Board of Directors
Hugh Braker, Chair
Hugh Braker is a member of the Tseshaht First Nation, Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council (NTC). A lawyer, Hugh provides adjudication services and consulting to a variety of Aboriginal clients. Hugh’s interest in the justice system started when he was a child – at a time when Aboriginal people didn’t have the right to vote. He excelled in law school, moving directly into the thick of it as Director of Self-Government with the Assembly of First Nations. He was the first male Nuu Chah Nulth lawyer in the country and the first BC First Nations lawyer to be made a Queen’s Counsel (Q.C.). Hugh worked as staff lawyer for the NTC for almost 10 years litigating and negotiating fishing and hunting rights and Aboriginal child welfare. He opened his own practice in 1989 and has volunteered as president of the Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of BC for 20 years.
Debra Hanuse is a retired lawyer who previously practiced in aboriginal and corporate and commercial law for more than 25 years. Debra formerly served as a BC Treaty Commissioner. She also served on the Board of Governors of Simon Fraser University, and in this capacity, served as chair of the Board’s Audit Committee. In 2014, she was elected chief of the 'Namgis First Nation, which comprises more than 1,700 members, and whose principal community is located on Cormorant Island (Alert Bay) in British Columbia.
David Jimmie’s traditional name is Lenéx wí :ót which means, "he who works for the people”. David is the Chief and CEO of Squiala First Nation located in the traditional territory of the Ts’elxweyeqw Tribe in Chilliwack, BC. David is the President of the Ts’elxweyeqw Tribe representing 7 communities and is also a director on Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce. David previously owned and operated David Jimmie Construction building 224 homes and 175 apartment units in Chilliwack and Westbank. He is currently working on a 600,000 square foot shopping center in Chilliwack and exploring new ventures to diversify revenue streams for Squiala First Nation. David has a hunger to learn about life and education which led him to buy an around the world ticket in 2008, travelling to 19 countries in 1 year. He is a strong advocate for education and culture and is excited to be graduating this year from the Executive Masters in Business Administration program at Simon Fraser University.
Mr. Kuzma is a registered professional forester that served as a senior manager in the forest industry for over 25 years. He has been involved with numerous First Nations forestry related ventures across western Canada including partnering on land management issues and negotiations. Previously, Mr. Kuzma was a Director and Past President of West Chilcotin Forest Products Ltd., a Director with Cheslatta Forest Products Ltd., past President and Director of Sakaw Askiy Forest Management Inc.
Mr. Kuzma has also served as Chairman of the Board and Director of Interex Forest Products Ltd. an international forest products marketing company.
Mr. Louis has over 25 years of knowledge and experience, at various levels of the political spectrum. First, elected to Council in 1991, then designed as Chair of the Okanagan Nation Fisheries Commission in 1995 and as a title and rights advisor at the Tribal Council and Regional level, and political liaison designate with US based Tribal, Public and Private Utilities (Hydro-electric generation) and State and Federal Authorities. Over the course of his career he has served in various facets of political office involving Natural Resource Management, Economic Development, Public Works, Community planning, liaison and strategic development and negotiation with various levels of government and the private sector Mr. Louis continues to work extensively on First Nations social and economic issues and interests and currently serving his third term as Chief of the Okanagan Indian Band.
Mr. Miles G. Richardson is a citizen of the Haida Nation and Canada. He grew up among his people on Haida Gwaii, attended high school in Prince Rupert, BC, and in 1979 received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Victoria. From 1984 to 1996, he served as President of the Council of Haida Nation.
Mr. Richardson was a member of the British Columbia Claims Task Force, which made recommendations to the Government of Canada, Government of British Columbia and First Nations in British Columbia on how the three parties could begin negotiations to build a new relationship and what negotiations should include.
From 1991 to 1993, Mr. Richardson was a member of the First Nations Summit Task Group, an executive body representing First Nations in British Columbia. In October 1995, Mr. Richardson was nominated by the Summit and appointed as a Commissioner to the BC Treaty Commission. He was elected to a second term in April 1997. In November 1998, he was chosen as Chief Commissioner by agreement of Canada, BC and the First Nations Summit for a three-year term and was reappointed in November 2001.
In 2007, Mr. Richardson was named an Officer of the Order of Canada. Currently, he operates his own business advisory service and is also the Co-Chair of the IOG Indigenous Advisory Circle.
Angela Wesley is a citizen of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations (Nuu-chah-nulth). Since establishing Wes-Can Advisory Services in 1992 in partnership with her husband Gerald, she has worked extensively within her own community and with First Nations communities throughout British Columbia providing advisory and facilitation services in the areas of strategic planning, community development, communications, community engagement, and governance capacity building. She has been an active participant in her Nation’s transition to self-government which officially took place in April 2011 when both the Maa-nulth Treaty and the Huu-ay-aht First Nations Constitution came into effect.
Angela acts as Speaker (Legislative Chairperson) for the Huu-ay-aht First Nations Legislature and Annual People’s Assemblies and has been the Board Chair/President for the Huu-ay-aht First Nations Group of Businesses since 2012. In addition, she continues to actively serve on various committees for Huu-ay-aht First Nations.
She currently serves as the Board Chair for the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, and is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Royal British Columbia Museum. Angela resides in her husband Gerald`s traditional territory of Kitsumkalum in Terrace, BC and enjoys the company and teachings of her 7-year old grandson Drakon every weekend.