Nina Larsson – Project Lead
Nina Larsson is a member of the Gwich’in First Nation and is Swedish, born and raised in France. She resides in Yellowknife with her husband. Nina is currently the Executive Assistant to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories. She previously was the founder of Energy North Corporation. Nina volunteers her time by creating and leading projects that will benefit Indigenous women. She strongly believes in the importance of an Arctic network to create positive change. She is conducting a research on Indigenous women in leadership in the Northwest Territories as a fellow of the Jane Glassco Northern Fellowship 2013-2015 cohort. She developed this gathering while a founding member of Dene Nahjo.
Rassi Nashalik – Elder
Rassi Nashalik is a recently retired media personality. Until her retirement in 2014, she pioneered and hosted CBC North Igalaaq, an Inuktitut daily television newscast for audiences primarily in northern Canada. In 2003, Rassi received an English Television Award for Living Hope, an hour long television show on suicide in the north. In 2001, she received the CBC North Award for community enrichment and service. Over her 19 years at CBC, Rassi travelled extensively throughout the north hosting celebrations such as the creation of Nunavut, the first Nunavut election, Arctic Winter and Canada Games. She and senior correspondent Peter Mansbridge also co-hosted a Nunavut community tour for CBC, The National.
Prior to her work with CBC, she worked as a manager of the Inuktitut section of the language bureau for the Government of the Northwest Territories, an interpreter translator for the Arctic Co-operatives Federation Ltd., and a community health representative in Pangnirtung.
Rassi grew up in a little outpost camp called Sauniqturaajuk outside of Pangnirtung, Nunavut. She learned a traditional lifestyle, taught by her parents using only the Inuktitut language and living off the land. When she was 10 years old, she moved to Pangnirtung to attend federal day school. She furthered her education at the Churchill Vocational Centre in northern Manitoba and Algonquin College in Ottawa.
Rassi is now volunteering as a YWCA board member in Yellowknife. As a YWCA director she has been involved with advocacy for women, fund raising and the establishment of the Lynn Brooks Safe Place for Women, a transitional housing facility and program for women and their children in Yellowknife.
Each year she honours Inuit graduates in her community by lighting her Qulliq and explaining the significance of the Qulliq to Inuit culture. Rassi is committed to Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (Inuit Traditional Knowledge) to preserve Inuit language and culture.
Stephanie Poole is Denesuline and a member of the Lutsel K’e/Kache Dene First Nation currently residing in the community of Lutsel K’e. Her grandparents are Madeline Catholique and the late Jonas Catholique. Stephanie is a mother to five (5) children. Stephanie has worked for the NWT Treaty #8 Tribal Corporation in the Akaitcho IMA Implementation Office for seven (7) years ongoing. Stephanie recently completed a two (2) year term serving on the Lutsel K’e/Kache Dene First Nation Council. Stephanie is an active community volunteer and is one of the founding members of the Lutsel K’e Community Garden. Stephanie enjoys practicing traditional cultural activities and learning the Denesuline language.
Kyla Kakfwi-Scott is a member of the K’asho Got’ine First Nation, originally from Fort Good Hope, Northwest Territories. She lives in Yellowknife with her husband and two daughters. Kyla is currently senior advisor to the deputy minister of health and social services, Government of the Northwest Territories. She previously worked as team leader of community development for the Ekati Diamond Mine, and was the founding program manager for Dechinta Bush University. Kyla is a member of the Selection Committee for the Arctic Inspiration Prize, an advisor to the Small Change Fund, and a member of Dene Nahjo. She was a fellow in the first cohort of the Jane Glassco Northern Fellowship.
Heather is a 12 year resident of the Northwest Territories who started her career in the hospitality industry. In 2009, Heather left the hospitality industry to join public service. She is currently employed with the Government of the Northwest Territories as the Executive Secretary to the Secretary to Cabinet. Heather also volunteers in the community through Mildred Hall School, leading a kid community garden project at the Borealis Housing Co-op, as a founding member of Dene Nahjo and most recently as a team manager for the U14 boys basketball team that went to the North American Indigenous Games. Heather holds a degree in Arts, a diploma in Business Administration, and certificates in Native Communications and Leadership. Heather’s most profound educational experiences to date came from living abroad as a foreign exchange student to France and Brazil and from time spent on the land with her husband Deneze and children K’a and Lucia, and experiences shared through the generosity of extended family.
Shadelle Chambers grew up in Whitehorse, Yukon and is a member of the Champagne Aishihik First Nations. Shadelle has her diploma in business administration and is currently pursuing an MBA in Aboriginal Business and Leadership through Simon Fraser University. Shadelle’s true passion is working with First Nations communities. She has been involved in many different capacities including both political and senior administrative roles with Yukon First Nations.
Shadelle is currently involved in many different boards including the Selkirk Development Corporation, the Yukon Hospital Board of Trustees and as the past president of the Whitehorse Aboriginal Womens’ Circle. Shadelle is currently a fellow with the Jane Glassco Fellowship through the Gordon Foundation.
Being an active member of the First Nations community is very important to Shadelle. She enjoys spending time with friends and a large extended family. Shadelle is the proud mother of two young children, Cameron and Adrianna, and together as a family they participate in traditional dancing.
Crystal Fraser is a Gwich’in woman and a PhD Candidate in Canadian History at the University of Alberta. She was raised in Inuvik and at her family’s fish camp on the Mackenzie River at Tree River. Her PhD research examines the history of colonialism through the lens of education in the Northwest Territories during the twentieth century from an Indigenous perspective, seeking to bring local Indigenous voices to the centre of Canadian historical scholarship.
A Gwich’in elder gave Crystal the Gwich’in name “T’aih,” which means “strength.” Crystal has overcome many challenges during her lifetime and brings passion to Indigenous issues and seeks social justice for marginalized populations in Canada. By applying her expertise in historical theories about colonialism, racial constructions, and gender issues, she brings bold new perspectives on contemporary issues with rigour and criticism.
Reneltta is of Inuvialuit, Gwich’in and Chipewyan-Cree descent originally from Fort Smith, Northwest Territories. She is a graduate of the BFA Acting program from the University of Alberta and founder of Akpik Theatre, a professional Indigenous Theatre company in the NWT. Raised by her grandparents on the trap-line until school age, being raised in a nomadic original environment gave Reneltta the skills to become the artist she is. For over ten years Reneltta has been a part of or initiated the creation of Aboriginal Theatre across various parts of Canada and overseas.