Introducing our Board of Directors
The Board of Directors are dedicated and there for the best interest of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation.
Bobby Drygeese, Chair
Bobby is a Yellowknives Dene First Nation person born and raised in Dettah and living the traditional way of life. His experience working for tourism, community programs and in the education field, have allowed Bobby to cultivate the relationships (both on the customer side and with the people delivering these programs) which help make this business a success. Bobby comes from a long line of Dene Chiefs: His Great-grandfather was a signatory in the Treaty 8 signing and his Grandfather was Chief in the late 1960s when Queen Elizabeth came to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, also known as Chief Drygeese Territory.
Jessica DeLeary is a member of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, born and raised in Ottawa, ON. Moving home to the North in 2008, she realized that she wanted to reconnect with her traditional Dene lifestyle and learn her Wiiliideh language. Over the years, she worked for her First Nations in different capacities, working directly for the Band, Treaty 8 Tribal Corp, and directly with Det’on Cho Corporation. She was elected as a Yellowknives Dene First Nation councillor, representing Dettah in 2019. Jessica also sits on the Dettah District Education Authority and several committees in her Councillor position. She obtained a Certificate in Indigenous Language Revitalization, and has been doing several training over the years.
She enjoys spending time with her spouse and their children out on the land, and sharing the learning and teaching experience with them.
Jonas Sangris is serving his 6th term Councilor for Dettah, one of two communities within the Yellowknives Dene First Nation near Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada. He also served 3 terms as Chief of Yellowknives Dene First Nation, retiring as Chief in June 1999. He also served as the Community Negotiator for 8 years. He also was owner and operator of Akaitcho Bay Trucking for 9 years after having been a contracted by the GNWT for Municipal Services for many years prior.
Jonas is the third oldest of seven children and has four sisters and two brothers.
After spending his schooling in Residence to grade 8 he stayed at home to help his dad with trapping and hunting. He gained experience through hard work and perseverance.
Spending time with his family, especially with his grandchildren, bring him much joy and being an active part of their lives is a priority. As a past hockey player, he enjoys now watching his sons and grandsons play hockey, as well as any sports all his children and grandchildren take part in.
As a Councilor Jonas is committed to be a strong leader for the members of his community. Though Jonas is busy with being a Councilor, he makes time to continue to hunt, and spend time at his cabin whenever he can with his grandchildren to help teach them to hunt and fish.
Member of Yellowknives Dene First Nation obtained Grade 12 Diploma from Sir John Franklin High School and Administration Certificate from Lethbridge Community College. I sat on several different boards on behalf of YDKFN, Stanton Hospital Board, YKDFN Health Board and Recreational Board. Employed by the NWT Treaty 8 Tribal Corporation as Negotiation Coordinator and coordinate all activities relating to Akaitcho Negotiation Process on behalf of Akaitcho Dene First Nations. I was responsible for preparation of annual budgets, proposals and activity reports. Coordinate all meetings relating to Akaitcho Negotiation process.
Richard Edjericon has been a key contributor in community engagement and has years of cultural experience and business development expertise within the many communities of the Northwest Territories.
Richard’s past experiences include: former Chairman for the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board; former Akaitcho Chiefs SpokesPerson Akaitcho Territory Government; former Head Chief Yellowknives Dene First Nation; Chief Executive Officer, Yellowknives Dene First Nation General Housing Division Manager, Government of Northwest Housing Corporation Project Management; Chairman GNWT Apprenticeship Board; and 35-years as a Journeyman Certified Carpenter in residential commercial construction experiences, and 24-years in local sport volunteer work.
This diverse and unique background makes Richard a valued asset by working with indigenous governments. His experience working in multiple cross-cultural multidiscipline political environments, coupled with the traditional knowledge and community engagement when working with Indigenous Aboriginal, Inuit, Metis, Industry, Federal and Territorial Government make Richard an excellent Community Engagement Liaison Individual that understands the political landscape, community protocols, industry and the local environment in the northern Canada to help build much needed capacity with Indigenous Aboriginal, Inuit & Metis Governments and Industry.
Richard has been working closely with Regional Indigenous Governments and Regional Development Corporation to help build their capacity in Project Management Expertise for their local residential/commercial projects.
Richard is also working with Indigenous Aboriginal; Metis Governments in the Akaitcho and Dehcho Region on potential residential/commercial projects to help facilitate their preliminary planning, construction management, and proposal writing experiences to help build capacity and local employment/trades training opportunities.
Mr. Handley comes to the board with a wealth of experience from his training and early career in Education, years of leadership in territorial government and public service, and continuing work and advisory roles in the Northwest Territories.
Following his studies in Education, Mr. Handley spent time teaching at universities at home and abroad, including a native education program at the University of Manitoba, training teachers to work in aboriginal and northern communities.
Mr. Handley joined the Government of the NWT in 1985 and served as deputy minister in a number of portfolios including education, Renewable Resources, the NWT Housing Corporation, Transportation, and Resources, Wildlife, and Economic Development.
In 1999, he was elected to the NWT Legislature and became Minister of Finance. During his time in the legislative assembly he took on roles as Chair of the Financial Management Board, Minister Responsible for the Workers’ Compensation Board, Minister of Transportation, and Minister Responsible for the NWT Power Corporation. In 2003, Mr. Handley was re-elected to the Legislature and served a term as Premier of Northwest Territories. Mr. Handley retired in 2007. Since retiring, Mr. Handley continues to live and work in the Yellowknife community. He has advised on a number of northern government and business initiatives, including as a panel member of the 2012 Economic Opportunities Strategy and consultant for the 2014 Transportation Strategy.
Mr. Handley is a current board member of the Det’on Cho Corporation and the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board. Joe lives with his wife Theresa in Yellowknife.
Cathy has been actively engaged providing clients services across the north with accounting, audit and financial management services for over twenty-six years. She joined Avery Cooper in 1992 as a CGA student and junior accountant and became a manager soon after attaining her CGA designation in 1996.
Cathy became a partner with the firm in 2004. Her many clients, past and present, include housing and local government organizations, education, health and social services agencies, other government agencies, First Nations organizations and a wide variety of private enterprises. In addition to her many responsibilities as Audit/Review Principal of one of the largest public practice firms in the north, Cathy has also been the firm’s Human Resources Principal since 2004.
Cathy received the FCGA (FCPA) designation in 2016, a professional honour conferred on Certified General Accountants who have made a significant contribution to the profession and in 2019 received a Distinguished Service Award as well as the Lee-Anne Tompkins Community Service Award from the Association for service to the accounting community.