Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Meet the board who combined bring 45 years of volunteer, leadership and community service to this society.

AGM2015

Select a members name for their bio.

Linda Stiller, Chair +/-

Linda Stiller is a member of the Williams Lake Indian Band of the Shuswap Nation.  She is the mother of 2 adult children and she has lived in Burnaby for 25 years.

Linda has worked in social services her entire career since graduating from McMaster University in 1976 with Bachelor degrees in Social Work and Sociology.

She worked with the BC Government as a child protection Social Worker in the early 1980s in Vancouver East and moved over to the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada in 1982.

Linda has worked directly with First Nations across BC in all social services program areas and in 1997 became the Manager of Child and Family Services.

As Manager, she worked with First Nations and Provincial officials to develop First Nations Child and Family Service Agencies in BC: there are currently 22 on reserve.  She also had responsibility for Income Assistance, Family Violence Prevention and Adult Assisted Living programs on reserve.

Linda retired from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada on August 31, 2010 and she is excited to contribute as a board member of VACFSS in any capacity that is most helpful.

Madeleine MacIvor, Vice Chair +/-

Madeleine MacIvor is a Métis woman whose family comes from the historic Métis community of Lac Ste Anne in northern Alberta. She is mother of three adult children and 13 grandchildren.

Madeleine moved to Coast Salish territory in 1984 to study at the University of British Columbia where she graduated from the Native Indian Teacher Education Program (BEd, Elementary) Ts’kel Graduate Studies (MA, Science Education).  In 2011 she received a Doctorate of Letters, honoris causa from the University of the Fraser Valley for her work in Aboriginal education.  In 2012 she completed a Doctor of Education.  The topic of her dissertation is “Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education Policy Development in British Columbia, 1986-2011.”

Between 1989 and 2011, Madeleine served the educational needs of Aboriginal students at UBC through her work with the First Nations House of Learning and the Faculty of Forestry.

Madeleine is now retired, and in her post-retirement life, she is honored to serve on VACFSS’s board of directors where she can share her skills and knowledge to enhance the well-being of Aboriginal children and families

Richard George, Treasurer/Secretary +/-

Richard, who joined Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) in July 2002, is a Funding Services Officer.  Richard is a member of the Ahousaht Tribe. He has graduated from Simon Fraser University with a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Economics and British Columbia Institute of Technology with a Financial Management diploma. Prior joining INAC, Richard spent 20 years working in the financial industry and economic development with Native organizations that include, Western Indian Agricultural Corporation, Western Indian Agricultural Producers Association and First Nations Agricultural Lending Association (formerly Western Indian Lending Association).

Richard is President and member of the Board of Directors for the Vancouver Native Housing Society. He currently is Treasurer/Secretary and member of the Board of Directors for the Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society.  He is also a member of the Board for the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation and the Dr. Peter Housing Society. Richard is a member of an Advisory Committee for the University of British Columbia, Sauder School of Business -“Chinook – Aboriginal Business Education program”.

Richard has been previously a member of the Faculty for the Banff Centre for Management Aboriginal Leadership and Governance program, “Effective Financial Management and Governance”. Richard has served as Treasure and member of the Board for the Urban Native Indian Education Society that is responsible for the Native Education College He has served as a Member of the Board for Canadian Executive Services Organization, a Member and past Chair of a Community Advisory Committee on “Employment Equity” for the BC Provincial Government, and a Member to an Advisory Committee of BC Hydro’s Aboriginal Business Partnership Program.  He has also been a member of Bank of Montreal – BC & Yukon Region – Diversity Committee and TD Bank “Nakota Circle of Aboriginal Employees.  In addition, he has been a member of AANDC – BC Region’s Diversity Committee and a member of the executive of the BC Region’s Committee for the Advancement for Native Employment (CANE).

Darlene Willier, Director +/-

Darlene is a member of the Sucker Creek Band in Alberta.  She has one adult child and has made her home in Surrey for the past 24 years.

She has worked in the post secondary education system since finishing her undergraduate degree at the University of Alberta in 1986 with a Bachelor in Arts, majoring in Anthropology. She subsequently has attained a Masters in First Nations Education at Simon Fraser University in 2006.

Darlene as been working at Kwantlen Polytechnic University since 1990 as Coordinator of Aboriginal Student Services and prior to that in Federal, Provincial and Tribal government positions. She has also volunteered on other boards and committees in the lower mainland, always working closely with Aboriginal people.

Darlene is fluent in the Cree language and has taught in the First Nations Languages Program at UBC and continues to interpret and voiceover episodes that dealt with national and international environmental issues in Indigenous communities.

Despite the interruption that Residential Schools have imposed, she has participated for many years in ceremonial events.

Darlene looks forward, with great anticipation, to serving on VACFSS’s board and to learn all that she can from more seasoned board members, and welcomes the opportunity to widen her association with people who have expertise in this capacity.

Lee Brown, Director +/-

Dr. Lee Brown is the Director of the UBC Institute of Aboriginal Health and is the former coordinator of the Indigenous Doctoral Program in the Department of Educational Studies at The University of British Columbia where he wrote his Doctoral thesis entitled: Making the Classroom a Healthy Place: The Develop of Affective Competency in Aboriginal Pedagogy. He is the Co-author of The Sacred Tree, an educational curriculum based in Aboriginal values and epistemology. Lee has also contributed to the Round Lake Native Healing Centre in Vernon, BC during the last twenty-nine years in a number of capacities including clinical supervisor and currently as a cultural resource to the centre. He has been the keynote speaker at many Aboriginal conferences including the Awassis Education Conference held each year in Saskatoon. He has been an invited to share his knowledge of culture and healing in over five hundred indigenous communities in North America. Lee is a member of the Cherokee Nation and the Wolf Clan.

Leona M. Sparrow, Director +/-

Leona currently works in several areas providing services mainly to the First Nations community.  Much of her time is spent as Director of Treaty Lands and Resources for the Musqueam Indian Band.  This is a multi-faceted position, dealing with community, government land referrals and disposal, Band Administration, capacity development in Administration and community, taking instruction from and reporting to the Musqueam Band Council, arranging, and participating in negotiation with Canada and British Columbia, and direct involvement in preparation of Musqueam legal cases dealing with protection of Musqueam Aboriginal title and rights.  Recently her department staff has been involved with the community and Council in developing a Comprehensive Sustainable Community Plan.  These activities encompass all aspects of community development and governance.  Within the administration emphasis is placed on capacity development and youth.

Leona is Musqueam’s liaison to the University of British Columbia to ensure appropriate recognition and representation of the Musqueam Indian Band.  In this capacity, she promotes the development and operation of several joint initiatives between Musqueam and UBC:  Musqueam Language Program, Musqueam 101, Youth Creative Writing and Bridge through Sport.  All are capacity development and cultural enhancement programs, with the latter specifically targeting Musqueam youth to connect education and athletics with several opportunities for youth to interact with UBC students and staff as well as access UBC facilities.  Musqueam is also establishing communication with the newly established Native Studies Program at UBC.  Currently, she is an invited Member of the UBC President’s Community Advisory Committee on First Nations Programs.

Musqueam has developed an ongoing collaborative relationship with the Museum of Anthropology.  For several years, Leona has been the Musqueam liaison to the Museum, with a view to ensuring and enhancing cultural appropriateness of representation of the Musqueam people and community.  She participated in the recent Museum planning and implementation for restructuring and ensured opportunity for Musqueam staff and students to work in these processes also. Recent collaboration between the National Film Board, the City of Vancouver, and various departments of the Musqueam Band Administration led to film training for Musqueam youth and opportunity for band members to be interviewed to enhance public knowledge of Musqueam history and culture.

Leona also manages the business affairs of a number of limited companies involved in commercial fishing activities.  Duties include office services, corporate and accounting records, employee records and payroll, direct consultation with the principals of the companies and their routine business with accounting, Canada Revenue Agency, financial institutions, legal counsel, purchasers and suppliers.  She also maintain a part-time law practice and on the board of directors with a Musqueam corporation, New Relationships Trust, Justice Institute First Nations Advisory, and the Museum of Anthropology External Advisory.

Past Experience:

Leona has been an elected Councillor for the Musqueam Indian Band serving seven two year terms.  The Chief and Council deliver local government services to the Musqueam Community.  Her duties often included meetings and negotiations with Federal, Provincial, and local government Ministers, officials, or Senior Managers on the various issues that impact the Musqueam community.  On a regular basis she consulted or met with legal counsel for the Musqueam Band.  Designated as Musqueam Council representative for health and social programs, and representative to Community Health Advisory Committee, a component of the provincial health services,

Areas of specific interest include lands, economic development, taxation, environment and resources, heritage, health and social services, and community development.

Bernice Albert, Director +/-

Bernice (“Yetko Calmwater”) Albert hails from the Nlakapamux Nation, a fifth-generation Nlakapamux- Thompson Interior Salish. Bernice spent much of her youth in Merritt, Prince George as well as Kamloops, BC. Graduating from Ashcroft High School in 1986, she continued on to acquire a 2-year certificate in Indian Social Work before earning her Bachelors of Indian Social Work from the University of Regina. In 1991, Bernice underwent a 4-month social work practicum at VACFSS, serving under then Executive Director Dave Pranteau. She also holds a Washington State Teaching Credential from Antioch Seattle University.

Currently, Bernice is pursuing her Master’s in Education, having previously earned a teaching certificate from Antioch Seattle University. She is an accomplished Educator and has taught children from ages 5 to 18 in a variety of schools in Auburn & Seattle Wa, Sioux City, Iowa and South Dakota. She is a devoted wife and proud mother of a teenage daughter, and enjoys spending her free time beading and sewing regalia. The entire family of often seen at pow wow’s, where Bernice finds herself celebrating her proud heritage and customs, as well as passing along the family’s strong devotion to living a life of abundance.  Along with her husband, Bernice is a small business owner, which allows her the opportunity travel throughout Alberta, Saskatchewan and Washington State.

In addition to her seat at VACFSS, Bernice has also served on the Board of Directors for Native Health Society in Vancouver, as well as with The West Vancouver Otters Swim Club and the British Columbia Girls’ Choir. She is devoted to teaching by her own example, the amazing opportunities that come when devoting oneself to a life of abundance, devoid of drugs and alcohol.

Virge Silveira, Director +/-

Virge Silveira mother’s family is from the west side of the river within the traditional territories of the Nlha7kpmx, Lytton First Nation. Her father’s family is from Pico, Azores Portugal.

Virge grew up in the East end of Vancouver, lived and worked in the Fraser Canyon for eight years and spend two years in Calgary, Alberta attending graduate school and currently resides in Maple Ridge with her partner/family.

Virge worked in the service industry for many years to support herself through University and parent her niece. Formal training began as an Early Childhood Educator continuing with a child and youth care degree.  Working as Aboriginal youth worker within the city of Vancouver for various Aboriginal and mainstream agencies for several years.

In addition, completing a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy and practicing providing clinical supervision and facilitating groups and designing/supporting cultural models of interventions related to working with residential school survivors and victims of violence within the context of community. Also, has lead and implemented a cultural framework to Child and Youth Mental health workers within the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) in the upper Coast Fraser region.

Currently, is involved in strategic leadership role within the Coast Fraser region that continues to support better outcomes for Aboriginal children and families that access all services within MCFD.  Virge continues to support and stays focused on the vision that Aboriginal communities have all the ancestral knowledge they need to move forward to create safe places for future generations.

Her interests include: music, bargain hunting, spending quality time with family and friends and traveling.

Perry Omeasoo, Director +/-

Perry Omeasoo was born in Hobbema, Alberta, a member of the Samson Cree Nation. He was raised by his grandparents. His grandfather, a respected Elder of his community, taught Perry the spiritual traditions and culture of his people.  Today, Perry is a pipe carrier and sun dancer. Working within the Aboriginal community here in Vancouver for the past 23 years, Perry’s work has spanned many health related areas including alcohol and drug counseling, HIV/AIDS education, child and family advocacy, and mental health.  Perry is the First Nations Mental Health Liaison for Vancouver Community Mental Health Services (Vancouver Coastal Health) and has been for the past 19 years.  The four aspects of his position include consultation, education, service brokerage and co-therapy. He also coordinates an annual First Nations Mental Health Conference.  Perry does extensive volunteer work within his community.  He has been the President of Vancouver Native Health Society for 12 years and has been on the executive board for the past 4 years. He is also on the board of directors for the Native Court Workers of BC.  Complementing his expertise working with First Nations people with severe mental illnesses, Perry is a certified substance abuse counselor and has extensive training in crisis management and critical incident stress management.