The Indigenous Perspectives Society: Centre of Excellence in Community Education (IPS) 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. It is with pride and gratitude that we introduce you to our team:

Team Members

Rachelle Dallaire, BSW/MSW/RSW

Executive Director

Rachelle Dallaire, BSW/MSW/RSW

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Rachelle is from the Montagnais peoples 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 inter-generational trauma survivor, she brings a lot of passion to developing Indigenous Perspectives Society’s Reconciliation from an Indigenous Perspectives training offerings, which include Cultural Perspectives Training, developed to support the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions Calls to Action.

Connie Martin, BSW/AA/MPA

Associate Director

Connie Martin, BSW/AA/MPA

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Connie Martin is from the K’omoks First Nation on her maternal side. Her late mother’s name was Leslee Martin, and her late grandmother was Mable Frank. Her grandparents, Richard and Catherine Wilson, raised both her and her mother. On her father’s side she is German and Swedish. Her late father’s name was Gary Martin. Her paternal grandparents were the late Maggie Martin and Charlie Martin. Connie comes to Indigenous Perspectives Society with previous experience as a social worker at the Ministry of Children and Family Development and with an Indigenous Child and Family Serving Agency. She has also worked in the non-profit sector for over 10 years with Indigenous children and their families, from all over Canada. She is a passionate advocate for education, 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 completed her Master’s Degree in Public Administration in 2021. 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 Alizadeh – Borji, BBM

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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 endeavors, 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 Resources Manager

Carol Itakura

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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 & Project Coordinator

Elaine Zamardi, C.I.M.

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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

Curriculum Writer

Tammy Fleming, BSW

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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 McKivett

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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 Legge, MA

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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.

Lizz Brooks

Program Development Coordinator

Lizz Brooks

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Lizz is from the Tsesk’iye clan of the Tahltan Nation, as well as Chinese on her father’s side and mixed European from her mother’s side. She has lived within various locations and territories across British Columbia, but Vancouver Island is where she has called “home” for most of her life. She wears many hats as the Program Development Coordinator at Indigenous Perspectives Society, where she works closely with training curriculum development, connects with contracting organizations, and facilitates trainings focused around allyship. An active member within the performing arts community, Lizz regularly shares space and facilitates conversations focused around decolonization within the arts and guidance for fostering space for individuals from marginalized communities. She is passionate about uplifting and empowering others while continuing to learn about Indigenous Sovereignty, equal rights, visibility, and history.

Aaron Nickol

Business Development & Communications Coordinator

Aaron Nickol

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Aaron is from the Namgis First Nations of the Kwa’Kwa’Ka’Wake-speaking peoples, born and raised on the Namgis First Nations Reserve in Alert Bay, British Columbia. This is where he had spent the first 17 years of his life. Aaron has been located in the Lekwungen territory for the past ten years. Starting his journey in the territory by Learning Anthropology and fine art at Camosun College, and since then has been a vital resource in the workforce within the finance industry. Reminiscing his ancestral life on the water in a fishing community, Aaron wanted to be closer to his heritage; as such, Aaron now lives on his Sailboat in Victoria Harbor, offering him the opportunity to be close to the land and practice traditional fishing and curing methods. Aaron is also a part of the live performing arts community, where he works on community building and other performers’ sense of belonging.

Jacqueline Moisan BSW/Masters in Leadership

Manager of Curriculum & Learning

Jacqueline Moisan BSW/Masters in Leadership

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Jacqueline works with the curriculum development team as a curriculum writer. She has over 25 years experience working in B.C. child welfare in a variety of roles, including social worker, practice consultant, analyst and in management positions. She has worked with Provincial and Aboriginal Services providing practice and operational support to Indigenous Child and Family Serving Agencies. She has also developed curriculum and facilitated regional and provincial training for front-line social workers in Ministry offices and delegated agencies. As a non-Indigenous person, she is grateful to live on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish people and is committed to Indigenous People’s jurisdiction over their own child and family services.

Kai'a Hill

Curriculum Development Coordinator

Kai'a Hill

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Kai‘a is Kanaka Maoli from Hawai’i, with ancestral and familial ties to the islands of Maui, O’ahu, and Hawai’iloa. She was born and raised on Maui and takes much pride in her ancestors and identity as a native Maui island girl. Kai‘a moved to the lands of the lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples in 2014 after graduating from high school to pursue a post-secondary degree at the University of Victoria. She acknowledges that she is occupying land and space in these beautiful territories as a result of colonization and the displacement of the Indigenous peoples and the harm of ecosystems. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree, she knew it was her own cultural responsibility to give back to the Indigenous community of these lands and began working at IPS whose values, vision and mission align with her own. Kai‘a comes to this work with great humility, gratitude, and respect for the Indigenous peoples of this land who are the rightful caretakers, protectors and defenders of it. It is Kai‘a’s hope to return home one day and aid in the efforts of resistance, healing and revitalization for her own Indigenous community.

Tasman Fitzmaurice

Client Services Coordinator

Tasman Fitzmaurice

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Taz is Algonquin, Irish and French on her mother’s side, and Algonquin and French on her father’s. Her family is from Mattawa/North Bay Algonquin First Nation. A proud mother, and stepmother, she is very grateful to be raising her family and working in Lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ Territories. Taz graduated from Camosun College in 2023, with a Diploma in Indigenous Studies and has found her happy place is being of service to her community. She has come to the Indigenous Perspectives Society passionate to find ways in which she can help create positive and inclusive spaces wherever she goes. Tasman lives her life always looking for the ways in which she can be the best ancestor to the future generations.

D'Arcy Briggs

Program Coordinator

D'Arcy Briggs

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D’Arcy is proud to be a member of the IPS team in the role of Program Coordinator. He is a non-Indigenous team member from the lək̓ʷəŋən territories of the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations. He holds a B.A. from the University of Victoria in History and French, as well as a B.Ed. in Secondary Education from Memorial University of Newfoundland. Previous experience includes over a decade in the not-for-profit sector as a festival organizer with the Victoria B.C. Ska and Reggae Society, as an educator with students in the K-12 system, and as an administrative support staff with both private and public educational institutions. When not working at IPS, D’Arcy can be found listening to music, swimming in the ocean, or organizing with various social and environmental community groups.

Clairissa Kelly

Instructor

Clairissa Kelly

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Boozhoo, Aniin, Bimose Mashkode Bihizi Ikwe nindizhinikaaz. Muhkwa dodem, Peguis First Nation nindonjii. Hi! My name is Clairissa Kelly, Walking Buffalo Woman of the Bear Clan from Peguis First Nation, Treaty 1 Territory which is located in Manitoba. I now live, work and play in Langford, BC, which is located on the traditional territory of the Lekwungen-speaking people of the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations.

I am a proud Anishinaabe on both sides of my family. I would like to acknowledge my biological father and grandmother who are residential school survivors, as well as my father who raised me who is a 60s Scoop Survivor. I am excited to join the Indigenous Perspectives Society as an Instructor with the Social Enterprise Team. In addition to my lived experience in the child welfare system, I also bring my gifts from the arts, education, and administration sectors.  My passion is rooted in indigenous youth empowerment and reconciliation between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous peoples.

Tess Mamalias

Finance Technician

Tess Mamalias

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My name is Maritess, but you can call me Thess if you want. I am a Filipina who was born and raised in the Philippines. I am an aunt to my five nieces and five nephews. I received my Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of the East in the Philippines. I spent 15 years as a General Accountant and Bookkeeper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. I moved to Canada last December as an International Student and studying DBA (Continuing Studies) programme at the University of Victoria.

Board of Directors

Aimee Danis

President

Aimee Danis

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Aimée is Anishinaabe and a registered citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario. She is originally from Southwestern Ontario and was raised on the traditional territories of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe Peoples. Aimée holds a Bachelor of Arts from Brock University. Much of her professional background includes working with Indigenous families, children, and youth. She started her career at the Niagara Regional Native Centre in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario before working as a youth counsellor in the public education system. She and her daughter moved to B.C. in 2017. Since then, Aimée has had opportunities to work for the BC Office of the Representative for Children and Youth, the National Inquiry Into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, the Federal Indian Day School Settlement and the First Nations Health Authority. She currently works in philanthropy as the Senior Manager of Community and Equity with Vancity Community Foundation. 

Rachel Bevington

Vice President

Rachel Bevington

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Rachel Bevington MSc is a registered professional Biologist who has over 20 years of experience working with non-profit organizations. Rachel has worked as a Financial Manager, Biologist, Educator and Board Member at several Salt Spring Island non-profits, working with a variety of populations, including children, seniors, women-at-risk due to violence, academics and Indigenous communities. Rachel grew up in the We Wai Kai and Klahoose territories and has ancestral ties to the Nlaka'pamux of Lytton First Nation. Rachel and her partner are raising her two children on a small farm where she loves to garden and work with wool as a weaver and knitter. Rachel is Land Manager for the Salt Spring Island Conservancy and the Administrator for Stqeeye’ Learning Society at Xwaaqw'um where she is actively working on environmental and indigenous reclamation projects on Salt Spring Island.

Christa Smith

Interim Treasurer

Christa Smith

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Christa has called the Cariboo Chilcotin home for the past 30 years, she is married with two grown children, three step children and five 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 Masters in Counselling Psychology, 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 20 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, she looks forward to being able to extend that to Indigenous Perspectives Society.

Saranda Watts

Secretary

Saranda Watts

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Saranda is of Nuu-chah-nulth and of mixed European ancestry. She was raised on the traditional territories of the Nuu-chah-nulth people and moved to the lands of the Lekwungen people in 2013. During her time in Victoria, Saranda has engaged in various roles in the service sector in areas such as; mental health and substance use, corrections and health care. She believes community and a sense of belonging are integral to individual and collective wellbeing and believes a holistic approach aligns with this perspective. Saranda is in the final semester of her Bachelor of Social Work Degree with an Indigenous Specialization at the University of Victoria. After completing her degree, she hopes to continue working alongside Indigenous families and communities in diverse settings.

Cynthia Kopp

Director

Cynthia Kopp

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Cynithia is a proud member of Tle'tinqox, from Tsilhqot'in on her maternal side and on her paternal side she is of German descent. She has three children and two grandchildren who are members of Stzuminus First Nation. Cynthia was born on Salt Spring Island. She spent the majority of her childhood on the Prairies and moved back to the Cowichan Valley in 1989. Cynthia spent the last 14 years working within Child Protection, both at The Ministry of Children and Family Development as well as working in a Delegated Aboriginal Agency. Prior to that she spent several years working with high-risk youth and their families.