Dan is a Turtle Clan member of the Mohawk Nation and a citizen of the Rotinonshón:ni (Haudenosaunee – People of the Longhouse), originally from Ohsweken – the Six Nations community on the Grand River. Dan is an Associate Professor in the Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies at Trent University, founding Director of the Indigenous Environmental Science/Studies program (IESS) and acting Director of the newly formed Indigenous Environmental Institute (IEI). He was also the first Director of Studies of Trent’s Indigenous Studies Ph.D. program. Dan designed and developed the IESS program – the first of its kind on Turtle Island. Granting both B.A. and B.Sc. degrees since 2009, the IESS program is an innovative and multidisciplinary undergraduate program that brings together principles of both Indigenous and Western (or neo-European/colonial) Knowledge systems for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners. It is based on a collaborative partnership between university departments. Unique IESS courses, along with courses in Indigenous Studies and Environmental Resource Studies and Sciences, form the curriculum.
Dan is celebrated for his Traditional Rotinonshón:ni Knowledge and embeds this into his teaching and in developing the IESS program ongoing. Dan also acts as a cultural advisor and instructor for several programs at the First Nations Technical Institute, Ryerson University and several Ontario universities and colleges. Dan is invited to share across Turtle Island and lectures and teaches on diverse topics including Indigenous environmental Knowledges and philosophy, Indigenous responses to environmental issues, interactive science and Indigenous Knowledge systems, Indigenous education, pedagogy and Indigenous ways of knowing as founded upon Indigenous languages and cultures, the recognition and resurgence of Traditional Indigenous lifeways and practices, human health and the environment, Traditional Indigenous foods and medicines, natural resource development and restoration, community sustainability, international Indigenous networks, the recognition of Treaty and Indigenous rights and understandings of the environmental and human impacts of colonialism. Dan stresses the importance of learning from Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Holders as the critical foundation for Indigenous identity, vision and life purpose. He creates links between Traditional Indigenous teachings and science and promotes using a “Good Mind” as part of our responsibilities in taking the collective actions needed to restore the Earth for the next seven generations.