COSEWIC Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Subcommittee (ATKSC) Member Biographies
Dr. Jeannette Armstrong
Like many Métis, Dan has been raised in the traditions and culture of his People including their special relationship and stewardship with the land and water. Dan is a farmer, hunter, trapper and fisherman, and continues to exercise these traditions and pass them along to his daughter and others. He believes it is essential to preserve traditional Métis culture and lifestyle while being in harmony with the land.
Dan operates his family’s traditional, turn of the century Métis farm, with most of the buildings and equipment dating to pre-1930s. The animals and vegetable crops found on the farm are those that were found in the early Red River Settlement circa 1820s. He was also a member of the Métis Horticultural Heritage Society, and is keenly interested in preserving heritage species and biodiversity.
Dan has in-excess of 10 years post secondary education and has various degrees and diplomas in Natural Resources Management and Ecology from University College of the North, University of Ottawa, and the University of Manitoba.
He has worked for both industry and all three levels of government in the natural resources and environment field. Dan has worked for Tolko Forest Industries, the Canadian Forest Service, Manitoba Conservation, and the Whitemouth River Conservation District, amongst others. Dan has also worked for the RCMP and the Canadian Forces as an Officer. In addition to his farm operation, he has 10 years experience as a consultant to First Nations Bands and Northern Affairs Communities in Manitoba regarding community development, environment and hydro generation issues, and has owned and operated an eco- and Aboriginal -tourism guiding business in Eastern and Northern Manitoba, and North-western Ontario.
Dan is currently the lead coordinator in charge of the Agriculture, Environment, Hydro, and Natural Resources Portfolios at the Manitoba Métis Federation-Home Office (MMF) in Winnipeg, Manitoba, supervising a multi-disciplinary provincial team of fourteen staff.
Dan is intimately knowledgeable in many other facets of Métis cultural heritage and traditional knowledge relating to water and land issues. In fact, his community recognizes this, and the Métis National Council and the MMF have appointed him to various provincial, national and international forums to represent the Métis Nation’s interests on environmental and Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge issues. Dan was formerly a member of the Manitoba East- Side Planning Initiative’s Round Table, and is a current member of Environment Canada’s Mining Sector Sustainability Table, the Species at Risk Act’s COSEWIC ATK subcommittee, MNC National Research Strategy, MNC Environment Committee, MNC’s CBD Canadian Delegate and MNC Post-Powley Multilateral Process.
Mr. Benoit lives, with his wife Kim and their daughter Katie, on the family farm in South-eastern Manitoba.
Larry is currently the Chair of the Wildlife Management Advisory Council (NWT), a co-management board, established under the Inuvialuit Final Agreement. It is responsible for the conservation of wildlife and wildlife habitat in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region.
During his tenure on the Inuvialuit Game Council (IGC) Larry has served in numerous capacities on behalf of the Inuvialuit, as well as, becoming the chair of the IGC, a position he held until late 1997.
As Chair of the IGC, his portfolio included the official signing ceremony establishing Tuktut Nogait National Park, Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species, and North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission.
Larry has taken on these responsibilities willingly with the understanding that he would be away from his family and the land, which he enjoys so much, to help implement and manage the Inuvialuit land claim.
Larry has many achievements to his credit which include establishing discussions between the Inupiaq of Alaska and the Inuvialuit in the development of an international beluga whale agreement. This has led to the formation of the Inupiat/Inuvialuit Beluga Whale Commission. He presently serves on the Polar Bear Technical Committee.
Larry has represented the Inuvialuit regionally, nationally and internationally at numerous gatherings, and has presented papers on wildlife management in Canada and elsewhere.
Sue was born and raised in Garden River First Nation with a family of 4 brothers and 4 sisters. Her father was the only parent in the family and frequently took the entire family into the bush for hunting, trapping and fishing excursions. He instilled at a very young age the laws of the land and always promoted respect for everything. As a teenager, Sue lived with her Nokomis (grandmother figure) where she was taught traditional women skills. She currently resides with her three children in Garden River First Nation and more recently became a Nokomis herself.
Sue has worked extensively with First Nation communities for the last twenty years in environmental related fields and has made numerous First Nation contacts. Sue has her Bachelors of Science degree with her major focusing on biology and a minor in chemistry and her Masters degree in Environment and Management.
Sue has worked with the Chiefs of Ontario as the Environmental Coordinator planning, coordinating, implementing and facilitating the activities of the Environment Unit. Her work includes providing environmental information to the First Nation leaders in Ontario and their communities on environmental initiatives such as water, forestry, contaminants and species at risk. She also assists the Chiefs in Ontario by providing advice on environmental legislation and policies, and travels to various environmental conferences sharing an Anisinaabae perspective. She compiles reports offering recommendations to the Chiefs based on input from key First Nation technical advisors from the different political territory organizations. Sue has worked with the Elders in Ontario on numerous water related issues.
Nominated by the Assembly of First Nations, Sue is now a member of the Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Subcommittee for COSEWIC. She has received a Ministerial appointment to this committee and participates on the Birds Subcommittee. Sue is an advocate of restoring, conserving and preserving Mother Earth for those yet unborn.
David Dickson is a 57 years old Kaska from Watson Lake, Yukon. The Kaska Nation has not settled a land claim to date.
He is Kaska and was born in the Whitehorse General Hospital. His father was John Dickson who had strong feelings for the land and its people. The Kaskas are traditional and have hunted for subsistence for generations. David grew up hunting and living off the land, learning his skills from his father, brother and his people. He has gained experience working with the Pre-implementation Yukon Fish and Wildlife Board.
Jason Harquail is an off-reserve Mi’kmaq from New Brunswick and has been employed with the New Brunswick Aboriginal Peoples Council since 1999. Throughout this time, Jason has dealt mainly with the fisheries aspect of the Council, first as an Aboriginal Conservation Officer dealing with Food, Social, and Ceremonial aspects of the fishery. Upon his promotion to Commercial Fisheries Manager in 2005, Jason’s duties have expanded to include daily communication with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Industry and Aboriginal Fishermen, as well as other Aboriginal organizations. Additionally, Jason regularly attends various Science and Industry meetings to deal with present and upcoming Conservation and Protection Regulations dealing with Marine Wildlife. In 2003, Jason was nominated to participate in UNESCO meetings in Ottawa to discuss Sustainable Development of fresh water, in addition to topics dealing with HIV, AIDS, and Youth Participation.
Donna is a Mi’kmaq from Lequille, Nova Scotia who continues to reside on her traditional ancestral homelands. She comes from a line of well known Mi’kmaw hunting and fishing guides and her family continues to be active in these activities. Dr Hurlburt holds a PhD in Environmental Biology and Ecology from University of Alberta, which was followed by an NSERC industrial post-doctoral fellowship with Bowater Mersey Paper Company in Liverpool, Nova Scotia. She has extensive research experience in the ecology and conservation biology of endangered species and has worked in this regard on insects, plants, reptiles, mammals and fish from a wide range of habitats. She has authored or co-authored six provincial and COSEWIC status reports, two federal recovery strategies and participates on several endangered species recovery teams. At present, Donna is a self-employed consultant who specializes in the integration of Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge and Western Science in environmental decision-making and in citizen engagement in policy development, as well as, more scientific pursuits in ecology and conservation biology. She is a co-chair of the ATK Subcommittee of COSEWIC, a member of COSEWIC, an Aboriginal member of the Parks Canada Animal Care Task Force (Eastern Canada), and a board member of the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute, the Clean Annapolis River Project and Ikanawtiket in Nova Scotia.
Encouraged by her Elders, Chief Norma Kassi entered politics shortly after leaving school. In 1985, Norma was elected into Yukon’s Legislative Assembly as a Member for
For many years, Chief Kassi worked on the International Gwich’in Steering Committee. In 2002, Norma won the Goldman Environmental prize, the world’s largest prize honouring grassroots environmentalists for her work on caribou protection. Today, she continues to support the fight for the preservation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Alaska, which is the calving ground of the Porcupine Caribou herd. The people of Old Crow depend on this herd for their livelihoods. Norma co-founded and was the Associate Director of the Arctic Health Research Network-Yukon, from 2007 until she was elected Chief in 2010.
Gabriel Nirlungayuk is the Director of Wildlife and Environment for Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. settled land claims in 1993. It is the largest aboriginal settlement in Canada. Gabriel lives in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. He is an Inuit, born in Pelly Bay now known as Kugaaruk. His ancestors are the Netsilikmeot Inuit (People of the Seal). This group of people did not have contact with the outside world until the early 1900’s. Gabriel grew up hunting and living off the land, learning his skills from his father, grandfather and uncles. He is teaching the skills learnt to his children.
He has close working relationships with regional wildlife organizations, hunters, and trappers. In 2005 he was appointed to sit on the Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Sub-Committee as a specialist for Marine Mammals. Currently, he is a commissioner for the Baffin Bay Polar Bear Memorandum Of Understanding for Canada and Greenland. He has experience working with the Polar Bear Technical Committee, North Atlantic Marine Mammal Council, Joint Canada/Greenland Beluga, Narwhal Council, and the Polar Bear Specialist Group to name a few.
James Pokiak is an Inuvialuk from Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories. He was born on Banks Island in the mid 1950’s. He speaks both Inuvialuktun and English fluently. He grew up in the traditional ways of hunting, trapping and fishing. He has passed on his pride in being Inuvialuit, as well as knowledge of the land and survival skills to his children. Today, James is still an active hunter, harvesting fish, beluga, seal, polar bear, caribou, grizzly and musk ox, plus smaller Arctic game animals.
Over the past thirty years, James has been elected to various community boards: the Tuktoyaktuk Hamlet Council, the Tuktoyaktuk District Education Council, the Tuktoyaktuk Community Corporation board. He has been an active board member, often functioning as chair, of the Tuktoyaktuk Hunters’ and Trappers’ Committee for over fifteen years. Currently, James sits on the Inuvialuit Game Council.
Mr. Dean Trumbley works for Silvatech Group. His Métis genealogy has a long-line of Métis harvesters, which he still honours today. Mr. Trumbley’s family acquires the majority of their sustenance from hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering.
He completed all his post-secondary schooling in Ontario (1987-1991) after which he moved back to British Columbia. Mr. Trumbley has had his professional designation as a biologist since 1997 with specialties in ungulate biology and freshwater fisheries. In 1994, Mr. Trumbley started an environmental consulting firm (Trumbley Environmental Consulting Limited) in the Okanagan Valley. Trumbley Environmental Consulting Limited has completed over 100 projects to the present, with the majority of studies being conducted in the remote northern wilderness of British Columbia. He has participated in or lead over 75 studies throughout B.C. and northwestern United States.
In 1992, he became involved in the Métis political movement in British Columbia. Mr. Trumbley was one of the key individuals that started the Vernon District Métis Association and was also a past Director and Vice-President on the executive.
Mr. Trumbley worked on a part-time basis for the Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) from 1994-2001 as the Provincial Natural Resource Coordinator. In 2003, he decided to take on the full-time position as the Director of Natural Resources. In 2004, Mr. Trumbley developed a 1.5-year natural resource strategy for the MNBC; the result was the creation of today’s B.C. Métis Assembly of Natural Resources (BCMANR). In 2006, Mr. Trumbley was appointed to the Chief of Operations for the Métis Nation British Columbia. Recently, Mr. Trumbley has accepted a job with an environmental consulting firm based in Salmon Arm, BC as a Senior Environmental Planner were he continues his pursuit of blending both Western-Based Science with Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge. Other achievements of Mr. Trumbley include: