The Victoria Forum 2024
The Victoria Forum 2024 - Building Trust for a Shared Future

Dara Kelly is from the Leq’á:mel First Nation, part of the Stó:lō Coast Salish, and is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Peter B Gustavson School of Business at The University of Victoria.

She completed her Doctor of Philosophy in Commerce in the Department of Management and International Business at The University of Auckland Business School in Aotearoa-New Zealand. Dara’s doctoral research explored Coast Salish economy of affection with a focus on Coast Salish philosophy of freedom, unfreedom, wealth and reciprocity. Economic unfreedom emerged with introduction of the Potlatch Ban across Canada, and its residual impacts are prevalent today reflected in an aspect of the research findings that honour Xá:m! Crying, weeping—the affective expression of grieving that shapes how the Coast Salish wisdom keepers in this research talk about gatherings. Economic freedom from within Coast Salish worldview is inherently spiritual by virtue of the interrelated nature of exchange between Xá:ls, the Creator, Sólh Téméxw, the river environment, and Xwélmexw, the river people. A paper stemming from her thesis won the Best Paper in Sustainability Award at the Sustainability, Ethics and Entrepreneurship (SEE) Conference in Puerto Rico in February 2017.

Currently Kelly is working on the Coastal First Nations (CFN) Legacy Project. CFN is an alliance of First Nations communities on Haida Gwaii and the North and Central coasts of British Columbia. She will conduct oral history interviews to capture the core values of the CFN and develop case studies that will highlight key organizational challenges and successes from the perspective of those communities.

Dara also completed a Master of Commerce in which she explored ancestral leadership with Māori business leaders, and in addition to her studies, Dara was a Researcher with the Mira Szászy Research Centre for Māori and Pacific Economic Development at The University of Auckland Business School. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia (UBC).

Research Interests: Indigenous economy of affection; economic freedom/unfreedom; Indigenous wealth; ancestral leadership; Indigenous leadership.

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