Board of Directors

Irene Anderson (nee Cardinal) is a member of the Saddle Lake Nation. She has been happily married for 45 years and is a proud mother of 3 and grandmother of 7. Irene is grounded because of the strength and perseverance of her parents Victoria (nee Jackson) and Don Cardinal. She enjoys being with family in the outdoors, camping, swimming and hiking.

Donna Beaumont, granddaughter of Agnes Nelson and daughter of Alice Purcell, is a member of the Xaxtsa First Nation. Donna divides her time between her 5 children, 9 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. Donna is retired but continues to volunteer with school aged children as a resident Elder. She enjoys cooking, travel and crafting.

Martina Samson is an Indigenous woman with a passion for outdoor pursuits. Martina, an Anthropologist with a specialty in Indigenous studies, brings her experience and knowledge to creating culturally sensitive programs at Rise Up. Martina enjoys hiking, camping and exploring.


Weyt’k (Hello),
My name is Jo Ann Buffalo (Manuel) Neskonlith Indian Band member returned from Samson Cree Nation, Alberta, which was my home for 37 years. Currently live in Chase, BC, been back 2.5 years in Secwepec’ule’cw (Shuswap Territories). I have faced many of Intergenerational Traumas, loss of immediate family members. My older half brother only knew him for couple of years passed age of 19 (Suicide), lost my youngest sister to (murder/suicide) her common-law killed himself left behind their son whom our mother raised. My late husband Calvin S. Buffalo passed away at the age of 49 due to diabetes/cardiac arrest, he was not only a vital part of our family especially to his sons, also to the communities of Four bands, the most commemorative work was in Samson Tribal Law where he reformed some young men’s lives from gangs back into family life and society. Lost my eldest son Tyrell C. Buffalo passed at the age of 23 years old to depression/suicide. He was a natural leader, loving, caring, humble, talented acoustic guitarist, cross country runner. Over 300 people attended both funerals of my lost leaders. My youngest son Josef J. Buffalo passed away at the age of 26 years old from overdose. He was bold, tenacious, big heart always helped the needed. He would be on the wagon for awhile then fall into depression, anxiety, drinking and drugs. I remember him asking if caring so much for people is a curse or a gift. He left his only son with me, my grandson Tyrell J. Omeasoo Buffalo. As for so many others the depression, drugs, grieving was always there did not know how to cope, heal or see any hope. My Buffalo family of five is now at two, my daughter and I carry on the family name, with support of immediate family son in-law, grand daughter, grandsons, great grand daughter, Mother, father and siblings, extended family and friends. Along the communities play a great resource of support and involvement culture, spiritual ceremonies, gatherings. Through resilience and perseverance, we shall keep moving forward. For my daughter, grandchildren, great-grandchild and adopted children. For Every Child Matters. My main career was in the health field mostly Homecare Nursing loved working with our people, for our people. Devoted 30 years at Maskwacis Health Services almost every department though mostly injury prevention and Home Care nursing. Currently working at Neskonlith Indian Band part-time with Education department, so I may have time to assist my elderly parents with their needs. I sit on various boards: Living off the Land, Forestry Circle, Rise Up Indigenous and House of the Moon. My role as a young elder apprentice 64 years young, very compassionate about our Every Child Matters, Truth and Reconciliation of our First Nations people, also kinship, prayers and ceremonies near to my heart. For our Creator, Mother Earth, water, sky and living beings. All my relations. Kukwstsetsemc,


Laura Dolha is from the Beaver Clan, and is a member of Lake Babine First Nation. She is an Indigenous Educator with a great passion for the outdoors, including plants and traditional medicines. Laura is the owner and operator of Ancestral Heartbeat Tours which is an Indigenous adventure ecotourism company based at Enderby Cliffs Provincial Park. Laura is the proud auntie to three nephews and four nieces.