Michelle is a member of the Squamish Nation. She grew up in Eslha7an, and then East Vancouver, and works within the intersection of class, race, culture and creativity. As a communications consultant and graphic artist, Michelle has worked on social justice projects for First Nations organizations across Canada and also within her own Nation. From health promotion to gender equity, Michelle’s collaborations have influenced opinions, changed behaviours and mobilized community action. She is a supportive leader who is most comfortable behind the scenes—contributing to projects that improve First Nations realities for the last 20 years. Michelle has a GED from Native Education Centre, an honours media diploma from BCIT, a Bachelor of Professional Communications from RRU and is currently completing her MA in Communications at SFU with a thesis on disseminating decolonizing practices. She is grateful for her teachings and hopeful for the work ahead with Kwi Awt Stelmexw.
Charlene is a member of the Squamish Nation. She was born and raised on the Capilano reserve in North Vancouver. As a Community Engagement Coordinator, Charlene has worked in partnership with First Nations communities across Canada. Charlene is dedicated to fostering rich dialogue between nations. Charlene attended Langara College and Simon Fraser University, focusing her studies on Human Geography – Urban planning and Community development. Charlene is grateful for the opportunity to work with and support Kwi Awt Stelmexw.
Khelsilem is Squamish and Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw raised in North Vancouver, British Columbia. His lifelong work has been focused on governance, Indigenous languages, and dreams of progressive social change. He hopes to be one of Vancity’s first Indigenous board members.
Khelsilem was elected as a councillor for the local Squamish Nation Council based in North Vancouver in late 2017 for a four-year term. In this role, he has served on various committees, including: Governance, Finance & Audit, Human Resources, and Housing Authority Development. He has strived to create good governance practices that enhance transparency, accountability, and ethical governing standards to benefit the Nation’s members.
In 2016, Khelsilem built and founded the first adult immersion school for the endangered Squamish Language in partnership with Simon Fraser University (SFU). Since its establishment, nearly 42 students have enrolled in the program, and it continues to grow. Within two years, Khelsilem trained and taught students to take over day-to-day teaching and operations of the program.