Chief & Council
Chief Dr. Ronald E. Ignace
Chief Dr. Ronald E. Ignace is the son of Lizzy Ignace from Skeetchestn and Francis Jules from Tk’wmlups. He was raised in Skeetchestn in the Secwepemc language by his great-grandparents Julienne (Sulyen) and Edward Eneas. He is a survivor of the Kamloops Indian Residential School. He has been the elected Chief of the Skeetchestn Band for more than 26 years since the early 1980s, and also served as Chairman of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council and president of the Secwepemc Cultural Education Society during the late 1980s and 1990s. For many years he was the co-chair of the Aboriginal university partnership between the Secwepemc and Simon Fraser University in Kamloops, B. C., and occasionally continues to teach courses in Secwepemc Language and First Nations Studies through SFU. He holds B.A. and M.A. Degrees in Sociology from the University of British Columbia, and completed his PhD in Anthropology at Simon Fraser University in 2008 with a dissertation titled Our Oral Histories are Our Iron Posts: Secwepemc Stories and Historical Consciousness.
Having more than sixty years of practical experience in Secwepemc traditional food harvesting and having learned these skills from his own elders who shared their stories and teachings in the Secwepemc language with him. Ron has published and co-published with his wife Marianne Ignace, several articles and book chapters on Secwepemc history, ethnobotany, language and culture. He was instrumental in establishing the AFN’s National Chiefs’ Committee on Language and Culture (1999-2003) and was called upon to chair the Task Force on Aboriginal Languages and Cultures appointed by the Federal Minister of Cultural and Heritage (2003-2005). He represented the AFN at the United Nations from 1989-1993. Throughout his many terms of office as chief of the Skeetchestn Band, supported by his band council and the community, he was able to settle two large specific claims which provided funds for buying more than a thousand acres of ranch land and grazing leases in Deadman Creek Valley and surrounding areas. The establishment of a three Million dollar trust for the band. He has been a leader in advancing the economic development of the band through various companies, and implemented a well-functioning housing program on reserve. Last not least, he has maintained the vision of seeking justice and reconciliation on the issues of Secwepemc land title and rights such as the Six Mile case leading to a settlement, and others which are ongoing.
Councillor Terry Deneault
Band Councillor Terry Deneault has a degree from Dawson Creek Northern Lights College in Agriculture. He has been a member of the Skeetchestn Council for many years. Terry has extensive traditional knowledge of the land, culture and ceremonies. He takes great pride in sharing his knowledge by teaching cultural traditions to the children of Skeetchestn Community School. He is actively learning the Secwepemc language.
Terry has lived in Skeetchestn all of his life, has a wife and three children and is regularly involved in fishing, hunting and rodeo announcing. He is very proud of Skeetchestn Indian Bands involvement in the mining industry and the relationship that has been developed with New Gold.
Councillor Terry Deneault ext. 209
Councillor Darrel Draney
Band Councillor, Darrel Draney has lived in the Skeetchestn Territory all of his life. He has served three terms as a Skeetchestn Councillor and is currently a member of the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation Executive Committee and a member of Stk’emlupsemc Enterprises Inc. (SEI).
Darrel has a long and proud family history in the Territory, his father Chief Charlie Draney played an important role in the development and preservation of the Skeectchestn/Deadmans Creek dialect of the Secwepemc language.
He has a long involvement with the cultural, spiritual and historical importance of the Territory and takes his role as a guardian of the earth for future generations very seriously.
Councillor Darrel Draney ext. 201
Councillor Marshall Gonzales
Band Councillor, Marshall Gonzales has lived in the Skeetchestn Territory all of his life. This will be Marshall's first term as a Councillor. He is currently a member of the Secwpemc Child and Family Services (SCFS) Board he is also on the Secwepemc Fisheries Commission (SFC).
He graduated from South Kamloops Secondary School in 2005. Marshall has a great interest in playing sports, his greatest memory was when he traveled to London, England and Wales to play rugby with the South Kamloops Secondary School Rugby Team.
Marshall has a wife and three sons T’cum (winner), Skwe7us and Ketmic (medicine man) named after their ancestors. Marshall enjoys spending time in the mountains, hunting and fishing.
Councillor Marshall Gonzales ext. 230
Councillor Gabe Jules
Gabe Jules was raised in Skeetchestn by his grandmother, Hilda Jules. He has worked in the community his entire life. He started as a summer student in the Maintenance Department and also worked as the Youth Coordinator. After high school he worked for Natural Resources doing juvenile tree spacing, pruning, slashing and horse logging, on joining Forestry he learnt about environmental studies and archaeology.
Teachings from his grandmother on traditional and cultural knowledge developed Gabe’s love of the land and his priority interest of how these resources are directly affected by rights and title. He is honored, proud and grateful for the opportunity to serve his community in the capacity of Councillor.
Councillor Gabe Jules ext. 215