Shuswap Band Chief and Council


Chief and Council meet every other Tuesday. If you would like to meet with Chief and Council, call the Shuswap Band Office at (250) 341-3678 to make an appointment.

Chief Barbara Cote

Chief Barb Cote was born and raised in the Columbia Valley at the headwaters of the Columbia River.

She is the mother of two children who she is immensely proud of. Her oldest daughter Jenna Jasek is District Vice-Principal of Indigenous Learning and Equity for SD 6.  She has two grandchildren, her grandson Kye, who is 11years old and granddaughter Kayli who is 8 years. They are so proud of being Secwepemc and enjoy learning their culture. Her son Smokii Sumac is presently finishing his Ph.D. with Trent University in Peterborough Ontario and lives in Wardner BC.

Barb has completed a master’s degree in Distributed Learning with Royal Roads University in 2006 and continued to work full-time as an Aboriginal Education Support Worker which she started in 1975 until she was elected as a councillor in November of 2012. In November 2014 she was voted in as Chief and again in 2016 until the present. It has been such a gift to see our community grow and to be inclusive of our members both on and off-reserve. Seeing our youth learning their culture and parents and grandparents working together on regalia is one of her greatest gifts.

In her spare time, she loves to ski, hike, travel with her husband Franz on their motorcycle and enjoy spending time with family and friends

Councillor Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas was born in Invermere BC. Mark is a Kinbasket descendant; Julianne Kinbasket and Baptiste Thomas were parents to Susan Thomas, Mark’s grandmother, and his grandfather was Harry Bell. Mark is the father of 3 adult children and has been married to a Ktunaxa Nation member for 25 years.

Mark holds the portfolios for Aquatics, Fish, BC Hydro, Forestry, CRT, Salmon restoration, and several shared portfolios with the rest of Chief and Council, including Parks, Recreation and Culture. Mark is educated in and has worked in the natural resource management field for over 20 years, much of that time advocating for the return of our Salmon stocks. Mark has attended Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT) in their Integrated Resource Management Program (IRM) and the University of Lethbridge’s Environmental Sciences Program.

A highlight of Mark’s interest is the advocation for salmon restoration in the Columbia River, which he has done through public speaking engagements such as the annual Salmon Festival in Invermere or the annual, online Bringing the Salmon Home Festival event. Government agency education on the history of the Shuswap Band is also a keen interest of Marks, he has pushed for awareness of his communities’ rights and title which he feels has the honour to carry out the inherent responsibilities of the Shuswap Bands Peoples through stewardship and taking our place in Secwepemculew. Salmon Restoration is key in Mark’s view to re-establish long lost cultural, spiritual, communal, and economic losses suffered by the Band.

Mark currently sits at the Columbia River Salmon Recovery Initiative (CRSRI) Executive Working Group (EWG) as the Chair. Mark participates in the Columbia River Treaty (CRT) Negotiating Advisories Team (NAT) with the 3 Nations, Canada and BC and leads the Technical Team for the Secwepemc Nation. He also sits on the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP), Columbia Wetlands Stewardship Partnership (CWSP) board and on the Steering Committee for Columbia Basin Trust’s CBT Ecosystem Enhancement Program (EEP) for the Nation. Mark has sat at the Kootenay Forestry Collaborative and has several opportunities on the go or proposed for the Band in the forestry sector.

We are currently leading the development of the Columbia Collaborative with 5 other Secwepemc Communities to address issues in the Columbia Basin as a collective.

Mark has been honoured to have the opportunity to serve his people on council and is very proud of the accomplishments the Band has made over his term. Mark is excited about the Band’s future and looks forward to continuing that representation of his people’s interest at the tables he sits at. Mark is available to discuss any of his portfolios or any issue that members wish.

Councillor Richard Martin




The Shuswap Band Chief and Council continue to create equal opportunities for all of their members. They are all proud of the work that has helped build a foundation that will be the legacy that all members continue to be proud of and will contribute to shaping our futures.

The Chief and Council’s number one commitment is to always operate transparently to the people that they serve.

Our people are our strength, our children are the future!