Khelsilem

Khelsilem

Khelsilem has spent his life working on progressive policy solutions through responsible governance, Indigenous rights, and climate leadership. He is Squamish and Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw and joined Vancity’s Board of Directors in 2020.

Khelsilem was inspired to join Vancity’s Board of Directors because of his passion and experience in issues including the cooperative movement, growing Indigenous wealth, and climate action.

He feels aligned with Vancity’s values and sees an opportunity to grow the organization’s leadership in key areas. He strives to be a collaborative, convening and thoughtful Board Director, creating and allowing space for many voices to be included equitably.

Khelsilem currently serves as an elected Councillor for the local Squamish National Council based in North Vancouver. He has contributed by serving on various committees for the Squamish Nation including Planning & Capital Projects, Finance and Audit, Human Resource and Housing Authority Development. As part of his role, he and the Council is overseeing negotiations for a $3B real estate partnership, developing nonprofit housing and engaging in public relations on behalf of the Nation. Khelsilem has strived to create good governance practices that enhance transparency, accountability, and ethnical governing standards that benefit Nation’s members.

In 2016, Khelsilem built and founded the first adult immersion school for the endangered Squamish Language in partnership with Simon Fraser University (SFU). Since its establishment, over 50 students have enrolled in the program, and it continues to grow. Focused on capacity building, within two years, Khelsilem trained and taught students to take over day-to-day teaching and operations of the program.

A frequent speaker and commentator, Khelsilem has lent his voice to issues such as climate justice, Indigenous rights, and good governance. He is heavily involved in community and is a currently a member of the AFN Chiefs Committee on Charter Renewal, the Integrated North Shore Transportation Planning Project, a Board Director of the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, Van Vogue Jam Art Society, and a member of the BC Climate Solutions Council.

His contributions have been recognized most recently when he was identified as one of Vancouver Magazine’s Top 50 Most Powerful People in Vancouver.

Khelsilem is a young queer Indigenous community leader, Nova Scotia Duck Toller-owner, and proud resident of Vancouver. He spends his spare time supporting queer arts, learning his 3rd Indigenous language, and taking in a Whitecaps game (when they’re happening!).

Tenure

  • Elected in 2020
  • Currently serving a partial term (2020-2021)

Committees

  • Member, Human Resource Committee
  • Member, Risk Committee
  • Member, Technology Committee