Join us in celebrating Indigenous people and communities

June is National Indigenous History Month. It is a time for all Canadians to reflect on the unique histories, sacrifices, cultures, contributions, and strengths of our First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Peoples – because only by understanding our past can we hope to create a brighter future.

National Indigenous History Month invites Indigenous Peoples to celebrate their history in the spirit of pride and preservation. For non-Indigenous Canadians, it is an opportunity to learn and show recognition of the role Indigenous Peoples have played and continue to play in shaping Canada.

Together with Indigenous Works, CCDI is proud to honour a select group of multi-disciplined Indigenous persons in Canada who, as members of both large and grass-roots organizations, are striving to create positive change in their communities and in Canada at large.

Learn more about a variety of impressive individuals contributing to the diverse mosaic of our country, from coast to coast to coast.

Please join us June 21 for a fireside chat between our Executive Director Anne-Marie Pham and Indigenous Work's President & CEO Kelly J Lendsay, where they will discuss Indigenous inclusion at work. Learn more and register for this free event here.

Pat Baxter
Consultant on Indigenous Issues

Patricia Baxter specializes in organizational development, facilitation and training with Indigenous people across Canada. Her efforts include major facilitations at national forums and roundtables, working on women’s issues in the areas of economic development, as well participating as a board member of Indigenous Works since its inception. For several years she has acted as Co-Chair of this organization. Pat continues to work at the community, regional and national level on Indigenous issues.

She is the past Co-President of the Canadian Women’s Foundation and worked with the Women’s Economic Development Consortium. These activities led to the establishment of a bursary at Trent University – Patricia Baxter Anishnawbe Kwe Award.

Since 1994, Pat has been self-employed working with a variety of clients both in the public/private sectors and non-profit organizations across Canada. She volunteers with several national and regional organizations in Canada. Pat enjoys working on human resource development work, capacity and organizational development work.

Patricia is a member of Shegundiah First Nation and currently lives in Aylmer, Quebec.

Learn more about Pat on LinkedIn

Stanley Barnaby
Acting Chief Executive Officer, Joint Economic Development Initiative

Stanley Barnaby has been at the Joint Economic Development Initiative (JEDI) since 2015. He first joined the team as a Finance Intern but has taken on progressively more challenging positions during his time with the organization and is currently the Acting Chief Executive Officer.

Stanley is from the Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation. He attended the University of New Brunswick (UNB) in Fredericton where he obtained his Bachelor’s in Business. From there, he received his Technological Aboriginal Economic Developer (TAED) certification through Cando and his First Nation Business Administration certificate from UNB through the Mi’kmaq-Maliseet Institute (MMI). 

While working at JEDI, Stanley has continued to grow his skillset by completing the Management Development Program Certificate and Master’s Certificate in Project Management from the College of Extended Learning at UNB. He also received his Professional Aboriginal Economic Development (PAED) certification through Cando.

Stanley also likes to give back and volunteers his time in various ways. He was Youth Mentor in CBU’s In.Business Program for three years where he mentored Indigenous Youth in grades 10, 11, and 12 through bi-weekly business-related challenges. Stanley is also member of his home communities Economic Development Commission where he provides insight and guidance to increase economic development. 

In 2015, Stanley was the Chair of the Youth Advisory Committee for Cando and led the development of the Cando’s Youth Summit that has been successful over the last few years. Then in 2018, he was elected to the Cando Board of Directors as the representative for NB and PEI where he served three years and was recently elected for a second term while being elected President of Cando in early 2021.

Learn more about Stanley at and

Photo of Mary Simon

Mary Simon
Senior Negotiator, Nunavik, Self-Determination

Mary May Simon has attained national and international recognition for her work on Arctic and Indigenous issues. Throughout her distinguished career, Ms. Simon has committed to seeking diplomatic and policy solutions to challenges facing Canada’s Arctic region – Inuit Nunangat – the homeland of Canadian Inuit, and internationally through her work as Ambassador of Circumpolar Affairs, Ambassador to Denmark, and through the Arctic Council and Inuit Circumpolar Council. 

Born in Kangirsualuujuaq (George River) on Ungava Bay, Ms. Simon began her career as a radio broadcaster with the CBC northern service. As a young woman, she held a series of executive positions with the Northern Quebec Inuit Association and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, centred on negotiating the first land claims agreement in Canada. As President of Makivik Corporation, she was directly involved with the implementation of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, and with the protection and promotion of Inuit rights under that agreement. Together with other aboriginal leaders, Ms. Simon participated in efforts that resulted in the historic recognition of aboriginal and treaty rights in Canada's Constitution.  

As President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Ms. Simon led a process that resulted in the first National Strategy on Inuit Education. Mary Simon has been a recognized national voice for Inuit concerns and cooperation among Arctic nations. More recently, at the request of Crown and Indigenous Affairs Minister, Carolyn Bennett, Mary served as a Ministerial Special Representative (MSR) and undertook consultations across the Arctic that resulted in a report titled A Shared Arctic Leadership Model used as a framework for the development and the release of Canada's Arctic and Northern Policy Framework.

Mary Simon has received 12 honorary degrees which include McGill and Queen's University and is an Officer of the Order of Canada, the National Order of Quebec and the Gold Order of Greenland.

Trent University was honoured to have such an outstanding individual serve as its seventh chancellor. Mary Simon also returned to serve as Chancellor for Convocation in 2002 following Peter Gzowski's death in January of that year.

Mary is a recipient of the Governor General's Northern Medal, a National Aboriginal Achievement Award and the Gold Medal of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. She is a Fellow of the Arctic Institute of North America and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society.

Learn more about Mary at and

Darrell Beaulieu
President and CEO, Denendeh Group of Companies

Darrell Beaulieu was born and raised in Yellowknife, capital of the Northwest Territories and has served three terms as the Chief of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, whose traditional territory surrounds the capital area. In October 2005, Darrell was appointed President and CEO of Denendeh Investments Incorporated (DII) by its Board of Directors. Prior to being appointed to DII, Mr. Beaulieu was the founding President of Deton’Cho Corporation and Deton’Cho Diamonds. Mr. Beaulieu has been employed or self-employed in various aspects of mineral exploration in the NWT for many years and has served on both the Mine Training Society and NWT Chamber of Mines Boards of Directors.

At present, Darrell is on the Board of Directors of the NWT Law Foundation, Northland Utilities (Yellowknife & NWT), and since 2005 was appointed the Chair of the Northwest Territories Business Development Corporation (BDIC) by the Government of the Northwest Territories. He also serves as Chairman of the Akaitcho Business Development Corporation. 

As President and CEO, Mr. Beaulieu provides the leadership, vision and public presence for DII. 

Learn more about Darrell at

Kory Wilson
Executive Director, Indigenous Initiatives and Partnerships, British Columbia Institute of Technology

Kory Wilson (Kwakwaka’wakw), BSc. JD, is the Executive Director of Indigenous Initiatives and Partnerships for British Columbia Institute of Technology. She is Chair of the National Indigenous Education Committee of Colleges and Institutions Canada and Chair of the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics Indigenous Affinity Group.

Kory has over 20 years of experience in post-secondary education, community development, and legal profession. With a deep commitment to education, she knows innovative and creative solutions are a must to move Reconciliation into ReconciliACTION. Education and access to knowledge are key to move everyone forward. When people know better, they do better.

Learn more about Kory on Twitter and at Reconciliation in post-secondary education requires courage and humility.

Dr. Gary Evans
Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet)/Settler Heritage
Full Professor, University of Prince Edward Island

Dr. Evans has held such positions in the past as Vice President International, Division Head, and Principal and Partner for various firms, and prior to joining UPEI was CEO KPMG Consulting for Central Eastern Europe. His previous position with KPMG was as Division Head (Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals and Energy sector) for Audit Tax and Consulting. Dr. Evans holds a number of academic journal board positions, and, as an Indigenous member of the community, strongly supports the TRC calls to action, and, is an advocate for diversity and gender equality.

Learn more about Gary at

Dr. Florence Glanfield
Vice-Provost (Indigenous Programming & Research) and Professor, Mathematics Education, University of Alberta

Dr. Glanfield is currently Vice-Provost (Indigenous Programming and Research) and a Professor of Mathematics Education in the department. She is an Affiliated Faculty member with the Centre for Research for Teacher Education and Development at the University of Alberta. She earned her PhD in 2003 from the department studying mathematics teacher understanding.

Dr. Glanfield is of Métis ancestry from Northeastern Alberta. Dr. Glanfield’s research interests explore the experiences that individuals (teachers and learners) as well as collectives of learners/communities have with mathematics and learning mathematics. Dr. Glanfield collaborates with colleagues and has engaged in research projects with Canadian Indigenous communities, urban Aboriginal youth, elementary and secondary mathematics teachers, and teachers and teacher educators in Tanzania and Rwanda. 

Two of Dr. Glanfield’s current research projects are with colleagues in Alberta, Quebec and Nova Scotia around the ways in which Indigenous and ‘Western’ knowledge systems interact in mathematics and science education.

As Chair of the Department of Secondary Education (2012 - 2019), Dr. Glanfield has been exploring pathways for Indigenous languages speakers to become certified teachers in the province of Alberta.

Learn more about Florence at and

Photograph by Laura Sou

Thomas Benjoe
President & CEO, FHQ Developments
Chair, Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce

Thomas Benjoe brings a wealth of experience in First Nations Economic Development, Entrepreneurship, Community Development, Business Administration, and Commercial Banking. He has a strong professional background, and a personal commitment to, partnership, relationship building and interest-based negotiation.

Mr. Benjoe is strongly committed to Indigenous Business Development and FHQ Developments’ guiding vision of securing business partnerships that result in wealth generation and First Nation equity ownership in key economic sectors.

Mr. Benjoe is a founding board member of FHQ Developments and served 6 years as a Director. He is a former Commercial Banker from RBC that served the Aboriginal Market throughout Saskatchewan. He helped in the creation of the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship Camp.

Thomas is a graduate of Business Administration from FNUniv and focused his education in First Nations Business, Economic Development and Governance. He is also a certified Professional Director from Brown Governance.

Learn more about Thomas at

Dawn Madahbee Leach
Chair, National Indigenous Economic Development Board

Dawn Madahbee Leach, an Anishinabe-kwe and member of the Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation, has been the General Manager for the Waubetek Business Development Corporation since 1988. Waubetek is a leading Indigenous Financial Institution that provides financial services to Indigenous entrepreneurs and 27 First Nation communities in Northeastern Ontario (central Canada). She is the first Indigenous woman in Canada to head up a regional financial lending institution. At Waubetek, Ms. Madahbee Leach has been instrumental in the establishment of major regional initiatives as well as $100 million in investments in Indigenous businesses and economic projects. Nationally, she has helped design programs that meet the capital needs for Indigenous businesses and First Nation communities.

Ms. Madahbee Leach also currently serves on the Boards of Peace Hills Trust and NioBay Metals Inc. She has also served on her First Nation Council and was the former Chairperson of the Northern Policy Institute and the Northern Ontario Development Corporation and a former director of the North-East Integrated Health Network, the Ontario Development Corporation and Innovations Ontario Corporation. She has spoken and promoted Indigenous businesses internationally in regions such as Australia, Sweden, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom. Ms. Madahbee Leach is the owner of Indigenous Business International, a company that provides advisory and strategic planning services.

Dawn is the recipient of a 2020 Indspire Award for Business and Commerce and was recognized as one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women in 2018.  She also received the Meritorious Service Medal from the Governor General in 2018.  She has also received the Anishinabek Nation Achievement Award in 2011. In 2004, she was recognized as a Mover and Shaker for economic development in Northern Ontario Business. Ms. Madahbee Leach was contributed a chapter in the book “Changing Lives: Women of Northern Ontario”. She also contributed to a book compilation entitled “Governance in Northern Ontario – Economic Development and Policy-Making” by Segsworth and Conteh with her chapter “First Nations Inclusion: A Key Requirement to Building the Northern Ontario Economy”.

Ms. Madahbee Leach graduated from the University of Waterloo’s Economic Development Program and holds a degree in Political Science and Law from York and Laurentian Universities.

Learn more at:;;;;

Jacob Taylor
Principal, Orijinative Corporation

Since an early age, Jake spent much of his days invested in Nature. Jake maintains connection with environment through fishing; a skill passed on to him by his Grandfather.

Jake has served as facilitator of the I am a Kind Man Program, plays a wooden flute and has also served as Oshkabawis to a Sweat Lodge conductor for many moons.

Jake has spent his entire life immersed in a life of curiosity and learning and is the first generation of his family to attend post-secondary: Bachelor of Health Sciences, Western University (2011); Master of Indigenous Leadership, Western University (2013); Certificate of Indigenous Entrepreneurship, Laurentian University (2013); PhD, Indigenous Health Sciences, University of North Dakota (2024).

Jake has experienced incredible success as an Indigenous entrepreneur, as Founder of the Pontiac Group Inc., the first and longest lasting Indigenous cannabis business consultation practice in Canada; the first and longest lasting Indigenous drone business consultation practice; and business model development for the largest Indigenous incubator in the world.

Learn more about Jake at