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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Appointments to indigenous women’s economic councils announced

R to L, Indigenous Relations Minister Richard Feehan, Marlene Poitras, council member, First Nations Women's Council on Economic Security, Sandra Sutter, Chair, Metis Women's Council on Economic Security
Thirty-two Indigenous leaders with diverse backgrounds - including a successful Dragon’s Den contestant - make up the newly appointed First Nations and Metis women’s economic security councils.

The two councils will provide advice and recommendations to the Government of Alberta on how to improve economic security for Indigenous women and communities.

“These appointees are all exceptional women making a real difference in their own communities. The connections they will make in coming months will lead to innovations and ideas that make a difference for our entire province.” - Richard Feehan, Minister of Indigenous Relations

Appointees represent a wide range of professional, academic, community and entrepreneurial backgrounds. One seat on each council is held by an Inuk woman. Both councils include Elders.

Among 26 new appointees this year is Carrie Langevin, an award-winning Edmonton entrepreneur who appeared on CBC’s business reality show to pitch Mother Earth Essentials, her Indigenous-based natural ingredient line of teas and bath products available at over 100 locations across Canada. Langevin is joining the Metis Women’s Council on Economic Security.

Each council will meet periodically throughout the year, then craft reports on how Alberta can make tangible improvements.

“This council opens the door for First Nations women to bring our stories and experiences directly to government. By working together, we will break down social and economic barriers and empower the lives of Indigenous, women, girls and families.” - Grace Auger, Chair, First Nations Women’s Council on Economic Security

“The Metis council comprises strong women who are at the heart of their communities. They are passionate and knowledgeable advocates who are determined to bring about positive change for Metis and Inuit girls and women in Alberta.” - Sandra Sutter, Chair, Metis Women’s Council on Economic Security

Alberta has received recommendations from the 2016 councils and continues to find ways to address identified priorities.

Appointments are for six or 12 months and will be up for renewal based on the Alberta government’s updated policy on recruitment to the province’s agencies, boards and commissions.

First Nations Women's Council on Economic Security - Biographies


Caroline Adam

Caroline Adam is a health benefits navigator at the Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta, where she is a liaison and advocate for Treaty 8 members to access the Non -Insured Health Benefits Program. Recognized as a community role model, she helped organize and co-host the Holy Angels Residential School Gathering. Caroline has a diploma in Social Work and Native Addictions Counselling and advanced counsellor and community addictions training from the Nechi Institute at Keyano College.

Donna Ahkimnachie

Donna Ahkimnachie is an employee with Alberta Health Services. She was formerly the program coordinator for the Preparing Aboriginal Women for Financial Success Program at the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women (IAAW). Before joining IAAW, Donna work ed as a healthcare aide at Edmonton’s Misericordia Community Hospital, the Grey Nuns Community Hospital and the Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre. She has also worked with the Government of Alberta in the Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General’s V ictim Services unit. Donna is a graduate of Norquest College with a diploma in social work and a healthcare aide certificate.

Grace Auger

Grace Auger is a proud grandmother of four grandchildren and an accomplished lawyer with Legal Aid Alberta. She has also served as a Crown prosecutor. A member of Bigstone Cree Nation, Grace is an active member of the Indigenous community and has served as a board member of the Indigenous Bar Association. She has also helped coach University of Calgary law students in t he national Kawaskimhon Aboriginal Moot. In 2009, Grace received an Esquao Award for her service by the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women. Grace holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Calgary and a mediation certificate from the Le gal Education Society of British Columbia.

Heather Bishop

Heather Bishop is an independent consultant currently working with Indigenous communities, industry, and government to facilitate Indigenous governance, economic development, consultation, traditio nal land use studies, and regulatory review to ensure Indigenous advancement and effective participation in the Energy Sector.   Career highlights include speaking at the 2011 British Columbia Aboriginal Consultation Conference on industry and First Natio ns negotiations. A tribal member of Cold Lake First Nations, Heather has 25 years’ experience in the area of Indigenous and Stakeholder engagement, environmental, legal, and regulatory requirements, business strategy, and social accountability considerations. Heather graduated from Olds College with a diploma in land and resource development and a specialization in land classification and reclamation. She also has an occupational health and safety certificate from the University of Alberta.

Tanya Pace Crosschild

Tanya Pace Crosschild is the chief executive officer of Opokaa’sin Early Intervention Society, an Indigenous children’s charity in southern Alberta. A member of Kainai Nation, Tanya is a champion of children’s rights and an advocate for Indigenous is sues, especially those that affect women and children.   She is a founding member of the Aboriginal Council of Lethbridge and a past member of the Pita Pawani Learning Society at Lethbridge College and the Blackfoot Language Keeps Coalition. Tanya has also worked with the Social Housing in Action Coalition and the Womenspace Resource Centre in Lethbridge. Tanya has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Lethbridge and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Regina.

Chelsea Crowshoe

Chelsea Crowshoe is an Indigenous cultural competency senior advisor with Alberta Health Services. A member of the Blackfoot community, Chelsea is deeply committed to promoting Indigenous health and cultural safety. Prior to her current role, she worked in a number of health-related roles with Health Canada, Treaty 7 Tribal Council, Piikani, Tsuu T’ina and Siksika First Nation communities and the Alberta Health Services Indigenous Health Program. Chelsea has a Master of Health Studies from Athabasca University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alberta.

Tanya Eagle Speaker

Tanya Eagle Speaker is a business entrepreneur who owns and manages the Eagle Spirit Embroidery & Gift Shop. Prior to this, she owned and operated Kalli’s Furniture. In 2009, Tanya spoke about her business at an entrepreneurial symposium hosted by Community Futures Treaty 7. A devoted volunteer in the Kainai community, she has served with the Kainai community kitchen, the Kainai Powwow Committee and the Blood Tribe Youth Pow -Wow Club. Tanya has a Blood Tribe economic development training certificate and a diploma in fashion design and merchandising from Lethbridge College.

Susie Houle

Susie Houle is part owner and vice -president of an entrepreneurial venture, Muskwa Centre of Excellence Training to Employment, and a consultant for the City of Edmonton’s Indigenous Relations Office. Originally from Whitefish Lake First Nation #128, Susie is an active volunteer. She has volunteered in numerous federal and First Nation election campaign s in Alberta and Saskatchewan as a researcher of youth and women initiatives. Susie is a graduate of the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a certificate in Indigenous Community Relations.

Beverly Hungry Wolf

Beverly Hungry Wolf is an accomplished educator who has taught across Western Canada and the US. Her experience includes cultural classes for Kootenai Kinbasket private school, teaching at the College of the Rockies in in Cranbrook, BC; at a Blackfoot immersion school in Br owning, Montana; and at the Blackfoot Community College. A member of Kainai Nation, Beverly is a chair of the Elder’s Environmental Advisory Committee and also speaks at schools on -reserve. She has also worked with Kainai Children Services and Kainai Child Welfare Legislation. Beverly has an honorary bachelor’s degree from Lethbridge Community College.

Erica Jagodzinsky

Erica Jagodzinsky is an executive director with KTC Child and Family Services in Atikameg , Alberta, where she provides services to three First Nation communities. Erica and her staff of 20 are involved with 80 to 100 active cases at any given time. Prior to this role, she worked in child and family services as a court worker, in social development and as an education coordinator. Erica has a diploma in social work from Portage College and a Bachelor in Applied Human Administration from MacEwan University.

Tracy J. Lee

Tracy J. Lee is a senior advisor for Aboriginal Health at Alberta Health Serv ices and is presently leading several collaborative projects that speak to the health inequities that women face. A member of Ermineskin Cree Nation, Tracy has held various leadership positions that have allowed her to understand and address the issues and challenges that First Nations women face in the areas of health and wellness, education, employment and culture. Tracy has a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s in public administration.

Janice Makokis

Janice Makokis works in post-secondary and wi th First Nations as a consultant and advisor. In her role, she has had to engage extensively with both First Nations and Metis communities for work related to education outreach, proposal development, curriculum development and program delivery. A member of Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Janice has primarily worked with a First Nations college and most recently at the University of Alberta in the area of Indigenous programming and curriculum development. She is also the co-chair of the North American Indigenous P eoples Caucus. Janice has a Bachelor of Laws, a
Master of Arts of Indigenous Governance, and a Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Native Studies.

Dr. Linda Many Guns

Dr. Linda Many Guns is a professor at the University of Lethbridge and has taught a number o f subjects, including Indigenous knowledge and history, women and gender, family, Indigenous medicine, Indigenous law and social justice. Linda’s work has been published, including a dissertation titled “SINNAKSIN” that is part of Athabasca Press’ Honouring Our Elders series. She has written scripts, participated in video productions, and contributed to multiple reading reviews and technical reports. Linda has a PhD in Philosophy, a Master of Arts in Sociology and Criminology, a Baccalaureate of Laws, and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.

Tina Northwest

Tina Northwest is a contract service provider and has researched and taught for employers such as the Samson Cree Nation and the Maskwacis Cultural College. She follows traditional teachings, such as the Cree medicine wheel concept. She was involved in powwow dancing, sewing, and beading until she began pursuing her degree in Indigenous Doctorate Studies at Blue Quills University. Tina also has an Indigenous Leadership & Management Certificate from the Banff C entre, a Master of Arts in Leadership and Administration, and a Bachelor of Social Work.

Meeka Otway

Meeka Otway is president of the Inuit Edmontonmiut (the Inuit Society of Edmonton) and serves on the national board for Inuit women, Pauktuutit. She cu rrently works as a community liaison officer for the Indigenous & Global Health Research Group for the University of Alberta. Meeka is bilingual in English and Inuktitut and works as a translator for various groups, such as the Baffin Regional Education B oard. Meeka has participated at numerous national and international conferences as a volunteer, most recently at the National Roundtable on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Marggo Pariseau

Marggo Pariseau is the co-founder and president of the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women. Part of her role includes helping to integrate women leaving corrections and facilitating the Esquao Independence Program. Marggo has supported Indigenous women for over 40 years in various capacities. She was the manager for 20 years at the Women’s Emergency Accommodation Centre, five years as an employment counsellor and 15 years as a family support worker. She has four adult children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Marlene Poitras

Marlene Poitras has spent much of her career working with Indigenous communities, organizations and individuals in several capacities across Canada and internationally. A member of Mikisew Cree First Nation, Marlene was appointed to chair the Alberta Treat y 8 Health Authority and appointed by the Alberta Chiefs to chair the Resolutions Committees as well as the Assembly of Alberta Chiefs meetings. Marlene is currently a consultant; some of her projects include coordinating the World Aids Day Aboriginal Awareness event in December 2015 and conducting research on behalf of Tsuu T’ina Nation. Marlene has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration Executive Management from Royal Roads University.

Tanya Schur

Tanya Schur currently serves as the executive direct or at the Red Deer Native Friendship Centre. Tanya is also the owner and operator of the consulting and training business Drumocracy, where intercultural competency training and teambuilding is facilitated through rhythm circles workshops. A Blackfoot - Metis mother of two grown children, she follows the traditional teachings of the medicine wheel and is committed to Indigenous community development and the empowerment of Indigenous people. Tanya holds a Master’s in Leadership Studies from Royal Roads University.

Treena Tallow

Treena Tallow is an advisor of Aboriginal addiction and mental health for the Aboriginal Health Program in Alberta Health Services. She is also presently an applied suicide intervention skills training assistant trainer. In 2011, Treena was awarded the Community Leader Award by the Aboriginal Council of Lethbridge. A member of the Kainai Nation, Treena has a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership, a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Lethbridge and a general studies diploma from Lethbridge College.

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