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Board of Directors

David Williams

David Williams, President

David Williams - B.A. (Hon.) Anthropology, B.L.S. (U.B.C.) - FONV President and Executive Director
Telephone: 250 592-1088

David has worked as a professional librarian at Simon Fraser University, in land surveying, and as a seaman on freighters abroad. He farmed and homesteaded for nineteen years.
David’s roots go far back into the history of the Tsilhqot’in and the Nemaiah Valley. His grandmother’s people are The St’at’imc (Lillooet) who traded into the area for hundreds of years, enjoying a not always peaceful relationship with the people of Tsilhqot’in. More recently, his pioneer surveyor grandfather gave the great mountain, Ts’il?os, which watches over the Nemaiah Valley, its European name of Tatlow (in the 1890’s).
Of FONV David says: “I have been gratified to be able to help develop an organization which has become so effective in protecting one of the wonders of Canada. Acting locally, we recognize the global implications of what we are doing. Our efforts are in the face of a global explosion of humanity increasingly committed to a failing economic model that has no tolerance for alternative ways of being. The result is an insatiable demand for resources that threatens environmental and social collapse. I see in the struggle of the Xeni people an effort to maintain cultural and hence individual meaning based on traditional values which will sustain and protect the environment in the face of this relentless onslaught”.
As research director his work for FONV includes guiding students, supporters and media interested in the wild horses and other wildlife of the remote Brittany Triangle.

Susanne Wilson

Susanne Wilson, Vice-President

Susanne has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Simon Fraser University and a diploma in Horticulture Therapy from Malaspina University College. Her interest in conservation and in the issues surrounding attachment to land are rooted in her experience farming in the beautiful Peace River country in northern Alberta in the 1970s. She developed an awareness of the vital and complex relationship that First Nations people have with their traditional lands during the Inquiry into the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline in the mid-1970s. While in Grande Prairie, in addition to raising three small boys, horses, cattle and grain, Susanne was the founding chair of a society which established the first accredited child care centers north of Edmonton.

While living in Vancouver, Susanne served for several years on the board of the Vancouver Food Bank and worked to establish Special Olympics on the North Shore. She worked in the horticulture field in various capacities, operating her own gardening service as "The Galloping Gardener"
Since living in Victoria, Susanne has been a volunteer for Earth Walk and, as a member and volunteer for The Land Conservancy of B.C., worked with a dedicated group that saved Abkhazi Garden from development. She also volunteers with UNICEF Victoria, helping to organize several annual fund-raising events.

Susanne says: " I consider the way in which the Friends of the Nemiah Valley are supporting the Xeni Gwet'in in defending their traditional territory is unique and possibly unprecedented. The relationship between FONV and the people of Xeni is one of mutual respect and one that recognizes and acknowledges a deeply shared commitment to preserving and determining the future of the magnificent Nemiah Valley.
By combining the knowledge and wisdom of the Xeni Gwet'in with expert field research, FONV and the Xeni are demonstrating how effective such a collaboration can be.”

Wolfgang Zilker

Wolfgang Zilker, Treasurer

Wolfgang held a position as a systems administrator for a German company before starting his own software development and consulting company in 1984, specializing in customized software products and programming.

In 1999, Wolfgang and his family of 5 immigrated to Canada where he started his own company, VSIP Consulting Inc., a Victoria based company focussing on web design, e-commerce. e-tourism, database programming and webhosting. In 2003, he set up GoBC, a web portal for arts and cultural tourism in B.C., supporting B.C. artists and offering free listings for artists and non-profit organizations.

In 1993, he and his family visited the Nemiah Valley for the first time. As an environmentalist at heart, he stood in awe of its sweeping meadows and towering mountains – an untouched beauty. This beauty he has strived to preserve since then.

“One day I want my children’s grandchildren to walk the Nemiah Valley and be able to feel the same spiritual bond, in all its beauty and majestic scenery, as I do today”.

Pat Swift

Pat Swift, Secretary

Originally from Scotland, in 1970 Pat came to B.C. via Ontario. She raised her two daughters on Salt Spring Island where she chopped wood, carried water and learned how to make stained glass windows. After a brief (20 year) hiatus, she moved to Victoria to complete her degree in Anthropology and Psychology, begun at Trinity College at the University of Toronto in the 1960’s.

As strong advocate for volunteer service and with a deep interest in personal empowerment and social change, Pat was a founding member of both the first parent run co-operative pre-school and a successful women’s craft co-operative on Salt Spring Island and a Crisis Line worker for the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre. In her professional career, she trained as a draughts person and has been involved in managing land survey businesses for over 20 years. Currently, she operates a family portfolio of rental properties.

“I believe that positive social change is becoming more and more dependent on groups like FONV. The level of commitment you find amongst people who join together to achieve a common purpose is extremely heart warming… and often overwhelming.”

Sibylle Zilker

Sibylle Zilker, Director

Sibylle’s background as financial accountant for many years for a German import/export and wholesale company has been very important for her dedicated work as volunteer for non-profit societies and environmental organizations. After moving to Canada in 1999 she now succeeds in an executive position at the Victoria based internet and software company VSIP Consulting Inc. She is also actively involved in developing a free web portal for artists,, to promote “Arts and Cultural Tourism” in British Columbia.
She fell in love with B.C. on her first float plane trip to the Tsilhqot’in in 1993. Fascinated by nature’s vast untouched beauty and scenery she and her husband Wolfgang decided to immigrate to Canada so in 1999 they moved from Germany to Victoria.

Peter Hunt

Peter Hunt, Director

Peter Hunt holds a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in molecular biology and evolutionary genetics from the University of Victoria.  Prior to that he attended Camosun College in the Environmental Technology Program. Peter worked at the BC Cancer Agency’s Genome Sciences Centre in Vancouver before becoming the Master Distiller at his family’s business, Victoria Spirits, a position he currently holds.  Also passionate about photography, Peter and his wife, Natalie, run a small photography business.

In 2005, Peter traveled to Uganda, East Africa, to work on an HIV treatment project. In 2007, he founded Partnerships for Opportunity Development Association (PODA). PODA is a Victoria based organization that supports community-lead projects in Western Uganda that focus on sustainable economic development, environment, health and education. They include, beekeeping, dairy goat breeding programs, alternative energy projects and vocational training, among others initiatives His experience working closely on these projects has solidified Peter’s interest in working in support of grassroots movements and indigenous rights both at home in BC and abroad.

Whether it’s sailing, camping, cross-country skiing or hiking, Peter enjoys being outdoors with his young family. He recognizes the intrinsic value of the natural world and is dedicated to protecting BC’s wild places from environmentally destructive human activities.

Scott Kouri

Scott Kouri, Director

My name is Scott Kouri and I have been living and raising a family on Coast and Strait Salish territory for 15 years. My family immigrated to Canada around 1900, coming from England on my mother’s side and from Lebanon on my father’s. I grew up in Montreal, Quebec and my family continues to live there.
I am currently a graduate student in the School of Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria where I also teach. My research and academic focus is on politicized praxis, concepts of identity, and decolonization. I also work as a clinical counsellor at the University and as a youthworker for various community organizations. I have worked in childcare, post-secondary education, and mental health for roughly 10 years.
I am new to the FONV organization and hope to bring my academic knowledge and youthwork background to support Tsilhqot’in sovereignty and cultural continuity. I think that FONV represents a good example of supportive relationships between settlers and Indigenous people. I feel privileged and honored to be working with the group in support of Tsilhqot’in goals.

Charlene Simon

Charlene Simon, Director

I was raised in Williams Lake, and spent summer holidays in the Chilcotin, which is when I learned to love the area. I can recall watching bluebirds feeding their babies, listening to loons on the lakes, and the feeling of freedom and peace.

I have an Associate of Arts degree in Music from Capilano College, and a Bachelor of Education degree from U Vic.

My work history has been quite varied… I have tuned and repaired pianos, waitressed, taught elementary school, been the Co-ordinator for the South Island Foster Parent Association, and the Ombudsperson for the University of Victoria.

I have a strong interest in fairness and justice, and I have taken  courses in Mediation, Negotiation, Conflict Resolution, and Restorative Justice. I have led Restorative Justice Circles, and believe that this can be a very effective way to achieve a fair outcome in situations where there are disputes or harm has been done.

I have served on the Boards of the South Island Dispute Resolution Centre, the Victoria West Community Association, Restorative Justice Victoria and CARP Victoria.

I am happy to be involved with FONV, and hope to be able to contribute to the incredible work they have done with the Tsilhqot’in peoples and their homeland.

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