Mr. Keith Henry is a Métis person that was born in Thompson, Manitoba and raised in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Mr. Henry achieved a B.Ed. from the University of Saskatchewan in 1995.
Mr. Henry began his career in 1995 with teaching positions and has become well known for his strategic administrative and negotiation skills. Since 1998 Mr. Henry has led numerous provincial, federal and industry negotiations on a variety of issues. He has been directly responsible for the financial administration of a number of Aboriginal non-profits and has a proven track record of success.
Mr. Henry started his own consulting company in October 2008 and is the President and CEO of KCD Consulting Incorporated that specializes in human resource development, economic development, project delivery, strategic planning, negotiations, and leadership development. Today Mr. Henry has worked or continues to work with several clients including the Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada, Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia, Treaty 8 Tribal Association, Prophet River First Nations, Halfway River First Nations, Alexis Creek Indian Band, Kelly Lake Métis Settlement Society, Tl’azt’en Nation, Lake Babine Nation, Trondek Hwichen, plus several others.
Mr. Henry has become an international Aboriginal cultural tourism leader receiving Aboriginal/Indigenous recognition as the former CEO for Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia (AtBC). In April 2014 the inaugural World Indigenous Tourism Alliance award recognized the work of AtBC and Mr. Henry’s leadership. Mr. Henry has been spearheading the growth of authentic Aboriginal tourism in Canada as he worked to redevelop the national Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada as an elected chair when this organization incorporated in April 2015. In October 2015 Mr. Henry took the full-time role as the Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada’s CEO. In Canada, Mr. Henry continues to be recognized across the country as one of the leaders in Aboriginal tourism and has led many new initiatives such as the development of national standards on market readiness and authenticity, cruise industry opportunities and the national Aboriginal tourism research project on the economic value of Aboriginal cultural tourism. Mr. Henry was instrumental in the development of the national Aboriginal tourism strategy The Path Forward 2016-2021 which will focus on increasing Aboriginal market readiness, increasing jobs, and increasing revenues. Over the course of the last number of years, Mr. Henry has been invited to numerous international locations to support Aboriginal tourism strategies.
Mr. Henry volunteers time in the Aboriginal community and maintains several board positions including the former President of the Industry Council for Aboriginal Business, current chair of the Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada, current Chair for the Native Education College, former member of the Minister’s Council on Tourism, member of the Vancouver Board of Trade’s Aboriginal Opportunities Committee, member of the World Indigenous Tourism Alliance, International Marketing Committee Destination Canada member, and current President of the BC Métis Federation.
Rene Therrien, Vice President
I was born in Manitoba and left at an early age to seek employment. I met and married my wife in Terrace where we made our home and raised three children. I started in the wood industry doing odd jobs and in 1977 I went into business for myself for approximately 25 years as a self-employed logging contractor.
After retirement, I got involved with the Métis at the community level. In 2000 I was elected as the Regional Director for MNBC and thereafter was re-elected to serve for three terms. I am also a director for the Greater Terrace Seniors’ Advisory Committee.
My hobby is playing the fiddle at various functions and promoting Métis culture wherever I go. I’m honoured to be one of the directors of the BC Métis Federation. As a proud Métis, I’m committed to helping move our nation foreword for the next generation.
My name is Joe Desjarlais and I live in North Vancouver with my wife and children. I am a qualified educator who is involved in indigenous education issues. I have graduate-level work in history at Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia. Over the years, I have worked as a school teacher, a consultant, and a tradesman.
I am a proud Métis with a large extended family in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. My Métis ancestors were hunters, guides and scouts along the Northwest trails before Canada was a nation. A long-time Métis citizen, I have participated in the founding of the BC Métis Federation, a paradigm-shifting provincial political organization that currently plays an important role in reshaping the political, social and economic landscape in western Canada for Metis people and other Canadians. I currently hold the executive position as Secretary of the BC Metis Federation.
I am the author of a seminar called Métis Connect, an educational curriculum for Canadians on their journey to becoming intentional with Métis people. My goal is to connect very different people and communities together in creative ways, fueled by better ideas, rooted in the past, yet deeply reflective of present-day people and places. I conduct talks and seminars in university settings as well as other community forums and have written articles for various popular and academic publications.
I am committed to the shared public good of Métis people and communities. Our policies need an infusion of creative and principled ideas to move toward a shared future, for Métis, First Nations, and all Canadians. I look forward to serving Metis people and communities to this end.
Tansi! My name is Betty Fisher and I am seeking the position of Treasurer for the BC Métis Federation. I was born in Watrous, Saskatchewan to Métis parents Jules Belhumeur (St Lazare, Manitoba) and Verna Hayden (Ste. Marthe, Saskatchewan). My family tree includes names such as; Houle, Hogue, Desjarlais, Tourond, Plante, and Fleury to name a few. I was raised in a small Saskatchewan community named Young with my parents and three younger siblings.
I have been residing in British Columbia and working with the Métis since 2000, mainly in the capacity of finances. Prior to 2000, I worked for the Métis in Saskatchewan for 11 years, all of which was in finance. In addition to working specifically with Métis, I have also been employed with the Regina Friendship Centre and the Saskatchewan Association of Friendship Centres. A greater part of my working life has been dedicated to working with the Métis in a non-profit environment. The majority of my work experience has been in the field of accounting and I am very familiar with all aspects of the accounting cycle.
My education includes an accounting certificate from Wascanna Institute of Applied Arts & Science and several courses in Business Administration at the University of Saskatchewan. Other certificates include; Computerized Accounting, Accounting for Small Business, Basic Income Tax, Public Service Commission Accounting, Micro Computers, and Motivation Interviewing.
I have served as a board member for Regina Native Women, the Saskatoon Friendship Inn, and the Saskatchewan Council for Aboriginal Women’s Economic Development. I also held a Notary Public designation with the province of Saskatchewan. I am an active volunteer for the Cancer Society, as well as, the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
My hobbies include; beading, crocheting, knitting, sewing, quilting, reading, and baking. As a wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother I enjoy being around my close and extended family.
It would give me great pleasure to serve you as the Treasurer for the BC Métis Federation and I thank you for your support. Maarsii!
I started my Métis politics in 1992 with the MNBC. Then I helped found the MPCBC in 1996. In my naivety, I believed that the new Leaders would do the “Right” things, but they didn’t and still don’t.
I came back after all this time because, once again, I believe.
I believe that the most important thing that I can do is to be myself as a Métis person, with the enthusiasm of a Leader that believes we will succeed.
I have been in the Mechanical/Piping industry for nearly 50 years and still enjoy the trade. I have Interprovincial certificates as a Steamfitter/Pipefitter and Plumber. I also have certificates in Natural/Propane gas installations and instrumentation. I have 13 tickets in all, not including the courses that different companies require me to take on different jobs.
I look forward to working with the BCMF and “all” the Métis in BC and Canada.
My name is JJ Lavallee and I am a very proud Métis, born and raised on the Prairies. I have been promoting Métis culture for the last 11 years across this wonderful country by playing the “Métis Style” fiddle. I have met wonderful people along the way, many of whom greatly influenced me throughout the years.
When I came to BC, I knew no one, and Maxine Lavallee contacted me and the Federation has worked with me often and given me a chance to do what I do best. I absolutely love the dynamics and work ethic of the BCMF and I know I would fit in just great with the board.
I strongly believe that I can learn so much from joining the board and my youth will serve as an advantage to help attract younger Métis and be a role model for our youth.
Meegwitch, JJ Lavallee
Tanshi Dishinihkashon Cindy Wilgosh, (Hello my name is Cindy Wilgosh). I have lived in Clearwater for 37 years; I was born in Prince Albert Sask. I moved to BC at a young age and been here ever since. I am a mother and a very proud grandma.
I am honored to become a director for the BC Metis Federation. I am looking forward to working with the board and the Metis community throughout BC to promote the importance of the Metis Culture and awareness of all Metis people.
In the position of Executive Director for the North Thompson Aboriginal Cultural Centre Society, and the Aboriginal Coordinator for Aboriginal Engagement Success By 6 in the North Thompson Valley I have encouraged the Board of Directors of these agencies to understand and participate in the ongoing activities so that these generous individuals will also understand the necessity of engaging all generations for the future of the children’s health and cultural wellbeing.
As an active community member I have volunteered with many organizations and service groups over the years and was honored to receive the BC Community Achievement Award last year, but my heart is with the children, making sure all Aboriginal Children grow to be proud of their Culture, First Nations, Metis, Inuit, and to seek out their ancestry.
In my role as the Aboriginal Engagement Coordinator for Aboriginal Engagement Success By 6. My area is from Blue River to McClure, and through the Cultural Centre we continue to work within these areas, and beyond, to create Cultural awareness.
Together with volunteers from the Cultural Centre and AESB6, we conduct Connection Circles where we connect families and children to traditional stories, crafts, singing, jigging and drumming.
We host a variety of events, workshops, teachings, and pot lucks where Aboriginal and non-aboriginal people, are always invited and welcomed to participate.
I am looking forward to working with BCMF and our community partners, members and volunteers to create awareness for our Metis Culture and promote the importance of knowledge sharing.
Yours In Community Spirit
Greg Mazur, Director
Greg Mazur was born in Antler, Saskatchewan and was raised on a small farm in southwestern Manitoba near Sinclair. He and his brother enjoyed a wonderful childhood on the farm, with many close cousins that valued family and friends. Greg attended university in Winnipeg, Saskatoon, and Calgary. After this, he pursued a career in selling farm equipment in Brandon and Neepawa Manitoba.
In the late 70’s Greg, his wife Peggy and his brother Larry, father and mother Russ and Azilda, started North West Implements, a John Deere dealership, in Roblin Manitoba. Larry’s wife Donna soon joined the family and the two brothers soon became respected business partners and provided great service in the farming community. During this time, Greg and Larry were members of the Roblin Metis Association at which time he formed the start of a deep commitment to maintain the Metis culture, traditions and to advocate for the protection and benefit of the Metis people.
Upon the closure of the dealership, Greg moved to Armstrong BC in 1988 and worked for Western Indian Agriculture in Kamloops, providing loans to First Nation and Metis farmers. Greg and Peggy had two sons born in Vernon, Chris, and Dan. Then they moved to Kamloops to be closer to his work and volunteer communities.
Greg joined the Shuswap Okanagan Metis Association in 1989 and became President in 1990. Greg was a Regional Director for the Pacific Metis Federation (PMF) and was a representative for the PMF at the Back to Batoche gathering. Greg was on the board for the Kamloops Native Housing Society and in 1992 began as a Director of All Nations Trust Company (ANTCO). Greg is still a Director with ANTCO.
The Shuswap Okanagan Metis Association held a series of meetings in 1993 and 1994 that led to the formation of the Metis Provincial Council of BC, the forerunner to the MNBC. Greg and Peggy were proud to host Senator Thelma Challifoux , who stayed at their home for a number of meetings that she moderated in Kamloops. Those meetings signaled the beginning of uniting the fractured Metis communities in BC.
In 1994, Greg was hired by the Province of British Columbia as Aboriginal Economic Liaison where he oversaw the Aboriginal Economic Advisory Board, the First Citizens Fund and the Student Bursary fund. So, the family moved to Sidney and Greg worked in Victoria. While on the Island, Greg was a member of the Fraser-Braseau Clan and worked with Richard Larson to establish the Red River West celebrations. Greg later took a position as Director, with the Equal Opportunity Secretariat, with a mandate to increase the representation of Aboriginal people in the Provincial Government. Greg also sat on the Board of the Native Education Center in Vancouver during that time.
Due to a change in government and the program was abolished, Greg worked for a short time for MNBC and helped introduce a Workforce Partnership strategy in BC. He then took a federal job with the Department of Indian Affairs, to be the BC Aboriginal Workforce Participation Initiative (AWPI) representative. He moved his family to headquarters in Ottawa to deliver the strategy nationally as the Manager of National Partnerships. The AWPI staff and partners implemented a very successful strategy to increase the participation of Aboriginal people in the economy.
Greg developed and signed over 17 major Federal, Provincial partnerships with diverse groups such as Michelin Tire, The Federation of Canadian Nurses Unions, Provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, the City of Grand Prairie and numerous others. During this time, Greg was able to connect with his relatives and visit his great- grandfather’s family home in Masham, Quebec, that is 300+ years old.
Greg returned to British Columbia in 2007, working in Vancouver for INAC as the Provincial Coordinator for Partnerships. He retired in Kelowna in 2010 due to health reasons.
Greg was President of the Kelowna Metis Association from 2013 to 2015 and is still an active Board member with ANTCO. He lives with his wife of 39 years, Peggy, in Westbank. And they officially tied the knot in their back yard this past July, with many friends and family from across Canada to help them celebrate in Metis style.
Jacquie Swaisland, Director
Jacquie Swaisland was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba and is proud to be a descendant of Roger Nobiss (b. 1861, White Plains, Manitoba), a fur trader, hunter, and guide. Roger was with the Riel Rebellion and in Regina when Louis Riel was captured. He lived a long life and died at the age of 91 and was survived by 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren, including Jacquie’s mother, Louise Nobiss.
Jacquie has been a real estate agent for the past 14 years in the Lower Mainland and recently in the Okanagan Valley which she has grown to love. Her background and passion for interior decorating and home staging have allowed her to become a truly ‘full service’ realtor however her recent interest in the expanding Okanagan wine industry sparked her latest stint in wine sales at the award-winning, Van Westen Vineyards in Naramata. Jacquie has been involved in many charitable organizations in many capacities over the years including The Canadian Diabetes Association (Now Diabetes Canada) and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
- VCC Langara Marketing and Sales
- BCIT Interior Design
- UBC Sauder School of Business Real Estate Licensing Program
- CSP Certified Staging Professional Designation
- Ongoing: Wine Education training