Our Team

Lillian Morton, Acting Director

Lillian Morton, Tsunii’lhaat, has stepped into the role of Acting Director, Office of Indigenous Education and Engagement effective immediately. 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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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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Cheryl Stone, Indigenous Development Manager

We're happy to be working with Cheryl Stone in her role as Indigenous Development Manager.

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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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Sheldon Scow, Program Coordinator, Community Cousins

My name is Sheldon Scow. My traditional name is Nu’yam’tsa which translates to “legends on the shore” and I am the new program coordinator for the ‘Su’luqw’a’ Community Cousins. My family comes from the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis and Liidlii Kue, that is Gilford Island and Fort Simpson. I am a recent grad of VIU with a BA in Indigenous/Xwulmuxw Studies.

I spent a lot of my time at VIU volunteering for the Community Cousins as they became like a second family to me, and many other indigenous students. I really enjoyed my journey here at VIU and grateful to have an opportunity to work here and help students the way the program has for me.

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Tania Smethurst, Indigenous Portfolio Coordinator

Tania Smethurst is originally from Ontario, her ancestry is Scottish and Irish; and she has lived learned and played in both Kwakaka'wakw and Coast Salish territories for all of her adult life. 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 a young daughter that is 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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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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Kelli Lines, Faculty and Student Support Assistant

Kelli is from the Stz’uminus First Nation. She has an Office Administration Diploma.  She is a proud Mom of two grown daughters. I enjoy working with people.  In my spare time I like to craft.

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Kim Warkentine, Administrative Assistant to the AVP

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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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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