Chief Councillor: Haisla Nation
Crystal Smith, chair of our First Nations LNG Alliance, is the elected chief councillor for the Haisla Nation, located on the northern coast of BC.
She has long been a champion of responsible development of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and associated pipelines in BC, and her Nation has numerous partnerships with developers in that field.
Chief Crystal first became chair of the Alliance in November 2019, succeeding the founding chair, Chief Dan George.
Over the years she has taken on various roles in the Haisla community including chair of the Haisla Executive Committee and co-chair of the Stakeholder Relations Committee.
Crystal is working within the Haisla Nation to support the membership and to create opportunities for industry and business to invest in Haisla territory.
Crystal attended Northwest Community College and has a background in administration.
Chief, Gitxaala Nation
Clifford White (Nees Ma’Outa) is a hereditary leader and a former elected chief councillor of the Gitxaala Nation.
He is a lifelong facilitator and trainer, and has been involved for more than 10 years with the First Nations Court in New Westminster. He is an elder of the court. He also works with BC’s Aboriginal Family Healing Court project, a pilot program that deals with Indigenous children and families.
White is also chair of the First Nations Advisory Committee for the province of BC, and has worked with BC’s Industry Training Authority and trades unions on Indigenous workforce development, seeking to ensure that trades training for Indigenous people meets first-class standards.
Chief Councillor: Huu-ay-aht First Nations
John Alan Jack, treasurer of the First Nations LNG Alliance, is the elected chief councillor for Huu-ay-aht First Nations, a modern treaty nation on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
He has held nearly every major council file and was responsible for the Huu-ay-aht involvement in the once-proposed Kwispaa LNG project with Steelhead LNG of Vancouver. (The project did not proceed.)
He is also his Nations’ representative on the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District, and has been its chair since 2016.
He lives in Oceanside on Vancouver Island with his wife and two daughters.
Councillor : Wet’suwet’en First Nation
Heather Nooski is an elected councillor of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation.
While not directly involved in the nation’s LNG strategy as such, she puts a crucial personal priority on protecting her peoples’ environment, and that’s a key factor in the nation’s approach to LNG and resource development.
“It’s so important as our people go berry-picking, hunting, trapping, and fishing in Wet’suwet’en territory. There’s medicine on the land, and that’s what I find very important about the land itself.”
Her interim council portfolios include education, youth, health, social and communications. She has a strong interest in health and education, given that she has spent 12 years in central Alberta as a teacher’s aide and community health worker for the Maskwacis region and its four First Nations.
President: Nisga’a Nation
Eva is vice-chair of the Alliance.
She began working with the Nisga’a Tribal Council in the early 1980s, with Nisga’a leaders including Dr. Frank Calder, James Gosnell, and Rod Robinson, while they were actively negotiating what would become the Nisga’a Final Agreement.
She was the first female Nisga’a chief councillor for the New Aiyansh Village Government (now Gitlaxt’aamiks), and served as councillor for the then Gitlaxt’aamiks Band Council and now the Gitlaxt’aamiks Village Government.
She is Ksim Ganada from Wilps Ksim Xsaan. She lives in her home community, the Nisga’a Village of New Aiyansh, with her husband Eric. Eva and Eric have three daughters, Megan and twins Kelsey and Amanda. Eva is a proud grandmother to six grandchildren.
Councillor: Ts’il Kaz Koh Nation
Ellen Lorentz has sat on council for Ts’il Kaz Koh First Nation since the beginning of 2018. The nation is located in the rural village of Burns Lake, in the northwest central Interior of BC.
Ellen is concerned about the environment. She aspires to be educated on industry, specifically liquefied natural gas (LNG), and to communicate balanced LNG information.
She has been on the board of directors for the First Nations LNG Alliance since February 2021.
She has served on the board of Carrier Sekani Family Services, and the Burns Lake Native Development Corporation. She has also sat on tables at the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council.
Ellen has lived most of her life in the Okanagan with her husband, Ken, and three children, Kelsey, Cory and Nikki. She spent years driving truck and school bus, until a work place injury ended that career.
Councillor: Saik’uz Nation
Jackie Thomas has been an elected councillor for the Saik’uz First Nation since 2019. She earlier served two terms as chief councillor, and a term as her nation’s land and resources manager
She is a mother of four and grandmother of one, is a member of the Frog clan, and resides on reserve.
Ms. Thomas has been involved in community development for over three decades. She’s a board member of the Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment and Training Association. And she is a director of her nation’s Tin Toh Forest Products, and of the First Nations Limited Partnership.
Her passions are traditional activities on the land: hunting, fishing, gathering medicines, and ceremonies.
Manager: Skin Tyee Nation
Jade Irwin, general band manager of Skin Tyee Nation in BC, is secretary of the Alliance.
With a background in oil, gas, and pipeline work, and near completion of a financial management degree, she came back to work for her Nation, focusing on economic development and building strong relationships with other Nations to develop investment opportunities.
Although her main role for the Nation is in business, Jade’s passion is keeping youth active in culture, health, sports, and education to build a strong foundation for success in life.
Chief Councillor: Kitselas Nation
Glenn Bennett was elected chief councillor in June 2021 — in a return to the Kitselas Nation’s council.
He had previously served as councillor from 1999 to 2001, and as chief councillor for 10 years from then to 2011.
Chief Bennett has also served over 26 years with the Kitselas treaty department, including more than 12 years as its current director of treaty implementation.
He says of the LNG Canada project: “I’m very pleased that we have a number of our members actually working on the project. We see people that are making a decent living. You see them driving new vehicles, providing for their families, not having to leave the community.”