June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada. In the spirit of celebrating the cultures, traditional knowledge, and achievements of Indigenous Peoples across Canada, I’d like to highlight my Indigenous colleagues that I’ve been working with here at SFI’s Indigenous Relations (IR) team.
I was initially drawn to SFI because of its reputation as a non-profit sustainability organization convening communities, organizations, and individuals for forest-focused collaboration. I am proud to introduce my new colleagues. Each brings diverse experiences and perspectives to building respectful relationships with Indigenous communities across SFI, Project Learning Tree (PLT), and PLT Canada.
Meet Paul Robitaille (he/him), Senior Indigenous Relations Advisor and member of the Senior Leadership Team at SFI
“I am a citizen of the Métis Nation, with roots in the historic Drummond Island Métis community. I hold a Master of Science in Forestry from Lakehead University and a Forest Technician Diploma and Certificate in Aboriginal Canadian Relations from Confederation College. As Senior Advisor on the IR team, I lead the growth and diversification of SFI’s Indigenous Relations policies, programs, and partnerships. My work has included creating accessible Indigenous Relations training that advances Indigenous rights recognition throughout the SFI network. Another focus of mine has been developing opportunities in green career pathways for Indigenous youth, keeping in mind the unique realities they face.”
Meet Catherine Galligos (she/her), Indigenous Forest Certification Director
“I am a citizen and member of the Tla’amin Nation around Powell River, British Columbia. After completing my Bachelor of Business Administration from Thompson River University, I went on to obtain a Bachelor of Law with a Certificate in Natural Resources law from UBC. Now, my work focuses on building relationships with Indigenous communities and businesses in the forest sector, offering information on the SFI standards, including the Small-Scale Forest Management Module for Indigenous Peoples and Families, and providing tailored supports that help to advance their self-determined visions for the futures.”
Meet Dean Assinewe (he/him), Indigenous Opportunities Advisor
“I am from Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation in Ontario. As SFI’s Indigenous Opportunities Advisor, I work alongside the team to promote SFI and PLT Canada programs to Indigenous communities and their businesses. I also build relationships with communities who are interested or invested in forest management by promoting SFI’s various certification standards such as the Small-Scale Forest Management Module for Indigenous Peoples and Families. I began my career in forestry with a Forest Technician diploma from Sault College and an Honours Bachelor of Science in Forestry from Lakehead University. Eventually, I became a Registered Professional Forester. Through my work, I’ve discovered the valuable and critical importance of using these experiences to serve as a mentor to young professionals who are setting out on their careers.”
Meet Kelvin James Braun (he/him), Graphic Design & Media Coordinator
“I was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba with familial roots in Opaskwayak Cree Nation. I completed my B.A. in Communication and Media Studies from the University of Calgary during which I also practiced my love for photography and graphic design. I am currently focused on building my skills and knowledge in graphic design and social media management. In my work on the Indigenous Relations team, I support social media, graphic design, and video development, including SFI’s Indigenous Leadership and Reconciliation Spotlight series.”
Meet Catherine Langille (she/her), Indigenous Relations Coordinator
“I am Anishnaabekwe (an Indigenous woman) from Seine River First Nation and Grand Council Treaty #3 in Northern Ontario. I am a PLT Canada ambassador, inviting Indigenous youth, professionals, and employers to join PLT Canada’s growing community. I also support work across different SFI pillars. For example, I recently developed a unique internal training opportunity for each pillar to discuss ways they can advance their Indigenous Relations work. I know my work matters because it aligns with my passion to support Indigenous young people becoming our future forest leaders. Prior to joining SFI, my Green Jobs included working with the Outland Youth Employment Program, Parks Canada, and Outland Tree Planting. I hold a certification in Environmental Science and Natural Resources from Fleming College and I am working toward my degree in Indigenous Environmental Science & Studies, with a specialization in Indigenous Knowledge, at Trent University.
Seeing the contributions of these diverse and passionate individuals is truly encouraging. I’m excited for what we’ll accomplish together next!
We encourage all to continue learning and listening to the voices of Indigenous Peoples’, their stories, and their history, not just during National Indigenous History Month, but throughout the year.
Read more about SFI’s Indigenous Relations commitment here. Connect with our team by email at Indigenous.Relations@forests.org.
Director, Indigenous Forest Certification
Sustainable Forestry Initiative