Monday Plenary

Monday, July 23, 2018: 10:30am – 12pm, Westin Harbour Convention Center, Harbour Ballroom

Indigenous-led Conservation

Danika Billie Littlechild, Cree Lawyer with Littlechild Law, Co-Chair, Indigenous Circle of Experts, and Consulting Legal Counsel for the International Indian Treaty Council

Danika is a Cree lawyer living and working in Ermineskin Cree Nation in Maskwacis, Treaty No. 6 territory in Alberta. Danika works with Indigenous Peoples in Treaty No. 6, the province, nationally and internationally on issues pertaining to Indigenous rights, environment, water, and other matters. Danika serves as consulting legal counsel with the International Indian Treaty Council, an International NGO with General Consultative Status (United Nations ECOSOC) working with Indigenous Peoples in the Pacific, the Caribbean and the Americas. Danika served as Vice President of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO from 2014-2018. Danika is a recipient of the Esquao Award (honouring Indigenous women in Alberta) and the Alberta Aboriginal Role Models award in Justice (2015). Danika holds a BA (Hons) from Carleton University, an LLB from the University of Toronto, an LLM from the University of Victoria (on water governance and Indigenous Peoples) and a Fellowship in Indigenous and Comparative Rights from the College of Law at the University of Oklahoma.

Eli Enns, Co-Chair, Indigenous Circle of Experts, Research Associate, Polis Project on Ecological Governance, University of Victoria, and Regional Coordinator, North America  (ICCA) Consortium

Eli is a Nuu-chah-nulth Canadian political scientist who serves as a research associate for the Polis Project on Ecological Governance at the University of Victoria, and as the regional coordinator for North America for the Indigenous Peoples and Community Conserved Territories and Areas (ICCA) Consortium. Eli is the co-founder of the Ha’uukim Tribal Park in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and a member of the steering committee for the “Acting on Climate Change: Indigenous Innovations” research project with the Assembly of First Nations. Eli is currently the co-chair of the Indigenous Circle of Experts (ICE), one of the groups engaged with the Pathway to Canada Target 1.

Valérie Courtois, Director, Indigenous Leadership Initiative

Valérie is a registered professional forester who specializes in Indigenous issues, forest ecology and ecosystem-based management and planning.  She is a member of the Innu community of Mashteuiatsh, located on the shore of Peikuakami, or Lac-St-Jean. Courtois holds a degree in forestry sciences from the Université de Moncton.  She has served as a forestry advisor for the Assembly of First Nations of Québec and Labrador, forestry planner for the Innu Nation, and as a consultant in Aboriginal forestry, including certification and spatial planning, and caribou planning. In 2007, she was awarded the James M. Kitz award from the Canadian Institute of Forestry for her early-career contributions to the forestry profession. Courtois has been the Director of the Indigenous Leadership Initiative since 2013. In addition to her work in conservation and planning, Courtois is an avid photographer. She is also on the Board of Directors of the Corporation du Mushuau-nipi, a non-profit that encourages cultural and professional exchanges on the George River.  She lives in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador.

Moderated by Cheryl Chetkiewicz, Conservation Scientist, WCS Canada

Cheryl is a Conservation Scientist with WCS Canada. She earned a PhD in Ecology at University of Alberta for her work on landscape connectivity for large carnivores in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. She is currently a Conservation Scientist at WCS Canada where contributes to field and applied research in Ontario’s Far North. Her research focuses on community- and regional-scale issues in the Far North, specifically wildlife research and monitoring, assessing the cumulative impacts of land use and climate change on wildlife, and promoting the need for regional and strategic assessments. She uses her work to inform policy, management and planning in one of the most intact landscapes in the world.