SPEAKER BIOGRAPHIES LEARNING TOGETHER 2011
Robert L. Ottereyes, Cree Nation of Waswanipi
Robert Ottereyes is a professional manager who holds a degree from Concordia University in Commerce. He has several years of experience working with his community and in the mining industry. He was the Executive Assistant to the Chief in his home community of Waswanipi, as well as Treasurer, Director of Personnel and Corporate Secretary. Robert is the former Director of Finance and Administration of the Educational Branch of the Cree School Board, which has full jurisdiction and responsibility for education within the Category-I and Category-II lands of all Cree communities. He was responsible for the administration of a $60 million operational budget and for negotiations with the Ontario Ministry of Education. In 2002, Robert joined the private sector as a member of the Cree Consortium Group, where he sat on the Board of the Secretariat to the Cree Nation Abitibi-Temiscamingue Economic Alliance. He is the former manager of an Aboriginal drilling company, and has a long reputation for creating joint ventures with both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal parties. Robert strongly believes that First Nation communities can benefit immensely from partnerships with the mining industry.
Theresa Hall, Attawapiskat First Nation
Theresa Hall has served as a full-time presiding Justice of the Peace for nine communities in Northern Ontario for over thirteen years, and is the first Cree women to be appointed to such a position. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies from Laurentian University. Theresa is the former Chief of Attawapiskat—the first female Chief ever in that community. She was Chief during her community’s negotiations with De Beers Canada for its diamond mine, and she always led with forward-thinking vision and determination. She served two terms but decided not to seek election for a third term in order to give others the opportunity to lead.
Vice Chief Don Deranger, Prince Albert Grand Council
Vice Chief Don Deranger was elected Athabasca Vice Chief of Prince Albert Grand Council in May 2003, with a portfolio of responsibilities that included Justice, Lands and Resources, Athabasca Health Authority, Northern Lights Community Development Corporation and the Prince Albert Development Corporation. He is determined to work to protect, preserve and implement First Nations treaties without compromising inherent rights, and to maintain the protection of First Nations traditional territories and resources. It is important to Don that he also strengthens Aboriginal economic and social partnerships in all sectors. A few of his accomplishments include successfully negotiating a diversion agreement with the government of the Northwest Territories; creating major contracts with several mining and exploration companies for his region; developing and negotiating hydro‐electric developments; creating partnerships with airline companies; developing a successful construction business; and successfully obtaining $30 million for the Athabasca road developments.
John Cutfeet, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI)
John Cutfeet continues to advocate for the rights of First Nation Peoples to be consulted and accommodated prior to permits or authorizations related to traditional lands being released by the Crown. On December 6‐7, 2007, the KI Chief and Council, including John, were found to be in contempt of a Superior Court ruling from October 25, 2007. While the Chief and Council await sentencing, John continued to fight his contempt of court challenge, and he pushed for advocacy rights to speak out when governments disregard laws protecting First Peoples. John still lives in Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug.
Ben Bradshaw, University of Guelph
Ben Bradshaw is Associate Professor with the Department of Geography at the University of Guelph. His research seeks to identify the economic, political and cultural determinants of environmental degradation in Western society, and the various tools of governance that might best alleviate such degradation. To date, his work has included corporate social/environmental responsibility, agricultural trade liberalization, community-based resource management, agricultural biotechnology adoption, and climate change adaptation in agriculture. While much of his research is aimed at academic audiences, Ben is a regular contributor to policy development and debates. He always welcomes communication from other researchers, professionals, and potential graduate students. Ben was instrumental in the creation of the IBA toolkit, and he is asked to speak at conferences around the world about the importance of effective IBA negotiations.
Rosalee Tizya is Vuntat Gwich’in and was born and raised in the Yukon Territory and attended Chooutla Residential School until age 13. Rosalee has a teaching degree from the University of British Columbia and has worked for the Committee for Original People’s Entitlement, the Dene Nation and the National Indian Brotherhood in Ottawa as its Education Director. She has served diligently for three years on the Board of the Legal Services Society for B.C., the Institute of Indigenous Government and, for the past 20 years, on the Centre for World Indigenous Studies based in Olympia, Washington, where she holds the Chief George Manuel Chair. A passionate advocate of Indigenous rights for over 40 years, Rosalee has earned the respect of Indian, Métis and Inuvialuit communities across Canada, and she continues to work tirelessly to link the off- and on-reserve peoples with their original stories and cultural belief systems.
Juan Carlos Reyes, CEO, Learning Together Inc.
Juan Carlos Reyes is one of the founders of Learning Together, and was appointed as its Chief Executive Officer in 2008. He has nearly 15 years of mining and Aboriginal development expertise, and has worked tirelessly to promote economic development opportunities in the mining industry for Aboriginal communities. Juan Carlos is responsible for organizing Learning Together’s annual conference, working with communities on various engagement projects, and managing the relationships that the organization has built with industry over the past six years. Recognized as one of the top 20 most influential Hispanics in Canada, Juan Carlos is considered to be an expert in Aboriginal mining relations and agreements. With degrees in Physics and Math, and Computer Science, and a background in Mining Engineering, Juan Carlos has worked and consulted globally, and shares his experience and insight at conferences around the world. He writes the popular monthly First Nations column for CIM Magazine, and has helped organize a number of humanitarian relief projects throughout Latin America focused on the needs of Indigenous communities. With a sterling reputation within Aboriginal communities, a strong desire to improve the Canadian Aboriginal reality, and a need to push the limits of what is possible in everything he does, Juan Carlos is a tremendous asset to Learning Together.
Pam Schwann, Executive Director, Saskatchewan Mining Association
Pam Scwann is the Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Mining Association (SMA), an industry-funded organization that represents all producing mines in Saskatchewan, as well as most of the mineral exploration companies active in the province. Pam received her Honours Bachelor of Science in Geology from the University of Regina, and a Master of Science from Carleton University in Ottawa. She served as a geoscientist with the provincial government for eight years in La Ronge, and was also a Sessional Lecturer with NORTEP/NORPAC. While based in La Ronge, Pam also worked with northern communities and the uranium industry with Saskatchewan Northern Affairs for two years. Prior to joining the SMA in 2007, Pam was the Director of Mines for Saskatchewan Industry and Resources in Regina for 10 years. Pam currently serves on the Board of SIAST and Innovation Saskatchewan.