Melina Laboucan-Massimo

Indigenous rights and environmental advocate

Region(s): North America
Country of focus: Canada
Based in Victoria

Melina Laboucan-Massimo (@Melina_MLM) has been a leader in Indigenous rights and environmental justice for more than two decades.

Melina is Lubicon Cree from Northern Alberta in Canada. She holds a Master’s degree in Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria with a focus on renewable energy.

As a part of her Master’s thesis, she implemented a 20.8 kW solar project that powers the health center in her home community of Little Buffalo, in the heart of the tar sands. From this work, Melina founded Sacred Earth Solar in 2015 and builds renewable energy projects across Canada.

Melina is the co-founder and Just Transition/Healing Justice Director at Indigenous Climate Action  (@Indigenous_ca) . She is a Climate Change Fellow at the David Suzuki Foundation and was named a Climate Champion by the Canadian Climate Law Initiative in 2021.

For more than 20 years, Melina has campaigned to build brighter futures alongside icons including Jane Fonda, David Suzuki, Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein. She has been invited to speak before hundreds of audiences over the years including in the US Congress, the Harvard Law Forum, the British Parliament and numerous international organizations like Amnesty International while campaigning globally for climate justice.

Melina serves on the boards of NDN Collective and Seeding Sovereignty. She is on the Executive Steering Committee of the Indigenous Clean Energy Social Enterprise. She worked for more than a decade as a climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace and the Indigenous Environmental Network, testifying before the U.S. Congress in 2012 against the now-cancelled Keystone XL pipeline.

Melina hosts Power to the People, a TV documentary series which profiles renewable energy, food security and eco-housing projects in Indigenous communities across Canada. She also campaigns for justice for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women. Her little sister Bella died in suspicious circumstances in 2013 and Bella’s case remains unsolved.

Melina has studied, campaigned, and worked in countries on four continents on resource extraction, climate change impacts, media literacy and Indigenous rights and responsibilities. Her extensive advocacy is deeply rooted in her first-hand experience as an Indigenous woman.

The impacts of the tar sands on her home community compelled her to be a strong voice from a young age. It is from her love for her community and for Mother Earth that she draws her convictions to stand up for environmental rights, climate justice, and Indigenous-led movement building.