It is our great pleasure to announce that Donald Nicholls, Director of Justice and Correctional Services, Cree Nation Government will be the Chair of the 2017 Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum in Ottawa-Gatineau on May 17-18, 2017.

You may recall that Donald was one of the most popular speakers at the 2014 Forum in Saskatoon, delivering our inspirational speech.

Donald Nicholls, B.A., LL.B, B.C.L, LL.M

Donald Nicholls is the Director of the Cree Nation Government Department of Justice and Correctional Services since 2009.

Prior to becoming Director, Mr. Nicholls was the Interim Director where he assisted with preparatory work for the establishment of the Department, and was an inaugural Member of the Cree-Quebec Judicial Advisory Committee when established in 2007. Mr. Nicholls stepped down from the Committee to become Director, and instead work closely with the Committee and CNG. Previously, from 2005-2009, Mr. Nicholls worked as Political Attaché with the Executive Office of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)/Cree Nation Government.

Mr. Nicholls comes from a strong background in law and Indigenous issues, having served as the first Coordinator of Justice for the CNG, worked with tribal courts, worked on Indigenous cases at mechanisms in the United Nations, Organization of American States, NAFTA, and in domestic court systems in Latin and North America. He also worked at various working groups, and was present at the Human Rights Council (Geneva), and General Assembly (New York) at the passing of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

At the same time, Mr. Nicholls was an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, where he lectured in the Tribal/Indigenous Peoples Clinic, co-developed with James Anaya a course on comparative Indigenous laws and systems, was a teaching assistant to Vine Deloria Jr. in teaching advanced treaty law, supervised student cooperative work and special projects, and on the program steering committee. During this time, he was also engaged as the Northern Tribes Initiative Coordinator for the University, where he coordinated outreach programs and activities to Native American tribes. The law school named Mr. Nicholls the first Vine Deloria Jr. Senior Fellow, a senior position for graduate level research and scholarship in the area of Indigenous issues and law at the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Nicholls worked as an Education Consultant with the Cree School Board, and was a successful entrepreneur establishing a partnership to develop commercial property in his home community. His innovation allowed for further development of businesses and enterprises, establishing a new financing model for collective held property. Mr. Nicholls has also worked with Indigenous groups from every continent on various issues, and worked with International bodies to establish better guidelines in working with Indigenous populations.

Mr. Nicholls has authored a number of publications, presentations and position papers addressing a wide array of issues related to Indigenous justice, ethics, Aboriginal Law and Indigenous Rights. He has also been appointed as an expert on various panels for national events on research, and has chaired national and international committees for the Government of Canada. Mr. Nicholls was recently the recipient of the prestigious Award of Merit by the Canadian Institute for Conflict Resolution for his work in the area of mediation and conflict resolution with vulnerable populations.

Donald Nicholls holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics (1993) from the University of Western Ontario, a Bachelor of Laws from University of Toronto Faculty of Law (1996), a Bachelor of Civil Law from the McGill University Faculty of Law (1998), and a Master of Laws from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law (2002).