Dr. Norman Wirzba “Every time you eat, you give expression to what you think the world ought to be.”
Norman Wirzba is professor of theology, ecology and rural life at Duke Divinity School. His research and teaching interests are the intersections of theology, philosophy, ecology and agrarian and environmental studies. He is the author of The Paradise of God: Renewing Religion in an Ecological Age, Living the Sabbath: Discovering the Rhythms of Rest and Delight, Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating, and co-author of Making Peace with the Land.
He lectures frequently in Canada and the United States. His work focuses on understanding and promoting practices that can equip both rural and urban church communities to be more faithful and responsible members of creation.
Dr. James Makokis, M.D. (full bio here) was born and raised on onihcikiskwapiwin – “Saddle Lake Cree Nation”, in Treaty No. 6. He is a two-spirited Family Physician who resides in Edmonton, Alberta, where he practices Family Medicine.
From 2013-2015 he fulfilled his life long dream of practicing in his home Nation. During that time he focused on incorporating nehiyaw mamitoneyicikan (Cree world view) into all aspects of his practice, including the Cree Seven Stages of Life Teachings and Cree medicines. He believes that only through the inclusion and incorporation of Indigenous knowledge across all areas of programming in Indigenous Nations, and working collaboratively with traditional medicine people will true healing occur.
Currently he also works co-teaching alongside Elder Jim O’Chiese, courses on Indigenous health, traditional medicine, and Indigenous knowledge at Yellowhead Tribal College. Dr. Makokis also holds appointments as an Associate Clinical Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Alberta and Adjunct Lecturer in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. He was the 2007 youth recipient of the Indspire Award and former National Spokesperson for the National Aboriginal Role Model Program.
Dennis Cuku is co-founder of the Mosaic Family of Companies; a knowledge-worker collective designed to effect positive social change through business. As a visionary entrepreneur, he operates on the
manifesto that Normal is Broken and that capitalism need not come at the expense of human values, environmental sustainability or personal happiness. He is an animated and stimulating communicator with a zeal for fun, awesome and abolishment of status quo.
Dennis is a Mechanical Engineer with expertise in drilling rig design and is acting President of Oil Country Engineering. Paradoxically, his passion lies in the arena of sustainable building design and green building innovation. Dennis’ recent project, The Mosaic Centre, was completed in May 2015, aimed at being the crown jewel of sustainable building in Edmonton and the first Net-Zero energy commercial office building in Alberta; an example of Alberta’s oil and gas abundance igniting innovative sustainable projects.
Roy and Judy Louis are internationally acclaimed leaders and educators on First Nations history and culture in Canada. Roy is a member of the Samson Cree Nation. He is from a family of traditional leaders and the former President of the Indian Association of Alberta.
Judy Louis is a high-energy educational consultant with a long track record for fostering learning and promoting multicultural diversity. She is a recipient of an Excellence of Teaching Award and the Alberta Centennial Medal for innovative approaches to education and the promotion of cultural diversity.
Roy is also the recipient of many awards, including Canada’s 125 Medal in 1992, the Alberta Centennial Medal in 2005, the Queens Diamond Jubilee medal in September of 2012. In 2013, Roy received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Alberta Aboriginal Role models and in 2014, he was chosen as one of Alberta’s Most Influential People for his role as a community leader.
In 1997, Roy helped initiate the Pe Sakastew Healing Centre in Maskwacis with former Commissioner Ole Ingstrup. In 2003, he and Judy traveled to China to receive an International Award for the Healing Centre.
Roy and Judy currently live in Maskwacis, where they enjoy the fourteen grandchildren in their blended family.
Randall Benson “Growing up, I was taught to respect the land and anything harvested from the land…”
Randall is the owner/principal of Gridworks Energy, a turn-key solar PV design and install company based in Edmonton for more than 13 years. Randall has been a leader for solar energy in Canada for many years, and currently provides training for professionals on PV design and installation. “We have some of the best solar and wind resources in the world…”
A recent Augustana graduate who participated in a 5-day solar course taught by Randall had this to say, “Everything out of Randall’s mouth is gold. Super great course.”