Meet the team

Kelsie Kilawna

Reporter, Okanagan
Email | Twitter
I’m a Sqilxw (Syilx/Indigenous) woman who was born and raised in Inkumupulux (the head of Okanagan Lake). I am a storyteller, photographer and experienced listener. As a reporter, I have a passion for sharing stories that normalize our way of life so that future generations have a place to safely recognize self.

Kelsie’s work is supported in part with funding from the Local Journalism Initiative in partnership with The Discourse and APTN.

Chehala Leonard

Reporter, Okanagan
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I am of Nehiyaw (Cree), Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) and European descent. I am from the Aseniwuche Winewak Nation, and grew up in Grande Cache, Alberta. Prior to joining this team, I worked as a producer for six years. My passion is to tell stories, but more importantly, to give space to others whose stories need to be told.

Chehala’s work is supported in part with funding from the Local Journalism Initiative in partnership with The Discourse and APTN.

Athena Bonneau

Education Reporter, Okanagan
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My ancestry includes Okanagan, Syilx and Northern Cree. I was born and raised on the unceded territory of the Penticton Indian Reserve. My journalism experience includes working as the Indigenous correspondent for Global Okanagan. I am passionate about representing Indigenous Peoples in today’s world, while acknowledging history, following traditional protocol, and producing truthful work with integrity as an Indigenous woman.

Athena’s work is supported in part with funding from the Local Journalism Initiative in partnership with The Discourse and APTN.

Odette Auger

Health Reporter, Vancouver Island
Email
Aniin, I am Odette Auger, Sagamok Anishnawbek, living on the traditional territories of the toq qaymɩxʷ (Klahoose) also known as Cortes Island, for 21 years.  My journalism experience includes writing and producing for First People’s Cultural Council project, and local coop radio cortesradio.ca. This experience gave me an outlet for storytelling skills, and a lasting love of the listening, story gathering, and collaborative process.

Odette’s work is supported in part with funding from the Local Journalism Initiative in partnership with The Discourse and APTN.

Anna McKenzie

Child Welfare Reporter, Vancouver Island
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I am a member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation currently living on the unceded homeland of the Snuneymuxw First Nation. My background is in Indigenous child, youth and community engagement. I have a B.A in First Nations and Indigenous Studies from UBC and am an experienced writer and researcher. My passion is upholding the stories and lived experiences of Indigenous children and youth.

Anna’s work is supported in part with funding from the Local Journalism Initiative in partnership with The Discourse and APTN.

Bayleigh Marelj

Child Welfare/Health Reporter, Vancouver Island
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I am of Métis, Croatian and settler descent and am currently living and working on W̱SÁNEĆ and Lək̓ʷəŋən land. I am in the process of reconnecting to my kin and heritage. I am excited to come to this space as a learner and to help people share their stories. Before working for IndigiNews, I freelanced for several publications. I also hosted a radio show at my university station, CKDU 88.1 FM.

Bayleigh’s work is supported in part with funding from the Local Journalism Initiative in partnership with The Discourse and APTN.

Catherine (Katłįà) Lafferty

Education Reporter, Vancouver Island
Email
My name is Catherine (Katłįà) Lafferty, I am a Dene First Nation member of the Yellowknives in Somba K’e Northwest Territories now residing on Esquilmalt Territory. One of my very first jobs was working as a reporter for the local newspaper where I still contribute biweekly columns today. I am the author of “Northern Wildflower” a memoir, and the soon to be released fictional novel “Land-Water-Sky”.

Catherine’s work is supported in part with funding from the Local Journalism Initiative in partnership with The Discourse and APTN.

Sadaf Ahsan

Editor
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I grew up and am based in Toronto on the traditional territory of several nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples. I previously worked at NOW Magazine and the National Post. As an editor, I am dedicated to Indigenizing journalism in Canada, and creating a space and platform for marginalized writers whose stories need to be told and heard.

Lindsay Sample

Managing Editor
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I am the executive editor of The Discourse and part of a team working together to create IndigiNews. I’m based in Vancouver on the unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ / sel̓íl̓witulh. Throughout my eight-year journalism career, I have been working to build a more equitable and sustainable media ecosystem — something I remain committed to as I train, support and edit with IndigiNews. As a journalist and a settler, I am continuously working to decolonize my journalism practice.

Erin Millar

Partnerships and funding lead
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I am the founder and CEO of The Discourse. I grew up in the Okanagan Valley near the unceded territory of the Penticton Indian Reserve. I now live in East Vancouver on xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ / sel̓íl̓witulh territory. In 2015, I made a commitment to reconciling journalism in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action for media. I am honoured to advance that work by supporting the partnerships and funding needed to establish IndigiNews as a crucial independent Indigenous voice.

Emilee Gilpin

Advisor
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I call myself a Michif nomad. I’m of Cree-Métis, Filipina, and settler descent, currently living and working in the northeast of Brazil. I led the National Observer’s First Nations Forward series for two years before taking on my current role as the series’ managing director. I am contributing to IndigiNews as an advisor who is passionate about decolonizing journalism and supporting anti-oppressive media.