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Elder’s Advisory Council (Board of Directors)

Debbie Bird

Director, Chair

Debbie Bird was born in Squamish, BC, of Cree ancestry. Ms. Bird was a certified dental assistant and worked at Canada Post in Nelson, retiring in 2017. Active in her community, she is a director and Elder for the Circle of Indigenous Nations Society (COINS) and an Elder for School Districts 8 and 20.
Previously, Ms. Bird was president of the Nelson local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) and was appointed to represent Aboriginal workers on the CUPW National Human Rights Committee for a four-year term. Debbie also served as vice president and president of the West Kootenay Labour Council.
Debbie has been continually proactive in the Nelson community with Girl Guides, sports and recreation organizations, and as a fundraiser for several local and national charities.

Jodi Bremner


Lives in Ymir and works for Interior Health Mental Health and Addictions. Jodi’s Metis ancestry is from the Red River, and most recently the St.Louis/Prince Albert SK area. She is very proud of her Metis heritage. She wants to be part of continuing the education and legacy of future generations of Metis people.

Bev Gillard


Bev is a respected Elder from Saskatchewan, Ochapowace Cree First Nation, and has been in the Kootenays in Castlegar for many years. Bev is a mother, Kokum (grandmother), and great grandmother. Bev effortlessly and lovingly shares culture with children, families and individuals in the community. She gives her time freely to support people reconnecting with their culture and is always willing to go above and beyond to ensure all people in our community have access to and receive services and support, despite any social, spiritual, physical and emotional deterrents they may face.
One of Bev’s passions has been supporting people in community with mental health and addiction issues. Her support ranges from giving people rides to meetings, being with them face-to-face, and offering ceremony in Indigenous practices.

Duncan Grady


Duncan’s professional experience includes 36 years of psychotherapy in addictions, trauma, death and dying. He has a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology and a Doctorate of Divinity. He currently co-leads retreats and works with communities impacted by lateral violence, drug overdose and death. Duncan provides training and consultation in health, well-being, spirituality, trauma and dying.

Faye Poirier


​Faye is a spirited advocate whose passion is to improve the lives of the hundreds of Indigenous children living in and aging out of foster care. She is one of COINS founding directors and she lives in Trail.

Jim Quigley

Director, Treasurer

Jim is a father, grandfather, poet and painter. He participates in many community circles and ceremonies and has experienced many teachings throughout his life. He is committed to circles that nourish the well-being of all.

Gerry Rempel

Director, Vice-Chair

Gerry Rempel, who is Metis, was born and raised in the Kootenays. He retired as Fire Chief for the City of Castlegar in 2017 after 26 years in that position and 44 years in the fire service. He continues to volunteer with the Fire Department as their Chaplain. In addition to being one of the founding members of COINS, he is very honoured to be a part of the Selkirk College Indigenous Students Elders program.