June 17th, 2021 – Everyone is a Wellness Champion: Stories from the Rez

The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity & Recreation Council (ISPARC), the BC Sports Hall of Fame and the UBC Learning Circle are hosting a panel of Indigenous athletes to share their journeys and stories of inspiration.

This panel will feature inspirational role models from First Nations communities who use sports and physical activity to empower themselves and others.  Join moderator Jordie Johnson as he converses with panel members Stephanie Nelson, Melanie Angus, Justin Kelly and Bernice Jensen for inspirational stories, straight from the Rez.

Thank you for your interest and participation!

This session’s video is now available for viewing.

Thank you to everyone for your continued interest in our events.

We would like to reiterate that everyone is welcome to our UBCLC sessions.

Our events aim to embody a safe space for everyone of all different backgrounds to have their opinions and voices equally heard.

Date: Thursday, June 17th, 2021 (PST)
Time: 10 a.m. to 11:30 am
Where: Online via Zoom

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About the Moderator:


Jordie Johnson

Jordie Johnson was born and raised in the First Nations community of Esk’etemc of the Secwepemc Nation and carries the traditional name, Sxoxomic.

Jordie graduated from Thompson Rivers University with a diploma in Sports Event Management and from Royal Roads University with a Bachelor of Arts. He currently works as a Wellness Initiatives Specialist with the First Nations Health Authority.

In 2018, Jordie restarted his athletic journey after a decade-long break. He joined the Out-For-Kicks (OFK) soccer league and the West-End Softball Association (WESA) league as a rookie player. In 2019, the OFK soccer league awarded Jordie for his versatility in playing various positions throughout the season.

Jordie has since taken up boxing and marathon running. InOctober 2020, Jordie and members of the FNHA Wellness Initiatives Team started and organized a self-determined marathon titled “42 clicks to Xway Xway,” a 42.2 km walk/run.

About the Presenters:

Stephanie Nelson

Stephanie Bernard is from the Kwakwaka’wakw Nations and was raised in Port Hardy, BC. Her grandfather is from Rivers Inlet and her grandmother is from Wakeman Sound. Her traditional name is “Max̱waḵs” which means “potlatching women.”

She has been a part of ISPARC over the last 10 years as a participant and leader of the RunWalk Program, and has taken part in  ISPARC’s FitNation training. One of her many passions is Dragon Boating in her hometown, as well as travelling to Dragon Boating festivals.

She loves to be out in nature and especially enjoys hiking, and was part of a journey that walked over an ancient trade route through the mountains at the end of Woss Lake to Tahsis Inlet known as the “Grease Trail.” She has also hiked the Kusam Climb as well as many local trails.

Currently, she is the manager for North Island Building Blocks where the vision is to create a community that honours the role of families through building a healthy society.  Stephanie strives to meet this mandate through her dedication to applying a holistic model to her life and work, her commitment to supporting and strengthening  children, youth and families and through her efforts modeling the importance and providing access to a variety of health and wellness initiatives, such as trauma-informed yoga, culture, the RunWalk Program and FitNation.


Melanie Angus

Melanie Angus/Asiloo is Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en.

She has participated in ISPARC since 2008 and even though she has never been much of a competitive athlete, it has been her lifelong journey to celebrate her abilities and strive for a heart-healthy body. She shares the belief that “If you have a body, you are an athlete and anyone can live a healthy active lifestyle.” She hopes the habits and actions we take now create the ripple effect that will be felt for generations ahead.

Melanie loves learning about traditional knowledge regarding health and does her best to be a role model in wellness for her kids and in honour of our ancestors. Hamiya


Bernice Jensen

Bernice Jensen is from the Okanagan Nation and lives on the T’kemlups te Secwepemc (Secwepemc Nation) with her husband Tim Jensen and their children.  She has been part of the ISPARC for more than 10 years; 5 years with SD 73 and 6 years with the Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society as a Cultural Education Facilitator and leads the Honour Your Health Challenge each year.  Some of the challenges of the years have been: Cultural Family Night with drumming, food and crafts, Harvesting and Gathering Medicines, Berries, Birch Bark, Drum Making, Rattle Making, Ribbon Skirts and this last year hosting virtual events on Zoom for Moccasin Making, Traditional Cottonwood Bud Salve Making, Story Telling, Drumming and KAFS 30 for 30 Fitness/Wellness Challenge that run for a month long with everyone entering daily for weekly prizes.  For my personal wellness I am a U19 Coach with Kamloops Minor Fastball Association, Slo-Pitch Coach and player with the Kamloops Ladies Slo-Pitch League.  I love to go hunting, fishing and harvesting,  gathering and being on the land with my family,  I love attending pow wow’s and dancing traditional and learning about our First Nations Culture.  Lim l’impt, Kukwstse’tsemc  (thank you)


Justin Kelly

Justin carries the ancestral name S:wáls and is from Shxw’ōwhámél First Nation. He is Coach of the Skwo:wech softball team, that  participates in Co-ed leagues in Agassiz and Chilliwack, along with Various weekend tournaments anywhere between Surrey and Kamloops. Skwo:wech also participates in the men’s Softball League in Chilliwack.. The team started in 2018 and consists of a broad range of players, from teens to elders. Softball has brought our community together. Our kids run around the field while we practice and play, our adults and Elders attend every single league game and weekend tournaments, cheering us on. Before the pandemic, the team practiced for four or five days every week.

Justin is also a FitNation leader, after completing the leadership training for FitNation in 2018. Currently, he leads fitness training programs in his home community and online.



  • Indigenous Sport Physical Activity and Recreation Council – website


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