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).

Leon Andrew, Research Director

Leon Andrew1 001Leon Andrew is a Shúhtaot'ı̨nę elder with the Tulı́t’a Dene Band. He is our Research Director 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 many 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 regional, national and international research programs involving research and monitoring: the NWT Water Stewardship Strategy, Mackenzie River Basin Board, the Canadian Mountain Network, Northern Water Futures, and Ărramăt: Biodiversity Conservation and the Health and Well-being of Indigenous Peoples (a network proposed to the New Frontiers in Research Fund of Canada’s research Tri-Agency). 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 works closely with Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ reviewing permitting and licensing applications. She also reviews and comments on wildlife research applications. In 2015, Catarina and her family relocated to Inuvik where she stayed for 5 years. In 2020 her family relocated to Moncton, she continues to provide support for the Board from afar. In her free time, Catarina enjoys spending time with her four kids, traveling, cooking food her kids won't eat and brewing kombucha.

Alyssa Bougie, Community Conservation Planner

Alyssa BougieAlyssa Bougie grew up in British Columbia. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of the Fraser Valley in 2016. Through her studies, she discovered a passion for working cross-culturally during an internship in India focused on public health and urban gardening. Afterwards, Alyssa worked engaging the public on the environment in urban landscapes and in protected areas. In 2017, she moved to Germany, where she obtained a Master of Science in Landscape Ecology from the University of Hohenheim. There, she gained an understanding of different approaches to community-driven conservation across the globe. Alyssa believes strong relationships between people and nature are key to mitigating many of the world’s challenges, and she is very eager to support Sahtú communities in their work.

Melanie Harding, Community Conservation Planner

Mel HardingMelanie Harding is a Registered Professional Planner and Member of the Canadian Institute of Planners. She has spent her career supporting community-led planning processes in Indigenous communities in British Columbia, northern Ontario, and the Northwest Territories. Most recently she has focused on land use planning and community conservation planning in the NWT. Her focus is on building planning capacity in Indigenous communities and honouring ancient ways of planning in contemporary planning processes. Melanie has also been involved in regional and national processes to advocate for community development and nation led planning in First Nations communities in Canada. Melanie holds a Master’s Degree in Indigenous Community Planning from the School of Community and Regional Planning at the University of British Columbia. Melanie is a fourth generation settler originally from Ireland and she is perpetually reflecting on her role and responsibilities in Canada. When not at work, Melanie spends her time raising her daughter Maeve with her partner in the most enchanted way possible.

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.

 

Jasmine Plummer, Sahtú Youth Network Intern

JasminePlummer1Jasmine Plummer is a Métis beneficiary from Tłegǫ́hłı̨ (where the oil is, Norman Wells). She has grown up in the Sahtú almost all her life with her McDonald family, and graduated from Mackenzie Mountain School in 2016. After five years of on the job training as a mechanic, Jasmine joined the SRRB in 2020 as the Sahtú Youth Network Intern. She is very passionate about helping youth in the Sahtú build stronger relationships with themselves and the land. For her, being on the land with her family since the age of three has made her into the strong-minded person she is today. She takes pride in the knowledge she has gained from her late grandmother Ruby McDonald and her other relatives. Jasmine is a strong Indigenous woman wanting to see the youth in her surrounding communities excel, to have a voice and be the change they want to see in the region.

 

Janet Winbourne, Indigenous Knowledge Research Advisor

JanetWindbourneJanet Winbourne primarily works in ethnobiology/ethnoecology in West Coast and Arctic ecosystems. She specializes in researching and documenting traditional and local or community knowledge of species and/or ecosystems, and compiling this information for use in resource management and Species at Risk work. Janet formerly lived in Inuvik, where as part of her work she managed a harvest study. Today, she lives on Vancouver Island, but continues to work on projects in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, as well as the South and Central Coasts of British Columbia (including Haida Gwaii). Her experience has involved working with dozens of First Nations, Inuit, and Aboriginal organizations, and has spanned hundreds of different species in marine, terrestrial and aquatic environments. Recent focal species include salmon, eulachons, abalone, deer, caribou, bison, and wolverine.

Bruce McRae, Legal Counsel

Bruce McRaeBruce McRae (McRae Law) is independent tribunal counsel for two institutions of public government under modern land claims in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Bruce provides advice on administrative, Aboriginal and Environmental law. Bruce is called to the bars of Nunavut (2015) and the Northwest Territories (2021). Bruce went to law school at the University of Toronto (JD, 2014) with a pre-law undergraduate at the University of Alberta (BA, 2001).

Prior to founding McRae Law, Bruce was in-house counsel to the Government of Nunavut and later the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, the Inuit organization for the Baffin Island area. His work included proceedings of the Nunavut Planning Commission, the Nunavut Water Board and the Nunavut Impact Review Board. Bruce is Section Chair for the Environment, Energy and Resource Law (EERL) Section of the CBA Nunavut Branch, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Arctic Renewables Society. Before law, Bruce worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross in the Middle East and Asia, experience that informs his approach to cross-cultural dialogue.

Bruce now lives in Ottawa with his wife where he is getting used to having trees around after living in Nunavut.