National Conference 2023 – Session Descriptions


PLENARY 1: Looking Back, Looking Forward

Speakers: Dave Joe, John B. Zoe (Tłı̨chǫ), Pita Aatami (Makivvik)

A panel of seasoned leaders and negotiators reflects on the past 30 to 50 years, sharing stories and identifying priorities for the future.


PLENARY 2: Intro to Implementation Issues

Speakers: Jim Aldridge (Nisga’a), Dillon Johnson (Tla’amin), Bertha Rabesca Zoe

An overview of key legal and other issues to lay the foundation for the rest of the conference.


Lunch Speaker: The Hon. Marc Miller

Minister of Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Tues Feb 28: 12:30-1:15 PM (in the Ballroom)


PLENARY 3: Defending the Land

Speakers: Dana Tizya-Tramm (Arctic Circle Strategies), Charles Morven and Andrew Robinson (Nisga’a), Richard Paton (QIA)

Inspiring stories about responses to climate change and efforts to protect marine and terrestrial areas.


PLENARY 4: The Indigenous Economy

Speakers: Charles Morven and Bartek Kienc (Nisga’a), Andy Moorhouse (Makivvik)

Modern treaties are a key tool in shaping regional and national economies. Learn what others are doing to build and support vibrant communities.


Lunch Speaker: The Hon. David Lametti

Minister of Justice and Crown Attorney of Canada

Wed Mar 1, 12:30-1:15 (in the Ballroom)


PLENARY 5: This is Who We Are

Speakers: Leena Evic (The Pirurvik Centre), Tammy Steinwand-Deschambeault (Tłı̨chǫ), Ed Schultz (LSCFN)

Stories from successful projects that strengthen language, culture, and way of life knowledge, skills, and practices.


PLENARY 6: Building Together

Speakers: Jordan Peterson, Dillon Johnson (Tla’amin), Grand Chief Jackson Lafferty (Tłı̨chǫ)

This panel discussion on the future of modern treaties brings youth representatives and current leaders into conversation about the challenges and opportunities on the path ahead.



Breakout 1A: Is Co-Management Working?

Speakers: Nuri Frame (PST Law), Jason Akearok (Nunavut Wildlife Management Board), Ron Cruikshank

An exploration of co-management case studies across multiple modern treaties to identify successes, challenges, and lessons learned.

*This program contains 1 hour and 30 minutes of Professionalism Content.


Breakout 1B: Best Practices in Modern Treaty Implementation

A series of reports on projects that are part of the Modern Treaty Implementation Research Project, a six-year, $2.5 million SSHRC Partnership Grant undertaking research designed to improve modern treaty implementation.

Tłı̨chǫ Trails of our Ancestors Canoe Journey
Speakers: John B. Zoe (Tłı̨chǫ)

An overview of the annual Trails of Our Ancestors canoe journey, which connects Tłı̨chǫ Citizens to the ancient trails throughout the Tłı̨chǫ traditional territory. Preserving and developing land based and cultural knowledge is a critical basis for all aspects of treaty implementation, and the program creates a space for Tłı̨chǫ citizens to spend time on the land together learning the trails from Elders and knowledge holders. The journeys, which depart from each Tłı̨chǫ community, take about two weeks and finish to a celebratory welcome at the annual Tłı̨chǫ Assembly, an essential element of Tłı̨chǫ governance.


Elders Led the Way
Speakers: Alestine Andre (Gwich’in Tribal Council Department of Culture and Heritage), Ingrid Kritsch

An overview of the development of the Gwich’in Tribal Council Culture and Heritage Department over several decades. Elders played a key role in early activities and projects, and continue to guide the Department’s initiatives.


Creating Community Surveys to Understand Wellness Needs – Data Gathering Methods for Data Sovereignty –  Nisga’a Nation
Speakers: Adam Perry (Nisga’a), Shannon West-Johnson (Nisga’a)

An examination of the varied approaches to survey design and methods at the Nisga’a Lisims Government, focusing on adaptations to traditional sampling methods. This case study highlights the hybrid sampling method used to collect data, and features the combined use of convenience and random sampling to collect information from Nisga’a citizens living both on and off Nisga’a Lands.

The Political Development of Modern Treaties
Speakers: Daniel Sherwin

This presentation draws on historical research to identify three distinct perspectives on treaties: treaties as relationships, treaties as diplomatic (nation-to-nation) agreements, and treaties as contracts. These perspectives are anchored in different Indigenous and non-Indigenous traditions, and they imply different visions of what a just treaty future should look like. Rather than showing that one perspective is correct, I will examine how the contractual, diplomatic, and relational visions of treaties became embedded in historical treaties, and explore ways these three treaty visions continue to shape modern treaty negotiation, litigation, and implementation. I will conclude by exploring ways that Indigenous negotiators and treaty partners can strategically use these three understandings of treaties to advance the goal of self-determination.


Breakout 1C: Community-based Employment and Training Projects

Speakers: Clarence Synard (NCC), Kris Mullaly and Nala Sagiatook (QIA), others to be announced

Learn how modern treaty organizations are supporting employment and training initiatives, and dive deep into a program for community-based construction trades training.

*This program contains 1 hour and 30 minutes of Professionalism Content.


Breakout 1D: Implementation Policy and Initiatives (1.5 hours)

Speakers: Moderator: Frank Dragon; Speakers: Alastair Campbell (NTI), Colin Salter (PST Law), Mat Sargent (Government of Canada)

Modern treaty signatories and federal representatives are developing an implementation policy framework for the federal government. This session provides an update on this important initiative, which touches on many LCAC priorities from the last 20 years. Also in this session is an update and discussion of the proposed Modern Treaties Implementation Review Commission, a body for reviewing implementation.

*This program contains 1 hour and 30 minutes of Professionalism Content.


Breakout 1E: Obstacles to Drawing Down Jurisdiction

Speakers: Bertha Rabesca Zoe (Tłı̨chǫ), Sharon Nelson (Selkirk FN)

Colonial structures continue to stand in the way of modern treaties drawing down full jurisdiction. What change is needed?

*This program contains 1 hour and 30 minutes of Professionalism Content.


Breakout 1F: Strengthening Indigenous Languages

Speakers: Moderator: Kilikvak Kabloona (NTI); Speakers: Leena Evic (The Pirurvik Centre), Tammy Steinwand-Deschambeault (Tłı̨chǫ), Chief Barb Joe (CAFN), Robbie Watt (Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages)

Learn how modern treaty holders are ensuring that their languages are spoken by future generations.


Breakout 2A: Protecting Caribou and Salmon

Speakers: Chief Pauline Frost and Dennis Zimmerman (Vuntut Gwitchin), Ken Kyikavichik (Gwich’in Tribal Council), Adamie Delisle-Alaku (Makivvik)

A look at efforts by modern treaty organizations to protect caribou herds and salmon populations.


Breakout 2B: Taxation and the Section 87 Tax Exemption

Speakers: Michael Welters (AR Law), Mary Childs (Tsawwassen), others to be announced

Section 87 of the Indian Act provides an exemption from direct federal, provincial, and territorial taxes for the property of status Indians and Indian Act bands situated on, or connected to, a reserve. This session will explore the key issues in reforming how Section 87 is addressed in modern treaty context(s), engagements undertaken with Indigenous groups and provincial and territorial officials, and the future of tax arrangements.


Breakout 2C: Housing Opportunities and Challenges

Speakers: Scott Coulson (Uchucklesaht), Tim Brown (NTI) Dana Tizya-Tramm (Arctic Circle Strategies)

Housing presents both a major challenge across the country, and a major opportunity for modern treaty organizations to innovate and support their people. In this session, dive deep into the successes, challenges, barriers, and opportunities related to housing in the modern treaty context.

Breakout 2D: Federal Policy Update: Arctic and Northern Policy Framework and Inuit Nunangat Policy

Moderator: Robin Campbell (Makivvik); Speakers: Wayne Walsh (DG, Arctic and Northern Policy Branch), Will David (Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami)

An update and discussion on next steps for the Arctic and Northern Policy Framework and the Inuit Nunangat Policy

*This program contains 1 hour and 30 minutes of Professionalism Content.


Breakout 2E: Updates on Jurisprudence and Legislative Developments

Speakers: Katie Tucker (PST Law), Bruce Uviluq (NTI), Jim Aldridge (Aldridge & Rosling)

A detailed update on case law and legislative reviews with implications for modern treaty implementation. This includes the arbitration on Inuit Employment in Nunavut.


Breakout 2F: On the Land Knowledge and Skills

Speakers: Kylik Taylor (Tundra North Tours), Tammy Steinwand-Deschambeault (Tłı̨chǫ), Ed Schultz (LSCFN)

Hear from modern treaty projects that transfer on-the-land knowledge and skills to youth, and share successes and best practices.

Breakout 3A: The Indigenous Data Governance Toolkit & Tools for Community Wellbeing

Speakers: Mark Nelson: Moderator; Speakers: Maggie Mills (Vuntut), Crystal Jack (Kaniikaniit Consulting), Harmony Johnson

Modern treaty and self-government signatories are working together to develop a community of practice around data sovereignty. This session looks at the thought leadership modern treaty and self-government signatories are generating, including examples of how this work is transforming projects on the ground.

*This program contains 1 hour and 30 minutes of Professionalism Content.


Breakout 3B: Effective Communications and Media Relations

Speakers: Moderator: Bobby Clarke; Speakers: Davis McKenzie (Tla’amin), Lisa Kirbie and Dan Pujdak (Blackbird Strategies)

Communicating our programs, news, business activities and priorities is critically important to citizens and members, neighbours and residents, partner governments and partner businesses, as well as within our organizations. This session focuses on best practices and will offer inspiring examples.


Breakout 3C: Case-Studies in Mining, Oil, and Gas (1.5 hours)

Speakers: Charles Morven (Nisga’a), Jody Beaumont (Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin), Jean-Marc Seguin (Makivvik)

Many modern treaties have significant non-renewable resources or are involved in their transport. Learn how modern treaty organizations are managing these projects.

*This program contains 1 hour and 30 minutes of Professionalism Content.


Breakout 3D: Thorny Issues in Implementation (1.5 hours)

Speakers: Bertha Rabesca Zoe (Tłı̨chǫ), Dillon Johnson (Tla’amin), Nuri Frame (PST Law)

Mapping out key technical issues for general awareness-raising and discussion, including remoteness and isolation factors, managing transboundary issues and shared territories, and the program transfer framework.

*This program contains 1 hour and 30 minutes of Professionalism Content.


Breakout 3E: Modern Treaties and the Law

Speakers: David Wright (University of Calgary), Janna Promislow (University of Victoria), Dr. Robert Hamilton (University of Calgary)

Editors and contributors introduce a forthcoming edited volume titled “Modern Treaties and the Law”, which is part of the Modern Treaties Implementation Research Project.

*This program contains 1 hour and 30 minutes of Professionalism Content.


Session 3F: Cultural Practice and Traditional Skills as Business Opportunity

Speakers: Alex Flaherty (Polar Outfitting), Kylik Taylor (Tundra North Tours)

Learn how modern treaty citizens are making a living practicing their traditional skills.


Breakout 4A: Modern Treaty Education

Speakers: Moderator: Frank Dragon; Speakers: Vivien Carli (Gordon Foundation), Marlisa Brown (Youth Participant, Gordon Foundation Treaty Simulation)

Hosted by the Gordon Foundation, this session profiles current initiatives to educate the public and membership about modern treaties, including curriculum development in Yukon and NWT, and other grassroots treaty awareness and community-building efforts.


Breakout 4B: Developing and Implementing Laws and Policies (1.5 hours)

Speakers: Jody Beaumont (Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin), Bertha Rabesca Zoe (Tłı̨chǫ), Mary Childs (Tsawwassen)

An opportunity to learn from modern treaty organizations who are designing their own legal and policy frameworks.

*This program contains 1 hour and 30 minutes of Professionalism Content.


Breakout 4C: Government Contracting and Economic Opportunities

Speakers: Glenn Cousins (Kakivak), Clarence Synard (NCC)

For many, government procurement is a key economic opportunity. Are modern treaty organizations securing an appropriate percentage of government contracts?


Breakout 4D: Collaborative Fiscal Policy Development Process Update

Speakers: Moderator: Crystal Jack; Speakers: Colin Salter (PST Law), Michael Welters (Aldridge & Rosling), Mark Nelson (Cambio Consulting), Mike Haberl (Government of Canada)

Modern treaties with self-government agreements have been collaboratively developing federal fiscal policy with the Government of Canada since 2016. Panelists will provide updates on achievements to date, as well as current initiatives and priorities for the future.


Breakout 4E: Current Research Projects (1.5 hrs)

Researching Modern Treaty Implementation – Considerations for Modern Treaty Governments
Speakers: Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox (Modern Treaties Implementation Research Project), Nicholas Zulu (Modern Treaties Implementation Research Project)

An overview of the accomplishments and in-progress efforts of the Modern Treaties Implementation Research Project (MTIRP). Based on results of the first five years, presenters offer insights into ways research can be utilized by LCAC members in their ongoing intergovernmental and internal initiatives, and identify areas for additional research efforts.

Mind the Gap: Comparative Statistical Analysis of Indigenous Communities with and without Modern Treaties in Quebec
Speakers: Thierry Rodon (Université Laval), Louise Nachet (Université Laval), Karen Bouchard (Université Laval)

Using statistical data from 1981 to 2021 on income, employment, housing and education, the authors aim to determine whether the Inuit, Cree and Naskapi nations have seen a significant improvement in their socio-economic situation compared to neighbouring non-signatory communities such as the Innu, Atikamekw and Anicinape.


“Spirit and Intent” in Modern Treaty Implementation: Measuring Economic Success and Treaty Objectives
Speakers: Sidey Deska-Gauthier

“Spirit and intent” is a phrase often referenced, but there is no clear definition of this term. Consequently, it is absent in implementation assessment practices, performance indicators, guiding approaches, and on-the-ground work plans. This study seeks to respond to this gap, and to center Indigenous voices (First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun) in doing so.


Breakout 4F: Food Security Initiatives

Speakers: Moderator: Frank Dragon; Speakers: Larry Johnson (Maa-Nulth), Chief Pauline Frost (Vuntut Gwitchin), Nolan Qamanirq (Gordon Foundation)

Panelists will share stories about projects and programs that contribute to food security for modern treaty people.

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