The W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council promotes respect for W̱SÁNEĆ culture, traditional practices, and language.
The W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council’s guiding principles come from W̱SÁNEĆ ancient natural laws and beliefs passed down by our ancestors from time immemorial. These laws tell us that our inherent rights to the lands and waters are a responsibility bestowed upon the W̱SÁNEĆ people by XÁLS (Creator).
The W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council’s mandate is to promote the interests of the W̱SÁNEĆ First Nations. As an organization focused on self-determination, the WLC works to enhance recognition of, and respect for, W̱SÁNEĆ Douglas Treaty rights and W̱SÁNEĆ Aboriginal rights and title. The W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council promotes respect for W̱SÁNEĆ culture, traditional practices, and language, including the original W̱SÁNEĆ management of the environment as it was meant to be. The WLC seeks to promote sustainable and equitable development of resources within W̱SÁNEĆ Territory.
The WLC uphold the principles and standards articulated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The WLC affirms W̱SÁNEĆ rights to own, use, develop and control our lands, waters and resources, according to W̱SÁNEĆ natural laws, and the requirement of the state to give legal recognition and protection to these rights.
The WLC will endeavor to exercise respectful and transparent communications.
The purposes of the W̱SÁNEĆ LEADERSHIP COUNCIL SOCIETY are:
- Promote the interests of the W̱SÁNEĆ First Nations and W̱SÁNEĆ language and culture;
- Enhance recognition of, and respect for, W̱SÁNEĆ rights under the 1852 Douglas Treaty and W̱SÁNEĆ Aboriginal rights and title;
- Administer services to the member bands that have entered into agreements for the provision of services;
- Negotiate with federal, provincial and municipal governments regarding compensation and other remedies for breaches of 1852 Douglas Treaty rights and Aboriginal rights and title;
- Negotiate with federal, provincial and local governments regarding reconciliation and co-management initiatives;
- Negotiate with Crown corporations and other corporations operating within W̱SÁNEĆ traditional territory to promote reconciliation and to identify and explore options for mutual economic benefit;
- To foster communication, cooperation and rights recognition with other Indigenous groups in Canada and the United States;
- Receive, hold, administer and distribute to its members any funds, financial benefits and compensation received from matters negotiated by the Society; and
- To do all such other things as are incidental and ancillary to the attainment of the foregoing purposes and the exercise of the powers of the society
Gordon Elliott, Director of Operations, Co-Founder
Gord comes to the WLC with many facets of management experience and training. Gord worked as the Operations Manager at the W̱SÁNEĆ School Board for the past 30 years, and he also has Project and Construction Management experience and certifications. Prior to its incorporation, Gord worked as the WLC’s Coordinator. Once the WLC incorporated, Gord was appointed the Director of Operations. He has been an active elected Councilor for Tsartlip First Nation for the past twelve years.
“I am the master of nothing, but I am an expert of getting the right people together to discuss and solve issues” – GE
Eric Pelkey, Community Engagement Coordinator
Eric Pelkey brings 25 years experience working in First Nations administration. During his career, he has held the roles of Band Manager, Chief Executive Officer, Director of Operations as well as Lands Manager.
Additionally, Eric was Coordinator for the SENĆOŦEN Alliance, representing Tsawout, Tsartlip, Pauquachin and Semiahmoo Nations on common Aboriginal and Douglas Treaty Rights and Title issues, a position he held for four years.
In addition to his administrative roles, he holds certification from AANDC for First Nations Lands Manager, a lifetime appointment for Commissioner of Oaths and Affidavits for First Nations, and a Degree in Indigenous Language Revitalization from the University of Victoria.
Justin Fritz, Policy / Negotiations Analyst
Justin has worked as a contractor and consultant for First Nations throughout BC, Alberta, and the Northwest Territories since 2012: writing reports that document government infringements on Aboriginal rights and title and treaty rights, identifying historical and current encroachments on reserve, incorporating Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Use Studies. Between 2014 and 2017, he completed his master’s degree at the University of Victoria in the Department of Anthropology in collaboration with the W̱SÁNEĆ Nation. His Master’s thesis focused on the history of dispossession by the colonial governments in the U.S. and Canada, and the current efforts that exist within the W̱SÁNEĆ community to revitalize the reef net fishery. Justin has also worked for the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation as a Policy Analyst. He hopes to bring his many years of experience working with, and for, Indigenous peoples to help the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council make progress on these difficult issues.
Shauna Johnson, Marine Use Planner
Shauna Johnson is Coast Salish from the Tsawout First Nation on her mother’s side and Tsimshian from Laxkwala’ams on her father’s side. She has a Master of Science degree in Indigenous Community Planning (ICP) and has specialized expertise in providing planning support for indigenous communities to revitalize and promote indigenous community planning research, methods and practices grounded firmly within indigenous laws, legal traditions and ways of knowing and being. She is a registered Applied Scientific Technologist (A.Sc.T.) and is currently working towards becoming a Registered Professional Planner (MIP, RPP). She has experience working with indigenous communities on housing strategies, comprehensive community plans (CPP), strategic, land use (reserve based, and watershed level based), environmental management, marine spatial/use plans (MSP/MUP), economic development plans and indigenous food systems projects. She is also an adjunct professor at University of British Columbia (UBC) in the School of Community of Regional Planning (SCARP) Indigenous Community Planning (ICP) program, mentoring, supervising and co-teaching ICP practicum students.
W̱SÁNEĆ LEADERSHIP COUNCIL EXECUTIVE
Chief Nick Claxon, Director
Chief Tanya Jimmy, Director / Secretary, Co-Founder
Councilor Simon Smith, Tsartlip Rep, Co-Founder
Councilor William Morris, Tseycum Rep, Co-Founder
Councilor Mavis Underwood, Tsawout Rep, Co-Founder
Chief Harvey Underwood, Director / Treasurer, Co-Founder
Dr. Peter Evans
Earl Claxton Jr.
John Bradley Williams
Youth Committee information to be added.