Board of Directors – 2020
Darlene Kelly – President
Darlene is Carrier/Metis on her mother’s side and Tahltan on her father’s side. Darlene is passionate about Education and retired in June 2012 from the Mission School District after 16 years working as a Aboriginal Liaison Worker. She has been a board member of PAFNW for three years. She has also been a board member of Mamele’ewt Qweesome & To’o Housing Society for over 10 years. Darlene grew up in Vancouver and has five beautiful children and three grandchildren. She enjoys spending time with her granddaughter and volunteering her time as a board member. Darlene is a band member of the Leq’a:mel First Nations and lives in Deroche, within Sto:lo Territory. Darlene was also a band council member for three years and learned a lot about her band’s system of government. Darlene enjoys taking part in the PAFNW programs offered and recently learned how to weave a cedar hat and make a drum. Darlene says the most rewarding part about being a board member of PAFNW is the opportunity to work with and meet new Indigenous women.
Sherri-Beth Rosette – Treasurer
Sherri-Beth Rosette is an Ojibway Woman, and has been living in North Vancouver since 1991. She moved from her hometown, Toronto, in search of a healthier lifestyle. In British Columbia she found Mother Nature in abundance, giving her the calmness she was looking for to complete her Grade 12, and Graduate with Honours while working full-time as a Customer Service Representative. Post Secondary she attended Business courses during the evening, while taking on more responsibilities working in the Accounting Department. After 9 years of experience in Business she was recommended for a position as a Personal Assistant to the CEO of a midsized Tech Company. After accepting the position, her new employer was diagnosed with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease), and his health declined rapidly. As a member of the Bear Clan her ability to tackle the medical needs of her employer came naturally. 16 years later, she continues to combine her business education and home healthcare experience through self-employment. She attends Board Meetings with her clients at the ALS Society of BC, and has sat on the Patient Services Committee. Sherri-Beth has also attended a 2 year Counselling Program at Vancouver Community College and studies the Medicine Wheel. Her spare time is used hiking, canoeing, playing hockey, and keeping connected to her First Nations Heritage through arts and crafts.
Cheyenne Arnold-Cunningham – Director (2 year term)
Cheyenne is Métis (Cree) from Alberta. She was born and raised in Ontario and recently relocated to British Columbia. Cheyenne is a law graduate from the University of Windsor who works to become a strong advocate for Indigenous Peoples. Cheyenne is passionate about protecting and advancing Title, Rights, and self-governance of Indigenous communities. She is also passionate about decolonizing and dismantling imposed colonial structures and processes through the recognition of Indigenous sovereignty and the inclusion of Indigenous Knowledge and perspectives. Cheyenne recently applied for acceptance into a LLM program and is hoping to have the opportunity to conduct research on the future of economic development within Indigenous communities from the perspective of Indigenous women. Women play an important role within the community and these roles are often overlooked and misunderstood in colonial ways of thinking. As a result, Indigenous women have been subject to significant gender impacts and alienation. Cheyenne hopes to conduct research in this context to ensure that Indigenous women are being heard, respected, and better protected. Cheyenne enjoys beading and spending time with her dog named Duke! She is thrilled to be part of the PAFNW Team and to have the opportunity to both meet and collaborate with incredible Indigenous women.
Amanda Kai – Vice President
Kimimila Wiyan (Butterfly Woman) is a mixed heritage woman with Lakota, Chinese and European roots. She is a proud member of Wood Mountain Lakota First Nation in Saskatchewan. Her career began working in architectural technology in the bustling development years leading up to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. She spent five years honing her skills in contract management, design and consultant work before making a conscious shift toward values-based business. Her career pivoted at that point toward working for and within the urban Indigenous community on Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) lands. Since then, she has focused her energy on celebrating and elevating Indigenous health, culture and economics through many organizations in the community that she has had the privilege to be a part of. Amanda has started three small businesses ranging from architectural technology to holistic health to social enterprise. Today she proudly represents Native Education College as Program Manager of The Essentials: Skills, Culture, Knowledge program and is serving her fourth year of volunteering on the board of directors for Pacific Association of First Nations Women. Amanda is working towards completing her Master’s degree in Leadership and is passionate about building organizational capacity, planning and cultural representation within the urban Indigenous community.
Emely Baker – Secretary
Emely Baker is a social justice advocate with a focus on cross-cultural engagement between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. As an individual of mixed ancestry, she aims to bridge the gap between people from different cultural, gender and professional backgrounds. Emely currently works in commercial banking where she sits as regional Chair for her company’s Indigenous Canadian Employee Resource Group (ICErg). She also sits on the Board of Directors for PACE Society as Co-Chair, a non-profit organization that provides low barrier programming and support to survival sex workers in the downtown eastside. Emely is passionate about gender equity, Indigenous relations and language revitalization and looks forward to learning from those around her.
Cheryl Simpkin – Director (2 year term)
My name is Cheryl Simpkin. I am a proud urban Indigenous woman. My ancestors are Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation. I have been a police officer for 20 years and I am currently a Sergeant of the community engagement team – Indigenous Liaison and mental health with the Metro Vancouver Transit Police. I have 2 beautiful daughters and 2 step-sons. One of my sons is on the Autism spectrum which teaches me patience and kindness. I am 45 years old and would like to learn from our sisters and continue to support the community. I enjoy and am proud to have found PAFNW. Mahci cho.
Diana Day – Lead Matriarch
Diana Day is an Indigenous First Nations from the Oneida Nation a member of the Wolf Clan and has lived in Vancouver since the early 80’s. Diana is passionate about social justice issues that impact the health and welfare of the most vulnerable. Diana has an honors degree in Psychology and is the Lead Matriarch for the Pacific Association of First Nations Women since June of 2017. A long-time advocate for health care and education Diana was the Leader, Aboriginal Community Development and Engagement for over 10 years with Vancouver Coastal Health and worked diligently with the First Nations communities throughout the Region. Her work experience includes work at the local, regional, provincial and national level ranging from program development to management. With exceptional facilitation skills Diana has provided personal and professional development training for Indigenous people in Canada and the US. Diana volunteers as a board member of the Metro Vancouver Aboriginal Executive Council in Vancouver. Her most important role is mothering her two young adult children Alexander and Angeline, both in Post Secondary Studies.
Elaine Moyah – Programs Assistant
Joy Chalmers – Home Care Services Manager
Joy has been a pillar of strength, resilience, and has dedicated her life to work of Pacific Association of First Nations Women. She has managed our Homecare Services and brought our business from one employee to over 30. She also works tirelessly providing Indigenous children in care, connection to cultural teachings and outings on her weekends. From the Urban Butterflies to Mentor Me, Joy has touched the lives of those she has come in contact with. We are very proud and fortunate to have her working with our Association and providing much needed support to our families who are struggling with child apprehension.
Char Leon – Counsellor
Char is an Anishnaabe Kwe from the Peguis First Nation. She resides in British Columbia with her immediate family, since 1981. Char holds a Master in Social Work. She balances her professional roles with who she is a mother, nookomis (grandmother), friend, community helper, knowledge seeker, counselor, and educator. Her passion for wellness among her people has been one of the driving forces in her 35+ years of work in the area of Indigenous wholistic social service, education, child welfare, youth justice, mental health, and community wellness. She strives to incorporate Indigenous tradition and wholistic healing approaches and the application of this knowledge with diverse and generalist practice contexts.
Jessica Couzelis – Art Administration Intern
Jessica brings a strong background in customer service and administration to our team, which is complimented by her passion for holistic approaches to wellness as she is also a practicing artist, teacher and healer. Having recently returned from 3 years living abroad, connecting with indigenous communities in Morocco and Egypt, Jessica is grateful to be back in her hometown of Vancouver to discover and honor her own indigenous ancestry. Inspired by all forms of creative expression and self discovery, she is eager to be of service to others on their personal journeys by applying these values to PAFNW’s evolving Cree and Ojibway Language Program.
Erika Trube – Receptionst/Program Support
COVID-19 Outreach Worker
Eden Fineday Patten – Language Program Manager
Eden Fineday Patten is a member of the Sweetgrass First Nation in Saskatchewan, where she was born. She is proud to be a nehiyaw iskwew. Raised in East Vancouver, Eden moved to California as a young woman to work for an environmental non-profit organization as a public speaker. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Language Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz and is also a singer/songwriter, performing under the stage name Eden Fine Day. Eden is thrilled to be joining PAFNW as Language Program Manager and looks forward to connecting with students of the Cree and Ojibway classes. She lives in Burnaby with her husband, two children and two dogs.
Covid-19 Response Coordinator