We Are All Treaty People

Mary Culbertson

Treaty Commissioner of Saskatchewan

The Treaty Commissioner is a member of the Keeseekoose First Nation and the first woman to be appointed as Treaty Commissioner for Saskatchewan.  She received her law degree from the University of Saskatchewan, is a member of the Law Society of Saskatchewan and is the first member of Keeseekoose to achieve a Juris Doctor of Law and become a lawyer.  She grew up seeing both worlds on her family farm north of Pelly Sk across the river from Fort Livingston site and her Nation of Keeseekoose. She is the granddaughter of late Senator Roy Musqua and Nellie Brass. She is a mother of four grown children and proud Kokum to Kaiden, Maximus and Ella. She firmly believes the teachings she learned from her family, her aunts, uncles , cousins and parents have shaped her journey, her knowledge and her determination.  

She has over 20 years professional experience working in the federal, provincial and territorial governments and with Indigenous organizations. This includes Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness Canada, Corrections Services Canada, the Government of Saskatchewan, the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations , Sunchild Law, and various Tribal Councils. Over the years, Mary has been an active volunteer in many community organizations and engaged in advocacy work with Indigenous communities, families and grassroots organizations.

Ms. Culbertson brings to the position her extensive experience in public and community service, advocacy with a background in family, criminal and Aboriginal law as well as dispute resolution.

Harry Lafond

Executive Director

Harry J. Lafond is the Executive Director of the Office of the Treaty Commissioner. He has a wide range of experience in the community, in politics and in academics, which he brings to the OTC. He has been Chairperson for the Board of Trustees First Nations since 2003. Previously, he served his Nation as Chief (1990-2000). Harry has worked extensively in the area of education as the Director of Education and earlier as Principal of Kihiw Waciston School at Muskeg Lake.

Harry’s academic education includes: B.A.; B. Ed, and an M.Ed. He was appointed to serve on the Senate of the University of Saskatchewan (1995-2002) and was also appointed to the national Federal Task Force on Education (2003). Family is a priority and Harry spends many hours with his children and grandchildren teaching them about being Cree.

Brenda Ahenakew

Director of Educational Programs

Brenda Ahenakew is a member of the Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation. She received her early education at Marcelin and later at the Prince Albert Collegiate Institute. She obtained her Bachelor of Education from the University of Regina and has also studied at the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Manitoba. As a classroom teacher, she has taught students from kindergarten to University. Brenda has focused on improving the education systems in First Nations communities by being actively involved in youth sports and education. The majority of her career has been as a Director for Education for the Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation, the Saskatoon Tribal Council and the Ahtahkakoop First Nation. Growing up as the daughter of Freda Ahenakew, one of Canada’s leading Aboriginal scholars, set the stage for Brenda to become a writer, a translator, and an editor with several publications. She has co- translated three of Tomson Highway’s Children’s books into Cree and has complied two anthologies; Native Voices: The Issues Collection, and Voices of First Nations People, both of which are used to complement high school Language Arts curricula. She also worked as part of the team that wrote the Saskatchewan Core Cree 10, 20, 30 Curriculum. A strong advocate for the advancement of First Nation’s youth and education, Brenda has an active participant on numerous Boards and Committees at the local, provincial and National levels.

Milton Tootoosis

Director of Livelihood/Economic Independence

Milton is a member of the Poundmaker Cree Nation, Treaty Six Territory. Milton has extensive experience in human resource management at the tribal, provincial and federal levels of government. His HRM focus has been on attraction, recruitment and retention. Milton has served on numerous committees and boards with a focused attention to youth, community/employment development and economic independence within First Nations communities.

Tootoosis received his Bachelor of Indigenous Studies from the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College (now the First Nations University of Canada)/U of R, has studied public administration and taken numerous professional development courses. He was granted his Professional Aboriginal Economic Developer Certificate from the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers in 2009. Milton is married to Shelly and has three grown children.

Amy Seesequasis

Director of Speakers Bureau
Amy is a Cree, with Métis lineage, from the Beardy’s & Okemasis’ First Nation, Treaty 6. She attended the First Nations University of Canada, Saskatoon Campus, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in 2011; majoring in Indigenous Studies and minoring in Indian Fine Art. She credits FNUniv for strengthening her cultural identity and pride.
Amy has a wide range of work experience that she brings to the OTC. Since completion of her degree she has worked for the Correctional Service of Canada, as well as for the Department of Native Studies at the University of Saskatchewan.
She is the mother of three children and her family is her main priority. She credits her children for all that is good and positive in her life, as well as her life successes. Her children are her motivation in the work she does for the Office of the Treaty Commissioner
Amy is the Manager of, and dances for, the Creeland Dancers, who specialize in a fusion of Metis jigging and square dancing. Her interests are reading, writing, painting, beadwork, dancing, outdoor activities, history, Treaties (education, awareness, promotion, advocacy) and anything that assists in enriching her and her family’s identity as Nehiyawak.  
In her second year of university, Amy set a goal to one day work with Treaties and for the Office of the Treaty Commissioner. Today she is living that dream and is an example that goals can be reached through dedication and determination.

Rhett Sangster

Director, Reconciliation and Community Partnerships

Rhett Sangster works with the Office of the Treaty Commissioner, coordinating efforts to engage both the public and community leaders on the nature of reconciliation in Saskatchewan. This process aims to work with as many partners as possible to identify shared priorities and a broadly-owned vision for the future.

Rhett grew up in Treaty 6 territory (Tisdale, Saskatchewan) and is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan (B.A. Political Studies). He moved to Ottawa in 2000 to become a Foreign Service Officer and has spent the majority of his career working on issues of international conflict and peacebuilding. He spent three years posted as a diplomat in Turkey, led a successful effort to improve dialogue and cooperation between Afghan and Pakistani border officials, and coordinated Canadian international policy on mediation, peace processes and the effects of war on women and girls. Rhett accepted a Rotary Peace Fellowship in 2012 and graduated in 2014 with a Masters in International Development Policy from Duke University. His thesis focused on conflict prevention and reconciliation in Saskatchewan.

Rhett is married and has three young children.

Lyndon Linklater

Cultural Advisor/Treaty Presenter

Lyndon Linklater was appointed to the OTC Speakers Bureau in 2000. Since that time, he has presented to over 30,000 people delivering awareness and understanding about Treaties and First Nation awareness to Saskatchewan people.

He is a powerful story teller that utilizes First Nation teachings that involve knowledge of ceremonies and mixes humor to deliver a poignant message.

Claudette Keshane

Operations and Administration Manager

Claudette Keshane is a member of the Keeseekoose First Nation within the Treaty 4 Territory. She brings more than 25 years of office and administration experience to the Office of the Treaty Commissioner as the operations and administration manager and executive assistant to the Treaty Commissioner.

In her role she helps establish procedures and put them into effect, as well as goal setting, office planning, and streamlining communications. She always happy to greet everyone who visits OTC.

Claudette has 9 children and 21 grandchildren. She loves to sew, bead and spend time with her family. Claudette also is part of the huge horse racing family as once being a trainer a passion she inherited from her father the Late Dan Keshane and mother Emelia “Chip” Keshane.

Charmaine Gardiner

Administrative Assistant, Reconciliation

Charmaine joined the OTC as Administrative Assistant, Reconciliation in April 2017 as part of a partnership with the City of Saskatoon.

She loves work on Reconciliation because she likes to see the positive change in the community, while bettering the lives of youth, who are our future leaders of tomorrow. Her personal call to action is Listen, Learn, Show Up and Share.

Charmaine was born and raised in in Ile a la Crosse, but has lived in Saskatoon on and off since 1995. She has two children, Bryden, 22, and Desiree, 18. She loves to spend time with her partner, Clarence, and her family -- and she likes a good read or drama series.

Bernice Hlady

Office Manager/Admin

Bernice is from Ile a la Crosse and speaks the Cree language.  She was raised with a strong cultural background and has her Elders teachings as her foundation.

Bernice has worked extensively in First Nations politics.  She once travelled to Rome to meet the Pope and on one of her many trips to Ottawa met Queen Elizabeth II.  From her travelling experience, Bernice appreciates and understands the value of honour and respect amongst all Nations and countries.

Bernice also worked in a local Aboriginal law firm where she worked closely with residential school survivors.  Upon hearing their experiences, Bernice felt a strong will to continue to work in the field of helping, assisting and supporting the health of Aboriginal communities and individuals. 

There have been various events where Bernice has coordinated and volunteered her time but her favorite place to be is with family – having 5 grandsons whom she loves spending time with.  She has been working casually with the Office of the Treaty Commissioner since 2014 and has been full-time as of July 2016.          

Lissa Morin

Researcher and Policy Analyst

Lissa Morin is a member of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation. She grew up in the urban setting, in the city of Prince Albert. 

Currently, Lissa works on research and policy with the Office of the Treaty Commissioner. She has a variety of experience in restorative justice initiatives, team building and community collaborations, as well as her legal skills.

Lissa attended the First Nations University of Canada and is thankful to the university for helping her reclaim her cultural identity while teaching her about the intergenerational impacts of colonization. She is passionate about helping and serving her people.  In 2018 she convocated from the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Law and is currently articling. 

When not working, Lissa enjoys to get away from the city to enjoy the outdoors.