As a citizen of the Vuntut Gwich’in First Nation and a global community-member, Norma has dedicated her life to serving her community and all northern First Nations people. The tremendous work she has done over the course of her career – that she continues to do – inspires youth in our communities every single day. Her story and numerous involvements serve as a shining example of the incredible contributions First Nations people are making in their communities, and the world. Norma has advocated for First Nations rights and voices at all levels of government and has been committed to advancing solutions on the integrated issues of health, environment, youth empowerment and education. Norma has an exceptional capacity to lead and execute, which strongly demonstrates her commitment to collaborating with and empowering northern First Nations communities to meet the most pressing challenges of our time.
In 2007, she co-founded the Arctic Institute of Community-Based Research with the goal to promote community-based northern led research aimed at improving the lives of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples of the North and promoting the health of their environments. In her role as Director of Indigenous Collaboration, Norma focused on developing capacity for taking action on health priority areas, including: diabetes prevention, injury prevention, food security and climate change. Through this work, Norma has had the opportunity to work on several community projects focused on principles of community-based research, youth engagement, and guidance from Elders, community capacity building, collective impact, and knowledge translation. In addition to this pioneering work, Norma currently sits on the Assembly of First Nations Joint Committee on Climate Action. This is a national committee of expert knowledge keepers from across the country. The committee is focused on advancing indigenous leadership on climate action. In this role, Norma brings decades of experience in advocating for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as well as serving on a number of regional, national and international boards and committees. Norma continually supports the AFN Regional office’s work on climate change, environmental issues and empowers our women and youth in our Yukon communities.