Board of Advisors
We are honoured to be guided by a Board of Advisors comprised of First Nation leaders representing diverse perspectives, experiences, and knowledge, rooted in communities across Canada.
Senior Advisor, Indigenous Relations, Edmonton Public Library
Emily Riddle is nehiyaw, a member of the Alexander First Nation in Treaty 6 territory. She grew up in and is currently based in Edmonton. She has experience working with First Nations and Metis communities on policy, governance, and communications projects. Prior to her current role, she worked for the First Nations Education Steering Committee, a non-profit that represents over 100 First Nations. She is currently the Senior Advisor, Indigenous Relations for the Edmonton Public Library and was named Top 30 Under 30 by the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation in 2019. Her writing has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Teen Vogue, Vice, and other publications.
Indigenous Education Advisor/Instructor, Faculty of Extension,
Yellowhead Tribal College
Janice Makokis is a nehiyaw iskwew (Cree woman) and mother to son Atayoh Kan Asiniy (Spirit Rock) Makokis from Onihcikiskwapiwin (Saddle Lake Cree Nation) of Treaty No. 6 Territory (now known as Alberta). Her roles at the University of Alberta includes working to develop curriculum/programming within the Faculty’s Indigenous programs. She is also involved in International Indigenous advocacy work through various International bodies and United Nations mechanisms to advance the discourse on Indigenous People’s rights. She holds a B.A. in Native Studies (minor Political Science) from the University of Alberta, an M.A. in Indigenous Governance from the University of Victoria and an L.L.B. (Bachelor of Laws) from the University of Ottawa. Janice is thankful to her family for teaching her how to live as a nehiyaw, to her Nation, to Indigenous knowledge holders who hold sacred teachings in trust for those who wish to learn the ways of her People so future generations will have something left for them.
Dr. Judith Sayers
Chancellor, Vancouver Island University,
President of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council,
Adjunct Professor, School of Business and Environmental Studies,
University of Victoria
Judith practiced law for 18 years and served fourteen years as Chief of the Hupacasath First Nation. As Chief of her First Nation, she focused on capacity building and sustainable development. Judith was instrumental in several sustainable development projects and put in place mechanisms to help protect the territory. She is on the Clean Energy BC Board and the Chair of the New Relationship Trust Foundation, Co-Chair of the Island Corridor Foundation, Co-Chair of the Joint Working Group on First Nations Heritage Conservation and is on the board of the BC Achievement Foundation. Judith has been recognized many times, including being awarded Clean Energy BC’s Lifetime Achievement Award, inducted into Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business Hall of Fame and receiving the Silver Award from the Canadian Environmental Association for Climate Change. She was recently admitted as a member of the Order of Canada.
Lawyer and Advisor
Kris is Gwich’in and a citizen of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation in Old Crow, Yukon. His partner Shawna and their children Armayah and Jackson are Gitxsan of the Lax Skiik (eagle clan) Wilp (house) of Sakuum Higookw. Kris is a lawyer practicing law in the Yukon and British Columbia providing community-focused legal advocacy, strategic advice and negotiation support to Indigenous peoples in their pursuit of self-determination.
Naiomi W. Metallic
Assistant Professor, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University;
Chancellor’s Chair in Aboriginal Law and Policy
Naiomi is from the Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation in Gespe’gewa’gi. She holds a BA (Dalhousie), an LLB (Dalhousie), an LLL (Ottawa) and an LLM (Osgoode). She was also a law clerk to the Hon. Michel Bastarache of the Supreme Court of Canada in 2006-2007. Naiomi still continues to practice law with Burchells LLP in Halifax (where she practiced for nearly a decade before joining the law school, primarily in the firm’s Aboriginal law group). She has been named to the Best Lawyer in Canada® list in Aboriginal law since 2015. As a legal scholar, she is most interested in writing about how the law can be harnessed to promote the well-being and self-determination of Indigenous peoples in Canada.
Peter Di Gangi
Director of Policy and Research, Algonquin Nation Secretariat
Based in Ottawa, Ontario, Peter Di Gangi has been working with indigenous communities across Canada for over 35 years, focussing on historical, legal and cultural research. This has included work with the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the Assembly of First Nations, and a variety of associations, tribal councils and communities in the Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario and B.C. It has also involved dealing with various institutions regarding the release and repatriation of information on behalf of First Nations. Peter has worked extensively with Anishnaabe communities on the North Shore of Lake Huron and Manitoulin Island, and with the Algonquin communities of the Ottawa Valley.