A founding partner of the 4Rs Youth Movement, BGC Canada is committed to building knowledge, awareness, and engagement in truth and reconciliation nationally and within Club communities. BGC Clubs serve nearly 150,000 young people across Canada, including thousands of children, youth, and families that identify as Indigenous. Our strategic plan commits our organization to working collaboratively with Clubs to support Indigenous kids and teens and their families in our Club communities and to prioritize reconciliation through the work we do across the country.
Through our ability to provide transformative spaces and meaningful opportunities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous young leaders to forge new pathways and by supporting Indigenous young people to achieve their potential, we make meaningful contributions to supporting Indigenous youth and their communities.
We recognize the value of guidance from Indigenous Peoples as it will help ensure that planning, practices, programs, and policies meet the needs of Indigenous Peoples, remove barriers, and better support Indigenous children and youth.
About the Indigenous Advisory Circle
The Indigenous Advisory Circle (IAC) provides high-level guidance to BGC Canada, including advice to our CEO and executive team as they further develop strategy and operational plans that strengthen BGC Canada’s engagement with, and support of, Indigenous Peoples and communities. This guidance, in collaboration with Club leaders and other partners, will influence multiple aspects of the BGC movement, including our strategic and annual plans, policies, program delivery, local Club tool and resource development, relationships with Indigenous leaders, and human resources. The IAC will also be consulted on how it might be shaped moving forward, including governance structures and organizational design.
Dakota Kochie (he/him) is currently the Director of Government and External Affairs at the Nuclear Waste Management Organization. Dakota most recently wrapped up his role as Chief of Staff for the Assembly of First Nations, Canada’s largest advocacy organization. Dakota is a humble advocate for First Nations issues and continues to advise First Nations leaders on intergovernmental, budget, and economic development issues. He was appointed by the Minister of Environment to the Canadian Environment Domestic Advisory Group (CEDAG) for the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Dakota has also worked for a Member of Parliament and worked on a number of federal, provincial, and municipal political campaigns. In his free time, Dakota is an avid kayaker, sports fan, and loves reading political biographies. Dakota is a proud Anishinaabe man from Pinaymootang First Nation (Treaty Two).
Sarah Midanik is an Indigenous professional who is passionate about increasing capacity and social impact within Indigenous communities. A member of the Métis Nation of Alberta from the historic Métis settlement of St. Albert, Sarah is a member of the Cunningham family. She is currently the President & CEO of the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund, a national charity that seeks to build cultural understanding and create a path towards reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. Sarah currently sits on the national board for BGC Canada and the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business. She also advises the Indigenous Professionals Association of Canada, the Indigenous Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and is a Founding Member of the Honouring Nations Canada Circle of Advisors, and the CRA’s Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector.
Leona Carter is Cree originally from Onion Lake Cree Nation, Sk/AB but early in her life she made Edmonton her home. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with work experiences in areas related to recreation, addictions, child welfare, education, and adult/youth corrections, and Parole Board Member for Prairie Region. Ms. Carter has held management roles in various positions within federal, provincial, and municipal governments as well with First Nations and non-profit agencies. She has served on Boards/Committees and is a member of the University of Alberta Senate Alumna. Ms. Carter is experienced in: community development; community engagement; economic development; stakeholder engagement; partnership development; program and project development; Aboriginal Awareness Training; First Nations cultures; Cree language translation; Event Management; Public Speaking; Workshop Facilitator; and Conference Presenter.
Laraine is a woman of mixed ancestry (English, Irish, Haudensauneeand Cherokee) with a passion for equity and social justice. A Clinical Social Worker for over 30 years, Laraine has invested in the lives of individuals, families, groups and communities. These experiences inform and inspire Laraine’s investment in the lives of First Nation, Metis and Inuit communities where she continues to listen, share and learn. Laraine is currently an Indigenous Therapist with First Peoples House of Learning, Trent University, teaches part-time with Trent’s Social Work Program and has a small private practice.
Natalie was born and raised in Saskatoon, SK, and currently resides in Edmonton, AB. She is of mixed ancestry and is part of Wood Mountain Lakota First Nations in Southern Saskatchewan. With a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Regina, she has spent the past decade working in non-profits and is proud to have worked for BGC in Edmonton, AB at Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton & Area for the past 6 years. She is currently working as the Training Coordinator at BGC Bigs and has experience training and supporting new staff as well as working in Youth Employment and school programs. She is thrilled to be a part of the Indigenous Advisory Circle and has high hopes that this work will benefit many Clubs and communities across the country.
Janine Manning (she/her) is Anishnaabe and a member of the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation (Neyaashiinigmiing, ON) who lives and works in Tkaronto. Janine is the Manager, Annual Giving & Donor Relations at Anishnawbe Health Foundation and has spent the last decade dedicated to supporting truth & reconciliation, Indigenous relations and community engagement in the not-for-profit, charitable, and philanthropic sectors as a grant maker, fundraiser, speaker, consultant and changemaker. Janine and is the President of Laidlaw Foundation, serves on the Board of Directors of FoodShare Toronto and advises the Toronto Public Library. Janine graduated in 2013 from York University as a mature student with an Hons. BA in Environmental Studies and a Certificate in Social Sector Management Program from Schulich School of Business (2013).
Stacey Harrison (He/him) is the Newest Executive Director to the BGC Saddle Lake, which is the 1st BGC in Canada to operate on First Nations Land (Saddle Lake Cree Nation #125, Treaty 6, NE Alberta), which was founded in April 1988. Stacey has been a Frontline youth worker for over 30+ years(20 with the BGC movement), in various roles: Youth addictions, Intensive Care Group Homes, Afterschool Programs, and Youth Circle Keeper/Restorative Justice Facilitator (awarded the George Brertton Award in 2017, from ARJA, which recognizes Albertans who have made an impact in their community through RJ Practices). Throughout all this, Stacey has maintained a high level of personal growth through his commitment to ceremonies, and cultural learnings, and helping youth on the Red Road. Stacey is a member of the Saulteau Band (Treaty 8- NE BC), however he currently resides in Saddle Lake Cree Nation.