Cheryl Matthew, PhD
Dr. Cheryl Matthew is an accomplished Executive Director, Senior Researcher, Policy Analyst and consultant who has specialized in Indigenous Rights, community engagement and public administration.
Cheryl is Secwepemc from the Simpcw First Nation near Barriere, BC. She has a long history of community involvement, advocacy, and leadership in Vancouver-East, regionally and nationally as well as an accomplished Senior Policy Analyst and Manager with the federal public service before she returned to consulting work with Indigenous communities in the interior of BC on territorial resource stewardship and Indigenous Rights.
She worked for the federal government in Ottawa and Vancouver for over 12 years. In Vancouver she was the Manager of the Indigenous Skills Employment and Training Program with Service Canada, and the A/Manager of Child & Family Jurisdiction with Indigenous Services Canada, she also worked with the National Inquiry for Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls. In Ottawa she developed and managed the Aboriginal Policy Research Network with Indigenous Service Canada. In addition to her public service work she was the Associate Director of Indigenization with JIBC in New West, and was the Executive Director of a policy think tank called the Centre for Native Policy & Research located in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.
She is committed to creating paths to understanding and progress between the Indigeneous and settler communities. She has worked tirelessly to see Indigenous people involved in reconciliation and Indigenization efforts, land, water and wildlife stewardship, community engagement, protection of children and families, research, education, decision-making, and policy in Canada. In 2020, she joined with a group of passionate, articulate Indigenous women to form a volunteer collective called Protect Our Indigenous Sisters Society. She was taught from a young age to give time to make her community better and to be of service both locally, regionally and nationally.
She is a mother to three amazing daughters, who keep her busy and they can often be found out on their family land at Simpcw First Nation, camping, swimming in lakes and oceans, walking beaches and shores, and skiing either in the lower mainland or near the North Thompson-Shuswap where her family still resides.
She is an advocate for Indigenous women, youth and children and has also sat on many Board of Directors including currently for the Vancouver Aboriginal Community Policing Centre in the Downtown Eastside. Previously the Makonsong Headstart (Ottawa), Co-Chair of the Women’s Committee of Canadian Anthropological Association (CASCA), President of Urban Native Youth Association, a Founding Member of the Assembly of First Nations National Youth Council, President of the First Nations Student Association of Thompson Rivers University, Aboriginal Education Project of the BC Human Rights Commission, and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – BC Office.
During her tenure in Ottawa with AANDC (now ISC) she brought forward policy, research and understanding on Indigenous women, girls and boys in domestic sex trafficking in Canada as the ISC (INAC) representative to the Interdepartmental Working Group on Trafficking in Persons (IWGTIP)(2007-2012). For this work she was also a member of the Federal Committee Against the Sexual Exploitation of Children, headed by Senator Romeo Dallaire. She hosted forums on sexual exploitation of Indigenous women and girls to better educate policy makers on domestic sex trafficking as at that time it was not on the radar and not understood, she has continued to be an advocate and worked with the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in 2016-2017, and has been advocating for implementation of the Calls to Action of the NIMMIWG and the TRC ever since. Since 2015, she’s directly been involved in making several Human Rights Complaints in BC and federally against systemic racism, and discrimination by the RCMP; also lack of knowledge and awareness of judges in BC on trauma informed practice.
She has PhD in Anthropology from Carleton (2017), an MA in Leadership from Royal Roads (2007), and a BA from SFU in Anthropology and Sociology (2004).