Dr. Gwendolyn Point
Dr. Point currently works part time providing cultural support to a local school district. She served a term 2015-2018 as The Chancellor for the University of the Fraser Valley. She has a Doctor of Education from Simon Fraser University, a Master of Education from the University of Portland, a Post Baccalaureate from SFU, and a Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia.
Dr. Point developed and delivered courses at UFV in the School of Social Work and Human Services and the History Department. She also served as UCFV’s Aboriginal Curriculum Coordinator. She served in the Ministry of Education, Skills and Training, Aboriginal Services Branch, as the regional coordinator for the Fraser Valley, and for the Northeast and Northwest Regions. She has been the coordinator and an instructor in the Early Childhood Education program at the First Nation Training and Development Centre in Prince Rupert, and, in her position as a faculty associate in the Faculty of Education at SFU, coordinated the supervision of student teachers. As Manager for 15 years in the Stó:lō Nation Education Department she was responsible for K-12, postsecondary, and First Nations language and culture programs. She has also worked as an elementary school teacher in Chehalis and as a native support teacher for School District 33.
Dr. Point has extensive government and community experience. From 2007–12, as spouse of the Lieutenant Governor, she served as BC’s Chatelaine. This role demanded her participation in numerous and diverse public engagements, social as well as ceremonial. She served as official host of visiting members of the Royal Family, heads of state and other dignitaries, as patron of organizations such as the BC Council of the Girl Guides of Canada and First Peoples House, and as an Officer of the Order of St. John.
She currently serves on the Board of the First Nation Education Steering Committee (formerly vice-president), the Chair for the BC Pavilion Corporation (PavCo), and the Co-Chair for the Assembly of First Nations Knowledge Keepers Council. She has also served as Independent Chair of the Fraser Valley Aboriginal Interim Board of the Ministry of Children and Families, and numerous other community and educational committees, councils and societies, frequently as chair.
She is a well-respected and well-recognized Stó:lō leader, mentor, and cultural advisor. She has contributed her deep cultural knowledge and experience to numerous books, conferences, workshops and communities, often as an invited keynote contributor.
Numerous awards include, Paul Harris Fellow, Order of Chilliwack, BC Aboriginal Tourism Award, Seattle Art Museum: “The Recognition for work in First Nation Language & Culture”, also recognized as Honorary Witness by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. She received, The University of the Fraser Valley: “The Betty Urqhart Community Service Award”, and Chilliwack School District set up 2 bursaries in her name.
Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, O.B.C.
Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, O.B.C. is a true peace-builder whose life and work are examples of his personal commitment. A Hereditary Chief of the Gwawaenuk First Nation, Chief Joseph has dedicated his life to bridging the differences brought about by intolerance, lack of understanding and racism at home and abroad.
His insights into the destructive impacts these forces can have on peoples’ lives, families and cultures were shaped by his experience with the Canadian Indian Residential School system.
As one of the last few speakers of the Kwakwaka’wakw language, Chief Joseph is an eloquent and inspiring Ceremonial House Speaker. He shares his knowledge and wisdom in the Big House and as a Language Speaker with the University of British Columbia, an internationally recognized art curator and as co-author of “Down from the Shimmering Sky: Masks of the Northwest Coast”.
In 2003, Chief Joseph received an Honorary Doctorate of Law Degree from the University of British Columbia for his distinguished achievements in serving BC and Canada. In 2012, he was presented The Diamond Jubilee Medal by the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada. In 2014, he received the Jack P. Blaney Award for Dialogue from Simon Fraser University and an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Vancouver School of Theology for his work in reconciliation and renewing relationships between Indigenous peoples and all Canadians. In 2015, Chief Joseph was presented a Deputy Ministers’ Recognition Award for Collaboration and Partnerships and was appointed to the Order of British Columbia, the Province of British Columbia’s highest honour. In 2016, Chief Joseph received the Wallenberg-Sugihara Civil Courage Award and the Indspire Lifetime Achievement Award.
Chief Joseph is currently the Ambassador for Reconciliation Canada and a member of the National Assembly of First Nations Elders Council. He was formerly the Executive Director of the Indian Residential School Survivors Society and is an honourary witness to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). As Chairman of the Native American Leadership Alliance for Peace and Reconciliation and Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation with the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IFWP), Chief Joseph has sat with the leaders of South Africa, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Mongolia and Washington, DC to learn from and share his understanding of faith, hope, healing and reconciliation.
Sempulyan Stewart Gonzales
2SLGBTQQIA+ Knowledge Keeper
I am a 62-year-old Indian Day School & Residential School survivor. I a father, grandfather and great-grandfather. I live a Clean & Sober life since April 3rd, 2007, attending a treatment centre on Vancouver Island, as well as, Choices Seminars in July 2005, Givers 1 & Giver 2. This was the start of my healing journey, I have coached at Choices and now Break Free Seminars. I’ve attended Super Choices & Super Givers, through these personal growth seminars, I’ve learned to accept myself as a proud Two-Spirit man. I’ve gone back to college focusing my studies in Child & Youth Care, worked for 8 years with SN Ayas Menmen delivering cultural and language lessons to our youngest population of Squamish Nation, providing the children with Squamish language and sign language together.
I am a member of our Syewen Winter Spirit dancing for 43 years and attended Sundance in Sioux Valley as well as, South Dakota where I received my Sundance name – Eagleday from my Sundance grandfather John Eagleday Sr. Been a member of our Shaker Indian Church since June 1979. I was a Men’s Traditional Dancer and travelled throughout Turtle Island aka North America along with my family.
Chen Kwenmantumi – I am grateful