Paul Favel, Q.C., McKercher LLP. Paul Favel’s practice focuses on First Nations legal issues. He has worked closely with First Nations governments and organizations throughout Saskatchewan and Canada, and continues to assist clients with on reserve economic development projects, governance initiatives, Treaty Land Entitlement, Specific Claims negotiations, and implementation as well as general legal advice. Paul earned his law degree from Dalhousie University in 1995 and articled with McKercher LLP. He also completed a Bachelor of Arts in Political Studies from the University of Saskatchewan in 1995.  Paul became a partner of the Firm in 2007 and was appointed Queen's Counsel in 2010. Paul is a member of the Oversight Committee established under the Indian Residential School Settlements Agreement.  In 2011, Paul was appointed Deputy Chief Commissioner of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission. 




Vern Bachiu, President and CEO, Traill Consulting, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.   Vern has over 35 years of experience working with First Nations.  His clients have included (2013-15) Muskowekwan Resources Ltd (MRL) that has been working to establish a potash mine on Muskowekwan First Nation.  From 2009-2013, Vern was the Manager of the Business Ready Investment Development Gateway (BRIDG) Program of Westcap Mgt Ltd.  BRIDG was established to assist Aboriginal communities in getting business ready and in looking for business opportunities.   Vern’s employment experience includes 20 years (from 1988-2008) with the Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC) and 10 years (from 1978-1988) with the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT). While with MLTC, Vern was a senior member of the team that established successful business investments in forestry, aviation, hospitality, and other sectors.  Vern is currently a director of the following for-profit corporations: West Wind Aviation, Pinehouse Business North, and Ochapowace Nation Economic Development LP.  He is also a director of Luther Care Communities, a non-profit corporation.  Vern has a Master of Education degree from the University of Saskatchewan.


Richard Bennett, Tax Advisor, First Nations Tax Commission, Kamloops, BC.  Richard is a tax advisor at the First Nations Tax commission.  In this role he assists First Nations with property tax issues pursuant to the First Nations Fiscal Management Act and section 83 of the Indian Act.  He was previously the director of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Industrial Relations Corporation.  Richard holds an LLB from UBC, an LL.M. from Osgoode Hall, and is a member of Law Society of British Columbia.


Kris M. Seto Davis, Counsel, Aboriginal Law Services, Prairie Region, Department of Justice Canada, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  Since 2007, Kris has been providing advice to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada on matters governed by the Indian Act and numerous other statutes related to First Nations.  In particular, she has given advice on the creation of rural and urban reserves, designations, commercial leases, the First Nation Land Management Act, estates and governance matters.  Before joining the Department of Justice Canada in 1999, Kris practiced family law and residential real estate law with the Cuelenaere, Kendall Law Firm in Saskatoon for over six years.


Christopher L. Lafleur, Senior Counsel, Aboriginal Law Services, Prairie Region, Department of Justice Canada. Chris is Métis from Saskatchewan and is currently Senior Counsel in the Aboriginal Law Services with the Department of Justice. Chris began his career as a negotiator with the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC).  He was the Lead Negotiator of the Comprehensive Land Claims Implementation negotiating team dealing with Treaty negotiations in the Yukon and was legal advisor to Canada’s negotiator regarding the comprehensive claim of the Labrador Inuit. Chris was also lead counsel for Canada on the revisions to the Indian Referendum Regulations; the Band Council Election Regulations and the drafting of a new taxation regime on reserve lands which became the First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act. In 2002, Chris moved to the Saskatoon Office to provide advice on operational matters to the Regional AANDC Client.  Since then, his files have included numerous addition to reserve files, economic development on reserve (oil, gas, mining, casinos, strip malls) and the settlement of flooding claims along the Qu’Appelle water system.


Murray Long, Director, Self Government, Whitecap Dakota First Nation, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  Since 2010, Murray Long has served as Director of Self Government at the Whitecap Dakota First Nation.  Prior to that he worked with the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and the Government of British Columbia.  He has lectured at the University of Saskatchewan in courses related to aboriginal policy development, management and administration.  He earned is M.P.A in 1992 from the University of Victoria.


Gary Merasty, President & Chief Operating Officer, Des Nedhe Developments LP, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  Gary was named President and Chief Operating Officer of Des Nedhe in August of 2013 after serving as Cameco’s Vice President, Corporate Responsibility and Communications.Merasty was Saskatchewan’s first Status First Nations person elected to Parliament as representative for Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River. He also served two terms as Grand Chief of Prince Albert Grand Council. Along the way, he has distinguished himself with a range of accomplishments in education, business, infrastructure and northern development. He recently chaired the Joint Task Force on Improving Education and Employment Outcomes for First Nations and Métis People in Saskatchewan, is a member of the NorthWest Company board of directors and has served as Chair of the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority, Westwind Aviation, Prince Albert Development Corporation and Northern Lights Community Development Corporation.  Merasty holds Master’s and Bachelor’s Degrees in Education from the University of Saskatchewan and is listed among its Top 100 Alumni of Influence. He also received an Honorary Diploma for Entrepreneurship and Business from the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology