The WLC is pleased to welcome Joni Olsen to the team!
Learn more about Joni and how her expertise and training will help fulfill the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council’s mandate. Click play to view the short interview, or read the transcript below.
Interviewer: Can you please tell us your name and a bit about your background?
My name is Joni Olsen. I am from the Tsartlip First Nation and I have lived here my whole life. My background initially was in small business ownership. For 15 years now I have been elected counsel for the Tsartlip First Nation, so I have a lot of background in political work, relationships with other government structures, the province and the federal governments. I have tended to take on Douglas Treaty portfolios, I really enjoy the rights and titles. That’s heavy in my background. I’m also just about to graduate from the University of Victoria with a major in Political Science and a minor in Indigenous Studies. I’ve also really heavily focused on public administration classes which sort of aligns with, my business background.I think that’s a little bit about my background and where I come from. What I have to offer at, the WLC
Interviewer: What’s your role and title at the WLC? What are you going to be doing?
Joni: I have just been hired onto the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council as a CRD Liaison. This position is new to both the CRD and WLC to bring the two governance structures together to discuss issues and projects that are taking part on W̱SÁNEĆ Land, where there currently and historically has not been a good relationship or communication. This position is going to navigate how to create a better relationship with the CRD.
Interviewer: So in terms of the ideal outcome of the work that you’re going to be doing,, would you describe to us like what you would like to focus on, what you would like to see happen as a result of your, of your work at the WLC?
Joni: Yeah, at the end of my two years would like to see a system put in place where, our communication, can be clear and concise about any projects that are going through. And CRD can be well informed on W̱SÁNEĆ standards and ways about decision making on our land so that the W̱SÁNEĆ people have an opportunity to take part in, not only decision making but also working on some of the projects and knowing, what is happening in their territory and taking part in that rather than sort of being on the outside of all of the projects that are happening with the water and the land around us.
Interviewer: In terms of projects, what projects specifically will you be working on?
Joni: One of the reasons why the position was created was, there’s a wastewater project, an effluent project that’s happening. That’s coming in from Esquimalt and coming into our territory. There wasn’t, really great communication that was happening on that project. And it’s a pretty major excavation of land through our territory. So that is one of the main projects, that I’ll be working on. There are also, protocols around communication and relationship building that I’ll be working on. For instance on referrals and how those referrals that come from major projects come to the WLC and make their way through using, our archeological resources not just hired in. So that we can bring our values and principles to the work that’s being done also.
Interviewer: When you’re not at work, what do you do in your spare time, for fun?
Joni: I have kids, so I’m a mom taxi. I love playing sports, soccer being my favourite. So I’m active, I love exercising and hiking. And, then on my real downtime, I like cooking and I’m an avid knitter, so, you know, I’m always busy, let’s put it that way.