The Speakers

Elizabeth (Tshaukuesh) Penashue

Photo by: Camille Fouillard

Born into a nomadic family in 1944, Tshaukuesh was a leader of the Innu campaign against NATO low level flying and weapons testing on Innu land in the 1980s and 90s. Her diaries from that period to 2016 were translated into English and published in 2019 as a book, Nitinikiau Innusi: I Keep the Land Alive (University of Manitoba Press), for which she was shortlisted for NL Reads, the Winterset Award and a Manitoba Book Award. For many years, she led an annual weeks-long spring walk in nutshimit and a summer canoe trip on the Mista-shipu to teach people about Innu culture and respect for the land. Tshaukuesh’s work has been recognized by a National Aboriginal Achievement (Indspire) award, honorary doctorates from Memorial University and Queen’s University, a YWCA Woman of Distinction award, and numerous media interviews and profiles, articles and consultations. She likes to feel the moss and the forest floor beneath her feet. She believes the spirits of her ancestors are still there in the forest and that she has a responsibility to them as well as to future generations. She will never give up her work protecting the land, the water, the animals, the trees, the children and everything in the circle of life.

Emma Reelis

Inuk Elder Emma Reelis (nee Ford) was born in Nain, Nunatsiavut and spent much of her early life in Happy Valley Goose Bay where her father worked. She is a survivor of the residential school system in Labrador. Emma married and moved to St. John’s where she spent many years working in the health care field. She is a mother and grandmother of 5 children, 7 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. Emma is the proud recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award and the Senate of Canada 150th Anniversary Medal for her on-going work with youth, women, and Indigenous people at all levels of society. In 2020 she received the Seniors of Distinction Award recognizing and celebrating the contribution, achievement, and diversity of Seniors in this province. Emma is the former President and Vice President of First Light and is currently an Elder of the Board of Directors.

Ellen Ford

Inuk Elder Ellen Ford (nee Hunter) was born and raised in Nain, Nunatsiavut (northern Labrador). Her biological mother and adoptive mother were both survivors of the Spanish influenza which struck OKak and surrounding areas in late 1918, a flu which wiped out approximately two thirds of the community including all the men of OKak. Ellen has fond memories of growing up in Nunatsiavut traveling by dog team and boat with her father, Joe and other family members. She has a strong knowledge of Inuttitut and she speaks it with other as often as possible. Ellen attended residential school at Yale in North West River from a very young age until grade 8, traveling home to Nain only during the summers. She attended high school in St. Anthony up until grade 11. Ellen has worked for the Grenfell Mission in North West River and Nain and for Canada Post. She currently lives in St. John’s. She is the former Vice President and board member of First Light. Ellen has 5 children, 15 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren.

Calvin White

Calvin White is an Elder in the Mi'kmaq Nation, highly respected for his wealth of knowledge.

For the past 50 + years Calvin White has continually fought for aboriginal equity, he helped organize The Federation of. Newfoundland Indians, served as President of that organization and also as chief of his community, Flat Bay.

For his efforts he was awarded the Order of NL/Lab, Sept 30, 2015; Human Rights Champion award July 9, 2016; Honorary Doctorate of Law, Memorial University, May 18, 2017 and The Order of Canada Sept 11,2019.

Chief Brendan Mitchell

Chief Brendan Mitchell was born in Corner Brook, NL where he continues to reside with his wife, Sheila LaSaga.

As Qalipu Chief, he is committed to the ongoing development of Qalipu on behalf of our people and our communities. Particularly, key areas of focus include member access to culture, teachings and language initiatives, expanding membership services, strategic growth, program benefit sustainability, increased organizational self-sufficiency through direct business ownership and greater involvement with our communities. He will endeavor to improve governmental relations at municipal, provincial and federal levels. He will promote positive change in fostering a prosperous tomorrow for all.


Saqamaw Mi’sel Joe

Misel Joe is currently serving his 14th consecutive two year term as Administrative Chief of Miawpukek First Nation and he is also the spiritual leader of his people. In this capacity he has gained recognition provincially, nationally, and internationally, particularly in the area of spiritual healing.

He is a recognized author and has published 3 literary works. In May 2004, Misel was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, by Memorial University of Newfoundland & Labrador. In 2012, he was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee medal and in January 2018 he was awarded the Order of Canada. Misel has been the Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of the 5 Canadian Ranger Patrol Group since 2019.

Carey Majid

Carey Majid is the Executive Director and C.E.O. of the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission. The Human Rights Commission is an independent at-arm’s length government agency that is responsible for promoting an understanding of, acceptance of, and compliance with the provisions of the Human Rights Act.

Carey holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Waterloo and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of New Brunswick. She has over 20 years of legal experience and was recently elected a Bencher (Eastern District) of the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador. Carey teaches the Law Society’s bar admission course on human rights and regularly presents on human rights and social justice issues to employers, government agencies and community groups.

Catherine Fagan

Catherine Fagan is a Partner at Arbutus Law Group, a law firm working exclusively with Indigenous governments and organizations. A large focus of her work is with communities to revitalize their traditional Indigenous laws and to incorporate them into modern legal structures. Catherine has expertise in negotiating self-governance agreements, as well as various types of environmental agreements, including the creation of parks and protected areas. In 2021, she was appointed as a part-time member of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal for a five-year term. Catherine is a member of the Inuit community of NunatuKavut in Labrador. She lives in St. John’s where she is the President of First Light, St. John’s Native Friendship Centre.

dorothy vaandering

Dorothy Vaandering is an associate professor in MUN’s faculty of education and the director of Relationships First Consortium. She has been researching restorative justice in education for 15 years and is passionate about nurturing relational communities where all people are honoured as worthy and interconnected.

Sulaimon Giwa

Dr. Sulaimon Giwa is a Nigerian-born Canadian citizen, and Canada-based educator, researcher, and scholar-activist, who works at the intersection of forensic social work and LGBTQ+ studies. He is an Assistant Professor and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs in the School of Social Work, with a cross-appointment to the Department of Sociology (Police Studies) at Memorial University. He is the Endowed Chair in Criminology and Criminal Justice at St. Thomas University, and is an antiracism, equity, diversity, and inclusion trainer and consultant. Dr. Giwa’s academic and applied-research program centralizes critical race transformative pedagogies and human rights theories as frameworks and analytic tools for social justice and equity.

Rose Ricciardelli

Rosemary Ricciardelli, Ph.D., is Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Memorial University. She is also the Vice Chair of the Academic, Researcher, and Clinical Network Advisory Committee (ARC NAC) for the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT), and has numerous other affiliations. Rose has published extensively in academic journals, edited collections, and monographs. She is an advocate for non-criminalizing processes for all citizens who transgress the law and has worked on the creation and implementation of restorative practices for youth in certain areas of Newfoundland and Labrador and with diverse police service providers and Indigenous communities. Online experiences of risk and responding to such risk using restorative practices among youth remains a central area of her research. In her current work, she looks at prisons, desistance from crime, and the mental health and lived experiences of prisoners, correctional officers, police officers, and other public safety providers.

Sylvia Moore

Sylvia Moore, PhD, is an educator, mental health professional, and assistant professor jointly appointed to the School of Arctic and Subarctic Studies and the Faculty of Education, Memorial University. Her Mi’kmaw family’s roots are in southwestern Nova Scotia but she is based at the Labrador Institute, which is on the homelands of the Innu and Inuit of Labrador. Sylvia’s community-based research is in the areas of Indigenous-led education and decolonizing/Indigenizing education at all levels. She contributed to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Truth-Gathering Process Part III Expert & Knowledge-Keeper Panel: Racism 2018.

Joelle Rodway

Dr. Joelle Rodway is an Assistant Professor in Educational Leadership Studies in the Faculty of Education at Memorial University. A former secondary school teacher, she emphasizes the importance of connecting research and practice in the field of education and queries how the relational patterns of educational stakeholders both facilitate and constrain whole system educational change. She is the founder and director of Networks for Educational Transformation, a research group whose focus is on the interconnectedness of policy, practice, people, and place in the context of public education. Currently, she is working with colleagues across the country to develop a network of education researchers that examines how professional learning reproduces privilege that impedes equitable education opportunities for all students. Dr. Rodway is the holder of multiple grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and her research been has published in journals such as International Journal of Educational Policy and Leadership and Educational Policy Analysis Archives.

Jodie Lane

Jodie Lane is the Director of Education for the Nunatsiavut Government Department of Education and Economic Development. She is a Beneficiary of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement and was born and raised in the Inuit community of Makkovik. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology at the University of Guelph, and then returned to her home to work for the Labrador Inuit Association (now Nunatsiavut Government) as a Career Fair Coordinator. She later earned her Master’s in Education at Mount Saint Vincent University. She has since held the positions of Education Counsellor and Education Manager, and it was through these positions that she traveled regularly to each Nunatsiavut community speaking with students on the importance of staying in school, preparation for post-secondary studies, career and funding options, as well as life as a student and living away from home.

Ms. Lane is passionate about infusing Inuit language and culture into curriculum and played a key role in developing the Labrador Inuit Society & Culture high school course in collaboration with the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District, as well as the Inuit Bachelor of Education program in collaboration with the Labrador Institute of Memorial University. The former helps fill the void in Inuit-specific learning in Nunatsaivut schools (and beyond), while the latter prepares teachers to teach through an Inuit lens by using curriculum infused with Inuit cultural content.

Jessica Webb

Jessica Webb (M.Ed.) is a Program Development Specialist with the Department of Education, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador focusing on Safe and Caring Schools. Jessica was previously a Program Itinerant for Safe and Inclusive Schools with NLESD and also loved every minute of teaching science in junior high for 20 years. She has a passion for diversity, equity, inclusion and reconciliation work and allyship. Jessica holds a Certificate in Restorative Justice from Simon Fraser University and strives to build capacity for a holistic understanding of restorative justice in education.

Sherra-Lee Robinson

Sherra Robinson (B.A., BEd., MEd.), is a Programs Itinerant for Safe and Inclusive Schools at NLESD and is currently a third year EdD student at the University of Western Ontario (UWO) in the field of Educational Leadership with a focus in School Leadership in International Contexts. An English/Drama/Technology Teacher, Sherra is an Educational Advocate/Researcher with a particular interest in the areas of Restorative Justice, Social Equity, Social Emotional Learning, Mental Health, Comparative Education, Rural Education, Indigenous Education and Inclusion. She is a proud Ally.

Sheila O’Neill

Sheila O’Neill is a mother, grandmother, and a member of Qalipu Mi’Kmaq First Nation.

She is a founding member and past President of the Newfoundland Aboriginal Women’s Network (NAWN) and has appeared as a witness before a National Standing Committee on Violence against Aboriginal Women. Within the Indigenous community, Sheila is honored to have earned the role of Traditional Knowledge Keeper.

Throughout her career as an educator, Sheila has worked as a Communications Instructor with College of the North Atlantic in both Newfoundland and Labrador and at CNA’s campus in Doha, Qatar. Sheila was employed as Coordinator of Aboriginal Student Success at Memorial from 2017-2019 and is currently employed as Coordinator of Indigenous Research and Training with an Indigenous-led consulting firm here in St. John’s.

Sheila was co-principal investigator of a research paper on Grassroots Empowerment of Aboriginal women and recently co-authored the book My Indian with Chief Mi’sel Joe.

Catherine Kelly

Catherine Ann Kelly is the Lead Facilitators with Community Justice Connect, a new pilot program with the NL Human Rights Commission. Community Justice Connect is a community-based service, where people can find help to address concerns, conflicts and racism – direct, indirect or systemic. The program provides a variety of conflict resolution and restorative justice services to Indigenous, racialized, and religious minority communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.

Catherine holds a BA (Hons) in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Carleton University. She is trained in community engagement, restorative justice, peace circles, dialogue, deep rooted conflict analysis and is a certified Third Party Neutral. Catherine has been practicing and living RJ since the late 90s - in community, schools and most importantly, with her family.

Andrew John

Andrew John, BA (Hons), JD, is a Mi’kmaq lawyer from Miawpukek First Nation in Newfoundland. Having grown up on the small reserve he is seeking to better reflect Mi’kmaq values in the current justice system and to be a role model for youth in the community. As the Director of Justice and Legal Affairs for his community, Andrew is responsible for providing in-house legal counsel for the band, legal advice and assistance to band members, and administration of the Restorative Justice program. He graduated from Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University in 2016 and later went on to complete his articles through the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society Ku’tawtinu: Shared Articling Initiative. He then worked with the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq to document the historical breaches of fidicuary duties of the Crown prior to 1985 and worked with First Nations to advance these claims through Canada’s Specific Claims division.

Judge Robin Fowler

Judge Robin Fowler was called to the bar in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2000 after completing law school at the University of Saskatchewan. He gained significant experience as a Provincial Crown Attorney that culminated with his serving for three years in the Special Prosecutions Office. Judge Fowler additionally worked with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada and served as an Assistant Deputy Minister for the Department of Justice and Public Safety prior to his appointment as a Provincial Court Judge sitting in Grand Falls-Windsor.

Judge James Igloliorte

James Igloliorte of Hopedale, Nunatsiavut is a retired Provincial Court Judge who was appointed in 1980 as a lay magistrate, then attended Dalhousie Law School in 1982, emerging badly scarred in 1985 with a Law degree. With his wife Linda Carter of Corner Brook NL, they began as school teachers in 1973 at St. James School in Lark Harbour, Bay of Islands. They have 4 children, 3 of whom have produced 5 wonderful grandchildren with their spouses. true to her style, their only daughter Heather and her husband Matt

have 2 Daschunds whom the grandparents have been told are "sentient beings", and should be equally valued as the 2 legged variety of organism. James is presently a Commissioner examining the strengths and weaknesses of the province's Ground Search and Rescue program, with a focus on how the Burton Winters tragedy of 2012 (and other cases) might

lead to positive changes. Along with Anastasia Qupee of Sheshatshiu and retired professor Mike Devine of the School of Social Work at Memorial University of Newfoundland, James has been named to lead an inquiry into the experiences of Innu parents and their children in the provinces Child Care system, with a view to presenting the parties ideas for a self-government type jurisdiction pursuant to Bill C-92.