Keynote Speakers

Dr. Michael Yellow Bird is a citizen of the Three Affiliated Tribes, (Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara), and a Professor of Sociology and Director of Indigenous Tribal Studies at North Dakota State University.  He joined the NDSU faculty in the fall of 2014. He has held faculty and/or academic administrative appointments at the University of British Columbia, University of Kansas, Arizona State University, and Humboldt State University.

His teaching, writing, research, and community work focus on Indigenous Peoples’ health, leadership, and cultural rights; the effects of colonization and methods of decolonization; decolonizing social work approaches; decolonizing war and military service; neurodecolonization and mind body approaches; neuroscience and Indigenous Peoples; traditional mindfulness and contemplative practices; ancestral and paleo eating and lifestyle; and the Rights of Mother Earth.


Dr. Raven Sinclair is Nehiyaw-Cree from George Gordon First Nation in Saskatchewan. She is a Professor of Social Work and Researcher with the University of Regina, Saskatoon Campus. Raven is a survivor of the Indigenous child welfare system. Her areas of interest include Indigenous mental health and trauma recovery, Indigenous child welfare, transracial adoption and cultural identity, interpersonal and non-violent communication, and group process and facilitation.

Raven is a member of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research College of Reviewers, the Waakebiness-Bryce Institute of Indigenous Health Research, the Yellowhead Research Institute, and a federal court appointed advisor to the Sixties Scoop Healing Foundation. Raven is the mother of a beautiful 13 year-old daughter.

Dr. Leona Makokis is a Cree Elder in northeast Alberta and past President of University nuhelot’įne thaiyots’į nistameyimâkanak Blue Quills which is situated in a former Indian Residential School near St. Paul, Alberta and which Leona attended as a child.  Leona has extensive teaching and research experience with a focus on leadership and language revitalization.  She is a trainer and consultant on cross-sectoral initiatives to restore Indigenous knowledge and practice, especially with Alberta Children’s Services.

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