Lillian Morton

Lillian Morton, Tsunii’lhaat, has stepped into the role of Director, Office of Indigenous Education and Engagement. Lillian Morton is Coast Salish (Penelakut and Stz’uminus) and European. A passionate Hul’q’umi’num language learner, her academic interests include Indigenous methodologies, oral histories and emotional wellness in teaching and learning. She loves working with cedar and being out on the land and ocean, especially when accompanied by her three children.

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Maureen Thomas, Indigenous Community Engagement Manager

Maureen Thomas is Coast Salish; her Coast Salish name is Sa lii pul wut. Maureen is a registered member of the Cowichan Tribes. She spent her early years with her maternal grandmother at Quamichan and attended an all Catholic Indian Day School.

Maureen has worked extensively with several Indigenous communities on Vancouver Island. She has held Senior Management positions, Board of Director positions and as an indigenous advocate, she knows the historical iteration of the Canadian Indian Act have had far reaching implications for all Indigenous Canadians. Her passion is socio-economic transformation within Indigenous communities to move from Indian Act administration to a more robust Indigenous Self-Governing approach.

Maureen is a lifelong learner who believes in living her learning. Her formal education includes:

  • MBA 2008 Royal Roads University
  • Graduate Certificate Human Resources 2004 Royal Roads University
  • BA 2002 Malaspina University College
  • Computer Applications Certificate 2000 Malaspina University College
  • Conflict Resolution Training 1998 Justice Institute of BC

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Naomi Bailey, Indigenous Education Navigator

Naomi Bailey is an Alumna of VIU, a member of the Mid-Island Metis Association and was part of the 60’s scoop. She comes to us with 25 years experience in the k-12 system as an Indigenous Support Teacher, classroom teacher, and counsellor. She has also been an administrator at Stz’uminus Community School and has well established relationships with Snaw-Naw-As, Stz’uminus, Snuneymuxw Nations as well as the Mid Island Metis Association. She has a great breadth and depth of experience and transferable skills that she will be bringing to the position.

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Sherry Mattice, Indigenous Education Navigator

ʔuk-łaas Tyetsum quu-ʔas-sa ʕum-tii. Sherry Mattice nee McCarthy ʔuk-łaas-ƛa, ma-mał-n̓i ʕum-tii. Mowachaht Muchalaht -ʔaq-sups. My traditional name is the one who holds up the community/Big house centre beam. My western name is Sherry Mattice nee McCarthy. I come from the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation on my mother's side, and on my father's side, I come from Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ/Heshquiat. Sherry is working towards finishing her Doctor of Business Administration in Leadership, specializing in Indigenous entrepreneurial success. Sherry completed ABE, BBA, MBA, and MSCIB at VIU. Sherry has lived as an uninvited guest on the lands of the Snuneymuxw people. Sherry is married with three children and one grandson.

Sherry is a dedicated educator who actively represents Indigenous students and communities, promoting involvement, such as cultural workshops and vigils, and partnering with universities to provide cultural rejuvenation, like the VIU totem pole project.

Utilizes innovative pedagogical strategies that promote student success, such as an adapted decolonized system that allows students to improve their skills that align with real-world experiences.

Built strong connections and a relationship of trust with Indigenous community members, which provides unique opportunities for understanding the community's needs from an economic development position. Sherry is skilled in disciplines such as business administration, decolonization, and Indigenous Studies.

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Corinna Asdal, Finance Assistant

Corinna has lived on Vancouver Island her entire life, and was born and raised in Nanaimo. She completed the Applied Business Technology Certificate in Accounting in June 2018 from Vancouver Island University (VIU). After completing that program, she worked at Shq'apthut (A Gathering Place) at Vancouver Island University for 2 years. She also worked in a customer service role for 28 years prior to her VIU experience. Her VIU education and work experiences have contributed to her knowledge and skills for her role as Finance Assistant.

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Heather Burke, Learning Facilitator

Heather Burke is Métis with ancestral roots stemming from the Red River Settlement. She also carries Russian, Irish, English, and American ancestry. She is a VIU Graduate (BA, Creative Writing) and recently obtained a Master of Arts in Professional Communication from Royal Roads University. Heather is the first person in her family to have a degree and as a result has become an advocate for learning. She has travelled extensively across BC and Canada to promote and connect Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners with post-secondary. She is passionate about writing, technology, discourse, and enjoys taking time to be in nature.

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Tania Smethurst, Indigenous Portfolio Coordinator

Tania's ancestry is Scottish and Irish. She is originally from Barrie, Ontario. She has spent her adult life as an uninvited guest in both Kwakwaka'wakw and Coast Salish territories. Tania has a Master’s degree in Developmental Psychology, and is a proud alumnus of VIU’s psychology department. Her background is in the field of Aboriginal health promotion, and wilderness therapy. She is honoured to have the privilege to be the Indigenous Portfolio Coordinator for the office, and work with students on their educational paths in life. Tania has a partner and two children who are always teaching her about the beauty of life. Tania is passionate about empowering people to feel inspired in their lives, and the lessons one can learn while spending time in nature. Thank you to the Snuneymuxw peoples for allowing us to spend our days in your territories.

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Kim Warkentine, Administrative Assistant to the Director

Kim Warkentine has lived back and forth between BC and Alberta most her life, and is happy to have found herself now in Nanaimo working at VIU. She has a BA in International Studies and Political Science from University of Northern BC, a MA in Political Science from University of Alberta, a Certificate in Project Management from NAIT, and a Certificate in Social Innovation from MacEwan University. She believes that education has the power to transform, and is keenly interested in language, art, and travel. Kim is grateful to the Snuneymuxw people who allow her to live and work on their unceded and traditional territory.

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Tracey Weiser, Program and Registration Assistant

Tracey’s ancestry is Dene, English, Scottish and French. She has a Bachelor of English and Fine Arts degree from Vancouver Island University. Tracey grew up on Vancouver Island and is happy to raise her son here. They love to hike and spend time in nature and on the water.

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