Danielle Gabriel is a member of Seabird Island Band, located in the Upper Fraser Valley region of British Columbia, and has been the band’s Lands Manager since May 2014. Prior to that, she served as a member of the Lands Advisory Committee. Danielle recently obtained her joint Certificate in First Nation Applied Lands Management from Thompson Rivers University and the Tulo Centre of Indigenous Economics, and was elected class valedictorian. In a Lands position with a Land-Code band, the unique opportunity to be a part of the first cohort of the Applied Lands Management program was Danielle’s main motivator for enrolling. Danielle is grateful for the experience gained and relationships built during her time in the program.
How did you first learn about the Tulo Centre and its programs?
My great friend was applying to the program and she suggested I take a look, and I became very interested. As I mentioned before, there was no program for such a field for Land-Code bands, and that was challenging — moving forward within my organization without any specific training. I’ve taken a Property Management course through the University of British Columbia. However, only certain areas of the course covered what I needed to be a successful Lands Manager.
How did your experience at the Tulo Centre relate to your work at Seabird Island?
Wow. All areas of the eight-course program covered areas of being a Lands Manager for a First Nation. Land Tenure, Data Capture, GIS and Land-Use Planning are all important areas of Lands Management.
Is there anything you’d like to share about being voted class valedictorian?
I’m so very humbled to be selected as the valedictorian for the First Nation Applied Lands Management program. I believe all participants were selected by the creator to come together as one — coming from several First Nations across Canada to be the first to experience such a successful program. We’ve all had our challenges, yet we all came together as one on one or as a group to overcome such challenges. The future looks bright for First Nations Land Management. Thank you, Tulo, for creating such a program. Good luck to future students, and I’m always available, if needed.
Do you have anything else to add?
I had such a memorable chapter of my journey toward Lands Management. To be able to govern your own lands is magnificent.