Florence James

Coast Salish Elder

Elder Florence James is an educator and lifelong learner from Penelakut Island, B.C. She is a fluent speaker of the Coast Salish dialect Hul’q’umi’num. She draws on her traditional gifts and teachings from the Ancestors and her university-based education in her dedication to language, culture, environment, traditional healing, and the care and education of young children.

Elder Florence has contributed her cultural and ecological expertise, teachings and guidance in biocultural education and ethics initiatives over many years. She is a cherished Elder of the Ethics Circle who developed new Ethical Guidance for Knowledge Sharing Across Indigenous and Western Scientific Knowledge Systems.

Florence has generously participated in many POLIS events, offering territorial acknowledgements, prayers, songs and teachings, particularly related to watershed governance and biocultural ethics. Among others, this includes the 2013 panel presentation Cultural Dimensions of Ecological Governance, Watersheds 2016 and Watersheds 2020 openings and closings as well as co-leading a workshop on Water Ethics and Cross-Cultural Values for Watersheds 2016, and the June 2021 Listening Circle with Coast Salish Elders Florence James & Ray Tony Charlie, which was organized in the spirit of listening and learning from local Indigenous Elders to better understand what reconciliation asks of us at this time.