The individuals on our advisory council have helped IndigenEYEZ become what it is today, and in many cases fostered the vision and startup capital for IndigenEYEZ to exist. This council helps accelerate positive change and achieve greater impact as IndigenEYEZ continues to grow. They are all leaders in their own specialized fields, and share our vision of a world in which all Indigenous youth are supported to becoming the leaders of tomorrow.
Bold, tenacious, solution-oriented and forward-looking, Phil Fontaine is an articulate advocate for the future of Canada and for our indigenous peoples. As the former three-term National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, he is a shining example of how strong leadership can work. Known for his calm and confident demeanor, he has a proven track record of opening the lines of communication and bringing people together in a common cause for a better future and to resolve issues of the past. Fontaine’s proven ability to inform, inspire, demonstrate leadership, and build consensus makes him a highly sought-after expert.
Fontaine, the youngest son in an Ojibway family of 12 children, has been instrumental in facilitating change and advancement for First Nations people from the time he was first elected to public office as chief, when he was only 28 years old. An advocate for human rights, and a survivor of residential school abuse, Fontaine’s crowning achievement to date is the residential schools settlement. At $5.6 billion in individual compensation, Fontaine negotiated the largest settlement in Canadian history – for the largest human rights violation in Canadian history – arising out of the 150-year Indian residential school tragedy.
Professor Kathleen Mahoney has been a Professor of Law at the University of Calgary since 1991. Having held many international fellowships and lectureships, she has dedicated much of her research, practice, and activism to internationally critical issues in human rights. She has published extensively and appeared as counsel in leading cases in the Supreme Court of Canada. She has also organized and participated in collaborative human rights and judicial education projects in Geneva, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Tanzania, Namibia, Spain, Israel, China, Vietnam, the United States and the United Nations. She was a founder of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund and a pioneer of the judicial education movement in Canada.
In 2004, Professor Mahoney spearheaded and authored a major research project and Report examining the Canadian government’s response to the claims of Aboriginal residential school survivors. This led to her appointment as the Chief Negotiator for the Assembly of First Nations and the subsequent historic settlement agreement with Canada for reparations and a Truth and Reconciliation Process, which is unique in the world.
She has law degrees from the University of British Columbia and Cambridge University, and a Diploma from the Institute of Comparative Human Rights Law in Strasbourg, France.
Ian is co-founder of Partners for Youth Empowerment and Board Chair. He is also a co-founder of IndigenEYEZ. He has previously been the Chair of a number of charities including the Institute of Noetic Sciences and the Global Board of The Hunger Project. He is an investor and runs a family office.
Jonathan was elected Chief of the Penticton Indian Band (PIB) for two terms from 2008-2016. He previously served on PIB Council from 2000 – 2008. Jonathan has been widely-recognized for his leadership and business achievements.
Early on in his leadership he advocated separating business from politics in 2008 and was a proponent in the creation of the Penticton Indian Band Economic Development Corporation. He created a business-friendly environment opening PIB and Certificate of Possession (CP) holders up for business opportunities.
Jonathan worked with his Council and staff to develop Laws, by-Laws and Policies for the Penticton Indian Band. He successfully completed negotiations with Federal, Provincial governments, Municipal and Regional Districts.
Jonathan spearheaded the signing of a Protocol Agreement between the Regional District South Okanagan Similikameen and Penticton Indian Band, Osoyoos Indian Band and Lower Similkameen Indian Band. As well he worked with Okanagan Nation Chiefs to create a Syilx Unity Protocol to work with companies and governments on Nature Resources referrals consultation process.
He loves being on the land in his territory and believes in the Okanagan Nation Declaration “for the good of all, for all time.”
Grand Chief Clarence “Kat” Pennier
Clarence Martin Pennier was born in the Mission Hospital on the Second of October 1944, the fifth child of Mandy and Frank Pennier of Scowlitz. Although registered to that community at birth, Kat’s immediate family connections there were somewhat recent. Mandy, his mother, was born at Chehalis whereas Frank came from Harrison Mills, just across the Harrison River near Old Scowlitz.
In 1950, at the age of 6, Kat was working at a hop yard near Sardis with his family when it was arranged that he would be taken to attend St. Mary’s Residential School in Mission. He recalls being loaded into the back of a “big cattle truck” and removed to his new home where he would remain for the majority of the next ten years of his life.
According to their website, the UBCIC was founded shortly before Kat’s joining in November, 1969, “partly in response to the federal government’s 1969 White Paper, which was a blueprint for assimilating Canada’s First Peoples, and partly as an inevitable outcome of a growing conviction of many of our people that our survival in the face of such policies depended upon our ability to work together.”14 Their mandate- “to work towards the implementation, exercise and recognition of our inherent Title, Rights and Treaty Rights and to protect our Lands and Waters, through the exercise, and implementation of our own laws and jurisdiction” 15- had a strong and lasting influence on Kat who remembers this period as one of the major turning points in his life.
If Kat’s first years of working with the UBCIC in Vancouver were an important transition time in his life, the mid-1990s was another such period. According to Chief Doug Kelly, his installation as Grand Chief in 1995 made him the first and only representative from Stó:lō Nation to hold that highly respected title.40 Around this time he was also bestowed with the first of his Aboriginal, or Xwelmexw, names.
Pauline Terbasket is a proud Syilx woman, member of the Syilx Okanagan Nation, and Executive Director of the Okanagan Nation Alliance. When she first headed up the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA), the organization had a handful of employees. Now, after 20 years of innovation and management growth, she oversees an annual budget of 12M.
Pauline is passionate about Nation building and Indigenous revitalization and has served on many volunteer boards, including a term as Chair of the First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation. A strong advocate for tackling the issues impeding the prosperity and wellness of Indigenous people, her work has addressed the full spectrum from children, youth, families, and elders to language, culture, health governance, and traditional foods.
She loves to share the story of how the Syilx Nation spearheaded the return of the Okanagan sockeye salmon from the brink of extinction. Two of her current passions are speaking up for Indigenous food sovereignty around the world and championing the BC‐ based IndigenEYEZ empowerment program.