COSEWIC Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Subcommittee: members

Last updated February 16, 2023

Dr. Jeannette Armstrong

Jeannette Armstrong, Associate Professor in Indigenous Studies, is Syilx Okanagan. As an award-winning writer and activist, novelist and poet she has always sought to change deeply biased misconceptions related to Indigenous people. She is the recipient of the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature. Her research in Indigenous philosophies and Okanagan Syilx thought and environmental ethics coded into Syilx oral literatures has been recognized locally and globally. She collaborates with Salish speaking groups to re-establish Indigenous languages, historical relationships, food resource ceremonies through gatherings, trading and protections of water and land practices. She is a recipient of the Eco Trust USA Buffett Award in Indigenous Leadership and serves on Canada’s Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Subcommittee of Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).

Dan Benoit

Dan Benoit is a Manitoba Métis from the Red River Settlement area and a member of the Métis Nation. He has spent most of his life living near his ancestor's Red River Lot in St. Norbert Parish, at the family farm near Seven Sisters Falls, MB, and most recently in the small Metis Village of St. Laurent, MB.

Like many Métis, Dan has been raised in the traditions and culture of his People including their special relationship and stewardship with the land and water. Dan is a farmer, hunter, trapper and fisherman, and continues to exercise these traditions and pass them along to others. He believes it is essential to preserve traditional Métis culture and lifestyle while being in harmony with the land. Dan formerly operated his family's traditional, turn of the century Métis farm, with most of the buildings and equipment dating to pre-1900s. The animals and vegetable crops found on the farm are those that were found in the early Red River Settlement circa 1820s. He was also a member of the Métis Horticultural Heritage Society, and is keenly interested in preserving agricultural heritage species and biodiversity. Dan has more than 10 years post-secondary education and has various degrees, diplomas and certificates in Natural Resources Management, Ecology and water and wastewater management from University College of the North, Red River College, University of Ottawa, and the University of Manitoba. He has worked for both industry and all three levels of government in the natural resources and environment field. Dan has worked for Tolko Forest Industries, the Canadian Forest Service, Manitoba Conservation, and the Whitemouth River Conservation District, amongst others. Dan has also worked for the RCMP and the Canadian Forces as an Officer. In addition to his farm operation, he has 10 years of experience as a consultant to First Nations Bands and Northern Affairs Communities in Manitoba regarding community development, environment and hydro-electric generation issues, and has owned and operated an eco- and Aboriginal -tourism guiding business in Eastern and Northern Manitoba, and Northwestern Ontario.

Dan is a leader in the Metis Nation, both at a former political level (Vice Chair of the MMF Anola Metis Local), as well as formerly at the MMF, and was part of the Environment Committee of the MNC. Dan was manager for five years, in charge of the Agriculture, Environment, Hydro, and Natural Resources Portfolios at the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) supervising a multi-disciplinary province-wide team of fourteen staff, including helping create the MMF Metis Law of the Harvest. For the last 8 years, he has worked as an environmental scientist with the government.

Dan is intimately knowledgeable in many other facets of Métis cultural heritage and traditional knowledge relating to water and land issues. In fact, his community recognizes this, and the Métis National Council and the MMF have appointed him to various provincial, national and international forums to represent the Métis Nation's interests on environmental and Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge issues. Dan was formerly a member of the Manitoba East- Side Planning Initiative's Round Table, Co-Chair of the Manitoba Floodway Authority Community Outreach Panel, Environment Canada's Mining Sector Sustainability Table, Co-Chair of COSEWIC's ATK subcommittee, MNC National Research Strategy, MNC Environment Committee, MNC's CBD Canadian Delegate, MNC Post-Powley Multilateral Process and Mining Association of Canada's Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) Community of Interest Panel, as well as Aquatic Habitat Canada. Mr. Benoit lives with his wife Beth, their son Fred and daughter Katie, between Winnipeg and the small Metis fishing village of St. Laurent, Manitoba on the south-east shore of Lake Manitoba.

Nathan Cardinal

Nathan Cardinal is Métis with roots in northern Alberta. As with many Métis, Nathan comes from a long line of people with strong relationships with the land and views his current work in conservation as a continued interpretation of those responsibilities. Nathan has a bachelor of science and a master of environmental studies, concentrating on Indigenous knowledge systems and species at risk. Nathan has worked for Parks Canada in various capacities since 2006, with the majority of his work focusing on supporting Indigenous leadership in conservation, including co-developing innovative restoration and conservation projects as well as supporting national policy programs. From 2020 to 2022, Nathan worked with the Nature Conservancy of Canada to help advance the organization’s strategic direction in building improved relationships with Indigenous nations and communities and supporting Indigenous-led conservation. Since 2004, Nathan has also supported COSEWIC with the preparation of different ATK-related studies and reports. Nathan has had the opportunity to work with First Nation, Métis and Inuit peoples, governments and organizations from coast to coast to coast at community, regional, or national scales. Nathan is a citizen of the Métis Nation of BC and participates as a member of MNBC's Environmental Advisory Committee.

Dr. Sue Chiblow

Sue is Crane Clan born and raised in Garden River First Nation. She has worked extensively with First Nation communities for the last 30 years in environmental related fields. Sue has her Bachelor of Science degree, a Masters in Environment and Management and her PhD from York University with her research focusing on Understanding Anishinaabek G’giikendaaswinmin (knowledge) on N’bi (water), Naaknigeiwn (law) and Nokomis Giizis (Grandmother Moon) in the Great Lakes Territory for Water Governance. Sue is the recipient of the Vanier Graduate Scholarship. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Guelph (School of Environmental Studies) in the Bachelors of Indigenous Environmental Science and Practice.

Sue has participated in Water Walks, water ceremonies and water gatherings learning responsibilities to the waters. She has worked extensively with First Nation Peoples on different environmental issues and is a volunteer for the Traditional Ecological Knowledge Elders of the Robinson Huron Treaty territory.

Sue is a co-chair to the Indigenous Advisory Committee to the Canadian Impact Assessment Agency.

Barrie Ford

Barrie Ford grew up in Kuujjuaq Nunavik, an Inuit community in northern Quebec. During high school Barrie was employed with the local biological station. It was here that he was exposed to the work of the Nunavik Research Centre. From an early age he participated in several programs such as: water sampling, ageing Salmon, and surveying geese. Barrie completed a diploma in Natural Science from John Abbott College and a B.Sc. in Wildlife Biology from McGill's Macdonald Campus. Barrie is currently employed at Makivik Corporation, an Inuit birthright organization, as the Resource Management Coordinator. Over the last 14 years with Makivik he has worked on several files ranging from biology, mining policy, community engagement and the use of Inuit Traditional Knowledge in science and research facilitation.

Barbara Ann Frazer

Barb Frazer is an Cree Indigenous Knowledge Systems researcher, grandmother land-arts knowledge translation educator and writer. In her role and responsibility as an Elder’s helper, Barb carries her families' lived Knowledge (Kiskēýihtamowin) and Boreal landscape Traditional Medicines (Maskihkiya) ancestral ways forward in the care and well being for the next generation. She holds a M.Ed. University of Saskatchewan (Educational Foundations), BA (Adv.) University of Manitoba (Native Studies Major and Botany Minor), and Certificate Foundations in Indigenous Fine Arts - University of Victoria (En'owkin Centre). A life long passion to be in service for those who came before us, our relatives with roots and the animal world.

Roger Gallant

Roger Gallant is a Mi'kmaq from western Newfoundland and is currently working as an environmental consultant. He has a M.Sc. in Environment and Management, a B.Sc. in Environmental Science and Biology, a Masters Certificate in Project Management, and a Bachelor of Education (Post-Secondary). During the past several years, Roger has conducted various research studies and traditional knowledge initiatives. He has been active in the conservation and recovery of species at risk in insular Newfoundland. Recent activities have focused on the monitoring of piping plover (Charadrius melodus melodus) and several other avian species at risk in western NL; determining banded killifish (Fundulus diaphanus) dispersal and habitat requirements in NL; monitoring American eel (Anguilla rostrata) migrations; documenting traditional eel harvest practices; and, preserving Mi'kmaq traditional knowledge on culturally important species.

Jason Harquail

Jason Harquail is an off-reserve Mi’kmaq from New Brunswick and has been employed with the New Brunswick Aboriginal Peoples Council since 1999. Throughout this time, Jason has dealt mainly with the fisheries aspect of the Council, first as an Aboriginal Conservation Officer dealing with Food, Social, and Ceremonial aspects of the fishery. Upon his promotion to Commercial Fisheries Manager in 2005, Jason’s duties have expanded to include daily communication with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Industry and Aboriginal Fishermen, as well as other Aboriginal organizations. Additionally, Jason regularly attends various Science and Industry meetings to deal with present and upcoming Conservation and Protection Regulations dealing with Marine Wildlife. In 2003, Jason was nominated to participate in UNESCO meetings in Ottawa to discuss Sustainable Development of fresh water, in addition to topics dealing with HIV, AIDS, and Youth Participation.

About us

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) is an independent advisory panel to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada that meets twice a year to assess the status of wildlife species at risk of extinction. Members are wildlife biology experts from academia, government, non-governmental organizations and the private sector responsible for designating wildlife species in danger of disappearing from Canada.

COSEWIC secretariat

Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment and Climate Change Canada
351 St. Joseph Blvd, 14th floor
Gatineau QC K1A 0H3