Office of Indigenous Education

Tina Matthew

Tina Matthew
Executive Director Office of Indigenous Education | 778-471-8395

Tina's Bio

Tina is a proud Secwepemc woman and member of Simpcw First Nation located in the North Thompson Valley. She brings with her a passion for helping Indigenous people by making opportunities accessible to everyone. She is honoured to hold the position of Executive Director in the Office of Indigenous Education at Thompson Rivers University and acknowledges the traditional territory of the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc on which the TRU Kamloops campus resides on.

Tina works closely with all TRU faculties and departments to provide advice and Indigenization support in order to align TRU's strategic change goals with Indigenization efforts across campus that support staff, faculty and students. The Office of Indigenous Education liaises and connects with Indigenous organizations and communities.

Tina holds a Master of Education and an undergraduate degree from Simon Fraser University. She is an education professional with over 25 years' experience working with Indigenous communities, organizations, public and private institutions, and industry. Tina has particular strengths in conducting research, developing organizational processes, and connecting Indigenous people with training and collaboration opportunities. She is an active community member who always strives for self-governance and leadership for all Indigenous people through mentorship and leadership.

Tina looks forward to meeting with current and future administration, faculty, staff, students, and community members.

Garry Gottfriedson

Garry Gottfriedson
Secwepemc Cultural Advisor

Garry's Bio

Gottfriedson is from Kamloops, BC. He is strongly rooted in his Secwepemc (Shuswap) cultural teachings. He holds a Masters of Arts education degree from Simon Fraser University. In 1987, the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado awarded a Creative Writing Scholarship to Gottfriedson for Masters of Fine Arts creative writing. There, he studied under Allen Ginsberg, Marianne Faithful and others. Gottfriedson has 10 published books. He has read from his work across Canada, United States, South America, New Zealand, Europe and Asia. Gottfriedson’s work unapologetically unveils the truth of Canada’s treatment of First Nations. His work has been anthologized and published nationally and internationally. Currently, he works at Thompson Rivers University.

Tara Willard

Tara Willard
Administrative Assistant

Tara's Bio

Tara Willard is from the Secwepemc Nation, with paternal grandmother from Splatsin (Ethel nee Jones) and paternal grandfather from Neskonlith (Leonard Willard), Secwepemc communities. Her maternal grandparents (Irish and Scottish, Herb and Edythe Roane) resided within Secwepemcu'lecw in the North Shuswap at the Lazy R Ranch. Her Mother Kelli lives in Armstrong and her Father Mike lives in Neskonlith.

Tara has a BA from the University of British Columbia, with a major in English. She comes to us from a recent background in K-12 public school, in her role as Indigenous Education Support for students and families. Since graduating from University, her educational and working journey have brought her to many Indigenous organizations, departments, First Nation governments, and training environments. Most of the work that Tara has been doing is within the Health and/or Education field. Her experience within Secwepemc Nation, as well as the community level, has given her a broad knowledge of Indigenous history, health, education and politics. Her insight into K-12 education over the last five years, has been equally rewarding.

The past 18 years have also been a training ground through music, ceremony and gathering in an inter-tribal way. Tara has appreciation and love for the diversity of Indigenous cultures, languages and ways of being.

This next chapter, joining the Office of Indigenous Education at TRU, is exciting and timely. Tara is thrilled to be starting June 21, Indigenous Peoples’ Day, as the new Administrative Assistant in the Office of Indigenous Education.

Brad Bostock

Brad Bostock,
Director of Development Indigenous Education, Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Education and Social Work | 250-319-6385

Brad's Bio

Bradley is a member of the Advancement team, and works directly with Indigenous Education and the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Education and Social Work to obtain major philanthropic gifts in support of students, infrastructure, programs, and other initiatives in these three areas.

Karie Russell

Karie Russell
Aboriginal Service Plan Supervisor

Karie's Bio

Karie Russell is pleased to join the Office of Indigenous Education in the role of administrative assistant. She is originally from Williams Treaty area, within the traditional territory of the Anishnabek, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), Ojibway/Chippewa peoples.

Karie has a general studies degree in communications and marketing, and is a proud alumnus of TRU Open Learning. She is currently completing her provincial instructors diploma. Her background is in tourism, aviation and for the past 16 years she worked in international education.

Karie has a partner, and two step-daughters and has been a guest in Tk'emlups te Secwepemc territory since 2002. Karie is passionate about empowering and inspiring people to live life from lessons learned from spending time with mentors and peers, community, family, connecting with spirit, and nature.

Cicyetkwu Bennett-Dunstan

Cicyetkwu Bennett-Dunstan
ASP Transitions Coordinator

Cicyetkwu's Bio

Cicyetkwu is Nlaka'mamuxkin and registered with Lytton First Nation. Her mother is Denise Dunstan, her grandparents are Turdine and Lyle Dunstan, and her maternal great grandparents were Cicyetkwu (Mary) and Jacob Anderson and her paternal great grandparents were Lena and Malcolm Dunstan. She was born and raised mostly in the Tk'emlúps t Secwépemc Nation with lots of travel back home to Spences Bridge and Lytton for fishing and picking.

The first time she attended TRU she was enrolled in the Bachelor of Sciences program. She has recently returned and now she is in her second year of the School of Business and Economics, management diploma program, and will be transitioning into a Bachelor of Business Administration with a focus in HR and project management. She is a recipient of the TRUSU Student Advocate Award for demonstrating political will this past year.

Wynona Edwards

Wynona Edwards
ASP Cultural Coordinator

Wynona's Bio

Wynona is from Ts'kw'aylaxw First Nation of the St'at'imc people. Although she was born and raised her in the Tk'emlúps to Secwépemc territory, within the unceded tradition lands of the Secwépemc Nation here in BC.

She is currently in her second year of the Human Services Diploma program here at Thompson Rivers University, she then plans to obtain her Bachelor of Social Work. She has achieved her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, Visual Arts Diploma, and Aboriginal Studies Certificate. She was a part of the volume 5 Knowledge Makers peer reviewed journal, her paper was title "Holding onto Traditional Indigenous Ways in Contemporary Times."

She loves learning new things, and she holds onto her cultural traditional ways she loves attending ceremonies, singing and dancing powwow. She grew up travelling the powwow trail, attending different powwows and round dances across BC, Alberta and the United States. She loves travelling. She enjoys hunting, fishing and being out of the land collecting and harvesting traditional medicines, and most importantly she enjoys sewing and beading. She has been designing and making her own powwow dresses, shawls and other powwow outfits since a young age.

When she is done school she hopes to work alongside our Indigenous peoples with a cultural setting or with Indigenous youth and children as they are our future.

Laura Grizzlypaws

Laura Grizzlypaws
Educational Developer, Indigenous Teaching and Learning

Laura's Bio

Grizzlypaws was born and raised in Lillooet, British Columbia in the Interior Plateau region, she is of St’át’imc descent. Her ancestral name is "Stálhalamcen – Grizzly Paws," She belongs to the people of Xwisten the Bear Clan. She is an independent mother of four children. At the age of sixteen, Grizzlypaws began to relearn the St’át’imc traditions. Her passion grew stronger in education and the heritage of her people; it became a way of life. She is a dancer, drummer and singer/songwriter, an academic, educator and a language/cultural advocate.

The experiences in her education provided her with knowledge and skills with a focus on providing her recipients with the highest quality of cultural education based on the values and needs of the community while meeting the deliverables of the organization or project goals. Grizzlypaws worked at the St’át’imc Government Services office as the Education and Training Manager to strengthen the collective organization and capacity of the St’át’imc; collaborate with the St’at’imc and partners to exercise greater control over education skills and training and to establish a knowledge-based foundation to inform St’át’imc decision-making. She taught extensively through the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology and the St’at’imc Education Institute. She has many years of work in curriculum development with the Gold Trail School District, the St’át’imc Education Institute and St’át’imc Government Services.

Her education background consists of a Masters of Education in Education Foundation Land Based Education(2011); Bachelor of General Studies Degree Double Minor Linguistics & First Nation Studies(2007); Bachelor of Education Degree in Curriculum Development & Instruction (2007); Professional Development Teaching Certificate (2006); Language Proficiency Certificate (2003); Counselling & Wellness Certificate (2003). Grizzlypaws was also granted a Language Heroes award for the British Columbia Salishan language family. Her educational accomplishments were made possible through the balance of traditional and spiritual practices of her St’át’imc cultural heritage. Followed by her academic credentials Grizzlypaws was recognized through the Indigenous Music Awards (2019) and awarded for the category “Best Hand Drum Music” for her album debut “Come Home” a week after her receiving an award she competed in the British Columbia Pro Cup and took home two metals for her first Natural Body Building competition as a bikini athlete. She released her new Album “Muzmit.stumc” (2019); dedicated to language revitalization through prayer songs and now preparing for the 2021 bodybuilding competition year where she will strive to earn her place at centre stage and move onto the nationals to obtain her Pro Card and beyond. Grizzlypaws was inducted into the Wall of Fame at the University of Saskatchewan Alumini (2020) for her athletic achievements and the recognition of the Indigenous Education work she offers globally. Thorough knowledge of education and cultural affirmations had proven valuable in Grizzlypaws educational work and cultural way of life.

Grizzlypaws is excited to working with the TRU community through CELT starting August 23rd, as the Educational Developer, Indigenous Teaching and Learning.

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