Our Team

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Rick Brant teho:ka
Executive Director

Rick has extensive experience in Indigenous sport development. He is a founding member of the Aboriginal Sport Circle, Canada’s national body for Indigenous sport and recreation, and is one of the primary architects of Canada’s Indigenous sport system. He has extensive involvement with the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG), leading the delivery of three separate games, most recently serving as the CEO of the Cowichan 2008 NAIG. Rick has also been responsible for numerous national and provincial initiatives that have influenced public policy and shaped the way sport and recreation programs are delivered in Indigenous communities across Canada.

As a member of Canada’s National Track and Field Team, Rick won national championships at 800 metres, 4×400 metre relay, and team Cross Country.  In 1987, Rick received the National Tom Longboat Award as the most outstanding Aboriginal athlete in Canada.

Rick is Mohawk, a member of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in Ontario. He currently lives in the Cowichan Valley with his wife and two children.

Email: rbrant@isparc.ca

 

Alex Nelson
Elder and Senior Advisor

Alex Nelson is a member of the Musgamagw – Tsawatainuek tribes of the Kwakwala- speaking people. Alex currently resides in Victoria with his wife Nella, daughter Tasha, and grandsons Gigalis and Komanagila. Alex has a vast history in the field of sports, recreation and physical activities. He believes strongly in the correlation between active lifestyles and leadership and tribal pride.

One of Alex’s greatest achievements was hosting the 1997 North American Indigenous Games in Victoria. He was the Chairperson of the NAIG Council 1995, Blaine Minnesota; 2002, Winnipeg; and 2008 NAIG, Cowichan. He was also co-founder and Executive Director of Aboriginal Sports and Recreation Association of BC for twenty years. Alex continues to guide the Partners Council as a respected Elder and Senior Advisor.

 

Lara Mussell Savage
Director, Sport 

Lara Mussell Savage was raised on both the Skwah First Nation Reserve in Stó:lō territory in Chilliwack and in the urban setting of Vancouver. Proud of her Skwah First Nation (Stó:lō) ancestry and a dedicated athlete, Lara focused her passion for sport towards Indigenous sport and youth initiatives since graduating from UBC with a BKin degree (Sport Management).

In 2005, Lara was awarded the National Tom Longboat Award for Female Aboriginal Athlete of the Year in Canada and has competed in four World Championships in the sport of Ultimate, winning two gold and two bronze medals. Lara’s career in sport has included management roles with UBC’s Department of Athletics & Recreation, the Air Canada PGA TOUR Championship, and the BC Sports Hall of Fame & Museum.  Lara was the Project Manager, Aboriginal Sport & Youth, for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC).

Lara is an ambassador for the #LeveltheField campaign that promotes gender equity in sport and is a Trustee for the BC Sports Hall of Fame & Museum.  She lives in Chilliwack, BC, on the Skwah Reserve, with her husband and two children.

Email: lmussell@isparc.ca

 

Robynne Edgar
Director, Healthy Living 

Robynne has worked in the area of Indigenous health for over 10 years and is a firm believer that physical activity is the key to obtaining balance and strong mental and physical health. She learned at an early age how sport contributes to positive self-esteem and is ecstatic to be part of the I·SPARC’s team.

Her most notable sporting accomplishment was competing at both the national and international levels in professional beach volleyball for 10 years where she achieved two National titles.

With a passion for learning about the traditional and medicinal uses for native plants and fungi, Robynne can often be found in the mountains.  Most recently she has successfully completed an intensive apprenticeship, and received a certificate in Western Herbal Medicine and Human Physiology, and the nutritional and medicinal benefits of Northwest plants.

Robynne is extremely proud of her Cree heritage on her Father’s side and Japanese heritage on her mother’s side.  Her greatest joy is raising her two sons with her husband and lives by the motto that “It is never too late to start anything!”

Email: redgar@isparc.ca

 

Felicia Greekas
Manager, Premier’s Awards and Communications

Felicia comes from the Ławit’sis and Ḵwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nations of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation, bringing perspectives rooted in her cultural upbringing and traditional foundation. With a passion for culture and staying active, she believes in the power of sport to build confidence in young people and create a sense of belonging and community spirit.

Felicia has extensive experience developing and implementing marketing and communications strategies and enjoys the process of creating the tools and materials required to see those strategies come alive. Felicia loved her role as the Communications Manager for Team BC during their historic win at the North American Indigenous Games in 2014. She is happy to be back with the Partners Council team to provide support for the Premier’s Awards for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport and promote the organization’s work to advance the health and well-being of individuals and communities throughout the province.

Felicia and her family enjoy spending much of their time hiking and being outdoors, enjoying all that the Cowichan Valley has to offer.

Email: fgreekas@isparc.ca

 

Megan Boddy
Administrative Coordinator

Megan grew up on beautiful Babine Lake and in the Smithers area. She loves to hike, swim, camp, snowshoe, and learn about the plants, animals, and geology of wherever she happens to be.

A background in the music and the arts allowed her to travel extensively in both well-known and obscure parts of North America, acquire a varied skill set, and learn first-hand about the importance of physical activity and wellness in all aspects of performance.

She feels very lucky to be working with such amazing people and connecting with different communities through the work of the I·SPARC.

Email: mboddy@isparc.ca

 

Jessie Toynbee
Provincial Coordinator, Healthy Living Activities 

Physical activity has been a part of Jessie’s life since she first hit the soccer fields as a clumsy 5-year old. Today, Jessie stays active running, biking to work, and regularly practicing yoga.

Jessie’s background in International Business both satisfied her love of learning and love of travel, combing her way through Europe, South East Asia and Australia through most of her early 20’s. The West Coast lifestyle ultimately brought Jessie home, and she’s happy to be back on Vancouver Island swimming in the ocean, camping in the woods, and sharing many vegetarian meals with friends.

Jessie has a long family lineage on Saltspring – Japanese heritage on her Father’s side, Scottish and English on her Mother’s – and she hopes to move back to the island someday.

Email: jtoynbee@isparc.ca

 

Daniel Young-Mercer Ayeem Ganaaw
Provincial Coordinator, Physical Activity, Training & Development

Daniel’s family comes from the Nisga’a community of Gitlaxt’aamiks and the Gitxsan community of Kispiox. Growing up in Terrace while playing many sports, he graduated from Vancouver Island University with a Bachelors of Tourism Management and a Major in Recreation and Sports Management. During his time as a varsity soccer player, his team qualified for and medaled at three straight CCAA National Championships. With a passion for coaching, Daniel served the Haisla Community of Kitamaat Village as recreation coordinator, while he and his brother started a goalkeepers academy for youth in Northwestern BC. He is also a senior FitNation leader and mentor.

Email: dyoungmercer@isparc.ca

 

Bernard Manuel kluxskaxa
Provincial Coordinator, Performance Sport

Bernard is a member of the Upper Nicola Band and is of Syilx (Okanagan) and Nlaka’pamux (Thompson) ancestry. Born and raised in the Nicola Valley, Bernard became an avid athlete competing in hockey, softball, basketball, volleyball, track and field and cross country running. Bernard has participated in the North American Indigenous Games on six separate occasions, three times as an athlete and three times as a coach and / or Mission Staff for Team BC. Bernard is currently coaching the grass roots level of lacrosse with the Nicola Valley Minor Lacrosse Association at the Mini Tyke / Tyke level.

Bernard graduated from Vancouver Island University with a Diploma in Recreation & Sport Management and a Diploma in Physical Education.  Bernard and his wife, Maple, live a very active life with their three children; Keanu, Phoenix and Linden.

Email: bmanuel@isparc.ca

 

Dianne Garner
Provincial Coordinator, Sport Development & Community Engagement

Dianne Garner is a member of the Adams Lake Band; one of the Secwepemc First Nations. Dianne was adopted and raised in Abbotsford.  She graduated with her Aboriginal Leadership Certificate from the JIBC and has worked for over 21 years in Community Development within the Stó:lō Territory and served 24 communities with Xyolhemeylh Child and Family Services Society. Dianne joined the Stó:lō Nation Cultural Committee and partnered with the East Stó:lō Communities for their National Addictions Awareness Week for 5 years.

In 2008 Dianne was honored to be the Advanced Logistics Coordinator for BC 150 and traveled with the Spirit Pole to over 43 different cities in BC, where the Spirit Pole was given to Team BC at the 2008 NAIG in Cowichan. She was honored to be in the role of Community Relations Manager for Sts’ailes Health and Family Services.  Dianne previously held the role of Regional Lead for the Partner Council and in 2012 became the Fraser Regional Coordinator. Dianne volunteered in a variety of roles as Co- Chair to Coordinator for the BC Annual Elders Gathering. She is involved with Archery, Rifle Shooting, FitNation, and has begun her marathon running after 30 years. Everyone that Dianne has worked with is a big part of her life today; Dianne acknowledges the Elders and youth leaders in all they have done to make a difference in their communities, and for what they have taught her to help make a positive impact on our future generations.

Email: dgarner@isparc.ca

 

Alissa Assu
Team BC Coordinator

Alissa Assu is a member of the Wet’suwet’en nation located in Moricetown, but was raised in Smithers and Prince Rupert. She graduated from Langara College with a Diploma of Arts and Social Science and Simon Fraser University with a Bachelors of Arts, double minor in Criminology and First Nation Studies. While at Langara, she played for the Langara Falcons Badminton Team. Prior to Langara, Alissa won in singles, doubles and mixed at the 2008 North American Indigenous Games, won BC Provincial Championships with Eric Hamber Secondary, and attended 3 Jr. Canadian National Championships of Badminton.

Alissa remains active in the badminton community and extends her active life-style through hiking, beach volleyball, and training for 150km bike ride from Vancouver to Seattle.

Email: aassu@isparc.ca

 

Regional Sport and Physical Activity Coordinators

Alana Cook
Fraser Region
Sport and Physical Activity Coordinator

Alana Cook is a proud Métis woman, born and raised in the Fraser Valley region of British Columbia. She graduated from the University of the Fraser Valley in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts, and was then accepted into the Aboriginal Youth Internship Program for a position with the Ministry of Community, Sports, and Cultural Development. A FitNation Leader, Métis Youth Role Model, and Youth Counsellor with the Urban Native Youth Association, Alana’s experience lies in working with youth to achieve excellence in sports. Her professional goal is to work within an organization that supports sports, wellness, and a dedication to Aboriginal culture, and she believes she has found her dream job with the I·SPARC.

An avid athlete from an early age, Alana competed in soccer, rugby, volleyball, badminton, cross-country, and any other team sport she could get her hands on. At the age of nineteen, she discovered Mixed Martial Arts, and this has been her passion ever since. Her sports credentials include medals in boxing, grappling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, pankration, and wrestling. She recently returned from Thailand, where she trained Muay Thai for several months and won her first professional fight.

Alana also loves travelling, corgis, and spending time in the outdoors.

Email: acook@isparc.ca

Facebook: facebook.com/ISPARC.Fraser

 

Michelle Webster
Interior Region
Sport and Physical Activity Coordinator

A member of the Namgis First Nation, Michelle was raised in the Okanagan.  Michelle is a graduate from Kansas Wesleyan University with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Sport Management and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Health, Physical Education and Recreation. While in Kansas, Michelle was a catcher for the KWU Coyotes Women’s Softball Team for 2 seasons and then began her coaching career there with 2 seasons as an assistant coach and 1 season as an interim head coach.  She continues to coach softball and has coached Team BC to a gold medal win at the 2014 NAIG and is preparing Team BC’s softball teams for the 2017 NAIG.

Michelle has spent the last four years as the Program Director for the Splatsin First Nation’s Youth Center and is a volunteer Technical Director for Kelowna Minor Fastball and the Pulling Together Canoe Society’s Board of Directors.  Michelle believes in the power of sport and is passionate about providing new opportunities for young people.  She enjoys spending her Okanagan summers with her family at the lake and winters at the ski hill.

Email: mwebster@isparc.ca

Facebook: facebook.com/ISPARC.Interior

 

Leon Erickson
Northeast Region
Sport and Physical Activity Coordinator

As one of 11 children, Leon quickly learned the importance of striving for excellence. Born and raised in Fort St. James, BC, he played most indoor and outdoor sports and competed provincially in many of them.  He also participated in the 1995 NAIG in Minnesota men’s volleyball team as both coach and player.

He now coaches a number of sports in Fort St. James , where he is also head referee of minor hockey. In all of his endeavors, Leon supports fair play and encourages hard work from both players and coaches. He believes that a person should be well rounded as an individual: spiritually, intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically—and does what he can to promote active and healthy living in his community.

Leon also loves to hunt and fish, as well as other traditional activities such as drying fish and meat, and making leather from moose, elk and deer.

Email: lerickson@isparc.ca

Facebook: facebook.com/ISPARC.Northeast

 

Adam Prytula
Northwest Region
Sport and Physical Activity Coordinator

Adam is a Haida and Ukrainian man who was born on Haida Gwaii.  Ever since he could walk Adam has been involved in athletics, competing in track and field, soccer, handball and Tae Kwon Do.  He has also been a serious competitor in rugby, football, and boxing.

Adam was a Sport and Active Living Leadership youth with the Partners Council in 2011 and returned as an alumni for subsequent year.  Adam is a Gen7 Messenger and visits First Nations communities encouraging youth to increase leadership skills as they develop recreational goals for themselves and their communities.  He was also worked as Aboriginal Engagement and Retention Student Support at Thompson Rivers University, where he organized a run club, recreational events, and fitness workshops to help inspire Aboriginal students to stay active in their busy lives. Adam is also a coach who has completed the Aboriginal Coaching Module and has coached several youth football and rugby teams.

Seeing and feeling the positive benefits of sport and physical activity he has dedicated his life working with others to reach their potential.  Adam looks forward to moving back home to the Northwest coast and sharing his knowledge and passion of an active lifestyle with all.

Email: aprytula@isparc.ca

Facebook: facebook.com/ISPARC.Northwest

 

Pete Natrall
Vancouver Coastal Region
Sport and Physical Activity Coordinator

Pete was born and raised in North Vancouver proudly carry’s the ancestral name Sxw’alhkin gifted to him from his late Grandparents. Pete graduated from Sutherland Secondary high school and continued his studies at Capilano University completing the Retail Marketing program with a focus in Marketing and Communications.

Pete played and competed in various lacrosse leagues and tournaments for the last 25 years. Pete is currently is involved with the Squamish Nation Shapeshifters Men’s Masters Lacrosse team as the General Manager and player. Pete has had the opportunity to compete in Provincial, National and International Lacrosse tournaments. Pete learned at a young age the importance of hard work, dedication, commitment and team work through lacrosse.

Pete has a passion for working within First Nation communities and has had the opportunity to work with influential First Nation organization that included: Tewanee Consulting Group, the Four Host First Nation Secretariat, Squamish Nation, the First Nation Snowboard Team, the First Nations Health Council and now with the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity & Recreation Council and looks to bring his past experiences to the Vancouver Coastal Region.

Email: pnatrall@isparc.ca

Facebook: facebook.com/ISPARC.VancouverCoastal

 

Kim Leming
Vancouver Island Region
Sport and Physical Activity Coordinator

Kim is a Cree from Lac La Ronge Saskatchewan and was raised near the mountains of British Columbia where she grew and found her passion on the beautiful snow covered slopes as a skier, then a snowboarder.

Growing up Kim spent a lot of time hiking and camping, but was also active on her schools gymnastics tumbling team as she discovered she enjoyed traveling to various communities to perform the things she’d learned.  Later in life, Leming attended Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, earning a ‘Fish and Wildlife,  Recreation, Grasslands and Range Management’ diploma, as well as a ‘Natural Resource Business’ Certificate. More recently, Kim went back to school to take the Non-Profit Management Certification and in her spare time is a Professional Photographer, with a focus on landscape and wildlife.

Working at Wachiay Friendship Centre as a Recreation & Program Coordinator for numerous years provided Leming with an opportunity to coach and manage the Vancouver Island First Nations Snowboard Team; an opportunity she jumped at. Over the past eleven years, she has and continues to coach/instruct snowboarding at the Grassroots (beginner level), to the Provincial level and even into the 2015 Canada Winter Games with Team BC.

Kim still avidly participates in trail & mountain running and road biking and loved being part of Team BC Mission Staff for 2014 North American Indigenous Games, where Team BC made history as the first team to be awarded both the Overall Team Award (for most medals) and the John Fletcher Spirit Award for being voted team with most integrity and sportsmanship.


Email: kleming@isparc.ca

Facebook: facebook.com/ISPARC.VancouverIsland