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Speaker: Gwen Phillips

Gwen Phillips

BC First Nations Data Governance Initiative Champion, Ktunaxa Nation

Gwen is a citizen of the Ktunaxa Nation and has worked for the Ktunaxa Nation Council for the past thirty-nine years. She has held a variety of senior management positions, at times overseeing departments of Education, Health, Corporate Services, Traditional Knowledge and Language and for the past decade, functioning as part of the team leading the Ktunaxa Nation back to self-government. 

A few things that Gwen has done: 

  • Negotiated the first Local Education Agreements in BC 
  • Established the first Community-based Healing and Intervention Program to address fetal alcohol exposure: CHIP 
  • Chaired Aboriginal Education Advisory Committee at the East Kootenay Community College 
  • Developed and Instructed First Nations Studies course at the College of the Rockies 
  • Treaty Side Table Negotiator 
  • Presented to Treasury Board’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Grants and Contributions 
  • Public Educator and Facilitated Dialogue Engagement practitioner 
  • Chaired First Nations Education Steering Committee 
  • Negotiated MOU with Metis Nation BC to receive services through Ktunaxa government agencies 
  • Established the design for the first person centric, population data warehouse in BC 
  • Founded the BC First Nations Data Governance Initiative; initially a five-year tripartite initiative 
  • Presented to Treasury Board’s Transparency Conference 
  • Designer Poster Series: Nation to Nation, Determinants of Health, ICDNS Implementation 
  • Keynote and presenter at numerous conferences, workshops and gatherings in First Nations Communities, in education settings such as Carleton University, for and with governments, and in international spaces 
  • Co-Chair ISC Indigenous Community Development National Strategy Working Group 
  • Worked with BC Office of the Human Rights Commissioner on the Grandmother Perspective on disaggregated data 

Gwen is currently championing the BC First Nations’ Data Governance Initiative (; a tripartite government initiative (federal, provincial and First Nations governments) with a key objective being that federal, provincial and First Nations governments, have timely access to quality data to plan, manage and account for investments and outcomes associated with First Nations well-being. As a member of the First Nations Health Council for 11 years, Gwen was part of the team that negotiated the transfer of Health Canada’s BC Region First Nations and Inuit Health Branch to First Nations control. She advances BC First Nations’ interests nationally in Data Governance, as a member of the First Nations Information Governance Centre Board. 

Gwen is also assisting Indigenous Services Canada in the implementation of their Indigenous Community Development National Strategy; a co-developed approach to manage the shift from program-based funding and reporting relationships, to community-driven investments and reporting that is aligned with Community-driven, Nation-based development plans. She co-chairs along with ISC HQ, a national Working Group comprised of Indigenous Advisors from across the country, and federal government managers from Ottawa and the Regions. 

Gwen has extensive experience in relationship building; she has developed and instructed First Nation Studies courses at the elementary, secondary and college levels and continues to function as a public educator. Her formal education is in Business Administration and she has operated her own small business, as a community planner, facilitator/trainer, artist and curriculum developer. 

Participating in: Advancing Indigenous Data Sovereignty

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