Meet the Elders & Knowledge Keepers

Elder Syexwaliya (Ann Whonnock), Skwxwu7mesh Uxwumixw (Squamish Nation)

As taught by her late grandparents, Syexwaliya supports families and shares cultural teachings and protocols within and outside of her community. Her passion is to see that Squamish culture, language and ceremonies continue to be the cornerstone of the Nation for future generations and the culture carried on by future generations and her snichim (language) to be used, not only by herself, but for all the families and future generations in their daily lives and ceremonies. Let's not let our Culture and Snichim die out!

Due to external commitments, Elder Syexwaliya currently has limited capacity to attend events.

Elder Marie Hooper, kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem First Nation)

Marie Hooper is an elder from Kwikwetlem First Nation. Recently she has moved onto the nations reserve, so she can connect better with her Indigenous culture. This has, and will keep her connected with her culture. She keeps her knowledge of the history of the nation and its families. This is passed down from her ancestors, grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins. 

Marie who was born in the UK, immigrated to Vancouver, B.C. in 1967. Her background is Coast Salish, English, Scottish and Portuguese. 

Marie has studied at B.C. Institute of Technology and Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Her qualifications include Indigenous Environmental Archeology, Ecologic Engineering, and Guardian of the Indigenous lands and territories.  

Marie is a mother of four and grandmother of nine. Her passion is to bring residential awareness into the school system, or wherever she can bring up the subject asking individuals, ‘What do you know about residential schools?’. Only learning about residential schools five years ago, and bringing awareness, help Marie process the trauma her family and others have endured.

Elder Marie is available to be booked for SFU events via the Elders Request Form, or Indigenous students, staff and faculty are invited to drop-in during Tea Talks with Elder Marie every Monday from 12pm-2pm. For more details please refer to our Calendar of Events.

Auntie Patti Williams, Nlaka’pamux Nation

Ye tek sivqt (Good day). Nlha.kapuxkin (I am Nlaka’pamux)

Auntie Patti (Carey) Williams is an Elder from the Nlaka’pamux Nation, Skuppah Band.
Acquired her First Nations status in 2011 through the Gender Equity in the Indian Registration Act (Bill C-3) .

She is the mother of 2 and an Auntie to many, believing that “we all need more Aunties and Uncles in our circles”. Auntie Patti is now retired from S.D. No.42 Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District where she worked as an Indigenous Support Worker for 22 years.

Today she likes to be known as a Natural Fibres Artist, making jewelry and other art out of various natural materials including inner red cedar bark and pine needles.

K’uk’scemx (Thank you)

Auntie Patti is available for student support during her Tea & Art sessions. These happen on Wednesday afternoons in AQ 2002, please refer to the Calendar of Events for more details.

Unkie Pixie Wells, Métis Nation

Born and raised in British Columbia, Pixie has lived most of her life on the West Coast, living in a few places surrounding BC, residing in Abbotsford B.C.
Currently employed in HeartWork for our Nation, as well as the Fraser Valley Métis Association and other community groups within the city of Abbotsford BC.

Currently sit as FVMA’s President, also 2SLGBTGGIA+ rep, also holding the health/housing portfolios. While sitting on FVMA board for a few years.

Currently sits on other boards and committee’s within the city of Abbotsford BC.

Sat as a voice for 2SLGBTQQIA+ peoples for LFMO, working on the National Action Plan for MMIWGs and 2SLGBTQQIA+peoples.

Through many years of sitting on many boards, and committees working with others to achieve common objectives and initiatives.

Always fighting to put the voice that is missing at the table.

I very much look forward to using my voice to strengthen the Métis Nation.

Unkie Pixie is available for student support and will be in attendance at various ISC events, please reach out to to learn more. 

Elder Jackie Gonzales, Skwxwú7mech & Musqueam Nations

Jackie Gonzales is a Skwxwú7mech/Musqueam matriarch from the Village of Eslh7an who has spent over 45 years leading the way in cultural revitalization for her community, in particular with youth and families and in regards to ceremony and protocol.

Jackie leads from her lived experience of ceremonial, longhouse, and family connections, and is an integral part of Gathering Our Medicine.

Jackie is the mother of three with six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Elder Jackie is available to be booked for SFU events via the Elders Request Form. Indigenous students are also invited to attend ISC Beading and Crafting Circles which happen on Fridays and visit with Elder Jackie, please look at the ISC Calendar of Events for specific dates and times.