What We Do

The Coastal First Nations Great Bear Initiative promotes community self-sufficiency and sustainable economic development on BC’s North and Central Coast and Haida Gwaii.

Our communities are working together to build a strong, conservation-based economy that recognizes our Title and Rights, and protects our culture and ecosystems.

We support:

  • planning for marine and land resources in the Great Bear region
  • increased local control and management of forestry and fisheries
  • sustainable development through ecosystem-based management
  • capacity building in our communities
  • partnerships with government, industry, environmental groups and others


The Great Bear Initiative Society operates under the direction of a Board of Directors that approves an annual strategic plan for the organization. It has one representative from each of the nine member Nations.

The GBI Board of Directors meets at least three times a year to review progress and provide direction on activities. The Executive Committee meets regularly to review administrative issues and monitor project work.

The Vancouver office has a core staff of seven people who support the Board with:

  • strategic project planning support
  • communications
  • assistance in developing economic strategies
  • support for community capacity-building
  • financial management

Board of Directors:

Peter Lantin – President, Council of the Haida Nation

Bruce Reece – Deputy Chief, Gitga’at 

Marilyn Slett – Chief Councillor, Heiltsuk Tribal Council

Doug Neasloss – Chief Councillor, Kitasoo Band Council

Harold Leighton – Chief Councillor, Metlakatla Governing Council 

Wally Webber – Chief Councillor, Nuxalk Nation

Donald (Duffy) Edgars Chief Councillor, Old Massett Village Council 

Billy YovanovichChief Councillor, Skidegate Band Council 

Frank Johnson – Chief Councillor, Wuikinuxv Nation

Peter Lantin
Peter Lantin
President, Council of the Haida Nation

Executive Committee:

Marilyn SlettPresident


Bruce ReeceSecretary



Patrick KellyBoard Chair

Paul KariyaSenior Policy Advisor

Gary WilsonGeneral Manager

Bess BrownCFN Communications Manager

Johanna HelbigProjects Administrator

Crystal DixonAdministrative  Assistant

David OxleyAdmin/IT Officer

Project Managers

Steve DiggonMarine Planning Coordinator

Jana Kotaska  Program Manager, Coastal Stewardship Network

Debra HogganProject Manager, Great Bear Rainforest Essential Oil LP


Marilyn Slett