Assistant Deputy Minister, Reconciliation Transformation and Strategies Division, Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Province of British Columbia
Known as Si Sityaawks – (Woman who creates change) Jessica is from the Gitxsan and Tsimshian First Nations with roots among the Tahltan and Nisga’a Nations.
Currently serving as Assistant Deputy Minister, Jessica is leading British Columbia’s cross-ministry work to adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action, and learnings from the relevant case law such as the Tsilhqot’in decision. As part of this transformation she is leading the co-development of legislation to implement UNDRIP with the First Nations Leadership Council.
She is an experienced community developer whose portfolios have focused on issues related to residential school, sexual health, sex work, Indigenous women and gendered violence. She was the first Indigenous woman in Canada whose work as a municipal social planner focused solely on the health and safety of sex workers and impacted communities, gendered and racialized violence, and the prevention of youth sexual exploitation.
She has previously held positions working on the Residential School Settlement Agreement and the National Film Board documentary Finding Dawn, a film about missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada. Jessica is a long-time organizer with the Vancouver DTES Women’s Memorial March Committee.