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Indigenous Program Advisory Committee

Verna M. Firth

Verna is an Inuvialuit born and raised in Aklavik, Nunavut. She graduated from Grade 12 at Sir Alexander Mackenzie School in Inuvik in 1968. She is married to a Gwich’in man and together they have two children and eight grandchildren, their pride and joy.

Verna has a background in banking and finance and has worked for the Government of the Northwest Territories as a Finance & Administration Officer for 31 years.

She is a long-time volunteer with the Inuvik Curling Club and the Anglican Church of the Ascension in Inuvik where she is also a Licensed Lay Leader, Vestry member, fundraiser and People’s Warden. Verna served as co-chair on the Anglican Council of Indigenous People (ACIP) for six years as well as the Anglican Church Healing Fund for six years. Under Archbishop Fred Hiltz, she was a member of the Primate’s Commission on Discovery, Reconciliation and Justice. She is also a member of the PWRDF Board of Directors.

Rev. Manasee Ulayuk

Rev. Manasee originally from Hall Beach, Nunavut. He graduated from Arthur Turner Training School in April 2018 and was ordained a deacon in June 2018. He is married to Wilma and they have four children. Rev. Manasee has been the incumbent at St. Thomas Anglican Church in Inukjuak, Quebec since December 2018, and before that was an active member of St. Jude’s Anglican Cathedral in Iqaluit.

Ellen Cook

Ellen is a teacher, an Anglican and a passionate advocate for her people – the Cree of Northern Manitoba. She is an Elder, highly respected by her community and Anglican constituency.

Monica McKay

Monica is from Laxgalts’ap (Greenville), British Columbia and is a proud member of the Nisga’a Nation, of the House of Heewa’a, and of the Gisk’aast Pdeek (Killer Whale clan).

Monica first began her career at Ryerson University in 1993. She created Ryerson Aboriginal Student Services (RASS), the Aboriginal Student Centre and through her hard work and dedication, was promoted to Director, Aboriginal Initiatives in March 2012. In her role as Director, Monica is responsible for developing, leading and coordinating the Ryerson Aboriginal Education strategy, particularly regarding Aboriginal Student Success. She is also busy building internal and external partnerships with faculty, staff and the broader Aboriginal community regarding the Aboriginal Education Council’s priorities: Student Success, Teaching, Learning, Research, Community Engagement and Capacity building.

John B. Zoe

John B. Zoe (Zomadzia) is a member of the Tlicho First Nation from Behchoko, Northwest Territories. As Chief Negotiator, and with the support of a Team and Elder Advisors, John was instrumental in negotiating land and self-government into the Tlicho Agreement. John is currently an Advisor in the ongoing work of Implementation, Research and Indigenous knowledge Transfers related to land, language, culture and way of life.

Freda Lepine

Freda is a Cree Woman from Wabowden (Mescanakneek), Manitoba, with roots from Pimichikamak and Opaskwayak First Nations. She is a proud mother of three children and six grandchildren.

She worked for the Government of Manitoba in various capacities from Coordinator to Management in Local Government Development for 19 Communities until retiring. Within three months of retirement went to work for Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak INC (31 First Nations in Northern Manitoba) as a First Nation Employment and Training Coordinator/partnership networking with Industries, Companies, Agencies for our First Nation students/employers.

Freda has also been an active member of the KaKiGay Danikobidan Committee at the College of Midwifery and an active board member of the Henry Budd College of Ministry in Northern Manitoba; as well a member of ACIP for 20 years, attending most of the Sacred Circles that have been supported by PWDRF.