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We Are Métis

Our Board and Team

Our Board and Team

Our Board of Directors provides the vision, oversight and governance that lead Métis Crossing to success. We are thankful for their commitment to make Métis Crossing Alberta's premier cultural destination.

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Our Board

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Audrey Poitras, Chairperson

Former Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) President, Audrey Poitras is one of the highest profile Métis women in Canada. Audrey was elected as the first female President in 1996, becoming the longest-serving President of the MNA.

One of Audrey’s greatest achievements, in the preservation of Métis culture, history and language was the creation of Métis Crossing proving to be not only a smart business choice, but one that will remain for a long time to come.

Under her leadership, the MNA became a model of success in representing and pursuing the social, political, and economic interests of the Métis people in Alberta.

Andrea Sandmaier,
Vice Chairperson

Andrea Sandmaier is a proud Métis woman, wife, and mother of three boys. She is from Cold Lake, but her ancestral roots originate from the Red River settlement, and she has ties to Batoche, Duck Lake, and St. Paul de Métis.

After the history-making first General Election in September 2023 of the Otipemisiwak Métis Government, President Sandmaier was elected with a sweeping mandate, based on building from the successes of the past, while moving the Métis Nation forward towards recognized self-government and self-determination. President Sandmaier is deeply committed to honouring the history and culture of the Métis people while forging a path towards a progressive and inclusive future.

In keeping with her commitment to Métis citizens in Alberta, President Sandmaier is a focused advocate and leader, working steadfastly to advance the rights and interests of the Métis people, ensuring meaningful representation in critical policy discussions, and fostering economic growth and development within Métis communities.

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Andrew Popko, Director

Andy has been an active member of many boards including the Aboriginal Human Resource Council of Canada and the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business. Andy is an Honorary Chief for Heart Lake First Nation and was also presented a Life Time Achievement Award for outstanding work in providing pioneering innovative capacity building programs from the Tribal Chiefs Institute of Treaty 8. This was the first time this award was presented to a non-Aboriginal person. In addition to a keen focus on economic development, he has also been an active volunteer with Dreams Take Flight.

Andy has previously served as VP of Aboriginal Affairs with Enbridge Pipelines and with EnCana in numerous roles including Investor Relations, Public Affairs and Government Relations. For the last 8 years of his tenure with EnCana, Andy was the Vice President, Aboriginal Relations. Since 2013 Andy has served as Vice President of NCSG Crane and Heavy Haul.

Arthur Cunningham, Knowledge Holder and Director

Art is the Métis Crossing Knowledge Holder and a Board Director. He is a key influence in guiding both the cultural and the corporate development of this organization. He brings decades of experience in developing, implementing, and providing advice and mentorship on corporate policy and principles on aboriginal and tribal relations. Art also provided advice in the development of internal corporate capacity in the areas of traditional knowledge, business, and employment to support positive aboriginal and tribal relations.

Mr. Cunningham is one of the founding directors of Circle for Aboriginal Relations (CFAR) and currently sits as a CFAR advisor. He was also past-president of Alberta’s Interprovincial Association on Native Employment and national vice-president. He received the Chief David Crowchild Award in 1997 for creating bridges of understanding between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people. He was also recognized by the International Rotary Foundations when they awarded him the Paul Harris Fellowship Award for contributions to the community. In 2005, he received the Alberta Centennial Award for outstanding service to the people and the province of Alberta.

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Our Team

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Juanita Marois, CEO

Juanita Marois is a mother of 4 children, a wife, a sister and an auntie. She is a proud citizen of Alberta’s Métis Nation, and considers herself privileged to lead Métis Crossing.

Juanita earned her MA degree in sustainable tourism development from the University of Alberta where she continued as a lecturer for 2 years in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation.

Juanita has worked in the tourism industry for over 20 years with diverse organizations such as Northlands Park and Princess Tours. Her experience has expanded from a front-line practitioner, to a planner, researcher and consultant. Her journey has provided unique opportunities to participate in socio-economic development, Indigenous tourism, and community investment projects that feed her collaborative approach to Métis Crossing.

Juanita also contributes as a board member to Travel Alberta, Smoky Lake Tourism Company and the Alberta Métis Investment Corporation.

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Leon Hunter, Director of Business Development

Leon Boychuk-Hunter was born and raised on River Lot 11 on the southern banks of Amiskwaciwâskahikan. Early exposure to Ukrainian Folk traditions piqued his interest in global cultural traditions. He graduated from the University of Alberta with a B.A. in Drama. Leon has pursued opportunities in cultural interpretation, arts and culture and tourism management. He has been working with Métis Crossing since 2014. In 2021 he received a Graduate Certificate in Tourism Management from Royal Roads University and became elected as a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society of Canada.

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Lilyrose Meyers, Knowledge Holder

Lilyrose is a kokum that is very proud of her Métis heritage. Her life has been enriched with experiences of life on a trapline, farming, horse trainer, truck driver, equipment operator, boiler room assistant, gas bar manager and transportation and supervision for family services.

Lilyrose is a long time Métis artisan, doll maker, fiber artist, nester, baker, teacher, thrift store shopper, and lover of giving old things a new purpose.

She has resided in Buffalo Lake Métis settlement for 41 years. Born and raised on a traditional Métis farm north of High Prairie Alberta, she learned to snare rabbits, ride horses, and live off the land.

Today Lilyrose is the Knowledge Keeper and Teacher at Métis Crossing.

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Alma Habana, Sales Manager

As a Sales Manager, I have a diverse background in hospitality and tourism, having worked at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel in Dubai and the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald in Edmonton. I worked for Emirates Airlines for years, as a Business Class Flight Crew; this gave me experience with excellent customer service and learning different cultures.

I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Management from Manila, Philippines. My career has been highlighted by numerous awards for exceptional client service.

Apart from work, my interests include travel, wildlife, and outdoor activities. It gives me immense pleasure to go out exploring new places, meeting new people, or creating life-long experiences.

Maintaining a balance between my career and family, as well as spending quality time with loved ones, is extremely important to me, which is why I consider Metis Crossing as my second home.

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Luis Argandona Ames, Human Resources Manager 

Luis Argandona Ames joined Métis Crossing in 2024 as Human Resources Manager.   He hails from Peru and has called Canada home since 2004. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management, complemented by a Masters in Business Administration and a Masters (MDiv) in Intercultural Studies.

With over 15 years of experience in Operations and Retail management prior to working in Human Resources, he spent more than a decade serving as a Senior People & Culture Manager in the not-for-profit social care sector as well as in Human Resources Management within the oil & gas/construction service sector.

In his leisure time, Luis volunteers with Refugee Bridge, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting refugees and asylum seekers in their integration journey in Canada.  He finds fulfillment in helping newcomers navigate the language, culture, and essential life skills needed for self-sufficiency. Beyond his volunteer work, Luis enjoys engaging in counter-cult research, reading, doing home renovations, and visiting places exploring diverse cultures and perspectives around the world.

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Shawn Woods, Accommodations Manager

Shawn brings 34 years of hospitality experience to the Metis Crossing.  Shawn’s career has stemmed all over North America directing, managing, and overseeing hospitality operations and projects.  Holding a Business Management Degree in Hotel/Restaurant management, his goal is to ensure that all guests and visitors are accommodated to receive the best hospitality experience.

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