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First established in 2003, the Aboriginal Steering Committee (ASC) at HELP is made up of First Nations, Inuit and Métis community members whom through sharing their knowledge and experience, support a deeper understanding of the social, environmental, and cultural determinants of Indigenous children’s health and well-being. The ASC ensures HELP’s research activities involving First Nations, Inuit and Métis are reflective of the diverse histories, cultures, languages, values, and ways of knowing and being.

ASC Members bring valuable knowledge and experience from their communities

ASC members are leaders, experts, and Elders from First Nation and Métis communities in BC and Canada. They bring community and Nation-based knowledge and experiences that support a deeper understanding of the social and cultural determinants of Indigenous children’s health and well-being in the context of Canada’s colonial history and legacy of residential schools. The ASC is comprised of members with a wealth of experience, ranging from elected members of government and provincial advisors, to leading student associations and front-line organizations in the child care, family support, and mental health sectors and beyond. HELP is privileged to work alongside ASC members who share our common interest in improving developmental outcomes for all First Nation, Métis, and Inuit children and youth in B.C.

Click below to hear the committee’s origin story from Diana Elliott, ASC Alumni and co-founder, as well as a learning from Duane Jackson, Elder and longtime member of the ASC. Both of these contributions are examples of the many valuable lessons and insights that have been generously shared by members of this committee.

History of the ASC

Over the past two decades, the ASC has worked with HELP to update and transform the ways in which we gather, analyze and share our research and data with Indigenous communities. Through this work we have built a relationship of trust and understanding that is crucial to fostering culturally safe and sensitive research practices in partnership with Indigenous communities. The ASC has been instrumental in providing guidance for the following:

  • Overseeing HELP’s understanding of and commitment to uphold Indigenous, international and national legal agreements that bind us to improve the experiences and outcomes for First Nations, Inuit and Métis children
  • Ensuring that HELP continues to make a significant contribution toward the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA Calls for Justice, and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Ensuring that HELP’s data management and governance protocols are in accordance with specific ethics guidelines for health research involving First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples
  • Guiding the development of culturally-safe and relevant research, survey monitoring systems and tools, and reports
  • Advising on strategies and protocols to support HELP’s education, awareness, engagement, and communications with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, organizations and Education Councils in BC
  • Contributing to designing and hosting annual events that explore and facilitate dialogue on issues, challenges, and successes related to First Nations, Inuit and Métis research

To find out more about the History of the work of the ASC with HELP,  view our Aboriginal Steering Committee Historical Timeline.

Thank You

We are grateful for the hard work and passion from past ASC members and partners that have allowed us to grow and improve our understanding of Indigenous children’s health and well-being. We acknowledge all of those that have helped us along the way, and want to give special thanks to the following:

* Please connect with us if you would like to add to this list

ASC Members

Allen Cummings
Amanda Bedard
Candace Robotham
Christa Williams
Collette Jones
Dawn Murphy
Deanna Nyce
Deborah Canada
Dena Carroll
Denise Lacerte
Diana Elliott
Diane Collins
Donna Cole
Francesca de Bastiani
Jessica Ball
Jessica Frank
Jessie C. Nyberg (Elder)
Joan Gignac
Karen Isaac
Kris Salikan
Linda Matthews
Lisa Sterling
Liza Haldane
Marcia Dawson
Maryanne Gladstone
Ramona Baxter
Roger John
Sue Sterling
Vonnie Hutchingson
Willie Blackwater
Zoe LeFevre
Andrew Yellowhead


Mark Turin
Larry Grant


HELP Staff

Elsie Kipp
Michele Sam
Janice Tollefson
Carrie Anne Vanderhoop
Kim Bayer
Lauren Wolfe

Call to Action re: Recruitment, partnership, support, allies

The ASC and HELP are always looking to collaborate and expand our understanding. We need compassionate allies, and supporters to guide this important work moving forward.  We are always looking for creative and energetic individuals who share our common interest in improving developmental outcomes for all First Nations, Inuit and Métis children and youth in BC.

Please contact Kinwa Bluesky, Senior Manager, Indigenous Initiatives if your are interested.

Our work, based at the University of British Columbia (UBC), takes place on the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people.