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About Us

Gina Mowatt, Nicole Neidhardt, and Jon Rabeneck are the project leads for the Innovative Young Indigenous Leaders Symposium. They acknowledge and recognize the strength of their ancestors and the leaders who have provided them guidance. This project was envisioned, created and led by young Indigenous people and their work has remained independent throughout the process. They have worked with a number of partners and developed relationships with people and organizations that hold similar values. 


The Directors:


Jon Rabeneck is a proud dad, member of the Snuneymuxw Nation, and a Project Lead of IYILS. He is also a recent graduate of the Indigenous Governance master’s program at the University of Victoria and works with the FNHA. 


Nicole Neidhardt is Diné (Navajo), Scottish, German, with mixed European ancestry.  She grew up in Santa Fe, NM and lives on Lekwungen Territory in Victoria, BC.  Nicole holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Business Minor from the University of Victoria.  She is a visual artist, muralist, arts administrator and Indigenous arts activist. 


Gina Mowatt is of Gitxsan and settler descent and grew up on Vancouver Island. Gina is pursuing her MA in History at the University of Victoria. As a project director of IYILS, Gina does the work she loves, bringing together young Indigenous leaders to envision strong healthy Indigenous futures. 


The Support Team:


Morgan Mowatt is Gitxsan from the village of Gitanmaax and mixed settler descent. She is a Master of Arts student in Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria. Morgan is passionate about decolonization, Indigenous resurgence, and Indigenous feminisms. She is inspired by the work that young Indigenous peoples are doing in communities across BC.

Sarah Boivin is a settler researcher from Algonquin territory, and a graduate of the Indigenous Governance master's program at the University of Victoria. Her research focuses on reconciling Canadian pipeline decision-making processes to Indigenous nationhood. She also engages with government by co-facilitating cultural safety and anti-racism workshops. 


Celeta Cook was born and raised in Deseronto, Ontario, and has matrilineal roots within the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. She lives on unceded Coast Salish Territory (Victoria, BC). She is passionate about truama-informed and culturally safe approaches to healthcare delivery. She is pursuing a master’s degree in dispute resolution from the University of Victoria. 


Thank you to the working group:


Alli Matchett, Braydi Rice, Brittany Morgan, Amber Morgan, Michelle Buchholz, Madelynn Slade, Erynne Gilpin, Mia Yule, Tiffany Adams, Dion Dockie-Smith, Andrea Thibodeau, Brianna Dick, Livia Lown , Robby Smoker Peters, Brendon Easton, Eli Hirtle, Annabelle Hill, Danielle Atkinson, Morris Prosser, and Celeta Cook.

IYILS is a project on MakeWay's shared platform, which provides operational supports, governance, and charitable expertise for changemakers. The shared platform enables more time and money to go towards achieving greater impact. MakeWay is a national charity that builds partnerships and solutions to help nature and communities thrive together. 

Learn more at

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