BC First Nations Clean Energy Summit 2020

How First Nations Continue to Build the Clean Energy Industry

Dates & Times:
November 12th & 13th 2020 | 9am — 3pm

Via Zoom


$259 non-members (Day 1 only)
$139 members (Day 1 only)
$60 deposit First Nations will be 100% refunded (Day 1 & Day 2)


Huu-ay-aht First Nations

Trevor Cootes

Accelerating Transition

Chris Henderson

Elemental Energy

Ryan Hanson

Doig River Video

Shona Nelson


Jamie Pond


James Redford

Solar Design Phase

Dennis Thomas “Whonoak”

Day 2

Our Power Our Way

Michelle Myers

Our Power Our Way

Michelle Myers

Clean Energy BC is excited to announce the First Nations Energy Summit taking place Thursday, November 12th and Friday, November 13th 2020.

Due to COVID-19 this Summit will be taking place virtually. The event will offer interactive networking opportunities to meet and hear from First Nation leaders who are leading the way in the clean energy industry. This Summit is organized and led by Clean Energy BC’s First Nation members, together with board Directors Cole Kitsahin Sayers, New Relationship Trust and Yuho Okada, Barkley Project Group, and former Director Judith Kekinusuqs Sayers.

Day 1 Energy Sovereignty: is taking place on November 12th will be open registration to everyone with special pricing offered for Clean Energy BC members. Day 2 First Nations Energy Summit: Building Our Clean Energy Economy: is only open to First Nations.

Overall Summit Objectives

  • Understand energy markets and where First Nations can contribute
  • Organize to launch either a First Nations power Authority or an advocacy body
  • Generate action items for First Nations or groups of First Nations to open up opportunities to generate power

Judith Sayers

President (Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council)

Kekinusuqs, Dr. Judith Sayers is a member of the Hupacasath First Nation and mother of two. Currently she is the President of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, located in Port Alberni BC.

She works as a Strategic Adviser to First Nations and corporations and is an adjunct professor with the Peter Gustavson School of Business and the School of Environmental Studies both at the University of Victoria as well as the School of Environmental Studies.

Judith was the elected Chief of the Hupacasath First Nation that is located in Port Alberni, BC for 14 years and the Chief Negotiator for 15 years. In her role as Chief, she focused on capacity building, sustainable development and restoring and rehabilitating Hupacasath territory.

As Chief of her Nation, Judith was instrumental in the development of the China Creek Run of the River Project which operates in Hupacasath territory. Judith was the President and Chair of Upnit Power Ltd which operates the China Creek project for 6 years. Hupacasath is the majority owner in the China Creek project. China Creek project has received environmental awards from the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Nuu-chah-nulth Economic Development Corporation, and in June of 2008, Judith received a silver award from the Canadian Environmental Awards in the Climate Change category for her role in developing the project.

Currently Judith remains involved in Energy issues through helping to coordinate the work of the BC First Nations Clean Energy Working Group, She also speaks at conferences, think tanks and strategic sessions and is a mentor for the 2020 Catalyst Program.Judith has a passion and commitment to ensuring that energy is produced in a sustainable way with minimal impact on the environment and strongly believes that alternative energies can be developed within First Nations values.

Judith’s educational background includes a business and law degree and an honourary Doctor of Laws from Queen’s University. Judith has an extensive background of practicing law for 18 years in both Alberta and British Columbia, working in international forums, lobbying governments and other agencies for the promotion and protection of First Nations rights and title.

Judith serves on the boards of the New Relationship Trust Foundation, Clean Energy BC, BC Ferries and the Island Corridor Foundation,

Judith was made a member of the Order of Canada in 2017 and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement by Clean Energy BC in 2015 and was admitted into Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business Hall of Fame in 2009.

Cameron Lusztig

President (Keppel Gate Consulting LTD.)

Cameron Lusztig is an economist specialising in energy markets and related public policy. During his more than 30 years focussed on British Columbia economics and public policy, Mr. Lusztig has worked with project developers, First Nations, utilities, and regulatory agencies, and has provided advice to the Province of British Columbia on matters related to electricity market pricing, operations, structuring, and development. Mr. Lusztig has provided numerous regulatory filings, testified before regulatory tribunals and in litigation, and is a regular speaker and industry conferences and events.

Laureen Whyte

Executive Director (Clean Energy BC)

Laureen is Executive Director of Clean Energy BC. She is a social performance professional with over 25 years of experience as an executive, senior practitioner, project manager, and strategist.

Working primarily with First Nations and in the non-profit, transportation, and natural resource sectors, Laureen specializes in natural resources, stakeholder and Indigenous engagement, consultation, organizational development and community economic development as well as in permitting and regulatory strategy, cultural and participatory research, negotiation of agreements, social impact and third-party assessments.

Laureen is principal of Arbutus Consulting, based in Vancouver, and previously was Vice President at the Association for Mineral Exploration BC. She serves on the Board of the Canadian Executive Services Organization, the Indigenous Affairs Committee of the Prospectors & Developers Association, and was founder and Chair of the BC Aboriginal Mine Training Association.

Cole Sayers

BC Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative Director (New Relationship Trust)

Cole Sayers is from the Hupacasath First Nation and currently manages the BC Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative (BCICEI) at the New Relationship Trust (NRT). Based in North Vancouver, the NRT is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening First Nations in BC through capacity building.

The NRT implements the $9.5 million BCICEI which provides support and capacity-building funds to First Nation communities working on the development of clean energy projects. To date, the NRT BCICEI has supported 56 projects in First Nations communities in each region of BC. The BCICEI is delivered in partnership with Western Economic Diversification Canada and the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Province of British Columbia.

Chris Henderson

Executive Director (Indigenous Clean Energy Network)

Chris Henderson is a Canadian eco-entrepreneur, community leader and environmental innovator. For the past 35 years, he has led and been at the forefront of ground-breaking Canadian enterprises and local/national business, social and ecological initiatives which have global impact and resonance.

Chris is a trusted and insightful commentator on economic, environment and energy issues that respect the Planet, and generate enduring outcomes for corporations, communities and Canada. Chris prime current role in advising and equipping Indigenous peoples and communities to develop and own clean energy projects to catalyze social development, economic opportunity and to combat Climate Change. His first book Aboriginal Power was published in 2013.

Chris is the President of Lumos Energy, Executive Director of the Indigenous Clean Energy Social Enterprise, Founder of The Delphi Group and Board Chair of the Globe Series.

Dave Lovekin

Director-Renewables in Remote Communities, (Pembina Institute)

Dave Lovekin is the director of the Renewables in Remote Communities Program – supporting Indigenous leadership in the shift to clean energy communities through good climate and energy policy. A significant focus of Dave’s work includes advancing renewable energy policy in remote indigenous communities in Canada.

Josh Charleson

Chief (Hesquiaht First Nation)

Joshua Charleson is a member of the Hesquiaht First Nation. He is currently the newly elected chief councillor for the Hesquiaht First Nation. Joshua grew up in the remote village of Hot Springs Cove and Ayyisaqh in Hesquiaht Harbour. Previously to being elected as Chief Councillor Joshua worked in fisheries as a field technician for Uu-a-thluk Fisheries providing support to all 14 Nuu-chah-nulth nations on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Notability, Joshua also worked as Hesquiahts fisheries manager and worked on Hesquiahts Land Use Vision.

Jamie Pond

Project Manager (Kitasoo First Nation)

Jamie runs a Project Management Business; Raven Wing Projects. She is currently contracted to Kitasoo Xai’xais Nation as their Capital and Special Projects Manager. She has a Bachelor’s Degree majoring in Management from Thompson Rivers University and PMP certification. She is of mixed heritage including Coastal First Nation background and has been a community member in Kitasoo Xai’xais Nation since 2009.

Jamie is managing the KXXN major hydro modernization project, a battery power bank installation, housing renovations that include clean energy solutions, and the CCP upgrade. A huge part of the CCP is to include continued investigation of new and innovative clean energy producing options such as tidal, solar, and gasification.

It has been extremely challenging to keep projects moving during these unprecedented times of covid-19, but the KXXN leadership, community, and EOC have made adjustments that have allowed the continuity of project progress.

Patrick Michell

Chief (Kanaka Bar Indian Band)

Patrick Michell is a member of the Nlaka’pamux Nation and has lived in British Columbia’s Fraser Canyon all his life. Patrick has an Administrative Management diploma from Douglas College (New Westminster 1989) and a Bachelor of Laws (UBC 1992). Patrick practiced law in the Fraser Canyon from 1997 to 2005 before becoming a full time Community Liaison for the Kwoiek Hydro Project. After the Hydro project was completed (2014), the Liaison role transitioned into the Community Economic Development Officer and with the retirement of Chief James Frank (2015), Patrick became the Chief of Kanaka in the communities first election in over 30 years.

Chief Patrick will be sharing information and Kanaka’s renewable energy projects including hydro (1), solar (12), wind (2) and battery storage (2) and “Renewable Energy Project Management”. A recent Kanaka presentation called “Is there a business case for Energy Management – Absolutely” can be found online at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XvUHRWUpBk.

Ryan Hanson

Project Director (Elemental Energy)

Ryan Hanson is a professional engineer with over 20 years experience designing, constructing and managing renewable energy projects. He began his career as a design engineering consultant and has worked in Project Management for the last 15 years. Ryan has worked with several First Nations in BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan to develop hydro and solar projects that provide meaningful financial and social benefits to the communities.

David Isaac

Pre (W Dusk Energy Group)

David Isaac, also known as Wugadusk in his traditional name, is a Mi’kmaq originally from Listuguj, Quebec but was raised in Vancouver within the traditional territory of the Coast Salish peoples . He has been a long-time advocate for Indigenous health, the environment and has previously served as the Executive Director for the Vancouver Native Health Society as well as the Centre for Native Policy & Research. Most recently, he joined the Canadian Federal government’s Cleantech Economic Strategy Table for the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and regularly contributes to national energy policy formation and debate.

David is the President of the W Dusk Energy Group, which works with Indigenous communities to harness the power of their renewable energy resources in tandem with broader community development initiatives like planning, food systems and infrastructure development. W Dusk is actively deploying megawatt and community scale solar farms throughout North America.

Here in BC, W Dusk is currently working on green hydrogen and has completed two of British Columbia’s largest community owned (distributed power) solar projects and North America’s first Indigenous owned utility scale solar farm in the Fisher River Cree Nation.

When David is not working, he can be found immersed in nature and is an avid ocean yacht racer.

Shona Nelson

Band Manager (Doig River First Nation)

Shona Nelson is the Band Manager for Doig River First Nation. With over twenty years’ experience working with or for the Treaty 8 First Nations, she has committed her career to improving the communities governance and administration for the benefit of the band membership. For the past seven years working with Doig River Chief and Council, she has built a team of staff that have moved the Nation from dependence on government to being awarded the 2017 AFOA Community of Excellence in Leadership, Management & Administration. Key to the Nation’s success has been the focus of grassroots member engagement in community planning and decision-making and asserting the Nation’s jurisdiction on the land base.

Doig River has just recently completed the construction of a state-of-art cultural, educational and spiritual facility that is the most northern Passiv Haus certified building in North America. Additionally, they have recently completed the installation of solar panels on ten community homes to reduce energy costs for Elders and the financially vulnerable.

Her commitment to social justice and economic independence has and continues to inspire and motivate her each day in her work with the Nation.

Shona is a mother of two children, and a life-long learner who possesses a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, is an AFOA Certified Aboriginal Professional Administrator and is currently completing a Certificate in First Nations Applied Economics at the Tulo Centre with Thompson Rivers University.

Leah-George Wilson

Chief (Tsleil-Waututh First Nation)

Chief Leah Sisi-ya-ama George-Wilson is a member of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation (TWFN) located in North Vancouver. She was elected to a third term as Chief of TWN in May 2019 and is a lawyer at MillerTiterle.

Chief George-Wilson is currently an elected Co-Chair of the First Nations Summit, a Director on the Land Advisory Board and an appointed member of the First Nations Health Council. Other leadership positions she has held include directorships of the Legal Services Society, Ecotrust Canada and Leadership Vancouver.

Dennis Thomas “Whonoak”

Project Manager  (Tsleil-Waututh First Nation)

Dennis Thomas “Whonoak” is a member of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation (People of the Inlet) in Deep Cove, North Vancouver. Dennis began working for his community in 2007 as the 2010 Coordinator for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Since then Dennis pursued business with his Nation and oversaw Takaya Tours, a band owned tourism business. Now he has become the Senior Business Development Manager for Economic Development overseeing various band owned businesses and leads new business ventures including implementing the largest Solar array project to date in the North Shore.

Recently added to his portfolio, he is now the TWN Cultural Liaison for MST Development Corporation where is ensures Tsleil-Waututh Nations history and culture are embedded on all the land project acquired by the three Nations (Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh).

James Redford

Director of Lands and Resources (Quatsion First Nation)

James Redford is the Director of Lands and Resources at Quatsino First Nation since 2013. He has a profressional consulant and project manager since 1992. Quatsino First Nation is located on the northwest Corner of Vacouver Island and includes the Quatsino sound and all its arms. The main village site and band office is loacted north of Coal Harbour about 15 minutes west of Port Harday. Quatsino recently completed its land use plan and there is additional information on the website is at Quatsinofn.com

Trevor Cootes

Councillor (Huu-ay-aht First Nations)

Trevor Cootes was born and raised in Port Alberni. He belongs to the ʔApwinisatḥʔ house, and is a descendant of the Dennis family and the Williams family. His mother is Patsy Nookemus (nee Dennis) and his father is the late Levi Cootes.

Trevor is serving his second term as an elected member of Executive Council for the Huu-ay-aht First Nations. He holds the Economic Development portfolio and External Communications.

With 18 years of experience in the tourism industry these portfolios are a good fit with the skills Trevor brings to the table. He has worked in various areas of tourism, including accommodations, food and beverage, adventure guiding, culture, retail and campground work, as well as being an events coordinator and educator.

Trevor attended Malaspina University/College (now Vancouver Island University) and took Business Management and Hospitality Management. Trevor had an opportunity to further his skills in tourism by taking a pilot project created jointly with Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council and North Island College. The Coast Adventure Tourism certificate trained Nuu-chah-nulth members who are already interested in tourism to be outdoor guides, in fishing, kayaking, sailing and boating.

As a first-term councillor, Trevor looks forward to the challenges his new role with Huu-ay-aht will offer. He brings to council a strong work ethic and integrity, as well as a 180 degree view of business and industry, which will serve him well with his economic development portfolio. He also understands individual roles within an organization and has a strong attribute and ability to be a problem solver.

Trevor has a keen interest in the outdoors and sports and taking part in our Huu-ay-aht cultural activities.

Brad Buckham

Associate Professor (University of Victoria Wuikinuxv First Nation)

Dr. Brad Buckham is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and a member of the Institute for Integrated Energy Systems at the University of Victoria. He specializes in offshore mechanics, and directs the West Coast Wave Initiative (WCWI) and co-directs the Pacific Regional Institute for Marine Energy Discovery (PRIMED). WCWI research is graduate student driven and focusses on wave energy resource assessment, wave energy converter technology optimization and performance assessment, and development of GIS based methods for identifying BC’s strategic wave energy sites. PRIMED is focused on assisting BC coastal communities and marine energy technology developers in identifying and planning mutually beneficial marine energy demonstration projects.

Dr. Buckham’s contributions to research and training in the marine renewables sector have been recognized by the BC Innovation Council, Natural Resources Canada and Mitacs Canada. He is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Oceanic Engineering and member of the Board of Directors for Marine Renewables Canada. In his role as a University instructor, he was the 2018 recipient of “Excellence in Teaching” awards from the Engineers and Geoscientists of BC and Engineers Canada.

Guy Lonechild

First Nations Power Authority

Mr. Lonechild (White Bear First Nations- Treaty #4) is a well-known advocate in creating new economic opportunities and serves as President and CEO of First Nations Power Authority connecting both Indigenous and Industry leaders in renewable and alternative energy development. As a first of its kind organization, Mr. Lonechild heads the organization as our strategic leader and serves the FNPA Board and provides leadership direction to the FNPA Team.

Guy served as Vice-Chief and Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (1999-2008 and 2009-2011), where he oversaw the 25-year Economic Development Strategy highlighting important work in Alternative Energy, Oil and Gas, Agriculture, Tourism, Gaming, Housing and Community Infrastructure, Education, Health and Social Development.
Before entering politics, Guy served in various capacities as band administrator and private consultant to First Nations in Business and Community Development.

He holds a Masters of Business Administration in Strategic Leadership from Cape Breton University and Associates Degree in Golf Complex Operations Management. He and his wife Leah have one child, Darian Lonechild and enjoy quality time with friends and extended family.

Michelle Myers

(Xeni Gwet’in)

Michelle Myers, Nenqay (land, water, resources) Manager, Xeni Gwet’in First Nations Government

Michelle comes from Xeni Gwet’in First Nations which is situated in a mountainous valley of Tsilhqot’in Territory. She is a mother, aunt, sister, and granddaughter. She graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies, a minor in Environmental Conservation. “I grew up in a small community and was raised closely with the territory my nation resides on, my parents taught me the importance of keeping positive relations with our surrounding environment and our roles as caretakers to protect and defend.”

Michelle’s passion has led her to seek innovative solutions rooted and aligned with Indigenous teachings. She has worked actively in the clean energy sector supporting the Tsilhqot’in National Government and Xeni Gwet’in First Nations Government with planning, funding, developing, and assisting in managing clean energy projects. Michelle practices an interdisciplinary approach to clean energy work and believes in energy solutions rooted in community.

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