Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Current Students

Join us at Cplul'kw'ten — the gathering place

We would love meet you. We have people and resources to support your studies. Or you can just come and hang out.
» Learn More

Cplul'kw'ten

Our team is here to support you

Email: aboriginal@tru.ca | Phone: 250-371-5854 | Fax: 250-377-6077


Vernie Clement

Vernie Clement

Supervisor

 Bio and Contact

Vernie belongs to the Lhoosk’uz Dene and is Dakelh. He was raised by his grandmother first in Tl’esqox (a Tsilhqot’in community), and then moved to the isolated community of Lheyidli (Kluskus IR#14). After moving to Kamloops, he graduated from Norkam Secondary and continued on to University College of the Cariboo (now TRU).

Vernie is Supervisor of Indigenous Student Development, which serves First Nations (status/non-status), Inuit and Metis students. Vernie works with the team in Cplul’kw’ten and supports student retention activities. The supervisor oversees projects, maintains service levels, advocates, initiates programs, and acts as a liaison between on-campus and community partners with the goal of facilitating the personal, social and intellectual development of Indigenous students. Vernie also oversees practicum and work study students, and the Elder in the House program.

Note to students:
Dahooja! (Hello) I am honoured to live and work here on Secwepemcw ulcw and to be working with the Indigenous community here at TRU. I have been involved with TRU/UCC for a number of years both as a student (BBA) and as president for three years of the First Nations Student Association (vice-president for two years). I hope students will feel welcomed and have a positive experience with their educational journeys, and that the work we do will help in that way.

Please feel free come visit us at Cplul’kw’ten.
‘Aw’et Zeh

Vernie Clement
250-371-5972
Cplul’kw’ten (House 5) Room GP 224


Shawna Walker

Shawna Walker

Learning Strategist - Indigenous Liaison

 Bio and Contact

Shawna works alongside the amazing team at Cplul’kw’ten to support students by developing life skills programming, connecting students with community and off-campus resources, and coaching Indigenous students through their academic journey.

She has a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Victoria and has been in the field since 2007. She has worked in a broad array of areas from School District #73 to Child and Family Services in Merritt, Lytton and Kamloops. Shawna’s community connections, human services experience and cultural pride will serve her well.

Born and raised in Kamloops, Shawna is from the Peguis Band in Manitoba. Her kind, calm and caring nature; welcoming and warm smile; and professional demeanor has made her a hit with students in Cplul’kw’ten.

Shawna enjoys literature, cinema and theatre; she leads an active lifestyle and likes to hike, run, kayak, snowshoe, and enjoys playing hockey.

Shawna Walker
250-852-7838
Cplul’kw’ten (House 5)


Denise Dunstan

Denise Dunstan

Learning Strategist - Indigenous Transitions

 Bio and Contact

From the Nlakapamux nation, Denise received her social work degree from TRU in 2010.

She has worked with youth programming for the past twenty-five years. Twelve years were spent working with Aboriginal students through the Kamloops School District. Denise was a First Nations worker for School District 83 for over three years. This is her first position at TRU.

Her hobbies include hot yoga and hiking, and Denise also enjoys watching television.

Denise Dunstan
250-371-5854
Cplul’kw’ten (House 5)


Mathilda Chillihitzia

Mathilda Chillihitzia

Indigenous Mentor & Community Coordinator

 Bio and Contact

Mathilda is from the Upper Nicola Band, Douglas Lake, in the Sylix (Okanagan) territory. Mathilda, also known as Matty, loves learning and meeting new people. Her outgoing nature means she’s easy to get along with.

Mathilda graduated from TRU in October 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a Major in Geography and a Minor in History. She plans on continuing her academic career by applying for her masters or possibly working toward a PhD.

As the Indigenous Mentor and Community Coordinator, Mathilda will work closely with Vernie and the Learning Strategists in Cplul’kw’ten to coordinate the Indigenous Mentor Program, and engage in community and on-campus events. She will oversee the recruitment, training, day-to-day tasks, and reporting of several mentors who are matched up with mentees. Mathilda will also build community connections and support on-campus Indigenous events.

Mathilda knows the Indigenous Mentor Program first-hand as she started as a mentee and then moved to being a mentor for several years. She also went to Australia on to study abroad and upon her return, became a Study Abroad Ambassador. Mathilda has worked extensively with youth in her home community as a Youth Coordinator, Teacher Assistant, and with the Youth Worker Experience Program.

Mathilda Chillihitzia
250-828-5188
Cplul'kw'ten (House 4)


Cara Basil

Cara Basil

Qelmúcw Student Recruiter - Advisor

 Bio and Contact

Cara is a member of the Secwepemc Nation and grew up in Bonaparte—one of 17 communities in Secwepemcul’ecw. In 2017, Cara graduated from Thompson Rivers University, with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. She also completed an Indigenous Studies Certificate concurrent with her degree. Aside from her love of research, she is deeply passionate about continuing her learning of all Indigenous peoples.

Since 2015, Cara has served as an elected councillor for her community. As Indigenous Student Recruiter—Advisor, she is proud to work in her Nation and join an amazing team that encourages and guides students towards their educational pursuits. As the granddaughter of two Residential School survivors, Cara strives to share their legacy and empower individuals and communities in moving forward.

In her spare time, Cara enjoys being with family and friends, discovering new books, exploring Canada and participating in activities that support her love of lifelong learning.

You can do anything you set your mind and heart to.

Kukstsetsemc!

Cara Basil
250-828-5006
Old Main 1468


Joanne Brown

Joanne Brown

Retired

 

Search To Top