Melanie Debassige, MBA, ICD.D
Chief Of Staff
A member of Anishnaabe Nation from Manitoulin Island in Northern Ontario, Melanie Debassige has over 17 years of experience in Aboriginal Economic Development. She obtained a Diploma in Native Management and Economic Development from Trent University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Ontario. She also has a certificate in Economic Development from the University of Waterloo and is a certified Professional Aboriginal Economic Developer with the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers.
Additionally, Melanie earned her Master of Business Administration from Cape Breton University. Melanie held the elected position of Councillor with the M’Chigeeng First Nation Chief and Council for eight years and was appointed as a police commissioner with the United Chiefs and Councils of Manitoulin Police Services for seven years. She also holds a position as Director on the Mother Earth Renewable Energy Board that oversees the for-profit wind turbine corporation that is solely owned by M’Chigeeng First Nation. Melanie has also served on the Great Spirit Circle Trail Board of Directors, a not-for-profit destination marketing organization. Melanie was appointed by the Lieutenant Governor to the Ontario Clean Water Agency Board of Directors in 2013 and was recently reappointed for another three-year term where she leads the provincial First Nations Task Force. Melanie completed the Director’s Education Program at the Rotman School of Management and is now a certified corporate director.
Senior Policy Advisor
An Anishinaabe from Bearskin Lake First Nation in Northern Ontario, Maureen has over 15 years of experience working for First Nations Political Organizations. She has a Master of Arts in Indigenous Governance from the University of Victoria as well as an Advanced Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Government from the University of Manitoba. Maureen was formerly an Associate Faculty Member at the University of Victoria and has worked as a Policy Analyst and Specific Claims researcher for the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC). Other experience includes research work for various organizations including the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, and Musqueum Nation. As co-founder of Sparrow-Grant Consulting, Maureen has provided policy, political, and strategic advice for a number of BC First Nations. A proud mother of two, Maureen currently resides on Musqueam Territory.
Chylane is a member of the Xatsull First Nation, the northernmost Shuswap tribe of the Secwepemc Nation, just North of Williams Lake, BC. She has gained almost three years of valuable accounting experience working with First Nation Organizations. She spent two years with the Secwepemc Child & Family Services Agency and nearly one year at Sexqeltkemc Limited Partnership as the Finance Manager, where she managed the finances for several different clients. She has obtained a Payroll Diploma, an Accounting Technician Diploma and has nearly achieved her BBA, majoring in Accounting. Once Chylane has attained her Business Degree, she is eager to pursue her CPA designation. And with a strong passion for working with Aboriginal communities and organizations, she is also interested in pursuing her Certified Aboriginal Financial Manager designation (CAFM). Chylane and her family currently reside in Kamloops, BC.
Curtis holds a Master of Arts in Public Policy and Public Administration from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. He earned his Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Political Science from Simon Fraser University.
Curtis has previously worked with In-SHUCK-ch Nation as research assistant and event coordinator. He has worked on several federal and provincial election campaigns, and currently sits on the Executive Committee of his riding association in Kamloops, BC.
Curtis has experience working at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, as a research assistant in the negotiations wing of Specific Claims Branch in Vancouver, BC, and as a Junior Evaluation Officer in the Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Branch in Gatineau, QC.
Delaine Friedrich graduated from the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law in 2015 with a Juris Doctor degree, after initially studying political science at the University of British Columbia, and Aboriginal Studies at Langara College. She articled at the UBC Indigenous Community Legal Clinic, and with Sarah Rauch at Rauch Darby & Company. During this time, she gained experience in Constitutional, Aboriginal, prison, civil, criminal, immigration, and family law. Other areas of interest and study include consumer protection, cumulative contamination, and law reform.
Beyond academia, Delaine is a Treaty 8 Métis from British Columbia who has volunteered with organizations promoting mandates to assist women escaping violence, reduce the effects of poverty, and enhance culture and the arts.