About Caring In All Directions

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 Illustration by Jamin Zuroski, a Namgis First Nations Artist residing in Victoria, BC

About Caring In All Directions

Caring in All Directions is an advisory group of caring and committed Indigenous people including Elders, Knowledge Keepers and other professionals that came together to guide and support the development and implementation of the We Are Indigenous: Big Worries/Fears, Parent/Caregiver Support Program.

The group upholds the program’s vision of supporting Parents/Caregivers in their sacred job of raising their children to know who they are and their ability to respond to the challenges of the Big Worries/Fears. This work is deeply-rooted in the understanding of the wellness knowledges of First Nations, Métis and Inuit cultures and is grounded in Indigenous perspectives of:

• Strong-Spiritedness,
• Wellness and Wholeness as our Original Nature, and
• (Re)Connection with the Wisdom practices of our Ancestors and Elders.

While we acknowledge the harmful influences of colonialism that have disrupted our lives and which can prompt some Big Worries/Fears, in this program we highlight our responses to the world around us and within us.

Caring in All Directions thanks CMHA for hosting this important program. 

Jacki McPherson
Caring in All Directions member and CMHA BC Board Co-Chair

During her tenure as CMHA BC Board Co-Chair, Jacki has been a strong advocate for mental health programs for Indigenous people and her leadership has been instrumental in developing this program. As a grandmother of two beautiful grandsons, her passion and energy have been a driving force in developing the We Are Indigenous: Big Worries/Fears, Parent/Caregiver Support Program. 

Jacki has worked in Indigenous health for 40 years and continues to be a champion for Indigenous people in all areas of health. During her career, Jacki has been a part of numerous national and provincial committees that is charting the course of health and building capacity for Indigenous communities across Canada. She has been a health director for 30 years working with Okanagan Syilx communities, and currently works as Health Services Manager for the Penticton Indian Band. As a founding member of the First Nations Health Directors, she served as the president for 4 years. Jacki is also an instructor for both FNHA and UBC training Indigenous health professionals. Further, she has developed health curriculum and continues to work with national and provincial committees to develop standards and policy.

Brenda Baptiste
Caring in All Directions member

As a member of the Osoyoos Indian Band, Brenda graduated as a Registered Nurse specializing in Indigenous health with a focus on community development, and worked with the Osoyoos Indian Band in the area of community health. And is currently working with Penticton Indian Band to develop and implement a community based and culturally centered approach to Mental Health and Substance Use programming. 

For the past 16 years, she has been the Chair of the Indigenous Tourism Association of British Columbia. Brenda’s focus is to actively promote tourism as a foundation for socio-economic development for Indigenous communities, and has committed her energy to the development and promotion of the tourism industry within BC.  More recently, she was appointed as an active member of the BC Taskforce for Tourism which developed recommendations to support tourism recovery during the COVID pandemic. Brenda also is an active board member for the Tourism Industry Association of British Columbia, and continues to advocate, support business, social and cultural development for all people in British Columbia. And actively participates in the Coalition of BC Tourism & Hospitality Businesses which provides support and advice on COVID related economic recovery strategies. 

Brenda also is an active board member of the South Okanagan Women In Need Society, including chair of the governance committee. Her vision is to integrate services and support for women in the South Okanagan, especially Indigenous women. Brenda is honored and humbled to have been awarded the Order of BC in 2021 for her work in Indigenous Tourism, and believes that culturally based economic opportunities are a foundation for health and wellness for the entire community.

Bryce Mercredi
Caring in All Directions Elder member

Bryce Mercredi was the first child of 8 born to Métis parents Peggy and Xavier Mercredi in Fort Smith, NWT. His parents were both born and raised in Fort Chipewyan where they attended residential school as day students. Bryce comes from many generations of Métis who worked for the fur trade, the Hudson Bay Company, guides for explorers, Alexander Mackenzie, John Franklin and as postmaster in Fort Chipewyan on the North shore of Lake Athabasca. The Mercredi family eventually moved to Yellowknife where the children were raised. Once acquiring a Mine Technician Diploma, Bryce worked in Northern BC, New Guinea, the Yukon and finally Port Hardy where his 3 children were born. The family moved to Comox in 1985 where he and his wife still reside. They are the proud grandparents of 3.

Bryce has been involved in providing a voice for the Métis people for over 25 years including forming the Métis community North Island Métis where he served as director and vice president. Since its formation in 2004, Bryce has remained president of the local Métis association MIKI’SIW. Through the years the MIKI’SIW has grown in numbers and has had an impact on our Aboriginal community through their charitable work and creation of weekly family oriented cultural workshops. The MIKI’SIW has been an active participant in various cultural events such as Walking With Our Sisters, Aboriginal Days, Aboriginal Graduation and has given identity to the Métis people of our community. 

Bryce has been a part of the Aboriginal Education Council for over 20 years and shares his knowledge of Métis history and culture as a cultural presenter for Comox Valley Schools. He was recently presented with the Order of the Sash which is a distinct award provided by Métis leadership to honor important work by an individual.

Linda van Wieringen
Caring in All Directions Elder member

My name is Linda Van Wieringen and I am Métis.  My ancestry comes from my great grandparent’s, Joseph Fidler (French/Ojibway) and Matilda Henry (Cree).  My mother is Cree/Ojibway/French and Chinese and my father was Scottish/English.

In 1999, I moved from Vancouver to Vernon where I opened my business UTMOST IMAGINATION and began studying my Métis heritage and teaching classes in traditional arts.

In 2011, I volunteered as the Secretary/Treasurer/Women’s Representative with the Vernon Metis Association.   In 2016, I became President and in 2020 Region 3 Women’s Representative until my move to Fort St John, BC. in 2021.

I have been involved as an Elder/Cultural Educator for the VDMA, KMA, MWBC, Nobody’s Perfect Peetigway, Mamawapowin, Headstart programs and the CMHA.  

As a proud Métis woman, I believe it is my duty to pass on my knowledge to future generations so that our traditional ways are not forgotten.

Cathy Richardson
Caring in All Directions member and program writer

Catherine Richardson/Kinewesquao, PhD is a Métis psychotherapist in private practice and a co-founder of the Centre for Response-Based Practice. She has Cree, Gwichin and English ancestry and is the current Director of First Peoples Studies at Concordia University in Montreal/Tiotá: ke. She provides clinical supervision to counsellors including practitioners working with women and family members connected to the issue of MMIWG. Catherine is a Quebec researcher on the Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative With Vulnerable Populations and with the FRIDAA project (Femmes, Recherche, Intervention, Development, Approaches, Autochtone). She does response-based practice and systemic family therapy community trainings for violence prevention/recovery intervention workers. Catherine has been working in Indigenous communities for over 25 years. She is the mother of three children and has published five books, the most recent entitled “Speaking the Wisdom of Our Time” and “Structural Violence Against Youth in Canada: Speaking Out and Pushing Back.” Catherine is interested in promoting healing, recovery and well-being in a spirit of dignity and social justice. 

Cheryle Henry
Caring in All Directions member and program writer

Cheryle Henry is a Secwepemc and Nuu chal nulth First Nation woman with a mixed ancestry of Spanish, French, German and Irish. Her spirit name is Waska Pimina Miki Sew Iskwew (Spiralling Eagle Woman). She has a BA in Child and Youth Care and has been in the helping field for 38 years, with a private practice in counselling in Duncan, BC since 1994. Cheryle works from a culturally aware, wholistic, social justice and response-based framework. She is passionate about assisting people to live from a place of personal mastery in self-awareness in order to creatively meet their challenges with compassion, wisdom and whole heart responses. She has worked as an educator/counsellor for various community programs, a therapist/presenter with the Islands of Safety Program: Safety Planning Model for Urban Aboriginals and Metis Families in Cases of Violence and writer for the We Are Indigenous; Big Worries/Fears, Parent/Caregiver Support Program.

Jillian Jones
Caring in All Directions member

Jillian works with Métis Nation BC’s Ministry of Mental Health and Harm Reduction as the Director of Mental Health and Harm Reduction. Jillian’s work with MNBC, and as part of the Caring in All Directions group, has been to hold space for the lenses and perspectives of Métis communities, as well as working to advocate for a distinctions-based approach. Graduating with a degree in education, Jillian has worked in the mental health field for the past ten years. She is profoundly grateful for the opportunity to walk alongside this work. Jillian is a settler with Italian and Russian ancestry, and is situated in the lands of the lək̓ʷəŋən People, known today as the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations.

Pawa Haiyupis
Caring in All Directions facilitator 

Pawa (pawatsqʷačiił) is an ahousaht citizen with strong family ties to tla-o-qui-aht nation and hahoulthee (territory), and she feels the most belonging and healing when in her ancestral places. She is a graduate student in Indigenous Nationhood at UVIC and holds an undergraduate degree in First Nations Studies from Vancouver Island University. She has over 23-years of facilitating transformational gatherings in First Nations communities across Canada and enjoys providing meaningful engagement in decolonial systems change initiatives. Her career’s role is intervening with ongoing colonial damage to Indigenous people and Nature by encouraging more connections to our traditional waterways, lands, languages, songs and ceremonies. Pawa also hosts safe enough spaces to explore complex questions of identity, self-governance, and nation rebuilding. Since 2020 Pawa has facilitated the Caring in All Directions working group meetings, and she is honoured to be part of this mental wellness initiative for Indigenous people in BC. 

Lenny Baptiste
Caring in All Directions member

Bio to come.