Lesley Garlow is a member of the Haudenosaunee Nation, Cayuga Tribe, Turtle Clan, from Osweken, Six Nations Brantford Reserve, ON through her mother Darlene Rose Garlow, and her grandmother Elenore Ellen Silversmith, and all her mothers before. She is of mixed ancestry as her father also gifts her with Mohawk Wolf Clan and Italian/Irish heritage. Lesley’s family moved from Ontario in 1990 before the OKA crisis, to rural BC where she has liived as a displaced, visibly Indigenous female in the Unceded territories of the Secwepemc, Ktunaxa and Sinixt, known as the Columbia plateau and Basin most of her life. Lesley is a granddaughter, a daughter, an auntie, and a sister as well as a proud mother of three aged 22, 19 and 3.5.
Lesley classifies herself as an AntiColonial, Emancipatory Social Worker. Through her work with youth and in collaboration with School District 20, she has used popular culture and concepts linked to Indigenous futurism to normalize Indigenous presence and celebrate contemporary Indigenous culture, achievements, and dreams for the future. She also works with the dedicated and talented team at the Nelson Museum, Archives and Gallery to identify and contextualize nuanced elements in settler colonial narrative and broadening our understanding of place and connection to all our Relations. She is focused on elevating and activating Indigenous perspectives regarding Truth And Reconciliation/ReconciliACTION across all aspects of Institutional practice by utilizing collaborative concepts of good relationship building and protocol, while striving to dig deeper and ask more of ourselves, and in regards to equity, social justice and inclusion. Lesley is currently a mature student in my final year of her bachelor degree with UVIC, BSWI programme with the Faculty of Human and Social Development.
James Pakootas is a modern-day story weaver. He is an award-winning vocalist, producer, and filmmaker who cultivates change in the world through the power of words. A member of The Colville Confederated Tribes, James comes from people whose future, present and past are expressed through art, song, and movement. As a vocalist who creates conscious hip hop and spoken word poetry, he carries on this tradition. James tells stories - stories that empower, stories that fascinate, and stories that speak truth to our existence. The core of his content speaks to the resilience of the human spirit, a deep understanding of trauma, and connection; the never-ending pathway back to ourselves. Whether performing with his artist collective, creating new bodies of work in music and film, or mentoring teams of multi-generational artists, James influences people to rise above their circumstances and chase dreams worth living. James has appeared at the Summer Concert Series with The Levitt Foundation, The New Mexico Jazz Festival, and at many famous music venues, including The Eisenhower Theater at The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in NYC, The New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and The National Museum of Jazz in Harlem. A trained percussionist from the age of 8, he effortlessly adapts to create intricate cadences and rhyme schemes through Hip Hop. He is a 2019 Native American Music Award Winner, and 2X Nominee. He’s also received multiple awards and fellowships through First Peoples Fund, Artist Trust, Western Arts Alliance, and Spokane Arts. Pakootas has performed or collaborated with Joy Harjo, Pura Fe, Jellybean Johnson, Charly Lowry, Kalliah Jackson, Mali Obomsawim, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Maura Garcia, Maiah Wynne, and Delbert Anderson.
Jason (Programming Director, NCTS) brings a wealth of experience to NCTS from film production, presentation and youth film education. Many NCTS signature programs are concepts developed by Jason, such as the Super-8 Youth Film Challenge, the Craft Brews of the Columbia Basin Film Competition, and much, much more. He has worked for The Pacific Cinematheque as a projectionist for its and the Vancouver International Film Festival's programming, and has worked as an equipment and media library tech for Vancouver Film School and Capilano University. Jason has been also instructor/mentor for the Senior Director's seat (14-18 year olds) of Watershed's summer film production camps. A graduate of the Simon Fraser University film program, Jason has had his experimental work screened internationally in film festivals.
Eleanor is the Executive Director of NCTS, which manages The Civic Theatre, The Shoebox Theatre, Reo’s Video, and the Kootenay Screen-Based Industry Initiative, and is a founding partner of the Kootenay Regional Film Commission. Previously she was the Executive Director of the Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance, Director of Development at The Cultch in East Vancouver, Director of Development at Classic Stage Company (New York), and has worked in fundraising and administrative positions at Theatre Communications Group (TCG), New York City Opera and The Roundabout Theatre. She was the founder and administrator of a summer theatre program in Anguilla, BWI, where she wrote and directed plays and musicals involving a total of more than 500 local youth. Eleanor is a graduate of Mount Allison University, and holds an MFA in Arts Administration from Brooklyn College (CUNY). She is a Rotarian, board president of The Only Animal Theatre Society (Vancouver), a member of the City of Nelson's Cultural Development Committee, a founding board member of the Network of Independent Canadian Exhibitors (NICE), and a founding board member of Intercultural Kootenays Society.