Six Nations of the Grand River, ON
Serena Mendizabal (she/her) is a Cayuga Wolf Clan Panamanian woman from the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. Serena is a community-based researcher and grassroots organizer. Serena recently graduated from a Master of Geography & Environment with a focus on Indigenous environmental health governance alongside Pictou Landing First Nation and Tobique First Nation. Serena first began her journey in clean energy when she was 18 working in community engagement and communications at the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation. While working in community engagement, she found gaps in community consent with her community’s clean energy portfolio and went on to further explore what a true ‘just transition’ can look like in a community of over 28,000 members. From there on out, Serena has dedicated her studies and extracurriculars to Indigenous self-determination, climate change, environmental health impact and just clean energy transitions. Serena’s connections to climate advocacy, research, education, and direct action are numerous.
Serena is the Co-Chair of the SevenGen National Indigenous Youth Energy Council, a Subject Matter Expert on Connecting for Climate Change Action, a Youth Action & Environment Fellow with the Lawson Foundation, and an Indigenous consultant with Iron & Earth, a labour-focused clean energy transition organization. Serena also works with Protect the Tract, a Haudenosaunee-led group in her community, Six Nations, focused on enforcing the traditional governance (the Haudenosaunee Confederacy)’s moratorium on development along the Grand River (Haldimand Tract). Serena’s main focus is her role as Program Assistant at Sacred Earth Solar, an organization founded on empowering frontline Indigenous communities with solar energy and healing justice. Serena is passionate about self-determined community development, action, and futures, and believes in a future with Indigenous youth & elders leading; sovereign, healthy nations; and lands and waters back.