The WLC is pleased to welcome Laurie Whitehead to the team!

Learn more about Laurie Whitehead and how she will help fulfill the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council’s mandate. Click play to view the short interview, or read the transcript below.

My name is Laurie Whitehead, and my education, my background is, oh quite a long time ago, about 20 years I completed a master resource and environmental management program at SFU Simon Fraser University. I also did my undergrad there in political science and Latin American studies. And through that, got to spend semesters in Mexico and in Chile, looking out for us to natural resource-related projects. So that’s the education component, for work I’ve had a lot of different experiences, but within the more recent past, I worked as a heritage natural resource department program manager for the Council of the Haida Nation. And prior to that, I worked as a lands manager and a policy manager for the Heiltsuk Nation in Bella Bella. I’ve also before that worked as a consultant, both independently and for another consulting company based in Victoria. The focus of the work and my graduate research was referrals. I was primarily looking at the grad level at forest referrals and since then I’ve worked on all types, lands, marine, foreshore, urban, but also archeological, overview assessments, impact assessments, various initiatives. I’ve also set up an archeological fee-for-service program and training for cultural staff to achieve certification that meets provincial standards. And more importantly, the standards of the nation that they’re working for.

Interviewer: What’s your role at the WLC and what do you hope to accomplish during your contract?

So my title is referrals manager, and my role will be to work collaboratively with W̱SÁNEĆ nations. So with the Tsartlip, Tsawout, and Tseycum nation referral staff to respond to referrals, but also to set up policies and procedures for how we’ll work together. And to guide our work, we’ll also be putting together a geographic information system and a traditional knowledge database, and that can be used as a tool when we’re reviewing proposed developments. We’ll be able to produce map overlays and draw on existing data when we’re reviewing referrals. And over time, we’ll also be able to collect data when staff go out into the field as part of review of referrals and archeological monitoring to build on that database. I would like to see us have a fully established referrals department up and running with additional staff and also to have an archeological program in place that includes hiring an archeologist and an administrative assistant to be able to implement a fee-for-service program that we’ll be putting in place. And so just building capacity and creating the benefits that come with increased employment and the ability to have influence over how Lands and Marine areas are used.

Interviewer: What do you do when you’re not working?

I do a lot of different things. I’m a gardener, so grow lots of food. And I go out for walks to keep the balance. I like hiking and getting out skiing once in a while, getting out on the water, paddling in all sorts of different vessels, usually just a canoe with my husband. But we’ve also gone on longer trips and bigger boats for bigger passengers, like over to the states and that as part of organized programs. I read, I have a grandson. I love spending time with him and all of our family of course. And yeah, that’s some of my interests outside of work.

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