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Saskia Brill, M.A.

Saskia Brill, M.A.

Researcher and doctoral candidate


Department of Cultural and Social Anthropology
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU)
Oettingenstr. 67
80538 Munich

Room: 024
Phone: +49 (0) 89 / 2180 - 9629
Fax: +49 (0) 89 / 2180 - 9602

Areas of research and interest

Regional: North America, especially Canada’s Pacific Coast
Thematically: Environmental Anthropology, Human-Nature-Relations, Economic Anthropology, Indigenous Studies, Colonialism.

Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Eveline Dürr

Doctoral Program: Environment and Society at the Rachel Carson Center

Research Project:

Negotiating Air in the Great Bear Rainforest. A Carbon Saving Project between Resource Extraction, Environmental Protection and Decolonization.


German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
Jahresstipendien für DoktorandInnen Studienjahr 2018/19 (57380837)

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
DU 209/24-1: 02/2020 – 03/2022


I respectfully acknowledge that this project is carried out on the ancestral and unceded territory of - and in cooperation with - the Haíɫzaqv Nation. I further worked on xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, səl̓ilwətaɂɬ and Skwxwu7mesh territory. This project also brought me to the territories of the ts’msyan, ˈnuːhɒlk, gidisdzu / X̌íx̌ís, and X̱aayda/X̱aad.

The reduction of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere as well as their storage are considered to be priority tasks to minimize global warming and all associated dangers. Emissions trading as a central instrument of global environmental policy has manifested itself in various ways since the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol in 2007 (UNFCCC 1998) and has since been constantly modified. Thus, a vital “common good” - the right to use the atmosphere as a sink for emissions - became a commodity. The tradable CO2 units usually arise from saving and storage projects that remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere through afforestation, forest protection, renewable energies or more efficient technologies and store them in the long term.

This research project examines the changing environmental attributions and territorial references of indigenous groups in the context of Great Bear Carbon Project (GBCP). The GBCP is located on the Canadian Pacific coast and has several features that enable in-depth research on greenhouse gases and CO2 certificates: It is one of the largest CO2-saving projects worldwide, is located in the only remaining temperate rainforest on earth and contains ancestral territories of many different indigenous groups. In cooperation with the Integrated Resource Management Department (HIRMD) of the Heiltsuk Nation, the cultural interpretation and economic relevance of this natural resource – namely carbon offsets - and the significance of the respective ecosystem are worked out. Bella Bella (Waglisla) is, therefore, the primary place for the empirical research of this project.

The research project further analyzes the political context of this CO2 saving project. It shows how the indigenous groups adapt and, above all, define global political debates on environmental protection and climate change to articulate their titles and rights vis-à-vis the state and thus promote decolonialization. In this context, the dynamic relationships with the federal state, global environmental policy makers, and regional economic interests become clear. While the HIRMD is the institution that takes care of the adherence to and implementation of the land use plans on behalf of the Heiltsuk Nation, the alliance of Coastal First Nations (CFN) jointly maintains the CO2-saving project. The network of the association is based in Vancouver and acts as an administrative center for all initiated projects - primarily to strengthen the local economic situation in the indigenous communities.


  • 11.2018 – 06.2019 Research for the doctoral project “Negotiating Air in the Great Bear Rainforest. A Carbon Saving Project between Resource Extraction, Environmental Protection and Decolonization.”
  • 03/04. 2017 Explorative field research in British Columbia, Canada.
  • 02/03.2012 Fieldwork Methods Course in Mexico (Mexico City, Oaxaca)


  • 29.09.2021 DGSKA Tagung, Universität Bremen, Online Konferenz. „Klimaschutz und Ressourcennutzung. Ein indigenes CO2-Einsparungsprojekt an Kanadas Pazifikküste.“
  • 24.04.2021 Colloquium Americanum, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt. „Emissionshandel im Great Bear Rainforest. Zwischen Naturschutz und politischer Selbstbestimmung.“
  • 28.11.2020 American Indian Workshop, LMU München, Online Konferenz. „Clam Beds, Fish Traps & Salmon Streams. The role of intertidal zones in Indigenous Land Use Planning.“
  • 04.09.2020 GKS Nachwuchsforum, Universität Freiburg, Online Konferenz. „Imagining Nation-to-Nation relations. Navigating reconciliation negotiations at Canadas Pacific Coast.“
  • 21.11.2019. Amerikas-Kolloquium, Institut für Ethnologie, LMU München. “Resources and Reconciliation. Perspectives on the connection of politics and natural resources on Canada’s Pacific coast”
  • 13.08.2019. Masterclass Museums and Environmental Humanities, University of Stavanger. “Experiencing CO2”
  • 28.07.2018. EASST Conference, University of Lancaster. Panel G02: From detachment to appropriation: performing commodification. Convenors: Veit Braun & Saskia Brill. “The value of emission rights.”
  • 28.02.2018. Design and Environment Workshop, University of Leeds. „Designing a future of Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest“
  • 20.07.2017. Amerikas-Kolloquium, Institut für Ethnologie, LMU München. „Luft (ver-)handeln. Perspektiven auf Treibhausgase in einem CO2-Ausgleichsprojekt in British Columbia.“
  • 04.09.2017. New Materialist Workshop, Rachel Carson Center, LMU Munich. „CO2nnections“


  • WiSe 2021: Online Seminar: Ecotourism with a hand lens. In Kooperation mit der Universidad de Magallanes, Chile. Gefördert von BAYLAT.
  • SoSe 2019: Online Seminar: Environment and Knowledge – an ethnographic exploration.
  • SoSe 2018: Seminar: Indigenous groups and natural resources in British Columbia.
  • WiSe 2017/18: Seminar: Introduction to Indigenous Canada.
  • WiSe 2014/15: Tutorium: Anthropology of Religion.
  • WiSe 2012/13: Tutorium: Anthropology of Religion.