Board of Directors
Chief Stephen Augustine
Stephen Augustine is the Associate Vice-President of Indigenous Affairs at Cape Breton University. Previously, he was the Curator of Ethnology for Eastern Maritimes, Ethnology Services Division of the Canadian Museum of Civilization. He holds a Masters degree in Canadian Studies from Carleton University, focusing on traditional knowledge curriculum development in the context of the education system. He obtained a B.A in Anthropology and Political Science from St. Thomas University. He has been accredited as an expert witness in various court cases, involving Aboriginal access to resources in the Maritimes, being recognized for his knowledge both of oral history, ethno-history, and of the treaties in the region. He has recently been named the recipient of the 2009 National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Culture, Heritage and Spirituality and the 2009 New Brunswick Lieutenant Governor’s Dialogue Award. He has also been named member of the Sectoral Commission for Culture, Communication and Information for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO.
Dr. John Burrows
John Borrows B.A., M.A., J.D., LL.M. (Toronto), Ph.D. (Osgoode Hall Law School), LL.D. (Hons., Dalhousie & Law Society of Upper Canada) F.R.S.C., is the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law at the University of Victoria Law School in British Columbia. His publications include, Recovering Canada; The Resurgence of Indigenous Law (Donald Smiley Award for the best book in Canadian Political Science, 2002), Canada’s Indigenous Constitution (Canadian Law and Society Best Book Award 2011), Drawing Out Law: A Spirit’s Guide (2010), Freedom and Indigenous Constitutionalism ((Donald Smiley Award for the best book in Canadian Political Science, 2016), The Right Relationship (with Michael Coyle, ed.), all from the University of Toronto Press. He is the 2017 Killam Prize winner in Social Sciences. John is Anishinaabe/Ojibway and a member of the Chippewa of the Nawash First Nation in Ontario, Canada.
Tim Brodhead, O.C.
Tim Brodhead was President and Chief Executive Officer of The J. W. McConnell Family Foundation from 1995 – 2011. He recently retired his position and is engaged with SiG as a Senior Fellow. Prior to joining the Foundation he was CEO of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC), a national organization representing over 120 non-profit Canadian international development agencies. He is also on the Sauvé Foundation Board of Directors, in addition to being a Board member of the Community Foundation of Greater Montreal, Centraide/United Way Montreal, IMAGINE, Knowledge One, Concordia University and others. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo. In 2001, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. In June 2002, he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Carleton University, in 2005 from Dalhousie University, and in 2011 from the University of New Brunswick.
Dr. Robert Daum
Dr. Robert Daum is a senior consultant, program lead, and moderator for engagement-based initiatives in diversity and equity for universities and government agencies. A researcher and practitioner, he holds an appointment as Fellow in Diversity and Innovation at Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue. He co-leads an international, interdisciplinary research consortium, and is collaborating on two SSHRC-funded projects at UBC and another at BCIT. He is Chair of The Laurier Institution and a founding Director of Reconciliation Canada. He is on the UBC Strategic Plan Steering Committee and the Canadian Race Relations Foundation’s editorial Board. He co-convened the Intercultural and Civic Engagement Strategy Group for the Vancouver Immigration Partnership.
Melanie Debassige, MBA, ICD.D
Melanie Debassige has over 20 years of experience in Indigenous Economic Development. She obtained a Diploma in Native Management and Economic Development from Trent University, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Ontario. She has a certificate in Economic Development from the University of Waterloo and is a certified Professional Aboriginal Economic Developer with the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers. She completed the Director’s Education Program at the Rotman School of Management and is a certified corporate director which complements her Master’s in Business Administration. Currently, she serves as a Director on the Mother Earth Renewable Energy Board that oversees the for-profit wind turbine corporation that is solely owned by M’Chigeeng First Nation. Melanie has been recognized by the Canadian Board Diversity Council in the Diversity 50. She is a strategic advisor to the National Energy Board of Canada on Indigenous issues.
David Paterson is a Vancouver lawyer who has spent more than 30 years practicing in the field of Aboriginal rights. From 2000 to 2004 he was Chair of the Committee on Indigenous Peoples for the International Bar Association and he has consulted internationally on the rights of Indigenous Peoples. He was part of the legal team that brought the class action concerning Indian Residential Schools which resulted in the settlement of residential school claims in 2005 and he sat on the All-Parties Advisory Committee to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He continues to be a member of the Oversight Committee to the IRS abuse compensation process.
Dr. Gwen Point is a respected Stó:lō leader and mentor and has held a number of provincial government and regional posts supporting education, children and family services and First Nations communities. From 2007 – 2012, as spouse of the Lieutenant Governor, Dr. Point served as BC’s Chatelaine, a role that demanded her participation in numerous and diverse public engagements. Dr. Point has received many prestigious awards. In 2012, the University of Victoria awarded her an honourary Doctorate in Education. UFV presented her the Betty Urquhart Community Service Award in 2003. She has also received the Ambassador Award from Aboriginal Tourism BC and was recognized as Honourary Witness by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. She has received a number of community awards for her contributions to Stó:lō language and Cultural education, including recognition by the Stó:lō Nation, the Seattle Art Museum and others. In 2006, the Chilliwack School District set up two bursaries in her honour. In 2016, Dr. Point became the second Chancellor of the University of the Fraser Valley.
Bob Watts has been involved in many major Indigenous issues in Canada over the past 20 years and led the process, with support from across Canada and internationally, to establish Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He was Interim CEO of the Commission and was a member of the team, which negotiated the historic Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. His current activities include working with Mediate BC to recommend ways for Aboriginal communities to respond to changes to the Canadian Human Rights Act, and working on the Siting Process with the Nuclear Waste Management Organization. He is an adjunct professor and fellow in the School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University, and a frequent speaker on Aboriginal issues. He is also a former CEO of the Assembly of First Nations, served as the Chief of Staff to the Assembly of First Nations‘ National Chief Phil Fontaine, and is a former Assistant Deputy Minister for the Government of Canada. He is a graduate of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and fellow at the Harvard Law School. Mr. Watts is from Mohawk and Ojibway ancestry, and is a member of the Six Nations Reserve.