Our Team

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 Dzawada’enuxw 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 I·SPARC as a respected Elder and Senior Advisor.

A master’s soccer player himself, Alex has also coached community youth, men’s and women’s soccer for 42 years.  Alex recently led Team BC’s 16U male soccer team to a gold medal victory at the Toronto 2017 North American Indigenous Games.  In recognition of his contributions to sport on Vancouver Island, Alex was inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame in 2017 in the Builder category.

 

Lara Mussell Savage
Director, Sport 

Lara Mussell Savage was raised both 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 following graduation from UBC with a BKin degree in 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 was inducted into the Chilliwack Sports Hall of Fame in 2016 for her achievements in and contribution to sport.  Lara is an ambassador for the #LeveltheField campaign that promotes gender equity in sport and is also 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 I·SPARC 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 I·SPARC and in 2012 became the Fraser Regional Coordinator. Dianne volunteered in a variety of roles, 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

 

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

 

Veronica Haddon
Northeast Region
Sport and Physical Activity Coordinator

Born in Ashcroft, Veronica Haddon grew up living in various regions of British Columbia as well as spending several years residing in both Nunavut and the city of Montreal.  The past 12 years, Veronica has resided in Prince George raising her family of six children with her spouse.

She is of mixed ancestry; Cree (Tataskweyak Cree Nation, MB) and Anishnaabe (Red Rock Indian Band, ON), Acadian, Finnish, & Ukranian. Moving around, Veronica picked up several languages and speaks fluent French and Spanish with some Carrier, Cree and Inuktitut salutations.

Veronica has a B.A. in Anthropology and First Nations Studies from UNBC and has worked in many Indigenous communities of the Northern Region in areas of health, HIV/AIDS/HEPC prevention and education, child welfare, environmental health research, and most notably as the Host First Nation Coordinator for Lheidli T’enneh as part of the 2015 Canada Winter Games.

She is part of a very active family where sport has always played a large role in her life including volleyball, soccer, dance, competitive swimming, synchronized swimming, cross country skiing & hiking. Today, Veronica supports her family in hockey, lacrosse, swimming, dance, soccer, softball and is an avid sports fan. She also enjoys traditional gathering and preserving along with hiking, softball and kayaking.

Email: vhaddon@isparc.ca

Facebook: facebook.com/ISPARC.Northeast

 

Vacant – TBA
Northwest Region
Sport and Physical Activity Coordinator

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

 

Vacant – TBA
Vancouver Island Region
Sport and Physical Activity Coordinator