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About the Realizing UNDRIP Initiative

Realizing UNDRIP educates and inspires non-Indigenous people working in government and in the private and not-for-profit sectors to work together in a good way with Indigenous peoples, organizations and communities.

We do this by gathering and sharing knowledge, by hosting learning events, online resources and dialogues, and by providing on-the-ground facilitation support. We also bring forward relevant success stories on such topics as building strong relationships, achieving climate resilience, addressing social issues and pursuing sustainable economic opportunities.  

Realizing UNDRIP Key Activities

  • Gathering knowledge about what is working well and why
  • Sharing knowledge through learning events and web resources 
  • Facilitating application of lessons learned on the ground to address community-specific needs
  • Link with others doing similar work


Indigenous Advisory Council

The concept for the Realizing UNDRIP Initiative arose when Indigenous Directors on the Fraser Basin Council Board and invited Indigenous guests met with other Fraser Basin Council Directors. They discussed what roles the Fraser Basin Council could play to help ensure that the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) has positive and lasting benefits to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people throughout the lands commonly known as British Columbia.

At that important meeting, the Indigenous Directors and invited Indigenous guests agreed that the Fraser Basin Council has a key role to play in educating non-Indigenous people on ways they can become better allies of Indigenous peoples. The Realizing UNDRIP Initiative was subsequently created. The Realizing UNDRIP Indigenous Advisory Council (IAC) is the catalyst for the Realizing UNDRIP Initiative and provides ongoing advice and direction to Fraser Basin Council staff. All current members of the IAC are FBC Directors. There is currently an open call for new members to the IAC; please forward expressions of interest by email.

Chief Barbara Cote

Chief Barb Cote is Chief of the Shuswap Band. She was born and raised in the Columbia Valley at the headwaters of the Columbia River. She is the mother of two children of whom she is immensely proud. Her oldest daughter, Jenna Jasek, is District Vice-Principal of Indigenous Learning and Equity for School District 6.  She has two grandchildren: her grandson Kye, who is 11 years old, and granddaughter Kayli, who is 8 years. They are proud of being Secwepemc and enjoy learning their culture. Her son, Smokii Sumac, is finishing his PhD with Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario and lives in Wardner BC.

Barb completed a Master’s degree in Distributed Learning at Royal Roads University in 2006 and worked full-time as an Aboriginal Education Support Worker from 1975 until she was elected as a Councillor in 2012. She was re-elected as Chief in 2014 and in each election since. She sees it as a gift to see her community grow and to be inclusive of members both on and off-reserve. Seeing youth learning their culture and parents and grandparents working together on regalia is one of her greatest gifts. In her spare time, Barb loves to ski, hike, travel with her husband Franz on their motorcycle and enjoy spending time with family and friends.

Chief Michelle Edwards 

Michelle is the Community Electoral Chief of the Cayoose Creek Band (Sekw’el’was). She has many years’ experience in the fields of fisheries, forestry, archeology, negotiations and business development, and she was a technical advisor to the St'át'imc Chiefs Council for many years as well as lands manager for the Band.

Michelle is passionate about life in general and about her ancestors and the knowledge they possessed and shared. She is also passionate about becoming a better leader for her community and leaving a legacy of success for the future.

Grand Chief Clarence “Kat” Pennier

Chief Clarence “Kat” Pennier is a Stó:lō Elder and political leader. Kat has lifelong experience as a leader in his community, playing a number of important leadership roles that progressed his Nation’s work on Indigenous Rights and Title. Kat took on many leadership roles through his direct involvement with the UBCIC from 1969 well into the 1980s: Band Councillor, Tribal Council Chair, Chief, President and Grand Chief. His impact on his community and Indigenous Rights and Title across the lands cannot be overstated. Kat first served as Councillor for the Scowlitz Band in 1973 and was elected Chief in 1979, remaining in this position for the next 14 years. In 1986, Kat was appointed as Chair of the Stó:lō Tribal Council and served three years on the BC Indian Housing Council. Eventually due to restructuring of the governing organization, Kat shifted into a director position for the Aboriginal Rights and Title Department in Spring 1988 with the Tribal Council. Kat was honoured as Grand Chief in 1995 as the first Stó:lō Nation representative to hold this highly respected title. In early 2003, Kat was elected Yewal Siya:m (President) of the Stó:lō Nation.

Jamison Squakin 

Bio to come. 

Fraser Basin Council

The Fraser Basin Council (FBC), which hosts the Realizing UNDRIP Initiative, is a charitable non-profit organization that brings people together throughout BC to advance sustainability. The vision of the organization is for “social well-being, supported by a vibrant economy and sustained by a healthy environment.”

Since its foundation in 1997, FBC has recognized Aboriginal title and rights and has representatives from all four orders of government (federal, provincial, local and First Nations) on its collaborative Board of Directors, together with members of the private sector and civil society. FBC’s strategic priorities are to build sustainable and resilient communities, take action on climate change, and support healthy watersheds and water resources.  FBC initiated the Realizing UNDRIP initiative because it believes a key foundation of sustainability success is strong Indigenous— non-Indigenous relationships.