Michael Anderson has been director since 1988 of the Natural Resources Secretariat of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, which represents Northern Manitoba First Nations. He provides research, policy analysis and negotiations support and has participated in proceedings before the National Energy Board, the Manitoba Public Utilities Board and the Manitoba Clean Environment Commission, as well as before standing committees of the House of Commons, the Senate and the Manitoba legislature. Anderson participated in the development of methodologies for land use, occupancy and habitation studies, traditional knowledge research and Treaty Land Entitlement studies. He has also participated in the development of toolkits for First Nations entering into a Crown-First Nation consultation and accommodation processes.


Julie Blackhawk is originally from Tyendinaga (Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte), in southern Ontario. She is senior counsel with Justice Canada’s Aboriginal Law Centre in Ottawa, providing litigation support on section 35 Aboriginal rights and title issues for litigation teams across the country. She joined the department in 2000 as a litigator in the Vancouver Regional Office, where she worked on a variety of matters, including the Prophet River (Wolf) Treaty 8 litigation and the Tsilhqot’in (Roger William) trial litigation team. In addition, she also worked in the Specific Claims Branch on matters before the former Indian Claims Commission.


Elder Harry Bone is a member of the Keeseekoowenin Ojibway First Nation, where he served as chief and director of education. He has also worked as CEO at the West Region Tribal Council and as a director of the Manitoba Indian Education Authority. Elder Bone was a director of native programs for the federal government and served as a vice-president of the Aboriginal Cultural Centres of Canada. He is a member of the Elders’ council at the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and chairs the council of Elders at the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba. Elder Bone is helping develop Treaty-education resources for school teachers. He co-authored Untuwe Pi Kin He – Who We Are and Ka’esi Wahkotumahk Aski – Our Relations With The Land.


Prof. Aimée Craft is a bilingual Indigenous lawyer with expertise in Indigenous legal traditions and Canadian Aboriginal law. She is also an assistant professor of law at the University of Manitoba. Her award-winning 2013 book Breathing Life into the Stone Fort Treaty focuses on understanding and interpreting treaties from an Anishinaabe inaakonigewin (legal) perspective. In her legal practice at the Public Interest Law Centre, Craft focused on issues affecting Indigenous communities, from both a strategic litigation and negotiation-based perspective. She is past chair of the Aboriginal Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association. Her pro bono work includes participation in the development of Federal Court practice guidelines for Aboriginal law matters, including oral history and Elders’ evidence.


J.B. Fobister is a trapper from Grassy Narrow First Nation in Northwestern Ontario. He has been a key part of the community’s work towards self-determination through logging road blockades and court challenges. Fobister is one of the trappers who took their case against clearcut logging to the Supreme Court in the Keewatin case.


Lawyer Bill Gallagher is a strategist in the area of native, government and corporate relations and an authority on the rise of native empowerment in the Canadian resources sector. His 2010 book Resource Rulers: Fortune and Folly on Canada’s Road to Resources analyzes how and why natives have amassed the most significant winning streak in Canadian legal history. Gallagher has defused native logging tensions in New Brunswick’s “War in the Woods” and oil patch eco-terrorism in Alberta. He also helped guide Inco’s Voisey’s Bay impact benefits agreements to successful conclusion. Gallagher previously worked as a corporate lawyer in Calgary, an energy regulator, a devolution negotiator in the Territories and a treaty negotiator on the Prairies.


During more than 40 years of practice, Hutchins has been involved extensively in negotiation, litigation, counsel and special advisor work for First Nations, Inuit and non-Aboriginal governments. His litigation experience includes numerous appearances before the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Courts of Canada, the courts of Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and the Northwest Territories, as well as the United Nations Human Rights Committee and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. He has developed treaty negotiation positions involving international, historic and contemporary treaties, including the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. During the Crown/Mohawk crisis of 1990 in Quebec, he acted as special envoy for the national chief and counsel for the chief negotiator for Kanesatake.


Robert Janes is a principal of JFK Law based in Victoria, B.C. His practice focuses on providing legal services, primarily in the area of litigation and related settlement negotiations, to Aboriginal people across Canada. Janes is a member of the bars of Ontario and British Columbia and has appeared at all levels of court in British Columbia, Ontario, Alberta, at the Federal Courts and many times in the Supreme Court of Canada. Most recently, he appeared in the Supreme Court of Canada for Grassy Narrows in the Grassy Narrows case and for an intervener in the Tsilhqot’in case.


Heather Leonoff has been counsel with the constitutional section of Manitoba Justice since 1998. She taught at the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Law from 1980 -2007 in the criminal and constitutional law fields. Leonoff has argued numerous appeals in the Supreme Court of Canada, including in the criminal, constitutional and Aboriginal law areas. Her professional awards include the International Association of Prosecutors Special Achievement Award, Canadian Department of Justice Federal Prosecution Service Award, Criminal Intelligence Service of Canada Mark of Excellence Award and the Manitoba Justice Service Excellence Award.


Heather Mahony is a partner with Woodward & Company Lawyers LLP, and was a member of the litigation team in Tsilhqot’in Nation v. BC. Between 2002 and 2007, she gathered and presented oral history and forestry-related evidence at trial to meet the tests for Aboriginal title and infringement, and helped to draft the Tsilhqot’in trial closing arguments. Mahony recently acted as counsel for an intervener in Keewatin at the Supreme Court of Canada. She is a member of both the BC and Ontario bars. Her current practice is focused on representing her First Nation clients, including beneficiaries of Treaty 3, in seeking remedies for historic and ongoing injustices, and re-establishing indigenous governance.


Kent McNeil is a distinguished research professor at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, where he has taught since 1987.  He is the author of numerous works on the rights of Indigenous peoples, including two books: Common Law Aboriginal Title (1989) and Emerging Justice? Essays on Indigenous Rights in Canada and Australia (2001).  He has also co-edited a collection, Indigenous Peoples and the Law: Comparative and Critical Perspectives (2009), with professors Benjamin Richardson and Shin Imai.


Ovide Mercredi is a Cree lawyer born in Grand Rapids, Manitoba. He specialized in constitutional law, including as a strategist for the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs during Meech Lake Accord discussions. He also played a leadership role in helping resolve the Oka Crisis in 1990. Mercredi served as national chief for the Assembly of First Nations from 1991-97, during which time he led negotiations on the Charlottetown Accord. He has addressed the United Nations in Geneva and New York and led a human rights delegation to the troubled Mexican state of Chiapas. Mercredi co-authored In the Rapids: Navigating the Future of First Nations with Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond. He is currently working as senior advisor to the University of Manitoba’s president.


The honourable Richard Scott is distinguished jurist in residence at the University of Manitoba. He was named Queen’s Counsel in 1976 and was president of the Law Society of Manitoba in 1983-1984. Scott was appointed to Manitoba’s Court of Queens Bench in 1985 and a few months later became its associate chief justice. In 1990, he was appointed Chief Justice of Manitoba, the presiding judge of the Court of Appeal. Scott has made special contributions to the work of the Canadian Judicial Council through its committees on judicial independence and conduct. While at the bar, Scott worked extensively with Legal Aid Manitoba and he has participated in programs to assist the judiciary and development of the rule of law in Ethiopia and Ukraine.


Jean Teillet is a partner with Pape Salter Teillet LLP and is called to the bar in Ontario, B.C., N.W.T., Manitoba and Yukon. She specializes in Aboriginal rights litigation and negotiations. Teillet is the chief negotiator for the Stó:lō Xwexwilmexw treaty being negotiated through the B.C. treaty process. She was counsel at the Supreme Court of Canada in Powley, Taku River and Beckman and acted as counsel for interveners in many other cases including MMF, Cunningham, Haida, Delgamuukw, Blais, Paul and Behn. Teillet also represented an intervener in Daniels at the Federal Court of Appeal. She is the author of Métis Law in Canada and a former treasurer and vice-president of the Indigenous Bar Association. Teillet is the great-grand-niece of Louis Riel.


Douglas White was chief of the Snuneymuxw First Nation in Nanaimo, B.C., from 2009 to 2014. His Coast Salish name is Kwul’a’sul’tun and his Nuu-chah-nulth name is Tlii’shin. He has been a director of the Indigenous Bar Association of Canada and an associate lawyer at Mandell Pinder. As chief, a major focus of his work was implementation of the Snuneymuxw Treaty of 1854. From 2010 to 2013, he was a member of the First Nations Summit Task Group and the B.C. First Nations Leadership Council, working on the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate, and advocating with governments and at the United Nations. He is the director of the Centre for Pre-Confederation Treaties and Reconciliation at Vancouver Island University and an associate at First Peoples Law.


James Wilson is a member of Opaskwayak Cree Nation with extensive teaching experience. He has a master’s degree in educational administration and served as director of education for the Opaskwayak Education Authority. He also served in U.S. Army Special Operations, was a member of Canada’s National Age Group Triathlon team and won provincial and national environmental awards for an outdoor education program. As a Traditionalist, Wilson has advocated for the equality of women in ceremony and in leadership. He has been Treaty Commissioner for the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba since 2010.

More information about the Keewatin to Tsilhqot’in conference.