Wek’èezhìi Land and Water Board Current Members
Chair, Violet Camsell-Blondin
Violet Camsell-Blondin from Behchoko, Northwest Territories, was appointed to the Wek’èezhìi Land and Water Board (WLWB) in September 2005. In February 2007, Violet was appointed as Chairperson of the Board, and then was reappointed on February 2, 2010, and again on February 1, 2013 for an additional three year term.
Violet is a member of the Dogrib Rae Band, born and raised in Rae, and completed high-school in Yellowknife. Continuing education has been important to Violet who completed a General Management Certificate Program through the University of Lethbridge, as well as numerous other business and community administration courses.
Currently, Violet is the Executive Director for the Rae-Edzo Friendship Centre. Violet has previously served as the Executive Director for the Dogrib Treaty 11 Council, which provided administrative support for the finalization of the Tlicho Self Government and Land Claims Agreement; the coordinator for the Dogrib Renewable Resources Committee; and a member of the West Kitikmeot Slave Study Society, which conducted traditional knowledge and scientific research.
Rita Mueller has called the Northwest Territories “home” since 1989. She currently resides and works in Yellowknife and has lived and worked in a variety of different communities including Fort Resolution, Hay River and Behchoko.
Rita is currently the Assistant Deputy Minister, Education and Culture, for the Government of the Northwest Territories' Department of Education, Culture, and Employment (ECE). She has previously served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Tłįcho Community Services Agency (TCSA), the Director of Early Childhood and K-12 School Services for ECE, and was the principal of Chief Jimmy Bruneau Regional High School (CJBS) in Behchoko for eight years.
Rita has been a Federal-appointed board member of the Wek’èezhìi Land and Water Board since September 5, 2008.
Born and raised in Behchoko, Mason Mantla is a Tłįcho citizen who is deeply connected to his community and culture. His educational experiences include graduating from Jimmy Bruneau Regional High School, courses at the University of Victoria's 2011 Summer Institute at the Centre for Aboriginal Health Research, and being part of the pilot semester at Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning in 2010.
Concerned by the problems and issues in his community and the health of the environment, Mason strives to make a positive difference in the lives of the Tłįcho people. Currently, Mason works as a Community Projects Coordinator with the Tłįcho Community Services Agency Community Action Research Team (CART).
Mason was nominated to the Wek’èezhìi Land and Water Board by the Tłįcho Government on May 27, 2011 for a 3-year term.
In addition to his love of music (Mason has been writing songs since the age of 12 and playing guitar and singing since the age of 16), filmmaking, poetry, and art, Mason loves spending time with his daughter Evie.
Mike Nitsiza was born and raised in Whati. He was appointed to the Wek’èezhìi Land and Water Board by the Tłįcho Government in December 2008 for a three-year term and then nominated by the GNWT and re-appointed by the Government of Canada in December 2013 for another three-year term.
Over the years Mike has been very busy, some of his professional experience includes: working as the Band Manager, recreation coordinator and serving as an elected councilor and eventual Mayor for Whati; working for the Federal Government as the Manager of the Lac La Martre Fisheries; working as a correction officer in Yellowknife; working for the Indian Brotherhood in communications; working for the Department of Public Works maintaing diesel generators in the communities; and working with the Department of Education as a School Committee Counsellor for 17 years at the Mezi Community School in Whati.
Mike has been involved with some very important initiatives throughout the North, including: the first push to have daycares within the NWT, being involved as the Secretary of Negotiations for the Dene Nations, chairing meetings for the Treaty 11 Council – which involved translating and coordinating sessions for elders which was critical in ensuring that meetings were held and that decisions could be made, acting as a Board member with the Department of Justice addressing crime prevention - this resulted in such things as the Side Door for youth and Homes for the Homeless, sitting on numerous committees for the Department of Justice to address issues of unemployment, Mike was elected as the first Board member during a federal movement towards Cooperative Boards within the NWT – the Coop grocery store and northern images are two examples of the hard work of this Board that formed numerous Cooperative Boards throughout the NWT.
Mike enjoys facilicating workshops and helping people build their self esteem and live a better life. He used to be a dog-musher and enjoys the opportunity to get out on the land whenever he can. One of Mike’s most important philospohies is:
“life is our teacher, we are just its students” Mike Nitsiza
Joseph Mackenzie was born in the old hospital in Rae in 1950. Growing up, he lived with his parents on the land in the winters and spent summers in Rae until age 8, when he went to Fort Smith residential school. Eventually, Joseph moved back to Rae and spent about 12 years trapping with his father until he became employed with Renewable Resources (which is now ENR). Joseph retired from ENR in January 2011, and continues to enjoy hunting, fishing, and trapping. He loves spending time with his grandchildren and teaching them how to live on the land. Joseph was nominated to the Board by the Tłįcho government in January 2011.