OTTAWA, ON (June 20, 2019): MLI is pleased to formally welcome our newest Senior Fellows, Stephen Buffalo and Sharleen Gale. They will be contributing to the Institute’s growing body of work on Indigenous issues, particularly the ever-expanding role that many First Nations are playing as partners in the natural resource economy.
A proud member of the Samson Cree Nation, Buffalo serves as the President and CEO of the Indian Resource Council of Canada, which advocates for Indigenous partnerships in the resource economy. His extensive knowledge and experience have led him to sit on a wide range of boards. He also served as the first-ever Indigenous Governor for the Canadian Energy Executive Association.
According to Buffalo, “Indigenous people are tired of being spoken for when it comes to their relationship to land and the resources therein. I am glad to have the chance to continue to lift up the voices of Indigenous business leaders as a senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.”
Most recently, Buffalo’s work has focused on Indigenous ownership in major resource infrastructure projects, including the potential to hold a stake in the Trans Mountain pipeline.
“Stephen Buffalo is a leading figure when it comes to reshaping and leading the debate on Indigenous economic issues in Canada,” says MLI Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley. “While we have worked closely with him over the past few years, we could not be more thrilled to have him officially coming aboard to share his expertise with a wider audience.”
Gale, a recent Councillor and former elected Chief of the Fort Nelson First Nation, is a leading advocate for asserting her people’s land and treaty rights. Gale was recently selected to serve as chief of her community for the remainder of the 2018-2020 term.
She is also the Chair of the First Nations Major Projects Coalition, a role in which Gale advances the causes of Indigenous opportunity and equity in the natural resource sector, balanced with world-class environmental stewardship. She advocates for a future in which Indigenous peoples will be able to determine their own economic destinies and environmental best-practices.
“Ultimately, Indigenous people are in their strongest economic bargaining position since Confederation,” explains Gale. “At this critical juncture, I am excited to have the opportunity to continue advocating for mutually-beneficial Indigenous-led partnerships in the oil and gas sectors.”
Gale has extensive industry experience as well, having worked in the oil and gas sector for nearly two decades. Her various roles working in administration, finance, maintenance, planning and in leadership have given her the insight necessary to ensure the sustainable management of lands and resources to the benefit of her Nation’s members.
“Sharleen Gale is a principal leader of the Indigenous economic renaissance,” says MLI Munk Senior Fellow and Indigenous Program Leader, Ken Coates. “Her skills and thought-leadership capabilities are unparalleled. She joins our ever-expanding team of experts who are completely reshaping how Canadians understand Indigenous participation in the natural resource economy.
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