Indigenous Leadership Roundtable 2017

Indigenous leaders from across the country will share their experiences, perspectives and lessons learned in their respective journeys toward empowering Indigenous peoples, improving education in Indigenous communities, and moving from theory to action in reconciliation. The discussion will be moderated by Former Prime Minister, The Right Honourable Paul Martin.

Date:      Thursday, May 4, 2017

      11:00 a.m.                         Doors open
                11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.       Roundtable discussion

A light lunch will be provided.

Great Hall (Room 218, University College), University of Manitoba's Fort Garry Campus
Map - Great Hall and Parkade

For more information please contact:
Ruth Shead
Coordinator, Indigenous Achievement

Paul MartinThe Right Honourable Paul Martin

The Right Honourable Paul Martin was Prime Minister of Canada from 2003 to 2006 and Minister of Finance from 1993 to 2002.

During his tenure as Minister of Finance, he erased Canada's deficit, subsequently recording five consecutive budget surpluses while paying down the national debt and setting Canada's debt-to-GDP radio on a steady downward track. He was the co-founder of the Finance Ministers' G-20, and in September 1999 was named its inaugural chair.

During his tenure as Prime Minister, Mr. Martin set in place a ten year, forty-one billion dollar plan to improve health care and reduce wait times; signed agreements with the provinces and territories to establish the first national early learning and child care program and created a new financial deal for Canada's municipalities. Under his leadership the Canadian Government reached an historic deal with Aboriginal people of Canada to eliminate the existing funding gaps in health, education and housing known as the Kelowna Accord.

After leaving public life, Mr. Martin created the Martin Family Initiative (MFI) focusing on the early childhoods and elementary and secondary education of Indigenous children and youth. The mission of MFI is to walk alongside Indigenous experts, communities and leaders to ensure that the educational opportunities from birth through to secondary school for Indigenous children are as good as any in the country and are culturally appropriate.

Mr. Martin has advised the African Development Bank and works closely with the Advisory Council of the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa, sponsored by the African Union, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank. He was a founding co-chair of the Congo Basin Forest Fund, a 200-million dollar British-Norwegian--Canadian poverty alleviation and sustainable development fund for the Congo Basin Rainforest. Mr. Martin was also a commissioner for the Global Ocean Commission.

Before entering politics, he had a distinguished career as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The CSL Group Inc., the largest self-unloading shipping company in the world. Its acquisition by Mr. Martin in 1981 represented the most important leveraged buyout in Canada at that time.


Stephn Kakfwi Stephen Kakfwi

During his professional career, Stephen Kakfwi has been and continues to be instrumental in advancing Aboriginal land and self-government rights of the Northwest Territories Dene, Métis and Inuit. He has had a distinguished career in public government promoting Northwest Territory political, constitutional and economic development in the North, within Canada and internationally.

Kakfwi served as the President of the Dene Nation from 1983 to 1987, during which he established the Northwest Territories Dene Cultural Institute as well as Indigenous Survival International. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories in 1987 and served as Premier of the Northwest Territories from 200 through 2003.

Kakfwi currently focuses on achieving a balanced approach to conservation and resource development in the North, focusing on community development in Aboriginal settlements. He is as senior advisor to the Indigenous Leadership initiative - a group founded in 2013 that is helping strengthen Indigenous nationhood and the fulfillment of Indigenous cultural responsibilities to the land. In 2014, he conceived of and founded Canadians for a New Partnership, a group supporting and encouraging relationship building between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and currently serves as its President and CEO.

Ovide Mercredi Ovide Mercredi

Ovide Mercredi was born in 1946 into a traditional trapping, hunting and fishing lifestyle in Misipawistik Cree Nation (Grand Rapids), Manitoba. He went on to pursue a career in justice, earning his law degree from the University of Manitoba in 1977. He was one of the student leaders who established the first Native Students’ Association in Canada, and the Indian and Eskimo Student Centre.

In 1989, he was elected Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations for Manitoba. He was a key strategist in defeating the Meech Lake Accord, and he played an integral role in resolving the Oka Crisis. He was elected National Chief for the Assembly of First Nations in 1991. He was re-elected in 1994 and served until 1997. As National Chief, Mercredi played a major role in the Charlottetown Accord constitutional discussions and addressed the United Nations in both Geneva and New York.

Mercredi became Chief of the Misipawistik Cree Nation and served his community from 2005 to 2011. During his tenure, he negotiated an agreement with Manitoba Hydro that will result in a $100 million contribution over 50 years for new housing and renovations. He also secured new funds for adult learning and training, a community-governed health centre and greenhouse project, and brought in modern amenities like a gas station, community store, coffee shop and improved communications.

In 2006, Mercredi was invested with the province’s highest honour, the Order of Manitoba. He was nominated by the Government of India for the Ghandi Peace Prize and has received honorary degrees from Bishop’s University, St. Mary’s University and Lethbridge University. In 2007, Ovide Mercredi was installed as the first chancellor of the University College of the North, which serves students above the 53rd parallel. He received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Manitoba in 2013.

Over the past several years, Mercredi has been involved at the University of Manitoba through numerous speaking engagements and has provided advice to the Dean, Faculty of Social Work, on Indigenous knowledge and teachings as it relates to Child and Family Services. Mercredi has also provided advice and support to the University of Manitoba’s President on a full range of issues. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of Canadians for a New Partnership, which is working to build relations between First Peoples and all Canadians.

Audrey Poitras Audrey Poitras

Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) President, Audrey Poitras, is one of the highest profile Métis women in Canada. Poitras was elected as the first female President in 1996, and is the longest-serving President of the MNA. She has been a strong advocate for Métis rights and will continue to move the Métis rights agenda forward with the help of the Daniels Supreme Court decision in 2016. She successfully negotiated partnerships with colleges and universities for Métis Endowment funds of 22 million. She also oversaw the creation of the MNA's Rupertsland Institute, Métis Centre of Excellence, which is a unique partnership with the University of Alberta promoting education, training, and research.

Poitras is recognized as a leader who is committed to building a better economic future for the Métis Nation. She has been supportive in developing business relationships, including the establishment of a business vendor database that has helped open doors for Indigenous people's involvement in the natural resource sector.

This year, Alberta Chamber of Resources selected her as the Indigenous Leader of the Year. The award is designed to honour Indigenous leaders dedicated to advancing the cause of their people while building bridges with the resource sector. In 2005, Poitras was honoured to learn that she was being named in CBC's The Alberta 100, and Alberta's 50 most influential people by Alberta Venture magazine. She has also received numerous awards and achievement milestones throughout her leadership, including a National Aboriginal Achievement Award.

One of Poitras's greatest achievements, in the preservation of Métis culture, history and language, was the creation of Métis Crossing, a multi-million dollar cultural interpretive site along the banks of the North Saskatchewan River near Smokey Lake, Alberta.

Under her leadership, the MNA continues to be a model of success in representing and pursuing the social, political, and economic interests of the Métis people in Alberta. The credibility of the MNA continues to increase, as evidence by activities over the past 21 years with Audrey Poitras at the helm, where the legitimacy and accountability of the MNA has risen to unprecedented heights.