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Chief Russ Myers


Russell Myers Ross (MA) is Indigenous to the Tsilhqot'in Nation and from the community of Yunesit'in. He has a Masters of Indigenous Governance from the University of Victoria (2010). Russell has since completed an eight year term as an elected Chief of Yunesit'in Government from 2012-2020. In two terms, he was influential in the Tsilhqot'in Solar Farm (1MW), Language Revitalization efforts, Economic activities such as the Forest-to-Frame mill, Yunesit'in Guest House and Greenhouses, Housing design and construction projects, Land Use Planning initiatives and the creation of Dasiqox Nexwagwezan and currently works with the Dasiqox team and Yunesit'in Government. As a Council of Chiefs of the Tsilhqot'in Nation, he has led negotiations with the Provincial and Federal Government, which has provided substantial benefits in Housing, Fisheries, Social, Emergency Tripartite and comprehensive framework agreements.

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Shirley-Pat Chamberlain


Shirley-Pat Chamberlain is a woman of mixed heritage and is Tl'esqox na whelh deni heelen (adoptee of Tl'esqox). She brings 20+ years of leadership, community planning and development, fund development, grant writing, project management, facilitation, teaching, and mentorship. Shirley-Pat is a proud member of the Rotary Club of Steveston and received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award in 2012 for outstanding volunteerism. 
Shirley-Pat has built strong and meaningful relationships with each Indigenous community or Nation that she has had the privilege and honour of working with across the Pacific Northwest as well as non-Indigenous organizations, communities, and governments. She is currently a PhD Candidate at the University of Edinburgh. She holds a Master of Education in Leadership Studies from the University of Victoria. She also holds a BA in History and Classical Languages and Literature from Concordia University.


Joyce Cooper


Joyce Charleyboy-Cooper is always reminded that she was born before her time as the knowledge, language and songs were handed down orally by strong women of her family. Being a Residential School survivor the strength from her family to retain her knowledge has been key in all the roles she has had. She has taken the knowledge handed down to teach or assist in protecting ancestral lands. When Hunter Dickinson acquired Taseko in 1991 Joyce along with Cindy English started gathering information under the direction of Xeni Gwet’in and Union of B.C Indian Chiefs to protect from the proposed drilling to occur. From that day forward, she has been involved in all Traditional Use that has occurred in the Tsilhqot’in Nation. This gave her an opportunity to become a leader for her community at very young age. She served eight (8) years as a representative at the Economic, Justice, Social table and lead one of their logging companies (Tsi Dedel Enterprise) into a land use plan to protect sensitive areas within her community. Joyce finished her grade 12 while in leadership, raising her three children and several Foster Children.

When Joyce’s children were ready to start high school, she moved into Williams Lake and worked several years as an advocate for families with children in care at Denisiqi. After six years she decided to find something a little easier to tackle. She moved on to become a School District #27 Trustee for Area J for another 6 years. Being the only First Nation on the Board she took what was taught to her by her elders and applied it to teach the world about the Tsilhqot’in people.

 Joyce worked for Tl’esqox as the Community Comprehensive Planning Coordinator for 4 years on and off. She is now working for Yeqox Nilin as Emergency Sexual Violence Coordinator for the Tsilhqot’in, Carrier and Urban Community.

She believes she would never have accomplished all that she has if it was not for the people she works for and the knowledge that has been handed down by her family and people.


Christina Tachtampa


Christina Tachtampa has background in curriculum design, experiential learning and community development. For over a decade, she has worked closely with multiple communities overseas in Vietnam, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, and China developing sustainable partnerships and managing projects focusing on sustainable livelihoods, food security, health and education. She holds a Masters in Management of Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Smith School of Business at Queen's University with a specialization in corporate innovation, the entrepreneur economy and social impact. She also holds a BA in History from Ryerson University and a certificate in Social Innovation and Design from Jiangnan University, China with a focus on food security.


Aaron Plahn


Aaron spent several years working in the field of scientific computing, completing a BSc from TRU and an MSc from SFU. After grad-school, he spent 5 years working in the emerging field of language technology at TNG, where he built full-stack web and mobile apps, worked with language specialists and elders to curate and manage complex data sets, managed several web servers, and also worked a fair deal with audio tech. During this time, Aaron had the opportunity to train and mentor aspiring technical employees in all of these fields and more.

Aaron currently works as a Back-end Developer with a BC tech startup called Certicraft, where he hones his technical skills as part of a tight-knit team dedicated to code craftsmanship. In his spare time, he continues to contribute to open source language technology software and collaborate with open source tech enthusiasts, including some of his former apprentices at TNG. 

Aaron is a second-language speaker of Tŝilhqot’in, having learned from his in-laws through immersion, in order to support his own children’s language acquisition in the home, and having expanded his understanding of the language through working with language experts in his work at TNG. 

Throughout all his adventures, Aaron has continued to teach, keeping one foot in the academic world. He has 10+ years of experience teaching, tutoring, developing curriculum, and otherwise supporting students in formal and informal university and university-prep courses in math, science, computers, academic preparation, and more.


Kerry Cook


Wife, Mother, Grandmother, 37-year Faculty member at Thompson Rivers University (recently retired) Two-time Mayor,Kerry Cook is a leader who leaves transformative effects on her students, city, and nation. During her terms as mayor, the city of Williams Lake saw a dramatic decrease in crime as Kerry championed and promoted the reconciliation and well-being of people from all walks of life. Kerry has continued her passion of social justice where she held a 4-year government appointment as Governor of the Law Foundation of BC. With a passionately, joyful love for family and people, Kerry is now sharing her inner healing journey as a means to build up her grandchildren and others in their identities and purpose.

Kerry holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of British Columbia.

Instructors: Faculty
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