E X P E R I E N C E
Over the last 25 years, I have dedicated my entire education, career, and volunteer time to addressing the issues faced by Indigenous peoples, their communities and Nations, including those at the grass roots level. This has involved working and volunteering in various Indigenous organisations, and my education on Indigenous law, policy and governance. This has included publishing in this area and taking on careers where I could work with Indigenous peoples and their issues.
I have always been involved in activities related to my nation, the Mi'kmaq Nation. This has included work with on and off-reserve Aboriginal groups. However, on a broader level, I have participated at the First Ministers' meetings which led to the Kelowna Accord; internationally at the United Nations for Indigenous issues; and have worked and/or volunteered and/or done research both nationally and provincially, and with various Indigenous organizations and First Nations.
In addition to my formal education and community involvement, I have also worked in careers which were focused solely on Indigenous law, policy and governance. I am a member of the Law Society of New Brunswick, the Canadian Bar Association, the Ontario Bar Association and the Indigenous Bar Association. I have been a practicing lawyer for 13 years and during this time have worked at Justice Canada in the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio as legal counsel to Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC).
During my employment with the federal government, I also took on assignments with INAC as a senior executive. I was Director of Lands and Trusts Services in Amherst and then Director of Government Relations in Halifax. While at INAC, I worked on treaties, land claims, self-government, economic development, program delivery, policy development and intergovernmental relations.
I have also had the benefit of working in other jobs which have informed my views and added to my experience. For example, I worked as a lawyer at the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission as an investigator of human rights complaints. For a brief period, I also acted as a consultant in my own company providing research and advisory services to governments. I taught part-time at St. Mary’s University in the Political Science department in the area of Indigenous law and politics.
I am currently an Associate Professor and Chair of Ryerson University's Centre for Indigenous Governance in Toronto. It is my job to teach courses and conduct research on Indigenous legal, political and governance matters, supervise graduate students, publish scholarly works, and contribute to university life at Ryerson University in general. One of my main tasks is to help create a new Centre of Indigenous Governance that builds partnerships with First Nations on issues which impact their governance roles, responsibilities, capacity, and development.
I also work with First Nations and their political organizations on a voluntary basis as well as conduct research and participate at the national level on human rights issues, like the repeal of section 67, Bill C-3 and others. My goal is to help build capacity in partnership with First Nation students, individuals, organizations and communities on a wide variety of issues related to Nation-building and strong, self-determining governments.