Biographies

Paul Andrew

Paul Andrew was born in the Mackenzie Mountains and grew up in Fort Norman, now called Tulita. He is a resident of Yellowknife and is well known for his work in culture, residential school education and healing. He was first taken to residential school at the age of 8 and spent a total of seven years in residential school. He became chief of Tulita at the age of 22 and is now retired from a 30-year career with the CBC. He has received numerous awards, including Order of the NWT and a National Aboriginal Achievement Award.

Sarah Arngna'naaq

Sarah Arngna’naaq is originally from Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake), Nunavut, however she has spent the majority of her life in Somba K’e, Denendeh (Yellowknife). She works as Crown counsel for the Nunavut Regional Office of Public Prosecution Service of Canada. While she was a regular circuit Crown for several years, she is now assigned as the lead on a special project within the office. Her assignment is the creation of a program for the office that allows for ongoing community consultation on Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit – Inuit societal values, or a framework by which Inuit may live a good life. She attended Trent University, receiving her Bachelor’s degree in 2009 and the University of Victoria, earning her JD in 2012.

Adrien Barrieau

Adrien Barrieau is the Assistant Director of Community Corrections for the Northwest Territories. Adrien believes in the importance of offender rehabilitation and their successful reintegration into our communities. He began this journey in law enforcement and after a successful 30 year career in the RCMP, joined his current team in the Corrections Service. Since his arrival in corrections, Adrien and his team have implemented the delivery of core criminogenic programs throughout the Northwest Territories. This was accomplished by the hard work of Community Corrections Officers who provide essential services to all communities in the NWT.

Ben Beaudoin

Ben Beaudoin is a Yellowknife resident and was born in Inuvik, he is the Manager of the ICM program

Jacqueline Beaudoin

My name is Jacqueline Beaudoin. I work as the Executive Director and Justice Coordinator of the Inuvik Justice Committee, in Inuvik, NT. I am qualified for these roles though a B.A.H in Criminal Justice and Public Policy, that I obtained from the University of Guelph, ON, in 2021. Currently, I am working toward a CPHR designation, and a yoga teacher certification. I enjoy being in nature and connecting with others. In the future, I hope to drive innovative change through a role in leadership.

Grace Blake

Grace Blake is the President of the Native Women’s Association of the NWT.

Rachel Burnet

Rachel Burnet is a Case Manager with the Specialized Courts. She grew up in Ontario and moved to the Northwest Territories in 2015. She has worked in the Criminal Justice system for the past eight years. Her passion lies with teaching offender-based psychoeducational programs and working frontline with those most vulnerable. Rachel’s other passion is with dogs and spends most of her leisure time with the NWTSPCA surrounded by puppies.

The Honourable Marion R. Buller, C.M.

The Honourable Marion Buller is a member of the Mistawasis Nehiyawak, a Cree First Nation in Saskatchewan. Ms. Buller was a lawyer, practicing criminal and administrative law for six years before being appointed as a BC Provincial Court judge. Ms. Buller was the initial First Nations woman to be appointed as a judge in any level of British Columbia courts. She presided in Provincial Court in many locations across BC, including the northern circuit court. Ms. Buller founded and presided in the First Nations Court, in New Westminster, BC. This was the first Indigenous Court in BC. She also built the foundation for BC’s first Indigenous Family Court. After presiding in BC Provincial Court for twenty-two years, Ms. Buller was appointed as the Chief Commissioner for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The National Inquiry was the first truly national inquiry in Canada and created precedent-setting procedures and practices. The National Inquiry’s strongly-worded Final Report and Calls for Justice have attracted both national and international attention. After the National Inquiry, Ms. Buller returned to the practice of law. She is now the Chancellor of the University of Victoria. Ms. Buller has been Director and President of the Indigenous Bar Association. She has served as Director for numerous other organizations, including the Law Foundation of BC. In recognition of her work, Ms. Buller has received several awards, including an Honourary Doctor of Laws degree from Thompson Rivers University. In 2022, Ms. Buller was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada.

Cindy Caisse

My Name is Cindy Caisse, I am originally from Ile-a-la Crosse Saskatchewan. I moved to Yellowknife in 2004. This is when my career changed in providing programming services to all age groups from youth to elders and families. I have been with Yellowknives Dene First Nation since 2008 and worked in different capacities with the Wellness division. By providing one on one counselling and referring clients to treatment and aftercare services. I have developed, planned, and implemented various programs and workshops such as addiction and recovery, justice, lateral violence, mental health, wellness, cultural activities and on the land programs. I also coordinated, facilitated, and delivered a 34-week program called “Believing in yourself”. This program consisted of acknowledging the history of Aboriginal peoples, healing and acknowledging the authentic self, up grading academically and on the job shadowing. The participants where those of various barriers, such as incarceration, generational trauma, residential school survivors, the sixties scoop, homelessness, addictions, and mental health. The outcome successes were the participants achieved sobriety and recovery and furthering their education for career development. My Passion is being of service to Indigenous people, and I will continue to empower those who seek direction and balance within their lives.

Dr. Glen Coulthard

Glen Coulthard is Yellowknives Dene and an associate professor in the First Nations and Indigenous Studies Program and the Departments of Political Science at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014), winner of the 2016 Caribbean Philosophical Association’s Frantz Fanon Award for Outstanding Book, the Canadian Political Science Association’s CB Macpherson Award for Best Book in Political Theory, published in English or French, in 2014/2015, and the Rik Davidson Studies in Political Economy Award for Best Book in 2016. He is also a co-founder of Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning, a decolonial, Indigenous land-based post-secondary program operating on his traditional territories in Denendeh(Northwest Territories)

Charlene Doolittle

Charlene Doolittle joined the Government of the Northwest Territories in 2000 and is currently the Deputy Minister of Justice. Previously, she held the positions of Deputy Secretary to Cabinet, Deputy Secretary to Cabinet - Priorities and Planning, both with Executive and Indigenous Affairs, Assistant Deputy Minister for the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Intergovernmental Relations, Assistant Deputy Minister for the Department of Justice, Executive Director of the Legal Services Board, and legal counsel and family law counsel for the Department of Justice. Before joining the Government of the Northwest Territories, Charlene practiced law with the firm of Peterson, Stang and Malakoe. Charlene is Sahtu Dene and Metis and a life-long northerner. She was born in Inuvik and has lived in the communities of Fort McPherson, Norman Wells, Inuvik and Yellowknife. Charlene is a graduate of both the University of Calgary, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, and the University of Alberta, where she earned a Bachelor of Laws. Charlene has been involved in the NWT legal community as a vice-president and treasurer of the Law Society of the NWT, and as a Section chair of the NWT Branch of the Canadian Bar Association. She has volunteered as a community member and parent in several organizations and schools. Charlene and her husband Darryl Mitchener, have two children, Elle and Jacob. BIOGR

Dr. Hadley Friedland

Hadley Friedland is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Alberta. Her research focuses on Indigenous law, Aboriginal law, Family law and Child Welfare law, Criminal Justice, Therapeutic jurisprudence and Community-led research. Dr. Friedland holds a Child and Youth Care diploma from MacEwan University, an LLB from the University of Victoria, and an LLM and PhD from the University of Alberta. She helped establish the Indigenous Law Research Unit [ILRU] at the University of Victoria Faculty of Law and was its first Research Director. She has had the honour of working extensively with Indigenous communities across Canada to identify and articulate their own laws. Dr. Friedland has published numerous academic articles but is most passionate about collaboratively producing accessible Indigenous legal resources for Indigenous communities, legal professionals and the general public. She is author of the book, The Wetiko (Windigo) Legal Principles: Cree and Anishinabek Responses to Violence and Victimization, University of Toronto Press, 2018. Dr. Friedland is Academic Director and Co-founder of the Wahkohtowin Law and Governance Lodge, a dedicated research initiative developed to uphold Indigenous law through supporting community-led research.

The Honourable Chief Judge R. D. Gorin

Chief Judge Gorin graduated from the University of Saskatchewan College of Law in 1989. Immediately following his graduation, he articled with the Law Firm of Cooper, Hardy, Regel in Yellowknife. He practiced with that firm in criminal and civil law until 1994 when he opened his own practice, practicing almost exclusively as a criminal defence lawyer. As a sole practitioner he did extensive circuit work in both the Northwest Territories and what is now Nunavut. He also served on the executive of the Law Society. He was Legal Aid’s lead defence counsel in the Sahtu region of the Northwest Territories from 1995 until his appointment to the bench in 2005. In 2009 he was appointed as chief judge of the Territorial Court for the 5-year non-renewable term mandated by the Territorial Court Act. He served on the executive committee of the Canadian Association of Provincial Court Judges from 2014 to 2019 and as president of that organization in 2017 and 2018. In 2019 he was reappointed as Chief Judge.

Peter Harte

A few years ago when I began doing a public legal education column with the CBC in Iqaluit, a discussion with a producer about Inuktitut got side tracked into dogs and the idea that qimiq is a word for dog but it does not need kamotiq (sled) as a descriptor because qimiq includes a notion of sled already. She agreed that you would have to describe a guide dog or a police dog in a particular way. Anything out of the ordinary for an arctic dog would be required as an adjective, but anything that dogs traditionally do, is an unnecessary descriptor – it is captured by the concept qimiq. “So if the dog practices law, he would need an adjective?” “Exactly, malagak qimiq” “Malagak kimik?” “No that would mean law ankle. Qimiq is the word for dog.” “Aha” I said having finally figured out what the q is for. “So malagak qimiq would be a lawyer dog?” “Yes but in Inuktitut that is complete nonsense.” (A lot of people feel that way about everything lawyers say.) We got back to our discussion about the upcoming program. The next day when I called in to do the interview she welcomed me with “Hey it’s the Lawdawg.” And it has been ever since. Coming face to face with peoples in the North has taught me that culture and language set important frameworks, and sometimes boundaries and limitations for thought and communication, which are not typically respected by southern institutions. Working in the North has shown me the extent to which, from a cultural / linguistic perspective, it can be truly impossible both for the criminal justice system and for those who are dragged into it, to think outside the box. Lawdawg is a reminder that paradigms are everywhere and critical to fully understanding the behavior of those around us.

The Honourable Justice Len Marchand

Justice Len Marchand, Jr. is Syilx and a member of the Okanagan Indian Band. He grew up in Kamloops. After finishing a B.A.Sc. in chemical engineering at UBC in 1986, he worked in the oil industry for five years. He returned to law school at UVic in 1991 and graduated in 1994. He articled and practised law at Fulton & Company LLP in Kamloops from 1994-2013. His practice focused on the liability of public authorities and he appeared before all levels of court and many administrative tribunals. Justice Marchand has dedicated a substantial portion of his career to achieving reconciliation for many Indigenous people through, among other things, advancing civil claims for abuses suffered by residential school survivors. In 2005, he helped negotiate the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, at the time the largest class action settlement in Canadian history. He served on the Oversight Committee for the Independent Assessment Process and on the Selection Committee for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Justice Marchand was appointed to the Provincial Court of British Columbia on September 5, 2013. As a Provincial Court judge, Justice Marchand had the privilege of presiding in Cknucwentn Court in Kamloops, where, with input from Elders, healing plans are developed for Indigenous offenders. Justice Marchand was appointed to the Supreme Court of British Columbia on National Indigenous People’s Day, June 21, 2017. He was appointed to the British Columbia Court of Appeal on March 24, 2021.

The Honourable Judge Gerald M. Morin

Judge Gerald M.Morin is a member of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation. He was born and raised in Cumberland House. At the age of 16 with no high school at home he left to pursue his high school education. He went onto secondary education at U of Regina, U of Sask., and he attained his social work a(78), and juris doctorate 1987. He practiced with Pandila Morin law office appeared in every level of court including the SCC. He was awarded his KC in 1999, a first for a Treaty indigenous lawyer. He was appointed to Saskatchewan Provincial Court in 2001. Along with other enthusiastic partners the Cree Court was developed in Saskatchewan, and he provided this service from January 2001 until his retirement in February of 2019. He is also a Deputy Judge for NWT (2006) and Yukon (2016). He continues his judicial duties in all 3 jurisdictions but says he will re-assess his participation as he turns 70 next summer. He has also developed the Wanusweh (means to make law or reach a decision) lecture at the Saskatchewan college of law in 2012 which allows for indigenous lawyers to present on indigenous legal issues. He is an avid golfer, cross country skier and fisher person.

Kate Oja

Kate was called to the bar in 2010 in Ontario, after completing her law degree at the University of Toronto with a focus on international human rights. She practiced as a criminal defence lawyer in Toronto before moving to Yellowknife in 2016 to work for the Legal Aid Commission of the Northwest Territories. In 2018 Kate accepted a short-term contract with the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) in Vancouver, and then returned to the NWT in 2019. She now lives in Inuvik and maintains a private criminal defence practice, and has recently started to work with the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation on an Indigenous Justice Strategy project.

Maggie O'Neill

Maggie O’Neill is the Manager of Community Programs with the Community Justice and Policing Division. She moved to the NWT in 2001 and has had the opportunity to live, work, and play in communities of Fort Simpson, Whati, Inuvik, Fort Good Hope, Behchoko and Yellowknife, NWT. Maggie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, NS, and recently completed a Restorative Justice Certificate program from Simon Fraser University. She began her career in 2014 with Community Corrections and joined the Community Justice and Policing division in February 2022. Maggie believes in using a relational approach in her work and has committed to building stronger partnerships with community justice coordinators, committees, and other community stakeholders to promote restorative practices throughout the NWT.

The Honourable R.J. Simpson

Government House Leader, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment Minister of Justice R.J. Simpson was acclaimed to the 19th Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly representing the constituency of Hay River North. Mr. Simpson was first elected to the 18th Legislative Assembly in 2015. During the 18th Assembly, Mr. Simpson was Deputy Speaker, Deputy Chair of the Standing Committee on Government Operations, and Chair of the Special Committee on Transition Matters. Holding these roles provided opportunities for Mr. Simpson to demonstrate a strong understanding of Government and its role, strengthening consensus government in the Northwest Territories. Mr. Simpson was also a member of the Standing Committee on Priorities and Planning and the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment. Mr. Simpson has previously worked with the Government of Canada, the Northern Transportation Company Ltd, Métis Nation Local 51, and Maskwa Engineering. After graduating from Diamond Jenness Secondary School in 1998. Mr. Simpson went on to obtain a Bachelor of Arts from MacEwan University and a law degree from the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Law. While at law school, Mr. Simpson was the President of the Aboriginal Law Students’ Association. He has also served on the board of the Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre in Hay River and volunteered with the Canada-Ghana Education Project. Mr. Simpson is a life-long resident of Hay River. He is committed to the residents of the Northwest Territories and is excited to work towards ensuring that the north continues to be a place of opportunity.

The Honourable Chief Justice Shannon Smallwood

The Honourable Chief Justice Shannon Smallwood was appointed to the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories and to the Courts of Appeal of the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon in 2011. She was appointed to the position of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories in September 2022. She is a member of the Sahtu Dene from Fort Good Hope, Northwest Territories and was the first Indigenous Judge appointed in the Northwest Territories. Prior to her appointment, she worked as Counsel and later Senior Counsel and Team Leader for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada. As a Crown Prosecutor, she worked mainly on appeals, homicides, dangerous offender, child pornography and sexual offence files. She attended the University of Calgary and received her Bachelor of Arts in 1993 and Bachelor of Laws in 1999. She articled with the Alberta Court of Appeal and Court of Queen’s Bench in Calgary as well as the Department of Justice Canada in Yellowknife.

Sheldon Toner

I came to Yellowknife as a student-at-law, hoping to see interesting places and work on interesting cases. My expectations have been met and exceeded. I started with Phillips and Wright, a small firm then situated on the 11th floor of the Precambrian Building in Yellowknife. There I received an initiation in criminal law, as well as civil litigation and administrative law. My former principal, Adrian Wright, continues to be a mentor. We are both current members of the Northwest Territories Human Rights Adjudication Panel. In 2000, shortly after the division of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, I went to work for the Government of the Northwest Territories. This gave me experience in administrative law, including judicial reviews and grievance arbitrations. I witnessed land claim and self-government negotiations, and participated in the Joint Review Panel hearings for the Mackenzie Gas Project. When I started Dragon Toner, along with Leanne Dragon in 2010, I believed the time was right for a new local firm. I have been encouraged by the steady growth our firm has experienced ever since. We have attracted excellent lawyers, so that we now have a fantastic team to deliver quality services in many areas. I continue to enjoy the varied practice that has taken me across the North. In recent years, my practice has focused on workplace and human rights disputes, as well as Coroner’s inquests. I have been an advocate and an investigator, a mediator and an adjudicator. I am increasingly interested in applying interest-based and restorative approaches to dispute resolution.

The Honourable Caroline Wawzonek

Minister of Finance, Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment including the responsibility for the Business Development and Investment Corporation. Minister Responsible for the Status of Women Caroline Wawzonek was elected to the 19th Northwest Territories (NWT) Legislative Assembly to represent the constituency of Yellowknife South. She was also elected as a Member of the Cabinet. Ms. Wawzonek was born in Calgary, Alberta, and has called Yellowknife, NWT, home since 2007. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Calgary in 2000 and obtained a law degree from the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law in 2005. Upon being called to the Law Society of the NWT, Ms. Wawzonek started her own criminal law practice and appeared at all levels of court in the NWT. After five years of solo practice, she joined the law firm of Dragon Toner and practiced in general litigation until becoming a candidate in the election for the 19th Assembly. Since 2007, Ms. Wawzonek has undertaken numerous leadership roles within the legal community, including as a member of the Territorial and Supreme Court Bench and Bar Committees, the Domestic Violence Treatment Option Court Steering Committee, and the Wellness Court Steering Committee. She was also President of the Law Society of the Northwest Territories (LSNT), a section chairperson for the Canadian Bar Association Northwest Territories Branch (CBA-NT), and a Committee Member of the LSNT’s and CBA-NT’s Joint Truth and Reconciliation Working Group and Access to Justice Working Group. In 2017 Ms. Wawzonek was a recipient of a national award celebrating Canadian Women in Law. Ms. Wawzonek and her spouse have two children. In her spare time, she enjoys running, paddleboarding, and cross-country skiing.

The Honourable Judge Alexander Wolf

Judge Wolf is a member of the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation from British Columbia. He is the resident Provincial Court Judge to the west coast of Vancouver Island, which includes the communities of Ucluelet and Tofino. He has significant experience with some of British Columbia’s Indigenous Community Courts. Prior to his judicial appointment in 2015, he was a full time lecturer at the Allard School of Law at UBC and the Legal Director to the Indigenous Community Legal Clinic, which is designed to provide free legal services to Indigenous clients on Vancouver’s downtown eastside. Nationally he has been a civil litigator in residential school cases and a prosecutor with the Department of Justice. He was also the managing lawyer of Vancouver’s first legal aid Aboriginal Poverty Law office. Internationally, he has been a Human Rights Management Intern in India where he worked on atrocity cases, such as murders done for cultural reasons. He has also worked in a tribal legal aid clinic in the Philippines and spent two years in Fiji where he was legal aid counsel representing Fijian clients in murder, infanticide, sexual assault and treason cases. As a lawyer he had been called to the bar in British Columbia, Ontario, the Yukon Territory, the North West Territories and the Republic of Fiji.

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