VYPER Team Leads sit on a board of young people located across B.C. The entire VYPER organization is run and overseen by VYPER Team Leads. Team Leads represent VYPER in their communities through projects, events, media, and/or sitting on community tables. Our leads often host their own initiatives and will look to lift up other youth in their communities and help them find connection with indigenous culture.

Marcella Sunshine
Ojibwe, Fishing Lake First Nation
She / Her
Aaniin! Hello everyone, my name is Marcella Sunshine. I am Anishinabek, Ojibwe from Fishing Lake First Nation, Wadena, Saskatchewan. I am 22 years old and currently the coordinator for VYPER- Visionary Youth Peers for Equity & Revitalization. I also work for Matsqui-Abbotsford Impact Society, (VYPERs host organization) as a Co-Executive Director in Training. I care about the work VYPER does because it challenges the preset narrative inflicted among thousands of Indigenous people across the world. We focus on revitalization and reconnection of culture for all First Peoples of Canada.
Like many other peoples stories, I was put into the foster system at birth and raised in reoccurring themes of domestic violence and lack of traditional knowledge or teachings. At VYPER, we look to adjust this narrative and begin to teach the upcoming generations of youth about where they come from, who they are and why that is something they should be proud of. When I was 14 years old, I remember sitting at a park by myself, thinking, "I am meant to have a bigger family, more community and more love around me." In only six months, VYPER has connected me to people I call family across the province. I am grateful that I can confidently say I feel that family around me now.
I have advocated for several years in various sectors, including the foster system, harm reduction, the opioid crisis, suicide prevention, life promotion and cultural revitalization. I have sat on First Nations Health Authority Provincial Youth Council & currently sit on the board planning a global conference, “Healing Our Spirits Worldwide,” (FNHA). I have been honored with opportunities to travel Canada to speak and advocate for the themes above. I currently study Indigenous Peoples Knowledge & Political Science at University of the Fraser Valley and plan to enroll in law school to specialize in Indigenous law. I want our young people to know they have a network of other young people at VYPER who want to revitalize the culture with and among them as lifelong friends and family. We are continually creating opportunities to go from displaced to interlaced, and that's where our resurgence starts.
Miigwetch (Thank you)
Helena May
Xa’xtsa First Nation
She / They / 2-Spirit
Helena is from Xa’xtsa First Nation. She currently resides in Vancouver. Helena has extensive history with facilitating and coordinating youth governed groups in Mission BC. She has spent a substantial amount of time working with the street community, as well as on topics including harm reduction, foster system and cultural revitalization.
Helena now works as a teachers assistant in Vancouver & spends time teaching her students songs, drumming & artistic expression. She is an artist & a singer. As part of VYPER, Helena plans to start after school programs for indigenous youth to reconnect and learn where they come from.
"Creativity springs from the yearning to be the fulness of who you are." - Baba Ram Dass
P.S Helena is an AWESOME skateboarder. You can catch her at skateparks, pow wows & music festivals. Stay hippie forever sista.
Nova McIntyre
Skuppah Indian Band // Lytton, B.C
They / 2-Spirit

Nova is from the Skuppah reserve in Lytton. They currently reside in Chilliwack, B.C & move between the province for various work jobs, making sure to deconstruct and Indigenize colonial workspaces.

“Im passionate about reviving and teaching my traditional language- Nłeʔkepmxcín”.
Nova cares deeply about the success of VYPER members, their projects and the experiences our community gets to engage in as a part of our initiatives. They will often slow the conversations down and ask these questions,

“Are the people who should be involved in these conversations present?”
“What might this project mean for VYPER in a year? Two years? Five?”
“What are your intentions with hosting X initiative? How might it be perceived by X Y Z? How will you respond?”

Nova also talks about what the face of modern revitalization could look like for Nations across the country. “When the general population think of Indigenous traditions, they may think our practices are a thing of the past, or must be practiced in a way that represents historic ways of doing, but we can modernize our culture and it will still be very much alive. I can go harvesting and use my ATV to travel deep into the mountain. I can take a boat out to go fishing if I don’t have access to a canoe’.

“Be who you are, because everyone's individuality is a blessing”. – Nova

Pavel Desjarlais
Fort McKay // Cree

He / Him

Tansi kahkiyaw (Hello everyone) my name is Pavel Desjarlais, my family comes from the fort McKay cree nation which is located in treaty six territory. I spend a lot of my time practicing my culture which includes, making Quillwork, attending Powwows, Round dances and ceremonies. Some of my accomplishments include my singing and dancing taking me traveling through out Canada and the United States even as far as Australia, teaching youth in various communities about our culture, working on different art projects which includes restoring Chief Crazyhorse’s Pipe Bundle bag, and volunteering at different rallies and events for Indigenous issues. A passion of mine is focusing on cultural revitalization and helping our youth to reconnect with our culture.

The work I hope to do with VYPER is to create safe spaces for youth to practice and learn about our indigenous cultures.

“I see a time of Seven Generations when all the colors of mankind will gather under the Sacred Tree Of Life and the whole earth will become One Circle again.” -Chief Crazyhorse

Nicole Provost
Huron-Wendat // Nipissing

She / Her / 2-Spirit

Kwe! Ahskennon’nia ihchie’s? Nicole yiatsih. Wendat endi’. 

Hello! How are you? My name is Nicole. I am Huron-Wendat and Nipissing, as well as French Canadian. I am very excited to be a VYPER team lead. I was raised in Abbotsford BC. I am passionate about learning about indigenous culture, and advocating for cultural revitalization and equity for indigenous people across Turtle Island. I am currently a lead and an emcee at VYPER's Cultural Nights. I am studying Halq'emeylem at the University of the Fraser Valley, and I hope to become proficient in the language one day. I strongly believe in personal healing through reconnection with Indigenous culture.

I am also a strong advocate for the inclusion of neurodiverse people in schools and workplaces. I run my own charity called Mayday Club, where I work to empower young neurodivergent people in the hopes that they can achieve their full potential. I am a student of aviation at UFV, and I intend to become an aerial firefighter one day. 

I am so excited to be part of VYPER, and I am looking forward to seeing the amazing work we can all do together! Entïio!

Angie Calhoun
Haisla // Gitxsan // Duck Bay First Nation
She / Her
Proud to be from Haisla, Gitxsan, and Duck Bay First Nation.
Angie currently resides on the Traditional territories of the ‘Snuneymuxw, Snaw-Naw-As, Quw’utsun and Tla’amin.’ Angie is passionate about social justice. She has advocated for Indigenous rights through awareness projects within her school and community. She led projects regarding MMiWG, National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, undrinkable water on reserves, police brutality, over-representation of children in the foster care system, and over-incarceration of indigenous men and women within Canada’s prison system. She is currently n “Ambassador of Hope” with WeMatter and a VYPER Lead. Angie has also led several cultural nights in Abbotsford, B,C.
Angie is on her journey of reconnecting. She now dances both Women’s Jingle and Women’s Fancy Shawl at Pow Wows and shares love for singing, drumming and teaching. Angie is currently enrolled at VIU for Indigenous Studies (BA). After obtaining her degree, she hopes to attend law school. Her goal is to improve social inequality by becoming an ‘Indigenous Rights Lawyer.’
We are honoured to have Angie on the team, she has modelled VYPERs "Pass the Torch" model exceptionally well, by working her way up from a youth participant in our events, to applying for the summer position, to leading her own cultural nights and now taking on initiatives and repping us on the island as a Lead.
Megan Metz
Haisla Nation
She / Her
ya’uc̓ mámiyaɫa
nuxʷ Megan Metz ti
q̓éndaux̄ʷ x̄e’ábexʷex̄λayu
gáiqelan c̓imáuc̓ix̄i
hélx̄’inixʷ núgʷa
x̄á’isla núgʷa
Megan Metz, q̓éndaux̄ʷ, hails from the Haisla Nation on the Northwest Coast of British Columbia. She is 24 years old and a member of the black fish clan. She holds a First Nations Language Certificate in x̄á’islak̓ala from the University of Northern British Columbia as well as an Associate of Arts Degree from Okanagan College. Megan is passionate about mental health advocacy, language reclamation, and cultural revival. She works to combine the knowledge gained from her educational pursuits with what has been passed down to her by her family and community.
Megan is the former Digitization and Preservation Technician of the Haisla Culture and Language Program. It was there she learned how to document, record, and preserve Haisla stories and language while working with Elders, Fluent Speakers, and Knowledge Keepers in her community. Currently, she teaches beginner language classes in x̄á’islak̓ala, the Haisla language, with the goal of passing on the knowledge that has been shared with her. For Megan, her work is fuelled by the hope that current and future generations may be empowered by the wisdom of their Ancestors.
Isaiah Harris
Stz'uminus First Nation

He / Him

Isaiah Harris is a screenwriter from the Stz'uminus First Nation on Vancouver Island. He graduated from Ladysmith Secondary in 2020 and attended the Vancouver Film School for a year-long writing course in 2021. Since completing the course he has been a part of various projects that have highlighted the stories of Indigenous peoples. Namely, Thuit with Social Planning Cowichan (SPC) and alongside Cowichan elders, a multimedia storytelling exhibition that he worked on as the lead writer, providing story and narration to the experience. He worked with Orca Cove Media Productions through the CMPA mentorship program as a researcher. Most recently he has worked on Orca Cove Media's latest film in August 2023 as an Executive Producer.
Our team met Isaiah at an Emerging Indigenous Writers workshop- we connected instantly and knew Isaiah had to join us on our VYPER Journey. Help us welcome him!