What We Do
Spirit North uses sport, play and land-based activities to engage, inspire and educate children and youth. Our goal is to spark inspiration for health and facilitate the development of community-led sport and activity programming that promotes leadership and increases the positive development of Indigenous children and their communities.
We strive to work together and build strong relationships with educators and community leaders to use the transformative power of sport to achieve positive, lasting change.
Spirit North programs are delivered free of charge.
“My child has had many positive impacts from skiing; I see my son learning how to ski. I see him learning about nature around us and connect back to the land, which warms my heart.” –Parent, Witset First Nation
Meet The Team
- Kevin Dunn: Program Leader Penticton
- Kiah Davidson, Jenna Sim: Program Leader sənsisyustən House of Learning
- Naemi Fiechter: Program Leader Penticton
- Perianne Jones: Program Leader Penticton
- Rachelle VanZanten, Chris Paulson: Program Leader Lake Babine Nation
- Sheena Briggs, Travis Pete: Program Leader Witset
- Stefan Schulz, Kim Hoekstra: Program Leader Kistumkalum
- Annika Olesen: Program Leader, Northern AB
- Dakota Nepoose: Program Leader Maskwacis
- Derek Warrior: Program Leader, Traveling
- Lannie Houle: Program Leader, Lac La Biche region
- Leah Reid: Program Leader, Central AB
- Les Parsons: Program Leader Bonnyville area
- Lori Davis: Program Leader Sunchild, Bighorn, and O'Chiese
- Marshal German: Amiskwacîwâskahikan Program Coordinator
- Nathan Sedgewick: Program Leader Morley, Exshaw
- Tristan House: Program Leader Tsuu T'ina, Morley, and Exshaw
- McIvor Jr: Program Leader Hall Lake, Mistawasis and Montreal Lake
- Nathan Nepinak: Program Leader Little Black River
- Sam Anthony: Program Coordinator MB, SK, Program Leader, Berens River and Hollow Water Nations
- Tristan Schneider: Program Leader Nelson House
Board of Directors
Barbara serves as senior strategic counsel on a broad portfolio of clients and has 20 years marketing and communications experience in a range of sectors including energy, financial services, retail, pharmaceutical, non-profit and government. Barbara holds a B.Sc. (Hons) and an MBA from Queen’s University. She also attended Executive Business School at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth University.
Laurie Thompson is the Principal at Kikino Elementary School and a life-long resident of the Kikino Métis Settlement. Laurie embraced the Spirit North program for her school over five years ago. She actively initiated an after-school ski club, developed a leadership component to the program, and encouraged families and community members to become involved. Laurie was recently named one of Shaw’s 50 Outstanding Canadians.
Andy is a seasoned business owner in sustainable development, clean technology, and renewable energy in small, remote communities across Canada, the U.S. and Latin America. A longtime volunteer in cross-country skiing, events and trail building, Andy loves nothing more than having fun outside while learning . In the summer, he can be found biking, paddling, and attempting to catch some elusive fish.
Rob Buffler is an experienced and passionate non-profit leader with a successful history of innovation, collaborative leadership, and relationship building. He has delivered community-based programs at the local, regional, and international level for various NGOs. Rob is a passionate naturalist, outdoor enthusiast, skier, hiker, and avid fly fisherman.
Dr. Sam Wong is a paediatrician who works part-time in Yellowknife doing general paediatrics and travel clinics for a variety of communities in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. He is also a part-time hospital paediatrician at the Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton doing inpatient care four weeks a year. Dr. Wong was most recently the chair of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Health Committee of the Canadian Pediatric Society.
Jude Daniels is a member of the Law Society of Alberta, the Indigenous Bar Association and the Métis Nation of Alberta. She has worked in the oil and gas sector as a senior legal counsel and senior Aboriginal Relations advisor for over 20 years. Jude has written “Métis History and Experience and Residential Schools in Canada”, and co-authored “Métis Memories of Residential School."
Dr. Sean Lessard is from Montreal Lake Cree Nation in Treaty 6 territory. Sean is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Regina, and Associate Professor at the University of Alberta. His work focuses on indigenous youth empowerment and leadership through wellness experiences. He is the co-founder of Growing Young Movers, an intergenerational youth wellness program.
Larry is a CPA with over 25 years of tax experience in both public practice and industry. An avid skier and cyclist, Larry has supported the cross-country ski community for a number of years as a parent, volunteer and board member. He has been the Treasurer of various non-profit organizations focused on community involvement, the arts and amateur sports.
Jeff Horvath is a member of the Ojibways of Onigaming in north-western Ontario. He is the principal of the Tsuut’ina Nation High School and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Calgary. A former board member of Outward Bound Canada from 2012 to 2019 he was also an instructor taking students on multi-week expeditions in the
mountains and lakes of this country. He is also an Assistant Hiking Guide for the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides.