June 20, 2020, North Vancouver, BC — The Squamish Nation has been asked to comment on the future of the Gassy Jack statue in the historic Gastown district of the City of Vancouver.

John Deighton, also known as Gassy Jack, immigrated to Squamish Nation territory from England. Around the late 1860s, Gassy Jack married a Squamish woman. She then died around 1870. After her death, he remarried her niece, a 12 year-old Squamish young woman who was known as Madeline, or X̱áliya. In 1871, they had a son together named Richard Mason Deighton. Gassy Jack and Richard reportedly later died in 1875. After Gassy Jack’s death, Madeline (X̱áliya) remarried a Squamish man known as Big William. They have descendants in the Squamish Nation today. Madeline died August 10, 1948, aged 90 in North Vancouver.

The Squamish Nation recognizes there is an ongoing conversation about our Squamish history, our ancestors, and the City of Vancouver. The Squamish Nation recommends that the descendants of our ancestors and the Squamish Nation be involved in any decisions about the telling of our people’s history or actions taken in our people’s name.

The Nation will not be making any further public comment about this issue at this time.


Media contact:
Lauren Hutchison
Senior Communications Officer
604-363-4055 |


June 19, 2020, North Vancouver, BC — Yesterday, at a duly convened meeting, the Squamish Nation Council selected Chris Lewis, Syeta’xtn, as a new Council Spokesperson. Chris has been on Council since 2009, and previously served as a Council Spokesperson from 2013-2017.

“I’m honored and humbled to serve as one of our Nation’s Spokespersons” said Syeta’xtn. “I look forward to working with our Council to advance and continue the great work that has been started by all our past and present Councils, staff, and community members who have helped sustain, grow, and advance the Squamish Nation.”

Syeta’xtn will serve as one of the Squamish Nation Council’s two official Spokespersons, along with Orene Askew. The Spokesperson’s role is to speak on behalf of Council at events, meetings, and political gatherings. They engage with media and communicate the Council’s position publicly, as required.

Council would like to thank Councillor Khelsilem (Dustin Rivers) for his dedicated service as Spokesperson for the Squamish Nation from December 2017 until June 2020. Khelsilem will continue to serve as an elected member of Council for the remainder of his term involved in various committees, projects, and focusing on his work as a Councillor with the Squamish Nation Council.

“I’m proud to support our Council Spokespersons with Councillor Orene Askew and now Councillor Chris Lewis in the coming years,” said Councillor Khelsilem. “I look forward to working on behalf of our people, continuing as an elected Council member to create a positive impact for our community. Congratulations to my colleagues,” said Khelsilem, Squamish Nation Councillor.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:
Lauren Hutchison
Senior Communications Officer
604-363-4055 |


NORTH VANCOUVER, BC, June 18, 2020 — The Squamish Nation is proud to welcome Chris Mullen as the newly-appointed Managing Director, Administrative Operations for the Nation. Chris will be working alongside France Chinembiri, who was appointed Managing Director, Nation Services, in October 2019. The Managing Directors will serve as the liaisons between Council and staff, providing oversight and strategic direction to the Nation’s 13 departments while working to ensure Council mandates are met.

“We are so pleased to have France and Chris join us in these new roles to lead our service provision and administrative operations for the Squamish Nation,” said Orene Askew, Councillor and Spokesperson. “They both bring such a wealth of knowledge and expertise that will ensure we are moving forward as an organization in a really good way, both in terms of our commitment to improving the quality of life for our members, and in driving extensive and sustainable growth of the organization.”

Chris Mullen — Managing Director, Administrative Operations

Chris Mullen is a member of the Gambler First Nation, located in southwestern Manitoba. As Managing Director, Administrative Operations, Chris will oversee the Squamish Nation organization’s ongoing operations and procedures and is responsible for the planning, directing, coordinating, supervising, and efficiency of all administrative and operational business.

Previously, Chris served as the Squamish Nation’s Director of Finance since February 2019. During this time, he led a complete transformation of the Nation’s budgeting processes to increase collaboration, transparency, and accountability, initiated and oversaw a forensic audit, led the development of the Squamish Nation Financial Administration Bylaw, and much more.

Chris is a Chartered Accountant with 15 years of experience in accounting, finance, policy development, and strategy and operations consulting, including six years working with First Nations across Canada. He also has significant experience with various human resource activities including recruiting, interviewing, hiring, training, coaching and mentoring, and performance management.

“I’m honoured and excited to be in the position to work more closely with Council, membership, and senior leaders to effect lasting change for the Squamish Nation. We are extremely fortunate to have the team, the leadership, and the support we need to build a stronger and strategically aligned administration, to further gain the trust and confidence of membership through transparency and accountability, and to continue to find innovative ways to build a healthy and vibrant Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw,” said Chris.

France Chinembiri — Managing Director, Nation Services

As the Managing Director, Nation Services, France works closely with Squamish Nation service delivery departments and with the Co-Chairs and Council on matters of importance to members of the community.

France brings over 18 years of policy and strategic direction experience, including various senior leadership roles with the government of Alberta where he was responsible for many large-scale and successful initiatives such as the strategic design and implementation of a primary health care governance framework including 42 primary care networks in Alberta. In addition, he has held senior policy positions within the Office of the Deputy Minister of Justice and Solicitor General. Prior to assuming his new role, he served as Director of Yúustway Health & Wellness for the Squamish Nation. His passion for integrated patient care, recreation programs, leadership and performance excellence has inspired Yúustway to focus on the vision to earn complete confidence in the care the department provides.

France is a certified master human capital strategist, certified management consultant, and certified risk management assurance professional. He holds doctoral degree in leadership and another with a focus in business administration and a master degree in business administration. In addition, he has training in Trauma Informed Care, and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST).

 “It is an honor to be trusted to lead. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to serve as a team member with all Squamish Nation employees and members as we work together to provide exceptional community service to make our members’ lives better every day and make Squamish Nation a great place to make a living and a great place to make a life,” said France.

The Squamish Nation is an Indigenous government with offices in North Vancouver, West Vancouver, and Squamish, BC. To learn more about the Squamish Nation, visit

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Media Contact:
Lauren Hutchison
Senior Communications Officer
Squamish Nation
604-363-4055 |

Chris Mullen

France Chinembiri

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