Keynotes & Inspiration

Keynotes, Storytellers, and Inspirations

These inspiring individuals will offer insight, energy and ideas for our 2018 Conference!

Sophie Pierre 

Ktunaxa Elder and Order of Canada Recipient

Nasuʔkin (Chief) Joe Pierre Jr. 

ʔaq̓am Community Nasuʔkin (Chief)

Sophie Pierre served on the council of the St. Mary’s Indian Band, now known as ʔaq’am, of the Ktunaxa Nation for 30 years, 26 as elected chief. She served as the tribal chair of the Ktunaxa Nation Council for 25 years. She also served as co-chair of the International Advisory Committee to the Indigenous Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy. She was appointed chief commissioner of the BC Treaty Commission from April 2009 to 2015, and was recognized with the Order of Canada in 2016. She also received the Order of British Columbia in 2002 and the National Aboriginal Achievement Award in 2003. Read more. Nasuʔkin (Chief) Joe Pierre Jr. was elected to the position as the Chief for the ʔaq’am Community in 2016. Joe is a proud Ktunaxa member and a long time resident of ʔaq̓am. As Nasuʔkin of ʔaq’am, Joe also holds the portfolio of Lands and Natural Resources at the Ktunaxa Nation level. Currently he is employed by School District 5 Southeast Kootenay and is a member of the Board of Directors for the First Nations Education Steering Committee. Joe has also worked for a season with the CBC production “North of Sixty”. Joe was a storyteller at the very first Proctor Storytelling Festival and he has presented at several other festivals throughout the region. Read more.

Dr. Gregory Cajete

Indigenous Author and Scholar

Dr. Gregory Cajete is Director of Native American Studies and an Associate Professor in the Division of Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies in the College of Education at the University of New Mexico.  He designs culturally-responsive curricula based upon Native American understanding of the ‘nature of nature’ and utilizes this foundation to develop an understanding of the science and artistic thought process as expressed in Indigenous perspectives of the natural world. Dr. Cajete has authored several books including Look to the Mountain: An Ecology of Indigenous Education and Ignite the Sparkle: An Indigenous Science Education Curriculum Model. Read more.

Kathryn Teneese

Ktunaxa Nation Council Chair

Kathryn Teneese is the Chair of the Ktunaxa Nation Council. She has been instrumental in building relationships and helping make the Ktunaxa Nation a visible part of the community. She has also been named to the BC Climate Solutions and Clean Growth Advisory Council which will provide advice to government on actions and policies that can contribute to carbon pollution reductions and optimize opportunities for sustainable economic development. She is also a past director of New Relationship Trust (NRT) is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening First Nations in British Columbia through capacity building. Read more.

Minister Rob Fleming

BC Minister of Education

Dr. Richard Kool

Environment and Sustainability Professor

Rob Fleming was elected to represent the riding of Victoria-Hillside on May 17, 2005, and was re-elected to represent Victoria-Swan Lake on May 12, 2009 and May 14, 2013. Rob serves as the Minister for Education. Rob was the critic for the Environment in the 39th Parliament (2009-2013). Previous to that he served as the critic for advanced education and tourism. Rob has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Victoria. He has worked in research and communications and was a research and policy analyst for the Ministry of Advanced Education. He was involved in many community organizations and travelled to El Salvador to monitor elections there. Dr. Richard Kool is the founding Program Head of the Royal Roads University’s Master of Arts program in Environmental Education and Communication in Victoria, British Columbia. He has also worked as a high school science teacher, developed and managed public programs at the Royal British Columbia Museum, and managed education and interpretation programs for BC Parks and the BC Ministry of Environment. A self-identified ‘intellectual omnivore’, his published research involves the study of organisms from microscopic ciliated protozoans to whales and dinosaurs, as well as contributions in the domains of environmental education and communication with forays out into questions of hope, the future, leadership, and violence. Read more.


Tim Newton, Sage McBride, Jordan Vlasschaert, and Ty West

Over three albums and countless tours, these local British Columbians have developed their signature sound by taking inspiration from the mountains they hail from and the people who inhabit them. Soaked in electric crescendos and folk tinged sing-along anthems, Shred Kelly is known for their high energy live show that ignites dance floors with their alternative folk sound. Shred Kelly has seamlessly fused traditional instrumentation with modern rock, presenting a sound that is both unique and compelling. Read more.