The Circle is working to transform philanthropy and contribute to positive change with Indigenous communities by creating spaces of learning, innovation, relationship-building, co-creation, and activation.
Over the past few months, we, the Governing Circle (Board) underwent a national search for new leadership for The Circle. During this search, it became apparent that the caliber of the leadership of Indigenous professionals in the non-profit and philanthropic sector is high. To know there are many people who embody “sharing, caring and making a difference” is truly humbling. We sincerely thank all those who applied.
The Circle is honoured to have an engaged network of members and allies. We are excited to continue on the journey to reconciliation with you as we continue to activate the words of The Declaration of Action and move towards activating spaces of acknowledgment, learning, and action in building a stronger, healthier future with Indigenous peoples.
Today, we are excited to announce Kris Archie, who is Secwepemc te qelmucw and seme7, from Tsqescen (Broken Rock), will be joining The Circle as our new Executive Director.
Kris is currently the Senior Manager for Vancouver Foundation’s Fostering Change strategic initiative focused on improving the policies, practices and community connections for youth leaving foster care so that they have a healthy transition into their adult years.
Kris takes on her new role as Executive Director at The Circle on July 10th, 2017.
She will be based out of the Vancouver Foundation offices at #200- 475 West Georgia St.
Please tell us a little about yourself…
I am a mother, sister, and aunty. I share the adventures of life with my partner Jr Olson and my 17-year-old son, Shadowhawk. I am blessed to be surrounded by lots of good people, both biological and chosen family that keep my heart filled with laughter, good meals, and celebration.
I grew up in a small community in BC’s Interior and looking back I understand how fortunate I was to feel connection and belonging. I learned at a young age to know one’s neighbors and to help others. Moving to the bigger cities of British Columbia, the small town upbringing has stayed with me. I love that my family and I have cultivated a feeling of comfort in our home that extends to our friends and visitors.
In my downtime, I enjoy being in communion with nature. I am incredibly humbled by how small we are in comparison with the magnitude of nature. Spending time in nature is a reminder to take care of and be responsible in the way that we interact with our surroundings.
I am an avid reader of all genres and hope to motorbike around Turtle Island in the coming years. One of my biggest goals right now is to continue learning more of my language so we can use it more and more in our home and daily life.
What do you or others see as your greatest strengths?
My lived experiences as a mixed blood woman, mother and community member informs my desire for inclusion, accessibility, and justice. I look forward to bringing my values based practice to work for the Circle and its members with a focus on equity and increased relationship building.
I am comfortable with uncomfortable conversations, I challenge assumptions and think it is important to put things on the table to move forward collectively. I am insatiably curious – I want to invest my time and energy into getting to know people – their passions beyond the surface. I like to really understand where people are coming from. This helps me connect with others and build true relationships.
With a great appreciation for storytelling, I like to work a lot in metaphor and visual imagery. It is important for complex issues to be accessible to all people. I strongly believe people do not lack the capacity to engage – the responsibility on engagement relies on those who are calling for engagement. With that in mind, I am a believer in dialogue for action.
What drew you into the philanthropic sector?
I have been drawn to this work because I was raised with an unshakable practice of generosity and reciprocity. I believe that most Indigenous people are incredible masters of generosity and I look forward to highlighting that truth with others.
I believe the philanthropic sector in Canada has both an opportunity and a responsibility to deeply invest it’s knowledge, energy and financial resources to continue building a future that we all want to be part of. I think the next 150 years of Canada’s nationhood must look and feel different that what Indigenous peoples have come to know, and the philanthropic sector and can be part of making that a reality.
What do you hope to share with The Circle network?
I hope to embody invitation, curiosity, and reciprocity in my work alongside others. There are many people working toward greater awareness of the issues experienced by Indigenous communities and we have an opportunity to work toward increased action and investment in that good work.
This is a poignant time for Canada and amidst the marking of 2017, I hope to share in the work that acknowledges and holds up Indigenous peoples and culture.