STAFF

 

 
 

Vanessa West
Chief of Staff

Victoria Austin
Executive Assistant

 
 

Maureen Buchan
Senior Policy Advisor

Bio

An Anishinaabe from Bearskin Lake First Nation in Northern Ontario, Maureen has over 15 years of experience working for First Nations Political Organizations. She has a Master of Arts in Indigenous Governance from the University of Victoria as well as an Advanced Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Government from the University of Manitoba. Maureen was formerly an Associate Faculty Member at the University of Victoria and has worked as a Policy Analyst and Specific Claims researcher for the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC). Other experience includes research work for various organizations including the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, and Musqueum Nation. As co-founder of Sparrow-Grant Consulting, Maureen has provided policy, political, and strategic advice for a number of BC First Nations. A proud mother of two, Maureen currently resides on Musqueam Territory.

Jaime Sanchez
Special Advisor to the Regional Chief

Bio

Jaime has spent over 10 years working with First Nations in BC focused on building capacity, policy and strategic advice, natural resource management and negotiations with the Crown and industry.  Some of his accomplishments include establishing a centralized mapping office, providing certified aboriginal land use planning training, co-designed and delivered a First Nations Referrals Officer Program, as well as assisting with multi-million-dollar negotiations for energy projects and reconciliation agreements.

Jaime has also co-facilitated the creation of the BC First Nations Forestry Action Plan, and the BC First Nations Mineral Exploration and Mining Action Plan; more recently he has been working with First Nations in northern BC in negotiations related to reconciliation, and natural gas pipeline developments.  He has worked for, among others, the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, BC First Nations Energy and Mining Council, BC First Nations Technology Council, BC Aboriginal Mine and Training Association, Nadleh Whut’en First Nation and Musqueam Indian Band.  Jaime is a Registered Professional Planner (RPP), and Member of the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP), having graduated from the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) in 2005 with a degree in Environmental Planning, with a focus on First Nations Community Planning.

As a first-generation Canadian living with his wife and two sons in Snuneymuxw territory (Nanaimo), Jaime is passionate and dedicated to being part the reconciliation needed in Canada.  His own family was displaced due to the military dictatorship in Chile in the 1970s, which has informed his drive and passion for seeking solutions to conflicts and restitution of historic wrongs.

 
 

Melanie Lyons
Finance Manager

Derek Hansom
Economic Development Policy Analyst

 
 

Annette Schroeter, MA
Communications Officer

Dana Reiter
Regional Climate Change Coordinator

Bio

Dana grew up in southern Saskatchewan, her mother was born in Duck Lake and her family are Cree Metis. She possesses a BA and a Graduate Certificate of Intercultural Studies from the University of British Columbia (UBC) and a Master’s Degree in Intercultural Service, Leadership and Management from the School for International Training (SIT) on full scholarship. Dana was a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar with a mandate to promote international peace, understanding and goodwill and was awarded a SIT Intercultural Leadership Award. In 2018 she completed a PhD in the School of Civil Engineering and Built Environment at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia on a full scholarship. Dana was awarded an International Indigenous Postgraduate Research Award. Her thesis was entitled ‘Increasing the effectiveness of stakeholder engagement in environmental decision support systems (EDSS)’  and was nominated for an outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award, reserved for the top 5% of doctorates in any year.

 

Dana currently serves on the Advisory Committee for the ONEXONE Foundation’s national First Nation Breakfast Program. This program provides a nutritious breakfast for children. She also served as a mentor to an indigenous university student through the national Indspire organization’s Rivers to Success Program. As a Volunteer Advisor with the Canadian Executive Services Organization (CESO) Dana delivered their Aboriginal Women for Tomorrow Program in Whitehorse, Yukon for the Ta’an Kwach’an First Nation, Bella Bella, BC for the Heiltsuk First Nation, Alert Bay, BC for the Namgis First Nation, Coal Harbour, BC for the Quatsino First Nation, Northern Manitoba for the Northlands Dene First Nation and again in Whitehorse for the Skookum Jim Aboriginal Friendship Centre. She also served a two-year term on the CESO Board of Directors.

 

Dana has won national and international awards and Fellowships for leadership, including a place at the 2012 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference: Leadership and Sustainable Communities; Fellow: International Leadership for Environment and Development program, Canada and Mexico 2008; Kellogg Foundation Fellowship, Junin de los Andes, Patagonia, Argentina 2003, United Nations University International Leadership Academy; Leadership for Climate Change and Human Security, Jordan and South Africa 2002, including participation In the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa.

 

In her free time Dana enjoys horseback riding, camping, snowboarding, fly fishing, reading, arts and cultural activities (theatre, symphony, etc.).

 
 

Samantha Seymour
Administrative Support Worker

Bio

Samantha Seymour has just started as the Administrative Support Worker at the BCAFN. She is a proud member of the Lheidli T’enneh Band and recently finished a position as a Community Engagement Intern for the Lheidli T’enneh Treaty team. Samantha attended school at Kelly Road Secondary and graduated in 2015. Her goal is to acquire more knowledge in administrative duties and further develop a work ethic that will benefit herself and her community.