About Us

Kwusen is a specialist consulting company who works with Indigenous communities to conduct community-based research on Indigenous Knowledge, cultural heritage, and traditional land use. Our participatory approach emphasises community capacity building to engage community members in researching their own cultural heritage, Indigenous Knowledge, and land use practices. We specialize in traditional ecological knowledge, Indigenous Knowledge, and Traditional Land Use and Occupancy research in relation to land claims and environmental impact assessments. We also provide innovative services to utilize documentary video, websites, apps and web-based mapping technologies in our research and reporting.

Kwusen’s research team is based Victoria, BC and currently provides traditional use and occupancy studies (TUOS) research, media production, training, and consultation support services to Indigenous communities throughout British Columbia and Alberta. With a TUOS research team of seven staff plus associates, we have extensive experience and the capacity to provide high quality and consistent support in your ongoing TUOS research.

In addition to TUOS, we specialize in documentary video production and the production of web-based software applications. Over the past six years Kwusen has been working with our First Nations partners to address the challenges they were having managing diverse recordings (maps, audio, video, notes, etc.) made as a part of TUOS/TK studies and consultation. Kwusen worked with our partners to develop a secure web-based data management and mapping system that can manage all of these diverse records. This web-based mapping and data management system has grown into Community KnowledgeKeeper (CKK), which is now used to manage research and consultation related data for twenty-eight communities.

Who We Are

Towagh Behr, M.A.

Anthropologist, Principal

Towagh has conducted Traditional Knowledge (TK), Traditional Use Studies (TUS), and cultural documentation projects with over thirty Indigenous communities in western and northern Canada in the past fourteen years.

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Stella Spak, Ph.D.

Anthropologist

Stella Spak received her PhD in Social Cultural Anthropology (Canadian Resource Co-management Boards and Their Relationship to Indigenous Knowledge) from the University of Toronto in 2001.

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Bill Farrant, B.A.

Indigenous Researcher and Consultation Specialist

Bill Farrant has played a key role in the development, implementation, and ongoing maintenance of CKKs for the Fort McKay, Athabasca Chipewyan, Mikisew Cree, K’ómoks, Yellowknives Dene, and Fort Nelson Nations, as well as with Fort McMurray Metis Local 1935.

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Susannah Machelak, M.A.

Anthropologist

Susannah is an anthropologist with applied experience conducting cultural and Aboriginal rights research.

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Leona Head

Accounts Manager

Leona graduated from an Administrative Assistant program with a bookkeeping focus. She has 14 years of experience as a bookkeeper where she has familiarized herself with all aspects of good accounting practices.

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Aurora Skala, M.A.

Archaeologist, Indigenous Knowledge Researcher

Aurora holds an MA in Anthropology from the University of Victoria. She is currently assisting with the Salmon Arm West Cultural Heritage Assessment (CHA) being conducted for the Adams Lake Indian Band, Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band, and Neskonlith Indian Band.

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Camille O'Sullivan, B.A.

CKK Support

Camille holds a degree in Classics from Queen’s University and a degree in Women’s and Gender Studies from Carleton University.

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Josh Hazelbower, B.A.

Traditional Knowledge Research Assistant

Josh has extensive experience conducting traditional land use and ecological knowledge interviews, video documentation, reviewing ethnohistorical literature, writing TUS reports and being the daily contact for community researchers.

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