Speaker Bios for Indigenous Justice and OneCity launch event
Elder Carleen Thomas
Carleen Thomas is a Tsleil-Waututh Nation Elder. She is an educator, former council member, and special projects manager for the TWN Treaty, Lands, and Resources department. She is an Elder-in-Residence at BCIT and is the first Indigenous person to be named as the next chancellor at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver starting in Fall 2022.
Matthew Norris (OC Council Candidate)
Matthew is the president of the Urban Native Youth Association, which provides programming for Indigenous youth and their families. Norris brings years of policy experience with the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and as an Indigenous delegate to the United Nations. He is Nehithaw and a proud member of Lac La Ronge First Nation.
Tiyaltelut Kristen Rivers (OC Park Board Candidate)
Kristen is an elected councillor for the Squamish Nation. Rivers serves on the board of Nch’ḵay̓ Corporation, the Nation’s economic development arm, sits on the board of directors of Vancity, and is a member of the City of Vancouver’s UNDRIP Task Force.
Spanning almost two decades, Joleen Mitton’s modelling career has landed her spots in campaigns for the likes of Kenzo, Clinique, and Vivienne Westwood, on countless runways in Asia, and in print ads for everything from high-tech air conditioners to Hello Kitty paraphernalia. Now, Joleen produces Indigenous Fashion shows with clothing designed by local Indigenous Designers and worn by models of First Nation/Metis and Inuit descent, culminating in the annual Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week held every November.
Joleen is dedicated to improving the lives of people in her community, working intimately with a number of local non-profits and putting her PR, marketing, social media and producing skills to good use. Joleen works weekends with the Indigenous Urban Butterflies Day Camp, a program for children in foster care, and the Mentor Me program, which is for Native girls aging out of foster care. She also manages and plays on the All My Relations women's basketball team in her free time.
Dr. Jules Arita Koostachin
Born in Moose Factory Ontario, and a band member of Attawapiskat First Nation, Jules was raised by her Cree speaking grandparents in Moosonee, as well as with her mother, a survivor of the Residential school system. Jules completed her PhD with GRSJ at UBC in 2021, and her research MooNaHaTihKaaSiWew focuses on Indigenous documentary methodologies. Jules has a number of academic publications regarding film.
Jules’ company VisJuelles Productions Inc. has a number of media works; her series AskiBOYZ (co-pro) is currently being aired on Aboriginal Peoples Television Network in both Cree and English. She has released several award-winning CBC docs: NiiSoTeWakk, OshKiKiShiKaw, and KaYaMenTa. Over the years, she has released a number of other films/projects including Butterfly Monument and her narrative film OChiSkwaCho screened at festivals worldwide. Jules released a short narrative MisTik and her feature drama Broken Angel which are now at festivals. She is in development with her features Angela’s Shadow and KaTaWaSiSin. She is also in post-production with her NFB feature documentary WaaPiiKee and Chubby Cree with Soapbox Production.
Her first book of poetry Unearthing Secrets, Gathering Truths (2018) was published with Kegedonce Press. The book delves into the life and the healing of an lnnininew woman from the Ancestral lands of the Moshkekowok, now called Northern Ontario. Through the honesty of her words, she embraces the spirit world, the resilience of her foremothers, the integral healing powers of disassociation as a survival mechanism, and the richness of her mitewin–dreams–which reconnects her to herself.
Dr. Bruce McIvor
Dr. Bruce McIvor, lawyer and historian, is a partner at First Peoples Law LLP, a law firm dedicated to defending and advancing Indigenous Peoples’ inherent and constitutionally protected title, rights and treaty rights. His work includes both litigation and negotiation on behalf of Indigenous Peoples. Bruce is recognized nationally and internationally as a leading practitioner of Aboriginal law in Canada.
Bruce is dedicated to public education. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia’s Allard School of Law where he teaches the constitutional law of Aboriginal and Treaty rights.
Bruce holds a law degree, a Ph.D. in environmental history and is a Fulbright Scholar. His great-grandparents took Métis scrip at Red River in Manitoba. He is a member of the Manitoba Métis Federation and serves on the Board of Directors of Amnesty International Canada.
Chief Don Tom
Chief Don Tom, Vice-President, Union of BC Indian Chiefs, has a long history advocating for the Title and Rights of Indigenous Peoples. First elected in 2005 as a Councillor for the Tsartlip First Nation, the largest First Nation in southern Vancouver Island, he was then elected as Chief in 2013.
Born and raised in the WSANEC territory on the Tsartlip First Nation reserve in Brentwood Bay. Chief Tom holds the traditional name, Kwul’thut’stun, and is a SENCOTEN and Hul’q’umi’num language speaker.
Ginger Gosnell-Myers, of Nisga’a and Kwakwak'awakw heritage is passionate about advancing Indigenous rights and knowledge, while breaking down barriers between Indigenous peoples and all Canadians.
In November 2019, Ginger was appointed as the first Indigenous Fellow with the Simon Fraser University Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue. This appointment reflects her distinguished achievements as a thought leader and practitioner who brings a deep understanding of urban Indigenous issues, years of practice in bridging Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in developing public policy, and a passion for innovating new engagement processes that advance the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Ginger’s fellowship will focus on Decolonization and Urban Indigenous Policy and Planning, and builds upon the 20+ years she has in this field.
Ginger is featured in the inspirational book: Notes from Canada’s Young Activists: A Generation Stands up for Change (2007). In 2012 as part of the CBC documentary series “8th Fire”, Ginger was highlighted and profiled for her views on Indigenous issues and relations in Canada. She has delivered a TedX Talk - ‘Canadian Shame: A history of Residential Schools’, and a Walrus Talk - ‘Who do you think we are’.