As Chief Negotiator for Smith’s Landing First Nation, François drew on his negotiation skills training from the Harvard and Banff Schools of Management and worked diligently to conclude a Final Settlement Agreement in 2000. He continues to serve as a consultant and negotiator for other First Nations, notably the Łutsel k’e Dene First Nation as they participate in the creation of the Thaydene Nene National Park. He also continues to involve himself in efforts to protect the natural environment of Denendeh.
Therese and Modeste Sangris teach Indigenous Medicines, Nutrition and Governance at Dechinta. Modeste and Therese were born in Dettah in 1939 and 1946 respectively. An arranged marriage, Therese only spoke Chipewyan and English and Modeste spoke only Dogrib when they met. They learned each others languages and have been married for 46 years. Modeste and Therese first began cultural teaching at Blachford over twenty years ago. Now lead Elder Professors at Dechinta, Therese teaches students how to survive using traditional nutrition. Modeste teaches traditional skills, setting nets under the ice in winter, settings traps, and fish nets. Through their cooperation and stories, Therese and Modeste demonstrate healthy and supportive relationships rooted in Dene history and values.
Leanne has worked with Indigenous communities and organizations across Canada and internationally over the past 15 years on environmental, governance and political issues.
She has published two edited volumes including Lighting the Eighth Fire: The Liberation, Resurgence and Protection of Indigenous Nations (2008, Arbeiter Ring), and This is An Honour Song: Twenty Years Since the Barricades (with Kiera Ladner, 2010, Arbeiter Ring). Leanne has published over thirty scholarly articles and written for Now Magazine, Spirit Magazine, Anishinabek News, the Link, Briarpatch Magazine and Canadian Art Magazine, Geist and among many others.
Her third book, Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back: Stories of Nishnaabeg Re-Creation, Resurgence and a New Emergence was published in May 2011 and turns to Nishnaabeg theory and philosophy for guidance in building and maintaining resurgence movements. It is her hope that this work will inspire the regeneration Nishnaabeg systems of governance, language, and knowledge – systems that place women back at the centre of Kina Gchi Nishnaabeg‐ogaming.
Leanne is also a fiction writer and the 2012 winner of Briarpatch Magazine’s Writing from the Margins competition for short fiction.
Leanne is a traditional story-teller and spoken word artist. She has performed at the last four Ode’min Giizis festivals and at numerous story-telling events. Leanne’s work was a part of Mapping Resistances curated by Wanda Nanibush (with Rebecca Belmore, Archer Pechawis, James Luna, Tanya Lukin Linklater & Doug Williams) and ANDPVA’s Writer’s Room. She has performed spoken word with A Tribe Called Red as part of Nozhem First Peoples’ Performance Space All in the Family Residency, as part of gaabinjigabaa’aang where we come ashore and Zhishodewe…at the Water’s Edge (with artist/choreographers Rulan Tangen, Jerry Longboat, Norma Araiza, Sandra Lamouche and Waawaate Fobister) and at the Asinabka Indigenous Film and Media Festival. She is currently the co-director of Wii-Kendimiing Nishinaabemowin Saswaansing, a language nest for Nishnaabeg families and she is also a member of O’Kaadenigan Wiingashk artist collective.
Leanne’s fourth book, The Gift is in the Making, a collection of Nishnaabeg stories was published in May 2013 by the Debwe Series, Highwater Press. Her first book of short stories, Islands of Decolonial Love is now available from ARP Books and is accompanied by a full length spoken word album.
Indigenous to the North and raised at Fort Smith and Hay River, Northwest Territories, Lois claims a rich ancestral legacy and northern cultural heritage of French, Cree, Chipewyan and Metis maternal ancestry and Gwich’in, Scottish, English paternal ancestry.
Her doctoral dissertation, inspired by her grandmother, applied digital storytelling as alternative representation in research in an examination of Indigenous women’s ancestral knowledge and ancient art forms in relation to Indigenous identity, lifelong learning and wellness of Indigenous people. Her work is intended to draw attention to the many contributions of Athapaskan women from northern Canada whose legacy is a rich endowment of Indigenous art forms from which current and future generations may continue to reclaim Indigenous ways of being.
Current Nexen Chair in Indigenous Leadership at the Banff Centre, Lois is an instructor with Educational Policy Studies at the University of Alberta and Centre for World Indigenous Knowledge and Research at Athabasca University.
Kappo is an activist for peaceful change to improve living conditions for First Nations people and Canadian understanding of indigenous people. Her father was Harold Cardinal, the Cree leader who authored the Red Paper in response to the 1969 White Paper.
Mary-Rose Sundberg (née Sangris) is the great-granddaughter of Chief Jean Baptise Madzii Drygeese Chief Drygeese, who signed the treaty of 1921 (Treaty 8). Mary-Rose is the director of the Goyatiko Language Society in Dettah. Goyatiko is the premier language research, training and educational institute serving Yellowknives Dene Communities. A translator and community leader, Mary-Rose teaches language and history at Dechinta.
Allice Legat is the Roberta Bondar Fellow for Northern and Polar Studies
at Trent University, and an honorary researcher at the University of Aberdeen. Dr. Legat has decades of experience in participatory research in the Northwest Territories and is the co-author of many reports and papers with Dogrib knowledge experts. Allice currently serves as the Environmental Anthropologist of The Wek’èezhìi Renewable Resources Board, which establishes policies and proposes regulations in respect of the harvesting of wildlife, approves plans for the management and protection of wildlife, the designation of conservation areas and endangered species, interim management guidelines and park management plans. The Board was created by the Tłįchǫ Agreement.
Recent and favourite acting credits include: Feature Film Maïna (Strada Films), reality series Dene a Journey (APTN), Within/Without (Akpik Theatre), self-written one-woman show TUMIT (Akpik Theatre/CANOE Festival/Talking Stick Festival), touring Greece in Utopian Floes (Caravan Stage Tall Ship Theatre) as part of its eclectic culturally diverse cast and crew, and Copper Thunderbird (National Arts Centre) where she became one of the premier recipients of the David S.R. Leighton Fellowship Award. Reneltta is now working on a new play about Tookoolito female woman guide to explorer Charles Francis Hall. She is about to go on tour with Human Cargo’s Night for the third year this time performing across Canada then over to Iceland and Greenland.
Reneltta is fortunate to continually work as an Actor/Storyteller/Playwright/Producer. As her mother says, “keep your culture alive.” Reneltta plans on doing that for a very long time.