Chief Maureen Thomas
Chief Thomas’ ancestral name is Si’lhe-Ma’elWut and she has served as both a Councillor and Chief since 2003. She is also Manager, Records and Information Management, at the First Nations Financial Management Board (FNFMB). Chief Thomas has worked with numerous First Nations communities and organizations throughout her career, where she’s gained a wealth of knowledge to integrate into her leadership at the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. Some projects she has initiated on Council include TWN attaining FNFMB certification; taking legal action to prevent the twinning of Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion to protect sacred waters and land in our territory; developing the TWN Land Code; as well as playing an integral role in our participation with the Four Host First Nations during the 2010 Olympics.
Chief Thomas aims to combine the business practices of today with the cultural teachings of our people to advance Tsleil-Waututh in modern society and leave a legacy for generations to come. Her goals for the future are to create more opportunities for our youth to be successful, listen to our elders as the knowledge keepers of our history, and generate economic wealth for future TWN generations.
Charlene’s ancestral name is Ts’simtelot and she is the daughter of the late Joe (Siyamelelexw) and Irene (Te-aktenaw) nee George, Aleck. She holds the Sacred Trust Initiative portfolio and works with the STI team to oppose the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline and protect TWN lands and waters for future generations. Charlene is carrying on her family tradition as a member of the Children of Takaya dance group and has a great interest in reviving our Henqeminem language.
Her goals for the future are to uphold the integrity of her ancestors in practicing cultural traditions; being a strong, clear voice with respect and dignity; providing leadership for our people to be represented at all levels; and empowering our youth to be successful.
Deanna carries two ancestral names, Halat, from her maternal Grandmother, and Tewalewet, a variation of her Uncle Herb’s name. She is proud of her culture and heritage and has been a member of both the Children of Takaya dance group and Burrard Canoe Club since a young age.
Deanna holds the Community Development portfolio, providing strategic guidance on our supports for Elders, youth, health and wellness, education, employment, and training. She has worked for the Tsleil-Waututh Nation in a number of roles, including lands registration, recording secretary, and on the TWN Comprehensive Community Planning Committee. And she supports community sports as a participant, coach, and fundraiser.
Her goals for the future are to improve communications within her portfolio and share information on healthier lifestyles for youth and Elders to become more active.
Michelle has worked with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation for seven years, currently as a Referrals Analyst. She started as a Research Assistant, helping with a community Traditional Use and Occupation Knowledge Study, which gave her information to inform and protect TWN Aboriginal rights. In her current role, Michelle works with provincial and federal levels of government and speaks at public events, ceremonies and conference panels.
As a staff and community member, Michelle is deeply motivated to gain Tsleil-Waututh knowledge from her Elders and to share this knowledge with the next generation. She volunteered with the Tsleil-Waututh Girls Empowerment Group, where she taught girls traditional teachings and life skills. She has also played a long-standing role as a member of the Land Advisory Committee for 13 years, where she helped develop and implement the TWN Land Code.
Michelle’s educational background includes a variety of training and employment programs and courses. But her most valuable education has been gained from the community, especially her Elders, from whom she has learned the traditional and cultural teachings of our people. In her spare time, Michelle loves to travel, and is always open to trying something new, such as climbing the Lions Gate Bridge, straight up through a narrow tunnel no less!
Her goals for the future are to support Tsleil-Waututh initiatives and help protect and preserve Tsleil-Waututh Rights and Title, by teaching people about TWN, so future generations have the opportunity to participate in the cultural activities of our ancestors.
Liana’s ancestral name is Wa Cha Wat, helping woman, and she is a proud member and councillor of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. She takes great pride in exercising our fiduciary duty to protect TWN lands and waters for today and future generations, for Tsleil-Waututh people and all British Columbians.
Liana participates in the annual Community Clean Up, is a member of the TWN Community Society, and assists in sacred burnings at ancestral sites. She participated on the TWN Comprehensive Community Planning Committee to set in motion the vision for our community. She feels great pride in working to revive Tsleil-Waututh language and traditions.
Her goals for the future are to have healthier homes for all, safer roadways in the community, and increased learning, training, and employment opportunities.
Jennifer Lynn Thomas
Jennifer is a proud member of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and daughter of current Chief Maureen Thomas and Stanley Thomas. She leads various community events like the annual Christmas Craft Fair and baby celebration and was instrumental in working with families to open Registered Education Savings Plan accounts, so children will have secure funding for post-secondary education. Jen believes the success of our youth is the success of the nation and works to help TWN youth reach their full potential.
She has also worked with various First Nations organizations in the past two decades, including the BC Aboriginal Fisheries Organization, First Nations Summit, Assembly of First Nations, and BC Childcare Society, which has expanded her insight into First Nations governance and strengthened her leadership capacity in the community.
Her goals for the future are to see all our members thrive; bring our people together for more good times, rather than sad occasions; find more resources for people with disabilities and chronic diseases; learn as much as possible about our members’ experiences; and find more training opportunities for members to hold top positions within our nation.
“The success of our youth is the success of our nation.”