Truth and Reconciliation, Aboriginal and First Nation Expert
Janice Makokis, the youngest of the Makokis family, is a legal scholar, acting lawyer, mother and Indigenous consultant from Saddle Lake Cree Nation located in Treaty 6 territory. She holds a B.A. in Native Studies (minor in Political Science) from the University of Alberta, an M.A. in Indigenous Governance from the University of Victoria, and an L.L.B. (Bachelor of Laws) from the University of Ottawa. Janice Makokis currently holds a joint position between Yellowhead Tribal Council and the Faculty of Extension (University of Alberta) as an Indigenous Relations/Policy Advisor/Faculty Instructor and works to develop curriculum/programming within the Faculty’s Indigenous programs. She is also an active consultant for many First Nation communities to assist them in any social, governance or legal applications in their communities.
Being an Indigenous woman from a segregated and marginalized community in Northern Alberta, Janice Makokis faced many challenges in and outside of her youth, education, and career. Her brother, Dr. James Makokis who was often bullied as a youth due to him identifying as Two-Spirit, led to Janice also experiencing challenges within and outside of her peer groups. Once Janice went on to pursue her education, she was able to identify rampart discrimination based on race and gender. It was during her education that she and her brother James decided to utilize their struggles and challenge themselves to create and change outcomes for her people.
Before becoming a lawyer Janice Makokis distinguished herself as a scholar. She won numerous scholarships and won many awards including the Assembly of First Nations – National Essay Contest and a NECHI Institute Health Indigenous Daughter Award. She wrote several published articles and has been involved in numerous research studies, with her and her mother being a main contributor to the U of A and their approach to Reconciliation. Through her research, Janice connected to many different types of individuals and organizations that assisted her to gain a clear understanding about social determinants, public policy, governance policy and legal matters that affect the restauration for First Nation peoples. She came to realize that through legal advocacy and educating all Canadian, she could play a major role in reshaping the outcomes and the injustices brought upon and reinforced through colonialism.
She continues to be involved in International and National Indigenous advocacy work through various International bodies and United Nations mechanisms to advance the discourse on Indigenous Peoples’ rights. She served as the co-chair/co-coordinator on the North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus (NAIPC) from 2013-2016—a voluntary Indigenous body that makes recommendations to the agenda items to be addressed by the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. She also played a major role in the Idle No More movement and has followed her mother’s footsteps to connect with Canadian Indigenous and non-Indigenous allies to support local and national movements to bring awareness to First Nation issues.
Janice is also strongly rooted in her community and culture. She has spent the past 15 years learning about Ncehiyaw (Cree) ways of being and laws from Elders and Indigenous knowledge keepers. She regularly participates in activities/education initiatives within her community while adopting her cultural beliefs and family systems to pass them down to her son. She believes that through cultural teachings, we can reshape our connection with ourselves, our relationships, and our planet.
Through her work, Janice assists both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples to break down stereotypes and identify colonial systems of the past and that are still in place today that have shaped the outcomes for First Nation communities. She has dedicated her career and her life to her people. She focuses on educating others on the Truth of our history, to guide us all to take the right steps towards Reconciliation for racial, gender and social prosperity. Janice Makokis is passionate and, on a mission, to assist First Nation groups through being a role model, reinstating belief systems destroyed by colonialism, gaining allies along the way to bring awareness to the injustices faced through the mistreatment and systematic failure for Indigenous peoples in Canada.
Indigenous women and girls are strong and beautiful. Indigenous women play a major role as the foundation of First Nation communities. Before colonialism, they were in large part the decision-makers and men where there to support women to maintain the cultural and family structures. As a result of colonialism, Indigenous are the most marginalized group in Canada with shorter life expectancies and higher risks to be a victim of violence.
The assault on Indigenous women’s rights began when European colonizers first stepped foot on the continent. Back then, many Indigenous tribes followed matriarchal laws, and women were equals to their male counterparts. Women were highly respected contributors to their community as knowledge keepers, land caretakers and life-givers to children. Their role in helping to keep the balance in the great circle of life was sacred. But with colonization came the domination of patriarchy, and consequently a form of dominion, degradation, disrespect, suppression and even violence toward Indigenous women.
Indigenous communities saw the breakdown of family systems when Europeans pressured Indigenous men to adopt their patriarchal governance systems. The assault on Indigenous women’s lives was strong, and it lives on through the violence of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Aboriginal women face life-threatening, gender-based violence, and disproportionately experience violent crimes because of hatred and racism. This fact places the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in the broader context of violence against Aboriginal women. By understanding the severity of the issues, we can better work toward breaking the cycle of violence.
For years, communities have pointed to the high number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. Indigenous women are five times more likely than other women to die because of violence, and the numbers of Indigenous women who are currently missing are staggering. The National Institute of Justice reported that 84% of Indigenous women have experienced violence, more than any other racial group in the United States and Canada. Indigenous women have long been oppressed and silenced on the issues, and the numbers are only getting worse.
Janice Makokis shows the intersection of Indigenous rights and women’s rights in dealing with the issues of discrimination and marginalization. She identifies the layers of colonialism and oppression and how they directly and indirectly affect Indigenous women.
Janice’s key messages bring awareness in the importance of restoring access and justice for Indigenous women specifically, so that Indigenous women can have a voice and contribute to the success of themselves and their children within and outside of their communities. She shows that if the Indigenous movement does not include a collective approach to to restore the rights for Indigenous women specifically, and address their basic human rights, the Indigenous movement will struggle to find resolutions to break the barriers created through colonial systems of oppression which affect the life of every single Canadian.
For non-Indigenous audiences, Janice will thoughtfully and compassionately explain how can we each play a meaningful role in helping to restore basic dignities, human rights, and justice for Aboriginal people in Canada today. What is your responsibility? Whether you are a professional group, a corporation or a public servant, what role can you play?
For Indigenous audiences, she will use her story and the history of her ancestors to tell the truth of our history and what we can do today to heal, as individuals, as a family, as a culture, as a community and as a nation. She will then bring to light key areas for improvement, and our responsibilities for reconciliation and to create a nation that is responsible for the past, and progressive for the future.
Canada currently houses a disproportionate number of Aboriginals within its prisons. Like African Americans in the United States, Canada’s justice system has been known to racially discriminate against the Indigenous population. It is deeply rooted in our colonialist history. Furthermore, Indigenous prisoners are more likely to be discriminated against in our prisons and face higher risks to return to prison and often lack social and systematic support upon release. First Nation communities often face higher suicide rates, lack basic living conditions, are limited to access medical services, and many have water advisories with no clean drinking water.
The United Nations consultant James Anaya and independent United Nations human rights expert said in 2011 “The social and economic situation within First Nation communities and Indigenous peoples living on reserves throughout Canada, is allegedly akin to Third World conditions. Yet, this situation is not representative of non-aboriginal communities in Canada, a country with overall human rights indicators scoring among the top of all countries of the world. Aboriginal communities face vastly higher poverty rights, and poorer health, education, employment rates as compared to non-aboriginal people”. Many non-Indigenous Canadians are unaware of the history and current conditions that Indigenous peoples face. Furthermore, stereotypical labels and belief systems created and enforced through colonialist tactics are given to excuse any ownership or accountability to the negative outcomes for Indigenous peoples.
Janice Makokis takes us on a journey to show the relation of colonialist tactics and the current situation today, while gaining a larger understanding for the challenges that different individuals, groups, and communities face today. She will explain how governance, fraternity and education can break down these systems to restore social and economic justice for her people.
Janice will show the benefits of working with and hiring people of colour, while breaking down stereotypes associated with different cultures and races.
Janice believes that there is no place for racism, discrimination, and mistreatment of anyone based on their race, gender, or disability. Her message is that: “We are all created equally as humans” Let’s show common respect for one another other and each other’s cultures. It’s the foundation of the success of humans on our planet.
Businesses, industries, governments, and all of society can benefit from including others and removing bias from our everyday lives. The first step is recognizing it. Then we can all work together toward inclusion to make this world a better place. Janice will assist audience members to better understand their unconscious bias, raise awareness to injustices and remedy situations for the benefit of inclusion. underlying her entire presentation is a message of hope - to rid our society of discrimination for peoples of colour.
Gender and racial discrimination have been an unfortunate theme in Janice Makokis’ life from an early age. Her brother, Dr. James Makokis, is Two-Spirit, with both growing up with strong roots to their culture and family. They both endeavoured on their paths through a commitment to education and then to careers that had a direct impact to change the outcomes for future Indigenous generations. Once Janice departed from her community to pursue her education, she noticed the bias and discrimination she faced as an Indigenous student. Often faced with having to “prove” herself in school, throughout her career and with different peer groups, Janice gained a new understanding for what it meant to be Indigenous within Canadian society.
The Black Like Me (BLM) movement has brought attention to injustices for all people of colour, who often face discrimination. Stereotypes are reinforced through generational bias and racist beliefs. People of colour often have a harder time finding jobs, getting promotions, and socializing with others that are not of the same colour. People of colour will often be overlooked when seeking employment, getting promotions jobs and being included in peer groups that are predominantly white.
The outcomes for people of colour are often determined by mainstream negative reinforcements through media, power structures and systematic oppression.
Canadians are a bit different than American’s when it comes to racism. Racism in the USA is often direct, and it is easy to identify, especially as a person of colour. In Canada, we have what we know now as “smiling racism” or “silenced racism” which is much harder to identify and often leaves a deeper scar over time due to peoples of colour to find their identity or make sense of discriminatory tactics used by those unconscious or conscious about their actions or words. The problem with racism in Canada is that those who are the aggressors, often can justify or dismiss racial challenges with peers without having to take accountability since most people will not want to admit they are, in fact, racist.
Janice Makokis will customize her presentation to meet your specific needs and organizational goals. She will assess your initiatives, identify your responsibilities, and bridge the gap of understanding to enable you to spring to action for the Reconciliation of Indigenous peoples in Canada.
How does your organization adjust its policies and approaches to engender genuine partnerships with the Indigenous population? How can you continue to expand the TRC for years to come?
The Truth is important. We must Forgive, but never forget our past. Janice takes us on a history lesson to understand the impacts of colonialism and the impacts that still live today. The 90 TRC Calls to Action is a blueprint to commence the restoration for First Nation communities and Indigenous peoples in Canada. Janice will use her experience as a lawyer and during her consulting for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to research your needs and create an action plan for success.
We all have a role – individuals, professions, public servants and corporations. We all have a responsibility. Learning the Truth is the first step towards reconciliation. Janice’s life work and presentations will leave your group with new understandings, perspectives, and commitments towards the advancement of First Nations peoples today and the future.
Understanding the Indigenous perspective of Nature helps us redefine “sustainable development” in a way that makes a better world now and in the future.
Truth resides in Nature. How strong is this connection? It includes spiritual values, elders’ wisdom and even ethics. For individuals, Nature provides each person with the guiding principles to respect one another, ourselves, and our planet. The same applies to professions, trade associations, the public service and corporations.
There is no doubt that Nature is central to Indigenous teachings, beliefs, and cultures. With the planet heating up and with industry and governments often controlling the narrative and policies to decrease the impact of climate change, understanding our connection with Nature can be powerful and fundamental to sustain life.
Learn how respecting Nature means, in the end, “being at one with the world.” It is s a form of serenity. The Indigenous view of Nature is universal in its appeal and outreach. First Nation peoples and elders have worked to instill a strong connection to the land and now more than ever do we need to work together to protect it. Janice aligns Indigenous practices, beliefs and cultural perspectives with modern science and our current situation. We need our planet to survive; we need to protect our environment. Understanding and practising Indigenous perspectives toward Nature is a positive and right step to direct our efforts to defeat climate change and conserve the earth.
Most people living on reserves live far way from the health services the white people take for granted daily. Unfortunately, tuberculosis and other diseases are commonplace on some Reserves. Boil-water advisories are in effect in many First Nations. What can be done to deliver good healthcare to Aboriginal Peoples? How? How can we speed up the process of getting clean water to these people. How do we reduce the number of suicides? Housing on some Reserves is not only sub-standard, it is approaching their world conditions.
In spite of the shortcomings of the Indian Act, broken promises, and restrictive government policies, Indigenous people can succeed.
There is something inherently wrong with the way federal and provincial governments have treated Indigenous people in Canada. Many wrong-doings have crippled the Indigenous community’s ability to rise from a dark past to flourish today. While there have been recent improvements, Indigenous people and First Nation communities are still immobilized and lack access to basic services for success. They are limited by what outsiders permit them to do. They are also limited by their education system, geography and their economic circumstance.
The Canadian Government has not abided by many of the Treaty’s that they have signed. Often, they tricked Indigenous community leaders to sign in the first place. Many programs and policies of the government are counter-productive.
The Indian Act in Canada, residential schools, colonialism, and continuous systematic oppression have left Indigenous peoples and communities without a path for success. Through the abolition of their culture, languages and family structures, support within and outside of First Nation communities must be grounded in strong governance from First Nation leaders.
All too often, communities are left with funding for band-aid solutions which do not change outcomes, or the deliverance of education, recreation or social services.
Colonial style thinking must be replaced with new, respectful language and a modern approach to ensure the success of each nation.
Indigenous communities can succeed. Let Janice explain models of economic and social development on First Nations that have worked – all without government support or intervention.
Through Janice’s consulting of many different First Nation communities and a wide variety of Indigenous groups, learn about her “ready-to-use” strategic approach for each nation’s success. Janice will use her legal background to dive into each level of governing bodies and systems, to present clear, pragmatic examples of what we can do now, for the short and long-term success of Indigenous peoples.
One of the single most important elements to success is education. The biggest step that Indigenous peoples can take is to teach themselves to give back to their community.
There is no doubt that Education does and can play a key role in transforming Indigenous lives and the outcomes of First Nation communities. Fortunately, High School graduation rates with First Nations has never been higher and they are growing all the time.
Follow Janice’s journey through her elementary education on the reserve in Saddle Lake, through to high-school and into university. The adversity she faced as an Indigenous student has given her a unique perspective. All while maintaining her Indigenous values, beliefs and culture, and also while combatting peer group pressure, she distinguished herself as a scholar and a lawyer.
Janice Makokis and her mother, Dr. Patricia Makokis, have also been a major contributor to the University of Alberta’s Indigenous studies program, writing some major articles and consulting them on their curriculum
During her studies Janice maintained her Indigenous values, traditions, and spiritual beliefs. Today, her testimonial is the living proof that Indigenous people can succeed in both worlds and it is all starts with Education.
Janice has made it her life’s work to improve the lives of Indigenous People in Canada. Her education is what has made it possible. She knows what is needed to keep Indigenous children interested in school and how the white community can better serve First Nations through education. She is a
strong proponent for post-secondary education for First Nation students.
What are the implications of recently accepted Treaties for First Nations in BC to the rest of Canada? How is Canada doing in terms to settling Treaties? How can the process be speeded up? What are Treaty Rights? What's fair compensation to First Nations that conclude treaties? Janice Makokis has focused on the settlement of Treaties as a major part of her legal practice.
The Makokis Family can draft up a speaker series presentation specifically for the conference and your association. This half day session would include all three speakers presenting with each other, or each speaker can draft a presentation to follow up and expand on the other member of the Makokis family’s presentations throughout the session. Each member of the Makokis family has a very unique perspective on First Nation Matters and important information for all Canadians and will be focused for teachers and educators in Alberta.
This speaker series addresses the history, current situation, and future of Indigenous culture in Canada. It includes practical solutions for any matters related to First Nations in Canada. A truly unique presentation, there are not many sessions or presenters that can address the amount of issues that the Makokis family can. This presentation is customized to each organization and association.
Dr. Patricia Makokis, (Ed.D.) is acclaimed as one of Canada’s most outstanding Indigenous leaders and aboriginal expert. Her warm speaking style engages audience everywhere. She uses humour and relevant anecdotes to make her points. Dr. Makokis is internationally and nationally renowned. She is in demand as a speaker across Canada not only because she is an expert on Indigenous matters, but also because of her articulate and humourous presentations. The vital and necessary guiding principles of her Indigenous values are deeply rooted in the worship and respect for the land and the environment.
She intimately knows the history of indigenous peoples and she practices their philosophy and beliefs in everything that she does. Dr. Patricia is authentic. Residing on the Saddle Lake Cree Nation She is a proud First Nation representative and member of the indigenous community. She is passionate about who she is, the knowledge she possesses, and the groups and individuals she represents. She has embraced both the Cree culture and the western world view. Patricia has addressed numerous audiences across Canada and around the world in the fields of education, justice and health. She is in demand as an authority and an articulate representative of “what can be achieved” and “how to build on Indigenous values and culture” to succeed in this highly competitive world. She is highly respected across Alberta for her knowledge, abilities and her passion to help First Nation Communities become whole again. She works closely with many different reserves, provincial and government agencies, healthcare systems and communities as a consultant. She is relied on by these organizations for her expertise. Patricia is dynamic, educative, funny and always receives high praise for her presentations. Dr. Patricia Makokis is an expert on multiple topics, which include Aboriginal Rights, Canadian – Aboriginal relations, First Nations History in Canada, and Indigenous education.
Dr. James Makokis is well grounded in all matters relating to Indigenous cultures, traditions, values, and customs. He is also experienced with the delivery of medical and social services to First Nation communities in Canada. As you probably know, James is a leading role model within the medical and Indigenous community. His keynote address and/or workshop presentation can explore the status of Indigenous health services in Canada and the improvements that are required for long term sustainability. James also can provide information on his struggling years as a youth, and his resiliency to become who he is today. James’ presentations will inspire audience members to become better members of their community through understanding his story, and his experience inside and outside of the aboriginal community.
Dr. James will provide inspirational and practical advice on how he was able to achieve so much through his education, culture, spirituality, health, self-confidence, self-motivation, and overcoming adversity. James has overcome bullying in his prior years, is a proud member of the LGBTQ2 community and has faced off with many government leaders, and is at the forefront of a shift in government perspectives on Indigenous rights, healthcare, access, programming, housing, mental health, and social services. James is one of our most outstanding speakers and we are proud to represent him. He has a story like no other and speaks on multiple issues, it is sometimes hard for us to keep up with James!
Dr. James Makokis is a leader among the First Nation community and is a primary resource for the government and Alberta Health Service agencies. James would be able to do a keynote or workshop presentation, with plenty Q & A, to inspire audience members through his experiences, education and understanding of aboriginal issues for youth and the importance issues surrounding challenges faced through diversity in the classroom. In his earlier years’, his work was primarily focused on youth, and James still has a passion, and in his own words, “a responsibility” to help Indigenous Youth become all they can be, no matter what their situation. Dr. James Makokis is a very busy man, and we usually need 3 business days to hear back from him for his availability.
Janice Makokis is an active lawyer, consultant and Indigenous leader in Canada, like her brother James and mother Patricia. Janice has also Co-chaired the North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus (NAIPC) at the United Nations on the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Janice is also an active leader within and outside of the aboriginal community. Janice is often called upon to help Indigenous leaders and communities as a consultant on legal and social issues that many communities and individuals face within and outside of the aboriginal community. Janice Makokis, the youngest of the Makokis family, is fresh from participating in legal matters and advocacy relating to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada.
Janice has also overcome many obstacles to arrive where she is today, and her drive and passion for real change within Canada has taken Janice on a path to become a leader, peaceful activist, mediator, teacher, consultant, and role model within and outside of her career which is focused as an advocate for aboriginal rights, education of the white population, social justice and acknowledgment for the past and current treatment of aboriginals today and represents real change for aboriginals and Canadians, that so many individuals and communities are seeking for. She also has worked with youth throughout her career and expresses the same passion and responsibility to aboriginal youth as her brother James.
Janice is an articulate presenter for/on Indigenous Peoples of Canada. She knows the law and she is an expert about the following:
- What needs to done to improve the relations between the white population
- The current conditions on Reserves and Metis Settlements
- The Truth and Reconciliation Commission proceedings and outcomes
- The “Idle No More” movement
- Canadian Imperialism: Indigenous Resistance Through IdleNoMore
- What needs to be done by both Indigenous Peoples and the white population to help Indigenous People succeed in Canada.
- Indigenous Understanding of Treaties
- Treaties, Indigenous Laws and Legal Orders in Alberta’s Natural Resource Management
- Indigenous Laws and Legal Orders: An Indigenous Understanding of the Land, Water and Environment
- Indigenous laws, lands and current Industry-Government relations
- International Law and Indigenous Peoples
- The Role of the Canadian State: Forcibly Imposing Western Education on First Nations
- Elimination for Racial Discrimination
- Human Rights in the Workplace
- Organizational Culture and Negotiation Preparedness
- Canada’s Plan to Implement a First Nations Education Act
This can be an inspirational keynote on Overcoming Adversity.
- Oppression in Education
- Segregated Community in Saddle Lake
- Makokis Resilience
- Finding Her Identity as First Nation
- Her role as a mother
- Her role as a woman
- Importance of her roots
- Overcoming challenges mindset
- Overcoming challenging situations with others or systems
Lake , Alberta
- Aboriginal | First Nation
- Accountability | Self Leadership
- Change Management | Change
- Conflict Management
- Difficult Conversations
- Employee Relations | Employee Solutions
- Government | Government Relations
- Health and Wellness
- Indigenous | First Nation
- Influence | Negotiation
- Inter-generational Workforce
- Leadership | Leadership Development
- Multicultural Workforce
- Overcoming Adversity | Adversity
- Parenting | Family
- Public Policy
- Rural Development
- Seniors | Aging
- Social Change | Human Rights
- Sustainable Development
- Trust | Values
- Workplace Culture
- Youth | Youth Development