National Indigenous Fire Safety Council
Conseil national autochtone de la sécurité-incendie

NIFSC Team Information

The NIFSC comprises a management team and has the support of the NIFSC Board of Directors, a National Advisory Committee (NAC) and a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).

Management Team

Nathan Wright

Executive Director

Nathan Wright is a Mohawk, turtle clan from six nations of the Grand River Territory.

Over the course of his 18-year career, Nathan Wright has been humbled by the trust and support given by First Nation leadership within the regions of Ontario, Yukon and nationally in various senior executive management roles. He has done his utmost to uphold the principles and values of what it is to be an Indigenous person leading complex initiatives to advance the interests of the individuals and organizations he has served.

Nathan has focused his professional career, on supporting elected leadership in executive management, policy coordination, facilitation of a common voice, and as a political strategist for First Nation communities. He has experience working for First Nations in policy and program development as well as establishing and maintaining a key relationship with all levels of Government and the private sector. During his time at the Assembly of First Nations and the Chiefs of Ontario, he is known as a results-oriented, decisive leader with proven success in bringing stability and building capacity for Indigenous organizations and First Nation governments through governance, policy development communications strategies.

Nathan is currently the principal owner of Wright Strategies. Wright Strategies serves many clients across the country providing services in facilitation, executive management, government relations and matters requiring strategic planning. In his free time, Nathan enjoys running, spending time with his family, travelling and cooking.

Nathan also volunteers as a coach for First Nation youth in both basketball and football.

Blaine Wiggins

Senior Director IFMS

Originally from the Bay of Quinte Mohawks in Ontario, and raised in the interior of British Columbia, Blaine Wiggins is committed to improving safety in First Nations communities. Blaine has led regional and national organizations to bring awareness and support measured progress to address legislative, policy, capacity and resource gaps in First Nations fire and emergency services.

With an extensive emergency services background in wildfire, paramedic, municipal firefighting, and disaster emergency management, Blaine has also worked as a Chief Fire and EMS Officer. His experience also includes community evacuations, pandemic and floods incidents, and major emergency wildfire events including the 2009 fatal fire in Australia.

Blaine’s professional experience is complemented by credentials in public administration, computer science, emergency management, extensive fire service credentials and a Master’s Degree in Justice and Public Safety.

Len Garis

Director of Research

Len Garis is the Director of Research for the National Indigenous Fire Safety Council.
He is also the Senior Advisor for the Centre for Social Data Insights and Innovation at Statistics Canada, a retired Fire Chief for the City of Surrey B.C.

An Adjunct Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice & Associate to the Centre for Social Research at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV), Associate Scientist Emeritus, BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit, a member of the Affiliated Research Faculty at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, and a faculty member of the Institute of Canadian Urban Research Studies at Simon Fraser University.

Len currently resides in Coquitlam.

NIFSC Advisory Bodies

Board of Directors


Michelle Vandevord

Saskatchewan Representative

Michelle Vandevord (Day Star Woman) is an active member of the Muskoday First Nation Volunteer Fire Department and is the longest-serving female firefighter in the department’s history as well as its first female captain.

She started her career in Prince Albert as an officer delivering fire prevention programs to communities and is now the executive director of Saskatchewan First Nation Emergency Management (SFNEM) in Prince Albert.

She is a member of the Saskatchewan Fire Chiefs Public Education committee and was recognized for her inclusion in the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Rising Star Program.

She lives in her community of Muskoday First Nation and is the mother of three daughters and three adopted sons. She is a very proud Kookum to four smart, handsome and funny grandsons.

Vice President

Melvin McLeod

Member at Large

Melvin McLeod lives in Nipissing First Nation, located just west of North Bay, Ontario. He has served Nipissing First Nation Fire Service for almost 30 years. Melvin is proud to work with the Ontario Native Fire Fighters Society (ONFFS) and the AFAC Board, helping to undertake meaningful work. He is grateful for his four children and supportive wife, who enables him to be away from home when duty calls and supports his practice of traditional harvesting activities for moose, deer, and fish.


Allan Peters

Collaboration Director

Allan Peters is from Elsipogtog, NB. His emergency services career spans over two decades and includes service as a paramedic, ambulance chief and firefighter. In addition to his role with AFAC, Allan is a New Brunswick Association of Fire Chiefs board member. He applies his fire investigation and inspection expertise in support of improving fire safety in Indigenous communities. Allan loves the sense of achievement from his work and the people that he meets. He lives with his wife and their two dogs.

Anthony Moore

British Columbia Representative

Anthony Moore comes from the Nisga’a Village of Gitwinksihlkw, located in the Northwest Coast of BC. He is currently employed by Nisga’a Lisims Government as the Emergency Response Services manager. He has been a part of the Gitwinksihlkw Fire Department since 1998 and is a Licensed Emergency Medical Responder. Anthony graduated from the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Responder certificate programs and is continuing his professional development pursuing a Health & Safety Professional certificate from British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).

William ‘Billy’ Moffat

Quebec Representative

William Moffat est un membre de la Première Nation Mi'gmaq de Listuguj, au Québec. Pompier depuis 2001, il a à cœur d'aider les autres à atteindre l'excellence.

Billy met à profit son expertise pour aider les services et les collectivités à rédiger des demandes de fonds et a réussi à obtenir du financement et des services. Il a commencé sa carrière au sein du Service de police amérindien en mars 1982.

Il a travaillé comme policier pendant plusieurs années dans les communautés des Premières Nations de Listuguj, Waskaganish et Wemindji. Billy a reçu de nombreux prix, dont l’Ordre du mérite des corps policiers (2018), la Médaille du jubilé de la reine Elizabeth II (2012) et la Médaille de la police pour services distingués (30 ans).

Il est fier de mettre en œuvre des pratiques communautaires et aime servir toutes les communautés des Premières Nations.

Erin Myers

Metis National Council Representative

Erin Myers represents the Métis Nation through her role as the Director of Environment, Climate Change and Emergency Management for the Métis National Council. Her role as Director is to advocate nationally and internationally for the inclusion of the Métis in program and policy development, to ensure that the Métis Nation has an active role in environment and emergency management dialogues, and to support Governing Members in advancing their environmental priorities.

Prior to this role, Ms. Myers led the Climate Change and Health Adaptation Program for 13 years, which supports First Nation and Inuit communities in leading their own research to minimize the impacts of climate change and advance Indigenous Climate Leadership.

Ms. Myers is an “Honorary” member of the Fishing Lake Métis Settlement, and most importantly, she is a mother to Gavin and Cullen who remind her to walk gently and respectfully on Mother Earth.

Ashley O'Neil

Wildfire Representative

Ashley O’Neil is Ktunaxa Nation on her mother’s side and Metis/Mohawk on her father’s side. She grew up in the Columbia Valley and lives on the Akisqunk reservation located in Windermere/Fairmont Hot Springs, British Columbia. She is a band member of Aqam First Nation located in Cranbrook, British Columbia.

Ashley started firefighting 15 years ago as a structural firefighter in her hometown and has been a structural firefighter in BC, Saskatchewan and Montana, USA.

In 2018, she was introduced to wildland firefighting and became a firefighter, crew leader, Strick team leader, company manager of ’Neill Consulting Ltd., medic, danger tree assessor and an instructor for wildfire and many other courses in wildfire and forestry training.

She worked in the Cariboo and Kootenay region providing training and recruiting in Indigenous communities.

Board Objectives

  • Utilize Indigenous collaboration in all components of the development and design of the NIFSC.

  • Create a sustainable funding model to ensure the NIFSC is viable in the future.

  • Collaborate with National Indigenous Organizations.

  • Create a formal organization that has the security of government support.

  • Transition the NIFSC portfolio from Indigenous Services Canada to Public Safety Canada.

  • Establish a sustainable and effective Indigenous governance structure.

  • Ensure the NIFSC is free of political interference and able to pursue a meaningful Indigenous public safety agenda.

National Advisory Committee

The role of the National Advisory Committee (NAC) is to advise the NIFSC governance structure, mandate, scope of authority, and scope of programs and services.


The National Advisory Committee (NAC) demonstrates leadership by collaboratively providing concrete governance, organizational development and related advice to NIFSC


  • The NAC is composed of 10 individuals who represent Indigenous organizations or act independently.

  • The NAC provides a seat for a presiding Elder who contributes to the group as a full member.

  • The NAC includes three seats for National Indigenous Organizations (NIO’s), including the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Métis National Council (MNC) and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK).

  • Two seats are occupied by young Indigenous leaders who have a working knowledge of governance-related topics.

  • Four members are subject matter experts who have credible affiliations to support the work of the NAC.

  • The NAC has instituted a no-proxy rule and will ensure that absent members have been provided with a written update within 10 days of the meeting.

Technical Advisory Committee

The role of the Technical Advisory Committee is to support the establishment of national Indigenous fire service standards, support the direction and parameters of research, identify emerging public safety issues and provide a national forum for Indigenous fire service to collaborate and share information. The TAC is the first forum that allows all Indigenous fire service organizations to collaborate.

The TAC has evolved with the development of the National Indigenous Fire Safety Council (NIFSC). NIFSC provides open invitations to participate in the continued development and enhancement of Indigenous fire service standards, steer research and recommend the development of NIFSC programs.

From the beginning, NIFSC committed to ongoing engagement and collaboration with regional and national Indigenous organizations to support the design and development of the NIFSC. These commitments were formally made before funding was secured by AFAC to initiate the NIFSC Council.

The following Indigenous organizations have an open invitation to participate with the TAC:

  • First Nations Emergency Services Society of BC FNESS (BC)

  • Technical Services Alberta TSAG (AB)

  • Prince Albert Grand Council/Saskatchewan First Nations Emergency Management PAGC/SFNEM (SK)

  • Ontario First Nations Technical Advisory Committee OFNTSC (ON)

  • Nunavut Fire Marshal Office (NT)

  • First Nations National Building Officers Association FNNBOA (National Organization)

  • Assembly of First Nations AFN Housing & Infrastructure (National Organization)

  • Aboriginal Firefighters Association of Canada AFAC (National Organization)