Bilhaa dm ne’ex, is a Gitga’at/Tahtlan, that was born & raised in the Tsimshian territory of Prince Rupert, BC. In 2019, Char joined the EMBC Strategic Partnerships and Northwest Region teams. She is an extremely passionate member of the Culture Safety & Humility team and provides weekly segments of learning and reflection to EMBC Operations by sharing her own journey, and the teachings of others. In Char’s personal life, she is a passionate member of the local Harley riders and, over the last 12 years, has helped organize the annual toy drive for the local chapter of the Salvation Army. She is also a volunteer in the local Emergency Support Services team, which has driven her passion for Culture Safety and Humility.
Dan Ferguson is an Environmental Health Officer with the First Nations Health Authority. Environmental Health addresses all the physical, chemical and biological factors external to a person, and all related factors impacting behaviors. Dan holds a Certificate in Public Health Inspection (Canada) and a Certificate in Emergency Management. He has 34 years’ experience in Environmental Public Health and 24 years’ experience dealing with environmental emergencies. Dan developed an Emergency Management program for an Environmental Public Health program of a Regional Health Authority and also has experience supporting hospitals and long term care facilities with emergency planning and training. Dan is married and has three adult children. In his free time he enjoys curling, golfing and soaking up the warm Kamloops sun.
Jennifer is the Emergency Management Coordinator for the Union of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq. Jennifer has spent the majority of her life in Emergency Services as an Advanced Care Paramedic and a Firefighter. She has several accolades including: being the First Aboriginal Woman to become a member of the Nova Scotia Firefighters Association, First Aboriginal Woman to graduate the Center for Emergency Medicine Paramedic Program, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and The First Canadian Aboriginal Woman to be appointed to the advisory board for the International Fire Relief Mission. Most recently Jennifer has won an International award for Critical Event Management through her work with the Emergency Alert System.
Wai’. I am a member of the Okanagan Indian Band, of the Okanagan Valley in BC.
I have been involved in Emergency response since 1999. My firefighting experience is diverse as a structural firefighter in my community on reserve, within a municipality, and industrial workplaces. I have spent time as a structural firefighter, wildland firefighter, and a fire administrator. In 2016, I began to move into Emergency Management during severe flood and wildfire events that affected my community. I have experience from the frontlines to the coordination of responding to emergencies, and working with multijurisdictional incidents. I am now the Fire Chief and Emergency Services Manager for Takla Nation, a member of the Emergency Program Act modernization working group within British Columbia, and continually work with the province to ensure emergency response is always being improved to best serve First Nations.
Patricia Martel is an experienced emergency management practitioner with a passion for enhancing the emergency management profession. She has +13 years’ experience in the field of emergency management and has served in a range of positions for diverse emergency responses including the COVID-19 pandemic, the Goderich tornado, and the 2011 forest fire season in Ontario. Patricia has a Ph.D. focused on effective operational emergency planning for vulnerable populations. She has extensive experience in developing plans and procedures including emergency response plans and hazard specific plans. Patricia is a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) through the International Association of Emergency Managers.
Kellyann Meloche is a Mohawk from the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory located just south of Montreal. She began her career in Emergency Management with the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake in 1993. The same year she also began her volunteer service with the Canadian Red Cross in the Emergency Services division. After joining the Kahnawake Fire Brigade and Ambulance Service, she also became a FireFighter and Emergency Medical Technician, Hazardous Materials Technician, Confined Space Technician, and High Angle Rescue team member. After serving 18 years with the fire service she decided to start a Search and Rescue Team which now has 16 members. Kellyann spent a year working for Amerind Risks in Albuquerque, NM providing risk and emergency management services to Tribes throughout 11 central and western states in the US. Now in Kahnawake, she continues to work for her community, with the Cree Nation and strives to assist any brother or sister community requesting help. In April of 2018, she received the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers from Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada.
Dr. Brenda Murphy is a tenured professor/chair of the Social and Environmental Justice Program at Wilfrid Laurier University. Working in allyship with Canadian rural and Indigenous community partners, she focuses on increasing disaster resilience, especially local opportunities to mitigate and adapt to risks; better prepare for crises; and respond more effectively to emergencies. Her work encompasses social capital, non-timber forest products, critical infrastructure, climate change, mutual aid and evacuation. Her work has been funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada and by both federal and provincial agencies. She was the co-investigator on the Aboriginal Disaster Resilience Planning website and the co-chair of the Indigenous Resilience Working Group under Canada’s Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Casey Neathway is the Interior Regional Manager of Environmental Public Health Services for FNHA. A certified public health inspector, Casey has held leadership roles in environmental health, Community Care Licensing, and First Nations community programming, and is the President-Elect of the Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors. Casey is passionate about working as a partner with First Nations communities to identify and mitigate environmental health concerns, and to improve health outcomes for indigenous populations, across all four pillars of emergency management.
Kayla Pepper is of mixed-European, primarily Ukrainian, descent and she lives, works and plays in Kamloops, BC, situated on the unceded, traditional lands of the Secwépemc Nation. She joins this conference to share the results of her work as a Master of Arts in Leadership student at Royal Roads University. Her desire to unpack her own colonial ways of thinking and participating in the emergency management system drives her passion to create an all-of-society approach that is physically, spiritually, culturally and emotionally safe for all. She has formerly served as an ESS volunteer, BC Wildfire Service Communications Specialist, Canadian Red Cross Coordinator, EMBC Regional Manager and is now grateful to serve as EMBC’s Director of Indigenous Community Relations and Partnership Engagement.
Wayne Schnitzler, the Executive Director of First Nations Emergency Services, has over 35 years of experience in fire services starting as a firefighter in Surrey and finishing his career in 2015 as Fire Chief of West Kelowna Fire Rescue. Wayne has worked part-time and in contract positions since 1986 for First Nations Emergency Services Society and for the Justice Institute throughout B.C. This provided him the opportunity to work with many B.C. First Nations delivering firefighter training, fire prevention, governance workshops and emergency management. Wayne also worked for the Office of the Fire Commissioner in 2017 and 2018 in a command support and coordination role for the two worst wildfire seasons in B.C. Wayne was presented the Queens Jubilee Medal for his service as nominated by the Canadian Fire Chiefs Association in 2015 and was made Honorary Life member of Fire Chiefs Association of B.C in 2016.
Wilbert Wesley has 25years in Emergency Fire Services & Disaster & Emergency Management combined , a Senior Instructor for First Nations in Fire & Emergency Management, Speaks & understands his traditional language and various dialects of the James Bay & Hudson Bay, multiple experiences in State of Emergency & Incident Commander in many lead operations in Northern Ontario. Guest Speaker in Symposium, Conferences & College’s across Canada from NFLD to Vancouver BC, regarding Future of Emergency Services & Emergency Management for First Nations. Currently working as Emergency Management Services Manager for Mushkegowuk Council Region 9, Cochrane District.