Session Information

Power to the People: Next Generation Voices on Indigenous-Society Sustainability

Date: Wednesday, March 2

Time: 1:30pm - 3:00pm

Location: Room 2

Format: Panel Discussion

This session is all about the power of potential.  A participatory Circle Conversation, open to all session attendees will explore how the emerging generation of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous leaders can collaborate on sustainable and impactful business ventures in the Clean Energy, Ecotourism, High Tech, Sustainable Transport and the Cultural sectors, globally.  The session will include a Twitter dialogue to complement the open conversation, and be kicked off with a culturally-grounded expression.

Topic Speakers

Perry Bellegarde was named AFN National Chief on December 10, 2014. He has spent his entire adult life putting into practice his strong beliefs in the laws and traditions instilled in him by the many Chiefs and Elders he has known over the years. Passionate about making measureable progress on the issues that matter most to First Nations people, National Chief Bellegarde is a strong advocate for the implementation of Inherent Aboriginal and Treaty Rights.  Widely known as a consensus builder with a track record of accomplishment, he brings community people, leaders, Chiefs and Elders together to focus on working cooperatively to move issues forward. 

National Chief Bellegarde is from the Little Black Bear First Nation, Treaty 4 Territory.  He served as Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and Saskatchewan Regional Chief for the Assembly of First Nations. He has also served as the Tribal Chair of the Touchwood-File Hills-Qu'Appelle Tribal Council, Councillor for the Little Black Bear First Nation and Chief of Little Black Bear First Nation. 

Some of the projects that National Chief Bellegarde has facilitated on behalf of First Nations include: 

  • Negotiating the addition of 250 gaming machines to the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA) resulting in a pathway for the long-term financial stability of the FSIN
  • Facilitating negotiations between the FSIN and the Province of Saskatchewan that resulted in the 25-year Gaming Agreement
  • Leading Little Black Bear (LBB) First Nation out of 3rd party management within 8 months of being elected Chief
  • Facilitating LBB’s re-qualification for CMHC housing after a 13-year period of no new housing
  • A national multi-million dollar compensation package for First Nations veterans and their spouses
  • The successful settlement of the specific claim resulting in the restoration of the Treaty lands in Fort Qu’Appelle to reserve status for Treaty Four First Nations
  • The transfer of the Fort Qu’Appelle Indian Hospital to First Nations control, which resulted in the building of the multi-million dollar All Nations Healing Hospital


In 1984, Bellegarde became the first Treaty Indian to graduate from the University of Regina with a Bachelor of Administration.  In March 2012, he graduated from the Certified Corporate Board Training through The Directors College sponsored by the Conference Board of Canada and McMaster University's DeGroote School of Business.  

National Chief Bellegarde’s candidacy for National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations was based on a vision that includes establishing processes for self-determination; recognition of inherent Aboriginal and Treaty rights; the revitalization and retention of indigenous languages; and establishing a new relationship with the Crown – one that removes the long-standing 2% cap on federal funding.  

National Chief Bellegarde believes in upholding Indigenous rights as human rights and does so in international forums. Most recently, he spoke at the United Nations World Conference on Indigenous People in New York. He has called on the Prime Minister to launch an immediate inquiry and to develop a plan of action on Canada’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. 

National Chief Bellegarde is the recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal (2012), Saskatchewan Medal (2005), Queen’s Jubilee Medal (2002) and Confederation Medal (1992).  He has been honoured by several Chiefs and Elders who have acknowledged him as their adopted son. He honours them by carrying their teachings forward as he works diligently toward the implementation of Inherent Aboriginal and Treaty rights, self-determination and a shared vision for the future.


Gillian is a social geographer and planner holding a Masters degree in Cities, Space and Society from the London School of Economics, and has worked in Canada, the United Kingdom and Mexico on issues of sustainability, social justice, behavior change, climate adaptation, and inclusion in the urban environment.  Gillian’s career has focused on supporting local governments, First Nations, and institutions plan for and reach their sustainability goals.

Gillian has been involved in many projects that bridge science with planning and public awareness including climate change and adaptation plans, strategic sustainability plans, ‘State of the Environment’ reports, and sustainability needs assessment and implementation plans. Currently, a main component of her work involves designing and facilitating public and stakeholder consultation processes that engage communities in discussions around sustainable development. She is a registered member of the International Institute for Public Participation (IAP2), and is known for her innovative and creative approach to gaining access to hard to reach audiences, bringing energy to engagement events, and facilitating engagement on technical issues. For the last 3 years Gillian has worked closely with Coastal First Nations to support them in pursuing energy independence. 

Before founding Pinna, Gillian worked locally with Stantec Consulting Ltd and The Sheltair Group, and abroad with LEAD International in London, UK. In addition to her consulting career, Gillian is a faculty member with the Geography Department at Langara College.  


Rosanne Van Schie’s embrace of climate futures dates back to the environmental movement in the 1980s, when the first wave of concern about deforestation of old growth forests on Vancouver Island was cresting. As a board of director of the mid –island chapter of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee she helped the group make significant progress in parks and wilderness protection and improved forest management efforts in British Columbia.  Today Rosanne works as an economic development advisor engaging Indigenous communities in protected areas, eco-tourism development, clean energy and avoided deforestation carbon forestry projects. Her role is to promote activities that help maintain or restore a healthy environment while increasing First Nation financial independence through environmental priorities for economic development. Rosanne sits on the FSC International Policy and Standards Committee for Intact Forest Landscapes and High Value Conservation Forests, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Commission on Economic and Environment Social Policy and has sat on the United States and Canada Bi-National Standards Development Committee for Forest Carbon.

She has a Masters in Forest Conservation and Certificate in Carbon Finance from the University of Toronto. Rosanne resides at the north entrance of Algonquin Park near Mattawa Ontario.



Van Schie, R. and W. Haider 2015. Indigenous-based approaches to territorial biodiversity conservation: A case study of the Algonquin Nation of Wolf Lake (Special Section: Protected Areas and Sustainable Forest Management in Canada). Conservation and Society 13(1):72-83.

Van Schie, R. 2014. Advancing Algonquin Recognition and Participation in Forest Management in Quebec Canada. In: IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy: Policy Matters 19[7]: 80-91.

Van Schie, R. 2011. Forests and the Wolf Lake First Nation: more than economic value. In: National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (Canada) Paying the Price: The Economic Impacts of Climate Change for Canada (Climate Prosperity; Report 04; 112 pp.)

Hendrickson, B., M. Venalainen, and R. Van Schie. Market View- Offsets and Olympics Environmental Finance-London 10.4 (2009): 31. (Special contribution on forest offsets and aboriginal engagement)