Indigenous Communities, Toxics and Environmental Injustice in the Great Lakes Region of North America

Detail of dream catcher and body of water

Thursday, May 6, 2021
11:00 a.m. PDT




Check out this video to watch the Indigenous Communities, Toxics and Environmental Injustice in the Great Lakes Region of North America.

A Speaker Series: 
Toxicology and Societies - The Impacts of Chemicals in Our Lives

Brought to you in partnership with Huxley's Institute of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry and the WWU Alumni Association

Please join us for the next speaker in our series on Toxicology and Societies: The Impacts of Chemicals in our Lives.

Jessica Koski will weave together her various roles and experiences as an Indigenous woman researching, advocating, and serving in the Great Lakes region of North America. The presentation will provide a regional overview and highlight Indigenous toxic concerns in the context of Indigenous environmental justice and the roles Indigenous communities are leading to protect the largest system of freshwater in the world.

Our vision in developing this series was to support a better understanding of something that affects all of us. There are over 300,000 chemicals being produced and used in almost everything we wear, eat, and drink. How can you ever hope to understand when and where you or your family might be at risk from some of these chemicals? The short answer is, you can’t know everything about all of these substances, but you can learn more about how toxicology (the study of toxic substances) affects you and your society.

This seminar series aims to help you better appreciate, understand, and evaluate the many ways that manufactured chemicals interact with all humans on Earth.

More information about the speaker series is available here.

Jessica Koski

Jessica Koski


Jessica Koski is Anishinaabe-Ojibwe from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She is an incoming doctoral student at the University of British Columbia’s Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability where her research will focus on Indigenous rights implementation challenges and opportunities in the U.S. and Canada in the context of resource struggles. She has a master’s degree in Environmental Management focused in Social Ecology and Environmental Policy from the Yale School of the Environment (2011). Jessica’s master’s research at Yale focused on Indigenous activism and environmental justice issues facing Indigenous communities in the Great Lakes region of North America.

She currently lives in the Minneapolis area where she serves as a Branch Chief, Program Manager and Regional Fish & Wildlife Biologist for the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs Midwest Region.

Ruth Sofield

Ruth Sofield


Ruth Sofield is a Professor of environmental toxicology and chemistry in the Huxley College of the Environment. She received her Ph.D. and M.S. in Environmental Science and Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines. Ruth’s research group focuses on the effects of water and air pollution. Their current projects include the aquatic toxicity of microplastic and tire wear particles, and the use of moss as a biomonitoring tool for particulate matter. Ruth is a member of the Puget Sound Partnership Science Panel and the President of the Pacific Northwest Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

Tracy Collier

Tracy Collier


Tracy Collier received his Ph.D. in Fisheries Sciences from the University of Washington. He has worked for over 45 years as a toxicologist, with more than 35 of those years spent at NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center, where he served as the director of a science division that employed up to 100 people, covering several disciplines, including environmental toxicology, analytical chemistry, harmful algal blooms, and watershed processes. He has over 175 scientific publications, and currently is an affiliate faculty at Western.

Upcoming Spring Quarter Talks

May 20, 2021
Title: Challenges of Treating PFAS, the Forever Chemical
Speaker: Michelle Crimi (Clarkson University, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering)

June 3, 2021
Title: The Perils of PFAS
Speaker: Linda Birnbaum (American toxicologist, microbiologist and the former director of the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences)

Questions and Accommodations

Contact the WWU Alumni Association for this event. Feel free to call at (360) 650-3353 or email at if you have any questions or comments.

There will be auto-captions available for this event. To request closed captions, please mark the request on the registration form. Advance notice of three days to one week is appreciated.