Mark Thomas was born in Invermere BC and 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 three adult children and has been married to a Ktunaxa Nation member for 25 years.
Mark holds the portfolios for Aquatics, Fish, BC Hydro, Forestry, Columbia River Treaty, Salmon Restoration, and several shared portfolios with the Shuswap Band 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 attended Nicola Valley Institute of Technology in the Integrated Resource Management Program and the University of Lethbridge’s Environmental Sciences Program.
A highlight of Mark’s interest is advocating for salmon restoration in the Columbia River, including through public speaking engagements such as the annual Salmon Festival in Invermere and the annual online Bringing the Salmon Home Festival. Government agency education on the history of the Shuswap Band is also a keen interest of Mark’s. 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 Band Peoples through stewardship and taking our place in Secwepemculew. Salmon Restoration is key in Mark’s view to redress the cultural, spiritual, communal, and economic losses suffered by the Shuswap Band and Columbia Basin peoples.
Mark is the Chair of the Executive Working Group for Bringing the Salmon Home: The Columbia River Salmon Reintroduction Initiative. Mark participates at the Columbia River Treaty (CRT) Negotiating Advisory Team with the three Nations, Canada and BC, and leads the Technical Team for the Secwepemc Nation. He also sits with the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP), Columbia Wetlands Stewardship Partnership (CWSP) board and on the Steering Committee for Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) Ecosystem Enhancement Program (EEP) for the Nation.