Top down leadership by Indigenous people for Indigenous people is required. It will help develop self-determination principles in our industry and help create higher quality operational change to accommodate Indigenous peoples. The pipeline industry will change the way it hires and trains to be more inclusive of Indigenous people. The pipeline industry will develop and maintain procurement chains with Indigenous peoples. The pipeline industry will lead the country in capacity-building of Indigenous communities through procurement, employment and partnership of Indigenous peoples and communities. The pipeline industry will recognize and address increased sexualized violence toward Indigenous women and anti-Indigenous racism present around operational camps. The pipeline industry will change engineering operations to include Indigenous knowledge and people in critical decision-making processes.
- Do you have any professional regrets? If so, what advice would you give Young Pipeliners? No, I don’t. And no one should. Failure is a normal part of success. If you fail, learn from it, own it and keep going. Find another way to accomplish what you want to accomplish. Ask for help, because there is always a way. Make every effort to better yourself each day. Failure will make you a better professional, and a better person.