John Desjarlais, Jr.

Nehinaw (Cree)-Metis
Master of Ceremonies

John Desjarlais Jr. is Nehinaw (Cree)-Metis from Kaministikominahikoskak (Cumberland House), Saskatchewan. John started his career in 2001 in the mining industry and worked in a variety of roles including environment and safety, maintenance, and reliability engineering management until moving onto to executive leadership where he now serves as a General Manager of an Industrial Construction Company. John’s passion is in nation building and servant leadership strengthen by the values of Mino-Pimatisiwin (The Good Life). He proudly makes time for community and serves as President of his engineering and geoscience regulator (APEGS), and as Director/Chair in areas of Safety (Saskatchewan Construction Safety Association), Indigenous outreach/development/and engagement (Indigenous Manufacturing and Construction Network and Indigenous Resource Network and Post-Secondary (Sask Poly).


Dr. Andrea Reid

Nisga’a Nation
Welcome Banquet Keynote Speaker
Friday, March 3
5:45 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Dr. Andrea Reid is a citizen of the Nisga’a Nation, a descendant of the Gisk’aast (Killerwhale) clan, with her paternal family coming from Gingolx (daughter of Patrick Stewart, granddaughter of Phyllis Stewart). She was raised, however, on Epekwitk (Prince Edward Island) by her mother (of settler descent) and brothers, and now lives in the Nass River Valley, in Gitlaxt’aamiks, with her spouse, John-Francis Lane. Dr. Reid works today as an Assistant Professor of Indigenous Fisheries at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries at the University of British Columbia. There, she is leading a new unit – the Centre for Indigenous Fisheries – committed to a future where fish, people, and place all thrive together. Intergenerational, land-based, and relational approaches are all central to Dr. Reid’s research, teaching, and service, with biannual land-based learning camps with Gingolx youth being a highlight of her spring and summer breaks.


Jeanette Armstrong

Dr. Jeannette Armstrong

Sylix Okanagan
Closing Dinner Keynote Speaker
Saturday, March 4
7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Dr. Jeannette Armstrong, Associate Professor in Indigenous Studies and Canada Research Chair in Syilx Okanagan Philosophy. She is Syilx Okanagan, and as an award-winning writer and activist, novelist and poet is the recipient of the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature. Her research in Indigenous philosophies and Okanagan Syilx thought and environmental ethics has been recognized locally and globally. She is a recipient of the Eco Trust USA Buffett Award in Indigenous Leadership and serves on Canada’s Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Subcommittee of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). A Lifetime Fellow of Okanagan College, she was also recently named to the Class of 2021 as a Fellow in the Royal Society of Canada. 

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