Department of Environment and Geography
302-303 Wallace Building
125 Dysart Road


Academic Background

PDF, University of Victoria / UNBC (1998) - Environmental wellbeing
PhD, York University (1997) - Biology (restoration ecology)
MSc, University of Guelph (1993) - Agriculture (agroecology, crop-weed competition)
B.Sc.,(hon) McMaster University (1990) - Biology (wildlife, environmental newspaper

Student Opportunities

Our research team is always excited to work with undergraduate and graduate students and post-docs on issues related to environmental justice and health as well as Indigenous food sovereignty. Please feel free to contact me at for more information. Funding opportunities do exist to support highly motivated and progressive students with related interests.


ENVR 4110 / Critical Thinking in the Environment
ENVR 3110 / Environmental Conservation and Restoration 
ENVR 4000 / GEOG4670/GEOG 7010 / Applied Qualitative Research: Making a Difference
ENVR 4000 / Various project and readings courses

Research Interests

Our research focuses on environmental justice, environmental health, and Indigenous food sovereignty. Conducted in close collaboration with Indigenous communities across Manitoba, Canada and for that matter around the world, it documents and challenges the disproportionate impacts on resource extraction

on these communities. Such industries include hydropower and mega dams, forestry, mining, agriculture and for that matter anything else these communities are concerned about. However, this work is also solutions-oriented and advocacy-based, and that works to support impacted communities, to increase public awareness, and for social and political change related to these issues.

Although I am trained formally as an environmental scientist, all of our work emphasizes the importance of “two-eyed” seeing where such science is combined with and indeed held accountable by Indigenous Knowledge, community priorities, and worldviews. In order to better enable a match between Indigenous and science-based ways of seeing, our work is applied, holistic in approach and transdisciplinary in nature. It is this thus supported by a wide diversity of funding agencies including NSERC, SSHRC, and CIHR amongst others.

All this work reflects and works to support the principles of Indigenous data sovereignty and research sovereignty as well as OCAP (community Ownership of, Control over, Access to, and Possession of data).In addition to being conducted in close collaboration with Indigenous communities, this work is also conducted in collaboration with undergraduate and graduate students, post-docs and research technicians and associates, researchers from other universities, environmental and food NGOs, lawyers, and decision-makers at all levels of government.

University Affiliated Project Sites

Knowledge mobilization and knowledge exchange are critical elements of our work and also form part of our formal research. These reflect a wide diversity of approaches to communication including community-shaped infographics, social media, websites, educational workshops and campaigns for social and political change

Our current project communication sites include the following:

* Wa Ni Ska Tan Alliance of Hydro-Impacted Communities (, Initially focusing on the adverse impacts of Manitoba Hydro on Indigenous communities, this alliance has grown in scope to include mega dam projects including Site C in British Columbia and Muskrat Falls in Labrador

* Dam Watch International. ( This transnational advocacy network arose from a gathering we hosted in November 2019 where > 400 hydro-impacted community members and allies from around the world met in Winnipeg and created this alliance for research, education, and social change.

*Kis Kin Ha Ma Ki Win. ( . Environmental scientists and Elders teach youth in land-based camps in Manitoba and Ontario that are held in collaboration with Indigenous communities and that focus on environmental issues of local concern.

Kitatipithitamak Mithwayawin, (, . Cree for sovereignty or control over health and wellbeing, this project arose to help support Indigenous communities across Canada and elsewhere as they respond to COVID-19

Recent and Significant Publications

Tyas, M., and McLachlan, S.M. 2019. Wa Ki Ska Tan; Indigenous communities, resistance and energy justice. Screened at Ki Ta Ski Naw international gathering, Winnipeg Manitoba November 8 2019

Laforge, J., Fenton, A., Lavalée-Picard, V., and S. McLachlan (2019). New farmers and food policies in Canada. Canadian Food Studies/La Revue canadienne des études sur l'alimentation, 5(3), 128-152.

McLachlan, S.M. 2018. Death by a thousand dams: A cross-cultural review of the socio-environmental dimensions of the Manitoba Minnesota Transmission Project. A report prepared for the Wa Ni Ska Tan Alliance of Hydro-Impacted Communities. National Energy Board Hearings regarding the Manitoba Minnesota Transmission Project, May 4, 2018

Tyas, M, and McLachlan, S.M. 2015. One River, Many Relations: The Oil Sands, Environment, and Indigenous Rights. Dead Crow Productions, Winnipeg, MB Has been screened in over 15 film festival including Vancouver, Colorado, Florida, Toronto, Malaysia, etc.

McLachlan, S.M. 2014. “Water is a living thing”; Environmental and human health implications of the Athabasca Oil Sands for the Mikisew Cree First Nation and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation in northern Alberta. Prepared for Health Canada, Mikisew Cree First Nation and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. July 7, 2014.

McLachlan, S.M. 2014. Deaf in one ear, and blind in the other: science, Aboriginal traditional knowledge, and the implications of Keeyask for the socio-environment. A report for the Manitoba Clean Environment Commission on behalf of the Concerned Fox Lake Grassroots Citizens. January 11, 2014.