Ey Swayel, my traditional name is Í:lhót and my given name is Sandra Bonner-Pederson. My grandparents were Chief John and Nellie Hall, from the Tzeachten First Nation. My parents George and Helen (Hall) Bonner, raised seven boys and myself here in Chilliwack. Because my father was in the Armed Forces, all of my siblings were born in various places in Canada. I was born in Gimli Manitoba, but we moved to Chilliwack when I was 4 years old. I was so happy to find out that I had so many cousins and I was lucky enough to be raised close to them. My grandmother would always have big family dinners on their property every Sunday, and my mother carried on this tradition with my brothers and their families for years after. I now carry the torch, and have all the big family dinners on holidays and special occasions.
I am the Owner/Operator of Bear Image Productions (BIP), a video production company established in 2002 located on the Tzeachten First Nation. I started in the Television industry in 1989 as a volunteer host for a First Nation program entitled: “Rebirth of a Nation.” I wanted to learn how to help behind the scenes of this program, so I collected the prerequisites over a 2 year period necessary to enrol at BCIT in the 2 year Television Broadcasting Diploma Program . I graduated from BCIT at the top of my class in 1994, and worked first at ITV in Edmonton as a Writer/Producer in Promotions and then carried this same title over to Super-channel/Family Channel. I really enjoyed working in Edmonton, but my roots were in Chilliwack BC. After my incredible husband Guy Pederson and I, had our daughter, I decided it was time to move home. I returned to Chilliwack and worked as a part time shooter and editor for Shaw Cable. This position helped me develop more of my skills in the Video Production Industry, which led me to start my own business. We have produced a variety of videos for the First Nations in this area, and across Canada. Please visit our website to view some samples of our work: www.bearimage.ca. I love my job, and I love being a strong voice for our First Nation People.
I have lived right here, in Tzeachten, for 20 years. I made the choice to get involved in many events, meetings and committees to help me understand what is most important for all of us. I enjoy the people around me and I can’t wait to see what other great things will happen in the Tzeachten Community over the next few years. I believe the path that I chose in my life, has led me to become a leader for our community.
Kwas hoy Í:lhót