Board of Directors
ELDER BRUCE ROBINSON – Nisga’a Nation
My name is Owii`lo`ly`eyum`gaudlth`ni`Ki`insque, Grizzly Bear with a Big Heart. I am of the Nisga’a people from the Wilp (house) of Nii’is’lis’eyan (our chief), Laxgiibuu (wolf) tribe, from the village of Gingolx (Kincolith) on the Nass River, raised in a traditional home. I have been in the lower mainland since 1970 to attend school and remained here to live, graduated high school in 1975/76. I worked in the fishing Industry for over 32 years.
I am currently a Family Support Elder and Cultural Advisor for Vancouver Aboriginal Child & Family Services Society and Urban Native Youth Association – Ki’lala Lelum clinic (kilalalelum.ca). I also provide Cultural Advisory, Protocols and Elder Support for the Broadway Youth Resource Center as needed.
I am also known as Bruce Robinson.
ELDER RUTH ALFRED
Ruth was born and raised in Alert Bay BC. Her heritage is Kwakuitl on her Grandmother’s side, Mamtagela-Tlowitsis from her Grandfather and Ukrainian on her father’s side. She has two daughters, five granddaughters, one grand son, a great- grand son and a great- granddaughter on her way in the New Year!
Her education includes post- education diplomas for Early Childhood Education and Office Administration from North Island College in Alert Bay. After working in the Fishing Industry for thirty years, Ruth left Alert Bay and moved to Comox, then North Vancouver.
She attended Native Education College in Vancouver obtaining a diploma in Office Administration. After graduating from NEC, Ruth found work as an Elder Program Co-ordinater at the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre and as an Elder Support Worker and Outreach Worker for fifteen years before retiring in 2018.
She is now working in the community as an Elder Knowledge Keeper for Vancouver Coastal Health, Elder in Residence at Heatley Community Health Clinic, and at Kilala Lelum doing one-to-one visits as an Elder. Ruth sits on the Elder Advisory for both Vancouver Coastal Health Elder Knowledge Keepers and Kilala Lelum.
ELDER DORIS FOX
Bio coming soon
Leah Walker is of Danish, English, Nlaka’pamux ancestry and has strong kinship ties at Seabird Island. She is a mom of a beautiful 17-year old, wife, gardener, sailor, educator, and Expressive Art Therapist, living on the Coast Salish Territory of Nex̱wlélex̱m (Bowen Island). Leah grew up the small resource community of Burns Lake (Wet’suwet’en) and her experiences there heavily influenced her interest in education, social awareness, conflict resolution, equity and art making.
She has over 20 years of Indigenous health leadership, including her current role as the Executive Director at Kilala Lelum. Previous to this role she was the Associate Director, Education at UBC Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health, where she led programs generating Indigenous knowledges such as the UBC Learning Circle, supported Indigenous programming such as UBC Summer Science, Health Administration and participated in cultural safety research, developed curriculum and taught in the Faculty of Medicine. Her current interests include deepening her relationship with Indigenous medicines and knowledges and supporting that growth at the medicine house.
ANNETTE J. BROWNE, PhD, RN
Annette is a nurse and professor at the University of British Columbia School of Nursing. Her research builds on her clinical work as an outpost nurse who lived and worked in remote northern First Nations and Inuit communities. Her work focuses on strategies for fostering health equity and cultural safety, with a particular focus on implications for Indigenous peoples.
Recent studies have addressed: the impact of organizational interventions to improve health equity in primary care; health promoting interventions with Indigenous women experiencing violence; and, improving healthcare for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in emergency departments. Working in partnership with health and policy leaders, and clinicians at the point of care, her research aims at improving healthcare delivery and policies.
Maegen is a Partner at Ratcliff & Company where she at the began her career after clerking at the BC Court of Appeal, and spent several years working exclusively in all areas of aboriginal litigation including commercial disputes, fiduciary duty claims, reserve based claims, tort claims, consultation and accommodation and aboriginal rights and title claims. She also helped to develop inaugural laws for self-governance under treaty, including the establishment of one of the first indigenous dispute resolution tribunals in B.C. Her interest and experience in governance matters has expanded in recent years as she has broadened her legal practice to advising and representing local governments and others in public law matters. Maegen has also served as an expert panel member with the Huu-ay-aht First Nation’s Social Services Project and as a legal advocate for Indigenous children, parents and families.
DR. DAVID TU, MD
David is a Canadian Family Physician with a clinical focus on inner-city medicine, Aboriginal Health, and HIV. Dr. Tu grew up in Toronto, Canada, and attended medical school at McMaster University. He completed his residency in Family Medicine at the University of Ottawa, and went on to complete a 1-year Research Fellowship at the University of British Columbia.
Dr. Tu currently works as a clinician, researcher, and medical educator at the Vancouver Native Health Society Clinic and the UBC Aboriginal Family Practice Residency Stream. He has been the Physician Leader for the Vancouver Coastal Health STOP-HIV project and has previously worked as a Clinical Associate on the HIV ward at Vancouver’s St. Paul’s Hospital.
Dr. Tu is a Clinical Assistant Professor and former Community Based Clinical Researcher at the University of British Columbia’s Department of Family Practice. Dr. Tu’s current research interests focus on issues related to improving systems of health care for Indigenous Peoples, with a focus on HIV, Hepatitis C, and Depression. His recent published research work has focused on the application of the Chronic Care Model to HIV care, application of Self-Management support strategies for people with HIV, and partnership models of care between Traditional Indigenous and mainstream health care practices. He lives in Vancouver with his wife and his two children.
JENNIFER DEHONEY – Missanabie Cree First Nation
Jennifer is a certified Wellness/Health Coach and a consultant on a variety of Indigenous health initiatives. She has previously worked as a pediatric physiotherapist in Saskatoon, Toronto, Vancouver and with two Dene communities in northern Saskatchewan. She spent 3-years coordinating the Mmmooooooke Na Sii Yea Yeaaa (All my Relations) Program at the Vancouver Native Health Society Clinic in the Downtown Eastside, which was a partnership model of care between Indigenous Elders and Western-trained clinicians. She worked as a consultant for the Aboriginal Health team at Vancouver Coastal Health as an Indigenous Cultural Safety Facilitator and with the Huu-ay-aht First Nation. Her professional work is dedicated to acts of reconciliation that create space, relationships and equity for Indigenous people within health and social justice environments. She lives on the unceded homelands of the Coast Salish people with her husband and their two young children.
Elders and Knowledge Keepers
BLACK WOLF THUNDER
Present name used: Thunder Buffalo; Western Name: Wendall Williams
Born in Winnipeg, Wendall grew up in multiple cities throughout Canada. His ancestry is Mohawk (Haudenosaunee) Six Nations and Anishnabe (Ojibway) Garden River First Nations Ketegaunseebee. At our centre, Wendall is integral in his many roles of: Cultural Worker and Knowledge-keeper. He leads a weekly drum circle every Tuesday and a weekly mens talking circle with the Dudes Club.
He is a proud father of three beautiful children, likes to spend his free time taking part in ceremony, community lodge, sundance, canoe journeys, drumming and teaching within the community.