Annie Battiste, a proud Mi’kmaq woman and member of Potlotek First Nations, holds a bachelor and master’s degrees from the University of Saskatchewan. Committed to social justice and reconciliation within Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan, Annie is currently the Indigenous Relations Director at Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Saskatchewan and has been a member of the Speakers Bureau for the Office of the Treaty Commissioner since October 2013. As a frequent conference presenter and community educator, she is creating awareness on the important historical and social issues pertaining to Indigenous peoples, creating bridges in communities through deep reflection on the historical roots of Saskatchewan and its possibilities for new directions in empowerment of diverse groups and peoples in Saskatchewan and beyond.
An established Educator from Poundmaker Cree Nation, Dion maintains the family reputation of perpetuating language, beliefs, values and practices through his work in the education sector, and at cultural events as a Master of Ceremonies, Story Teller and Knowledge Keeper. As a professional teacher since 2004, Dion has worked both on-Nation, for Catholic and Public School divisions in Alberta and Saskatchewan and for Mount Royal University in Calgary teaching Science, History, Language Arts and Indigenous Studies, as well as a guest lecturer for the Indian Teacher Education Program at the University of Saskatchewan. He now serves as Cultural Coordinator under Student & Learning Services at the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology, providing cultural and linguistic programming, curriculum development/enhancement, as well as coordinating Elder & Ceremonial support. Dion is honoured to present on occasion as a member of the Speakers Bureau of the Office of the Treaty Commissioner.
Eleanore Sunchild is a proud member of the Thunderchild First Nation. She graduated from the University of Alberta, Faculty of Law in 1998 and has been a member of the Saskatchewan Bar since 1999. Eleanore has a BA in political science and completed her undergraduate degree in French immersion at Faculte St. Jean, University of Alberta. Eleanore is the sole owner of Sunchild Law, located on Poundmaker II, outside of Battleford. Sunchild Law specializes in Indigenous Law.
Ms. Sunchild has presented nationally and internationally on the legacy of the Indian Residential School system, and the impact of colonial policy in Canada, the history and importance of the Treaties and recently in April 2018, she presented at the United Nation Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues on the systemic racism in the Canadian justice system. She is a current member of the Office of the Treaty Commissioner’s Speaker’s Bureau.
With her husband, Tony, they raise four children. She is dedicated to ensuring that her children also remain strongly connected to their culture and know the true history of this land.
fuji stokes, general manager, kdm Constructors
Fuji Stokes is the General Manager of KDM Constructors within the SECON Group of Companies. He has over a decade of experience in the mining, construction, and oil and gas sectors, as well as both a Business Administration Diploma from Sask Polytechnic, and Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the U of S. As a Metis man, Fuji is passionate about providing opportunities to local Indigenous community members and promoting the growth of First Nations and Metis business across the province.
Mark Lane, Chief Executive Officer, Affinity Credit Union
Mark Lane is dedicated to the growth and success of Affinity Credit Union. He has worked in the credit union system across the Prairies since 1979 and has extensive experience in mergers, acquisitions and change management and a wide focus that includes strategic and operational planning, board governance and financial management. As CEO, Mark strives to ensure the credit union provides great value alongside quality advice and service to members.
Mark has proven expertise in team building, consensus driven decision-making and evaluation. He demonstrates and leads by example, and encourages a constructive organizational culture that encourages participation, sales and delivering an exceptional member experience.
Mark is also committed to working to improve access to entry-level housing so that members have a solid foundation on which to secure employment, raise families and build strong communities. As such, he has developed successful and sustainable affordable housing initiatives with municipal and provincial governments.
Micheal Heimlick, Program Evaluator, Office of the Treaty Commissioner
Micheal Heimlick is from Battleford, Saskatchewan and moved to Saskatoon at the age of 18 to pursue post-secondary education at the University of Saskatchewan. During his Master’s degree program in Applied Social Psychology, he found a passion for working in the program evaluation field – so much so that he embraced that passion and turned it into a full time career. For the past two years, he has been fortunate to work with many community and academic organizations in Saskatchewan to improve their programming using a social science research lens. Micheal currently lives in Saskatoon with his wife, Janelle.
One such organization is the Office of the Treaty Commissioner, where Micheal has been working with reconciliation groups and interested organizations across the province to figure out a way to measure progress towards reconciliation in Saskatchewan. At this point in time, he is focused on creating a baseline of reconciliation activities and attitudes in Saskatchewan. Within this, he and the team use a reconciliation mapping process where the vision for reconciliation is used as a framework. Using the information gathered, he is able to guide groups in future decisions by showing where they are currently at in working towards reconciliation and by providing factual information that points to possible future activities or community initiatives. The measurement framework extends past the mapping exercise, as he is currently working on a provincial strategy of measuring progress towards reconciliation.
Rhett Sangster, Director, Reconciliation and Community Partnerships, Office of the Treaty Commissioner
Rhett Sangster works with the Office of the Treaty Commissioner, coordinating efforts to engage both the public and community leaders on the nature of reconciliation in Saskatchewan. This process aims to work with as many partners as possible to identify shared priorities and a broadly-owned vision for the future.
Rhett grew up in Treaty 6 territory (Tisdale, Saskatchewan) and is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan (B.A. Political Studies). He moved to Ottawa in 2000 to become a Foreign Service Officer and has spent the majority of his career working on issues of international conflict and peacebuilding. He spent three years posted as a diplomat in Turkey, led a successful effort to improve dialogue and cooperation between Afghan and Pakistani border officials, and coordinated Canadian international policy on mediation, peace processes and the effects of war on women and girls. Rhett accepted a Rotary Peace Fellowship in 2012 and graduated in 2014 with a Masters in International Development Policy from Duke University. His thesis focused on conflict prevention and reconciliation in Saskatchewan.
Rhett is married and has three young children.
Shaun Soonias, Executive Director, Saskatchewan First Nations Economic Development Network
Shaun Soonias is a member of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan and board member with Red Pheasant`s Economic Development Corporation. Shaun is the Executive Director of the Saskatchewan First Nations Economic Development Network (SFNEDN) which worked with SEDA to have May 7, 2018 proclaimed Indigenous Business Development Day in Saskatchewan. Shaun has over 24 years of experience in social and economic development roles, having held senior positions with the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority, Saskatchewan’s Advocate for Children & Youth, Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, University of Saskatchewan and Department of Justice. Shaun has worked with First Nations, municipal, provincial and federal governments on a number of key provincial and national strategies and legislative processes and continues to work towards Indigenous inclusion in the economy from employment to economic development.