Aboriginal Speaker Series 2015


Ta’Kaiya Blaney

Ta’Kaiya Blaney, 13, is from the Tla’Amin First Nation and grew up along the shores of the Salish Sea in British Columbia. She is a singer-songwriter, actress, and environmental rights activist and has been speaking publically since the age of nine.

"I feel that as humans, as participants and beings that walk upon this earth, it is our responsibility to help the earth. We all need to take steps towards a clean and healthy future regarding animals, humans, plants, and the various ecosystems. Our earth is our home.

"Over the past four years, I've been an advocate for providing better qualities of living in Indigenous First Nations territories, and ending the oppression, racism, and corruption we face from our government and within our community. I've spoken at UN meeting across the globe, including The TUNZA UN children and youth conference on the environment in Bandung Indonesia, and the Rio+20 UN conference on the environment in Rio de Janeiro. I advocate changing not only the human condition, but also in the condition of our planet.

"In my culture it’s a fact, and an understanding of life, that everything is connected, and we were put on this earth to be stewards and caretakers of the environment. In my culture, it's a teaching to do more than connect the dots, to see the picture as a whole. I feel that advocating and speaking at mere conferences isn't enough. Actions speak louder than words."

Watch Ta’Kaiya Blaney's presentation [52 minutes]

Aboriginal Title and Your BCIT Career

Neil Sterrit

Mar 25, 2015

Neil J. Sterritt, President Sterritt Consulting

The social statistics for Canada's aboriginal people mirror those of third world countries, and are worsening. Moving toward their proper place in Canadian society is a challenge for many reasons, not the least of which include forced assimilation in residential schools, multi-generational welfare, and discrimination. But we have also won powerful weapons through the courts and in the Canadian Constitution that finally place us where we belong in Canada. But this is just a beginning. We have a long way to go, and so has BC and Canada.

No matter what discipline you enroll in at BCIT, you will be faced with some or all of the issues I describe above. Learn why they may be important to you.

Neil holds a Diploma of Mining Technology from BCIT. He worked in a technical and management capacity with Amax Exploration Inc. in British Columbia, the Yukon, Manitoba, Ontario, northern Quebec, northern and southern Ireland and in Arizona, USA.


He was research director for the Gitksan-Wetsuweten Tribal Council (1977-81), and president of the Tribal Council (1981-87). He was one of the principal architects of the Delgamuukw v. Queen aboriginal title court case, which was decided by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1997.

He was Director of Self-government and Land Claims for the Assembly of First Nations, Ottawa (1988-91) and co-chair of the 1992 Federal-Provincial constitutional round on aboriginal issues (Work Group III).

Neil is also an accomplished writer. He co-authored Tribal Boundaries in the Nass Watershed, and author of First Nations Governance Handbook: A Resource Guide for Effective Councils.

Watch Neil J. Sterritt's presentation [63 minutes]

Walking in Two Cultures and Overcoming Adversity

January 28, 2015

Louis Janze C.P.(c), Chief Prosthetist, Fraser Valley Prosthetics

Hear how six siblings grew up in Gitanmaax Village in the 1960's and '70's and propelled themselves through education at BCIT to become successful individuals, while maintaining their First Nations heritage.

It was inevitable that Louis became a prosthetist. His father was a master mechanic and his mother was a nurse. He inherited their traits to become a true bio-mechanic.

Louis Janze, C.P. (c) graduated with Honours and Awards for Outstanding Achievement from BCIT's Prosthetic and Orthotic Clinical Program. He obtained a three year residency position at Shaughnessy Hospital's Prosthetic referral clinic. Exposed to a wide variety of challenging prosthetic cases enabled him to fine tune his clinical and technical skills.

While interning here, Louis realized there was a need for a prosthetic facility in the Fraser Valley, as many of the patients would travel to Vancouver for their appointments. He moved his young family to Abbotsford and opened Fraser Valley Prosthetics in 1994.

Over the years, Louis has lent his expertise to a variety of boards within his profession: President, Vice President, and Treasurer for the Prosthetic Orthotic Association of BC (POABC); Board member of Canadian Association of Prosthetic Orthotics (CAPO), and International Society of Prosthetists/ Orthotists (ISPO); national examiner for the certification of new prosthetists; and BCIT's student selection committee. Louis was an integral part of a working group tasked with rewriting and updating the National Certification Exam.

Louis is current and up to date with the latest technology and techniques to provide his patients with the best possible outcomes to lead full and active lives.

Watch Louis Janze' presentation [56 minutes]

Why You're Important in the Mosaic of Life

Pearl Means, Chair, T.R.E.A.T.Y. Education Endowment

Wednesday, Nov 26

The beauty and power of the indigenous world view will be shared along with perspectives on how everything is interrelated and interconnected; and empowerment -- sharing some of Russell Means' passion and work.

Pearl Daniel-Means walked at the side of American Indian activist, artist, author, and actor Russell Means as his wife, business manager, and collaborator. From activism to the arts; from indigenous policies to Hollywood, she accompanied, organized, and managed the affairs of the most influential American Indian of our time.

Watch Pearl Means' presentation [46 minutes]

First Nations Language, Culture, and Spirituality

Gwen Point, BEd, MEd, EdD (candidate)
Faculty, University of the Fraser Valley

Wednesday, Oct 22

First Nations language, culture, and spirituality will be shared by addressing the past historical impacts from government educational policies that reflect our reality today. Where are we today and what does that mean for our future will be shared with a focus on language, culture, and spirituality.

Gwen Point resides on Skowkale First Nation in Chilliwack, BC. She has a degree in Education from UBC-NITEP, a Post Baccalaureate Diploma from SFU, a Master of Education from the University of Portland, and currently completing her Doctorate in Education from SFU. She is a professor at the University of the Fraser Valley and wife of the previous Lieutenant Governor, Mr. Steven Point.

Watch Gwen Point's presentation [58 minutes]