Indigenous Leader

Khelsilem is a prominent Indigenous leader and current Chairperson of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation). First elected to Council in 2017, Chairperson Khelsilem was an official Spokesperson and active in leading work on various projects and initiatives, including developing an affordable housing not-for-profit that is building 1,000 units of subsidized affordable homes and the 6,000-market apartment development at his Nation’s Sen̓áḵw lands, the largest Indigenous housing development in Canadian history.

Chairperson Khelsilem’s lifelong work has focused on progressive social change, including climate justice, social democracy and gender equity. Chairperson Khelsilem brought this passion for change when he became leader of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) in 2021. He has been a strong advocate for democratic reform, good governance, and policy change that addresses the material needs & conditions of his people.

Chairperson Khelsilem sits on numerous boards and advisory committees for foundations and governments. He was previously a board member with Vancity Credit Union and a member of the BC Climate Solutions Council as well as the Co-Chair of the City of Vancouver’s United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People Taskforce. Chairperson Khelsilem is a fluent speaker of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh — the Squamish People’s original language, and before serving the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation), he was a Lecturer at Simon Fraser University in an Indigenous Language Education program he built to help train a new generation of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh language speakers. Chairperson Khelsilem currently resides in Vancouver.

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