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Organizational Structure

The Great Bear Initiative Society operates under the direction of a Board that approves the annual work plan for the office and gives final approval to all policies and procedures. The Board of Directors consists of a representative from each of the participating First Nations - Wuikinuxv Nation, Heiltsuk Nation, Kitasoo/Xaixais First Nation, Gitga’at First Nation,  Metlakatla First Nation, Nuxalk Nation, Old Massett Village Council, Skidegate Band Council, and Council of the Haida Nation.

The Great Bear Initiative board meets quarterly to review progress and provide direction on future activities. In addition, the Executive Committee of the Board meets more frequently to review administrative issues and monitor project work.

The Coastal First Nations office in Vancouver supports the goals of the board by providing strategic planning support, communications, assisting in the development of economic strategies, and supporting capacity building for communities.

As well the office provides strategic regional planning, negotiation and administrative support to Coastal First Nations on environmental and socio-economic issues. The strategic plan is approved by the Board. The Executive Director provides direction for office activities and staff, following the strategic plan approved by the Board of Directors.

Board of Directors:

Peter Lantin - President, Council of the Haida Nation

Marilyn Slett - Chief Councillor, Heiltsuk Nation

Albert Clifton - Gitga'at Hereditary Chief

Clark Robinson Sr. -  Councillor, Kitasoo Band Council

Wally Weber- Chief Councillor, Nuxalk Nation

Ken Rea - Chief Councillor, Old Massett Village Council

James Cowpar - Councillor, Skidegate Band Council

Alrita Leask - Councillor, Metlakatla First Nation

Frank Johnson - Chief Councillor, Wuikinuxv Nation


Executive Committee

James Cowpar - President

Marilyn Slett - Vice-President                                        

Alrita Leask - Secretary

Robert Williams - Treasurer


Art Sterritt, Executive Director
info (at) coastalfirstnations.ca

Garry Wouters, Policy Consultant
gwouters (at) coastalfirstnations.ca

Michael Barkusky, Director of Finance and Administration
mbarkusky (at) coastalfirstnations.ca

Bess Brown, Communications Coordinator
bbrown (at) coastalfirstnations.ca

Mechelle Crocker, Finance Administrator
mcrocker (at) coastalfirstnations.ca

Johanna Helbig, Project Administrator
jhelbig (at) coastalfirstnations.ca

Sharon Kurtz, Office Manager
officeadmin (at) coastalfirstnations.ca