Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı
Sahtú Renewable Resources Board

Staff

The Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı is supported by a staff team that specializes in key areas of the Board's mandate bridging administration, traditional knowledge, and social and natural sciences.

Deborah Simmons, Executive Director

DebbieSimmons1Dr. Deborah Simmons is trained as a social scientist specialising in social and environmental issues relating to Indigenous peoples. She was raised in the Northwest Territories and completed her doctorate in the field of Native Studies at York University. Deborah has been involved in interdisciplinary research combining traditional knowledge and science in the Sahtú Region since 1999, including work for the Sahtú Land Use Planning Board and Délı̨nę Uranium Team (Dene Náowérǝ́ Chets’elǝ) and Délı̨nę Knowledge Project. She is Adjunct Professor in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at University of Waterloo, and Special Graduate Faculty at Trent University in Environmental and Life Sciences at Trent University. She welcomes opportunities to mentor graduate students interested in pursuing Sahtú-based research to support preservation of both wildlife and Dene and Métis ways of life. Dr. Simmons has served as Executive Director of the Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı (Sahtú Renewable Resources Board) since 2012. In implementing vision, goals and objectives of the Board, she remains actively involved in community-collaborative research and conservation planning. She helped to found the Nę K’ǝ Dene Ts’ı̨lı̨ (Living on the Land) Forum. She is a member of the NWT Species At Risk Committee and Canadian Mountain Network, and helps to represent the Board on the NWT Conference of Management Authorities (CMA) on Species At Risk and the Advisory Committee for Cooperation on Wildlife Management (ACCWM).

Kirsten Jensen, Community Conservation Planner

Kirsten JensenjpgKirsten Jensen was born and raised in Saskatchewan. She always had a sense of adventure and ended up moving to southern Ontario to get a degree in Environment and Business at the University of Waterloo. Upon completing her B.E.S. she got an internship with a Canadian NGO in Nairobi, Kenya working with youth and environment issues. Following her internship, Kirsten continued to work in Kenya with the United Nations on youth and partnership challenges. In 2010, she obtained a Masters in Environment and Business Management at the University of Newcastle.

In the fall of 2011, she got tired of the perfect weather, and came back to Saskatchewan for a few years to work with the Nature Conservancy of Canada and learn more about the prairies she grew up in, before the adventure itch came back and moved to the Democratic Republic of Congo to help manage the world’s second largest forested national park (Salonga National Park). Following the birth of her son, Tiree, she decided to be closer to family and moved back to Saskatchewan in 2017. But that adventure itch struck again, and Kirsten and Tiree jumped at the chance to move northward and support the Sahtú region’s vision for their land using her experience with partnerships, community development and managing large landscapes. They are excited to make a new home for themselves in Tulít’a.

Leon Andrew, Research Coordinator

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Leon Andrew is a Shúhtaot'ı̨nę elder with the Tulı́t’a Dene Band. He is our Research Coordinator and Chair of the Nę K’ǝ Dene Ts'ı̨lı̨ (Living on the Land) Forum. He served as a Special Advisor to the Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı (Sahtú Renewable Resources Board) for mnay years. He has been an advisor to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories on Transboundary Water negotiations with Alberta. Leon was an Access and Benefits negotiator and served on the Canol Heritage Trail Committee for the Tulı́t’a District during 2004-2006. He has also served on the Board of the Tulı́t’a Land and Financial Corporation. Leon has provided his research expertise on numerous traditional knowledge studies, assisted and advised GNWT Archeologists from the Prince of Wales Museum, and is also an experienced interpreter in Dene and English languages. He was an active trapper in the Tulı́t’a area and has first-hand experience of both the positive and negative effects of exploration activities on the environment and traditional economy of the Northwest Territories.

Recognized as one of the Sahtú Region’s most experienced researchers, Leon now serves in a leading capacity in various national and international research programs involving research and monitoring: the NWT Water Stewardship Strategy, Mackenzie River Basin Board, the Canadian Mountain Network, and the Tracking Change: In 2011-2012 he contributed to the NWT Water Stewardship Strategy, through the Aboriginal Steering Committee, and Tracking Change: Local and Indigenous Knowledge in Watershed Governance. He represents the SRRB on the NWT Conference of Management Authorities and the NWT Species At Risk Committee.

Catarina Owen, Communications and Policy Analyst

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Catarina Owen was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil and has immigrated to Canada in 2005. She has a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from the University of Florida and a Master of Science in Animal Science from the University of Alberta. Catarina and her family moved to Norman Wells in 2011. She joined the Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı in 2012 as an Environmental Assessment Researcher. Catarina worked closely with Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ reviewing permitting and licensing applications. She also reviewed and commented on wildlife research applications. In 2015, Catarina and her family relocated to Inuvik, she continues to provide support for the Board from afar. In her free time, Catarina enjoys spending time with her four kids, traveling, cooking and brewing kombucha.

Colin Macdonald, Science Advisor

Dr. Colin Macdonald has over three decades of research experience in environmental toxicology, much of it in northern Canada. His first northern experience was on north Baffin Island, where he studied the accumulation of the metals in the diets of ringed seals. This led to a project studying pesticides and other contaminants in lakes in Ontario at Trent University and the effects of man-made chemicals in wildlife at the National Wildlife Research Center in Gatineau, Québec and at Whiteshell Laboratories in Pinawa, MB. His research included projects on historic radiation like cesium-137 and other contaminants in barren-ground caribou, fish and other wildlife species. He has been an independent consultant since 1998 and worked on the assessment of contamination in plants, animals, fish and vegetation at Port Radium, Sawmill Bay, Silver Bear Mines, Contact Lake and other abandoned mine sites to the east of Great Bear Lake. He provides advice to the Sahtú Renewable Resources Board on issues related to the permitting of projects, reviews project reports, and advises on technical issues relating to renewable resources and environmental quality in the Sahtú.  He lives in Pinawa, Manitoba.

Lori Ann Lennie, Office Administrator

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Lori Ann Lennie is a member of the Fort Norman Métis Nation. She is the longest serving staff member Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı, having worked with the Board since 2000. Over the course of her work, she has taken various courses in bookkeeping, accounting, financial management, computer skills, Aboriginal law, and human resources management. She is actively involved in leadership in her home community of Tulı́t’a, serving on the Métis Land Corporation Board and Hamlet Council.

 

Jessie Yakeleya, Research Program Intern

J YakeleyaJessie is a proud Métis from Tulı́t'a. She lived in Tulı́t'a her whole life. Jessie joined the Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı in 2020. Jessie helps with research coordination, she is currently involved with three projects; University of Waterloo Food Security, University of Alberta Drinking Water and the Global Water Future. Jessie has a beautiful daughter named Gracie, according to Jessie becoming a mother has made her a better person. She is working on becoming a good leader and role model not only to her daughter but to the community. Growing up, Jessie spent a lot of time in the bush with her dad and grandmother. Jessie takes pride in the knowledge that was passed on to her by her grandmother.

 

William Andrew, Nío Nę P’ęnę́ Intern

William aAndrewWilliam Andrew is Shúhtaot'ı̨nę. He has lived in Tulı́t'a all his life, and has good memories of travels on Begáádǝ (Keele River) - including a trip with well known Shúhtaot'ı̨nę leaders Gabe Etchinelle and Paul Wright in 1997. He also made annual trips with his family to K'áalǫ (Willow Lake) for the spring goose and duck hunt. After about four years working on oil rigs, he became a heavy equipment operator in Norman Wells. He also has experience working at the Tulı́t'a gas bar and Northern store where he rose to the position of Head Cashier. In 2015 he completed the five week Environmental Monitor training program at Aurora College in Fort Smith. He also participated in a Cross-Cultural Research Camp at Sans Sault Rapids that same year. He is committed to supporting strong Dene and Métis stewardship in his family's mountain homeland, and looks forward to introducing his son Leland to the mountains!