The Indigenous Perspectives Society is an Indigenous-run charitable non-profit. We are comprised of Indigenous staff, allies, a board of directors and volunteers. Our composition is an intentional and deliberate one that allows us the agility to deliver services, meet community needs, and respond to actions of reconciliation in a way that is reflective of the communities we walk amongst. Our circles where we deliver services are Indigenous, non-Indigenous, and blended. We practice diversity and inclusion with our society representing many different communities and lifestyles which brings a wealth of insight into how we work. IPS is proud to provide the opportunity for career development and mentorship, and believes in growing people in addition to attracting excellent talent. With this, it is with pride that we introduce you to our team below:
Rachelle Dallaire, BSW/MSW/RSW – Executive Director
Rachelle is from the Montagnais people in lower Quebec. She brings more than 15 years of management and leadership experience to her work as Indigenous Perspectives Society’s Executive Director. Rachelle has extensive front line service experience that informs her leadership from her early work with at risk communities including women in the sex trade, corrections, and the homeless community. As an intergenerational trauma survivor, she brings a lot of passion to developing Indigenous Perspectives Society’s Reconciliation from an Indigenous Perspective training offerings, which include Cultural Perspectives Training, developed to support the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions Calls to Action.
Connie Martin, BSW – Associate Director
Connie Martin is from the K’omoks First Nation on her maternal side, her late mother’s name is Leslee Martin, and her late grandmother was Mable Frank. Her grandparents, Richard and Catherine Wilson raised her mother and herself. On her father’s side she is German and Swedish, and her late father’s name is Gary Martin. Her paternal grandparents are the late Maggie Martin and Charlie Martin. Connie comes to Indigenous Perspectives Society with previous experience as a social worker both for the Ministry of Children and Family Development, and for a Delegated Aboriginal Agency. She has also worked in the non-profit sector for over ten years with Indigenous children and their families from all over Canada. She is a passionate advocate for education and learning cultural practices, and western academia. She has worked to earn an Associate Arts Degree in Aboriginal Studies, a Bachelor of Social Work Degree with Indigenous and Child Welfare specializations, and is currently working on her Master’s Degree in Public Administration. Connie is inspired by the beauty in our communities, and the days yet to come where Indigenous people are exercising more of their inherent rights to support children and families.
Zhila Alizadeh – Borji, BBM – Finance Manager
Zhila joined the Society in April 2011. Zhila is a Persian woman, a mother of a beautiful daughter and a proud aunt. Born and raised in Iran, she graduated from the University of Tehran with a degree in business, level 4 of Certified General accountant, and planning to obtain her Certified Aboriginal Finance Manager. She worked in a variety of financial management positions in Tehran. She moved to Canada in 2001 and has been employed since that time in similar environments. She is very pleased to have the opportunity to work with Indigenous Perspectives Society. She has many passions which include artistic endeavours, family values, and her work. She believes in the passion that is demonstrated by the Society in the work they do and for this, she has been very appreciative to be a part of that passion and to work for such a dynamic team!
Carol Itakura – Facilities and Resource Manager
Carol is first generation Chinese and was born and raised in Victoria, B.C. She holds a Certificate in Business Administration from the University of Victoria. After more than 23 years in the banking industry, Carol began a different journey with IPS in May 2002 where she was able to apply her knowledge, administrative skills and experiences. Carol has been the Society’s Facilities and Resource Manager since December 2005 and enjoys the camaraderie with her colleagues.
Elaine Zamardi, C.I.M. – Executive and Project Coordinator
Elaine was born and raised in Toronto, ON and moved to Victoria, BC in 1996 with her husband and their two daughters. She is Mohawk on her Mother’s side, from Kahnawà:ke Quebec and English on her Father’s side. As the Executive and Project Coordinator she is passionate about working at IPS and being able to support projects, our youth, Elders, families, and communities. She loves spending time with her family, riding her bike and enjoys the outdoors.
Tammy Fleming, BSW – Instructor
Tammy lived in Victoria until the age of 15 both with family members and in care. She reunited with her Mom at age 15 and went with her to Northern Alberta. She is blessed to have two communities where she feels at home. Tammy has 3 children by birth, and many more by relationship; and is grateful to be Nana to 18 grandchildren. After raising her family, she realised a childhood dream and returned to school, becoming a social worker. Having spent time in care herself, she carried a passion for creating safety for children and youth in a holistic and collaborative way and has spent the past 15 years working with families, communities and children. She is excited to join IPS in the role of Instructor. “It has been amazing to gather here and see the dedication, excitement and passion that is so evident among my colleagues. I am grateful to have been provided this opportunity.”
Candace McKivett – Program Development Project Lead
Candace works in the development of online training in Moodle and is also the accreditation specialist for the Society. She is a non-Indigenous staff member who applies an intersectional lens to all that she does; believing that health and wellbeing for people and communities comes from achieving equity across the social determinants of health. Candace is also passionately committed to her volunteer work with inmates at the local federal prison.
Kelly Legge, MA – Program Development Project Lead
Kelly has been fortunate to live and work in Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ territories, Victoria, for over 10 years. She has worked at IPS since 2010 in various roles, including a policy analyst in Aboriginal child welfare and a program development specialist wherein she develops curriculum, facilitates training, and leads the media team as a non-fictive film maker. As a non-Indigenous person, she brings a passion for inter-cultural learning and ally work.
April Reeve – Caregiver Support
As a Metis woman April is honored to be starting her new position at IPS as the Caregiver Support Worker. She looks forward to working in our indigenous communities throughout BC and is grateful that she is able to help train foster parents as they embark on their journey in becoming caregivers for our children. April has been with her partner Wayne for 42 years, and they have 3 grown children and 5 grandchildren. Also, she has been a foster parent with Indigenous youth for many years. One of her favorite things to do is to watch her grandchildren play baggataway (lacrosse). She can also be found in her garden nurturing all that grows.
Michele Oatman – Programs Coordinator
Marlo Thomas – Manager of Training and Curriculum
Is a Coast Salish woman, who has ancestral roots that span the Coast Salish territories. Marlo is the granddaughter of late Charles and Hilda Rice, late Ben and Mabel Thomas. Marlo is the daughter of late Kenneth and Mary Jean Thomas (nee Rice). Marlo is a mother of two young women and has an amazing grandson. Marlo comes from the Penelakut First Nation. She has a Master’s degree from the Education department from the University of Victoria and a Bachelor’s degree with a major in First Nations Studies. Marlo has spent her academic and professional career advocating for Indigenous people. Marlo is excited to be a part of the change. Marlo’s passion is learning and understanding the legacy of intergenerational trauma and discovering pathways to healing, through forgiveness.
Yuxwelupton (Butch Dick) – Knowledge Keeper
IPS is deeply honoured to have Yuxwelupton (Butch Dick) join the team as Indigenous Knowledge Keeper. Yuxwelupton is from Lekwungen Territory (place to smoke herring), better known today as the Songhees Nation. His family roots extend into the Xw’chalth’lap community and Tsartlip Nation; his paternal Grandmother was from Ditidaht, part of the Nuu’chah’nulth speaking community.
Over the years, Yuxwelupton has taken on many leadership and professional roles in his traditional territory. He has walked mindfully in alignment with his ancestral teachings and ways of being and taught First Nations Art and Culture for over 25 years in the Victoria School District 61. He brought leadership, cultural knowledge, song, dance, ceremony, carving and blanket technology to the University of Victoria’s Indigenous Education Program for over 10 years during his appointment as Cultural Advisor and Educator.
Since ‘retiring’, 14 years ago, Butch has continued to work for his community as Songhees Nation Arts Director and Education Liaison. He has continued to teach and mentor many individuals, family and community members. Through his work, Yuxwelupton continues to maintain and share culture to help build strong communities on his territories.
Karman Lippitt – Business Development and Communications Coordinator
Karman has recently arrived on the island from Northern Australia, to be closer to her Canadian family. She is very grateful to have been warmly welcomed to the Lekwungen speaking territories of the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations. And she is pleased to be joining the highly accomplished team at IPS.
Karman’s previous professional and personal experience in Indigenous community development and Indigenous-led natural and cultural resource management, has allowed her the opportunity to work extensively in intergenerational, cross cultural and cross sectoral environments. Karman has spent the past twenty-seven years building knowledge and skills in training, facilitation, strategic planning, social enterprise and inter-cultural governance model development. Karman has a strong interest in diverse cultures, languages and perspectives. She has a deep love and respect for the natural world and recognizes our shared responsibility to look after it, each other and particularly our younger generations.
Kaia Hill, Curriculum Development Coordinator
Kaia is a Kanaka Maoli (Indigenous Native Hawaiian) born and raised on the island of Maui, Hawai’i. She moved to Victoria to study Anthropology and Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. Upon graduating, she knew that she wanted to begin to give back the Indigenous peoples and communities whose lands she became a settler on as she pursued her post-secondary education. She is honored to serve on the team at IPS, and deeply grateful to be able to continue to live and learn on these beautiful lands. Kaia’s hopes are to one day take all that she has learned from her time here and use it to facilitate healing and reconciliation for her Indigenous community back home.
Brianna Blackmore, Office Assistant
Brianna is from Scia’new First Nation. Growing up in her community has helped her noticed the effects of colonization and the importance of equality and understanding diversity. Over the last few years she has gone to Camosun College and received her Indigenous Family Support Certificate and a Diploma in Community, Family, and Child Studies. She is excited to join IPS and is grateful for the opportunity.
Charles Hill, President
With over 20 years of experience in workforce diversity training, Charles Hill is owner and director of the consulting firm Paideia Educational Consulting and Mediation, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He is a graduate of Indiana University with a BA degree in Education, The State University of New York at Buffalo with a M.Ed. degree in Early Childhood Education, the University of Toronto with a MA degree in School Psychology and the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Management in Victoria, BC with 252 hours of training in mediation and negotiation. Charles consults with Non-Profit Agencies in the areas of workforce diversity, conflict resolution, collaboration and strategic planning. In the area of Adoption and Foster Care, Charles co-authored “Raising Healthy Multiracial Adoptive Families: A Question and Answer Guide for Adoptive Parents”. He serves as a mediator and consultant to the Adoptive Families Association of British Columbia and introduced a widely accepted basic skills training program for families of adoption. He brings 14 years experience in working for the past with 7 First Nation’s communities on Vancouver Island. Aboriginal families, schools and communities have participated in his workshops that address racism, lateral violence and other forms of oppression. Families experiencing conflict in divorce, separation, custody and access have benefited from participating in an alternative dispute resolution process.
Leanne Boschman, Vice President
Leanne Boschman has served on the IPS Board of Directors since 2014. Leanne has been a post-secondary educator for close to thirty years. From 1990 until 2010, she taught for Coast Mountain College both in Terrace and Prince Rupert. CMC has been a provincial leader in the area of Indigenizing educational curriculum, collaboration with regional First Nations, and is where the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art began, the only School of its kind in Canada. In 2009, Leanne entered the Languages, Cultures, and Literacies PhD program in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University. The LCL program focuses on the cultural and linguistic diversity that characterizes contemporary classrooms globally. It includes an emphasis on Indigenous framings of learning. Since graduating from the LCL program in 2014, Leanne has taught both face-to-face and on-line courses for SFU and Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She was a curriculum developer and lead instructor for SFU’s Stepping Stones Certificate in Community Capacity Building Program that was recognized nation-wide as a best practices program by the First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Essential Skills Inventory Project in 2013. In 2019, Leanne began teaching at the Justice Institute of British Columbia.
Raj Sigdel, Treasurer
Graduate of Tribhuwan University Commerce program and Columbia College Business Administration program, Raj received his Certified General Accountant designation in 2011. He spent the first ten years of his career gaining finance experience with various national corporations. While there, Raj was awarded the Employee of the Month, earned two Bravo Awards, and was twice nominated for nationwide Annual Awards. Since 2011, he has gradually shifted his career from industry to public practice accounting. He joined Schell and Associates, CPAs in January 2015. At Schell & Associates Raj prepares Canada and US personal income tax returns, does year-end corporate reporting, and provides consulting for owners of small and medium sized businesses in a variety of industries and professions.
Jasmine Feather Dionne, Member At Large
Jasmine Feather Dionne is Saka Wiyiniwak, which means people of the Boreal Forest. She is both Nehiyaw and Métis from Northern Alberta and has been an uninvited guest on Lekwungen territory for the past 2 years. She received Her Bachelor of Arts Honours in Law and Society from the University of Calgary and is completing her Master of Arts in Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria. She is a prospective PhD student at the University of Victoria in the department of Political Science where she intends to study the correlation between industry and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Crisis (MMIW&G) in her home territory. Her research interests are: settler colonialism, gender violence, Indigenous law and governance and critiques of state-hood. She is passionate about building up Indigenous nationhood and all nation-based resurgence efforts. She seeks to keep these passions at the forefront of her work at Indigenous Perspectives Society.
Andy Telfer, Member At Large
Andy was raised in southern Ontario to parents of English and Scottish heritage, and is married with two grown children. He brings to IPS over 30 years of experience with nonprofits in British Columbia, including 15 years as an Executive Director. Andy is currently Executive Director of the WITS Programs Foundation, a bullying-prevention program implemented in elementary schools across Canada, including many indigenous communities. He has worked and volunteered for charities in the arts, sport, social services, education, and environmental protection. Preceding his directorship with IPS, Andy was Vice President of Volunteer BC and co-Chair of the National Advisory Committee for Canada’s Volunteer Awards. Andy hopes to learn from others at IPS and offer what he can to help advance IPS’ goals.
Christa Smith, Member At Large
Christa has called the Cariboo Chilcotin home for the past 30 years, she is married with two grown children, three step children and three grandchildren. Christa brings enthusiasm and energy to all aspects of life. She loves to learn new things and has an extensive educational history that includes a Masters of Business Administration, a Bachelors of Social Work with Child Welfare Specialization, and a wide variety of certificates and diplomas that cross business and social service fields. She brings over twenty years of business experience, leadership and volunteerism to this role. Currently Christa is the Executive Director of an Aboriginal Agency and loves what she does. With service as a core value and she looks forward to being able to extend that to Indigenous Perspectives Society.
Jack Stirling, Youth Representative
Jack is from the Wei Wai Kum First Nations in Campbell River, BC. He moved to Victoria to study psychology at UVIC and has since graduated. He now works as a family support worker at Island Metis Family Community Services Society (IMFCSS).