Steve Saddleback, President

Steve Saddleback, Director of the National Energy Business Centre of Excellence (NEBCE) at the Indian Resource Council of Canada (IRC). A member of Treaty 6 from the Samson Cree Nation located in Maskwacis, AB. Mr. Saddleback has worked for a number of national and international organizations in Finance, Real Estate investment, Banking, Economic Development, Fiscal Relations and was a co-owner of an Oil and Gas lease construction company in Northeastern British Columbia. Steve volunteers his time on numerous boards including the Indigenous Opportunities Committee at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, SADLBAK Trucking, Samson Cree Nation – Nipishkopahk Wellness and Social Development Committee, Nipisihkopahk Miyomacihowyn Society, Co-Chair of the program advisory committee and board member for the ReDeveLop initiative – University of Calgary, and is the Vice-President of the Circle for Aboriginal Relations Society. Steve is adamant on working towards meaningful involvement of indigenous communities in all areas of the economy with a focus on the Energy sector.

Connie Landry, Vice President

Connie is a member of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. She recently retired from a 34-year career at Nexen Energy (now CNOOC Petroleum North America ULC), during which time she held progressively responsible roles, initially in Finance and for ten years prior to her retirement as the Program & Planning Advisor for Aboriginal Relations. While contemplating her next chapter, Connie remains committed to mentoring today’s Aboriginal youth and tomorrows leaders.

Tim Heins, Treasurer

Tim Heins was born and raised in Central Canada and spent most of his adult years in the Northwest Territories. In late 2004, Tim moved to Edmonton and joined Flint Energy Services Ltd. (now AECOM) as the Manager of Aboriginal Community Engagement. He moved into his current role with Royal Camp Services in 2014 where he shares his considerable experience in the role of Manager of Aboriginal Community Engagement. Tim has been a member of CFAR since 2008 and is in his eighth year of service on the Board of Directors, first as a member at large and currently in the role of Treasurer. He is the Chair of the Governance Committee, an Advisor on the ICIR/ICE Committee, and a member of the Governance Committee. Tim brings a wealth of business and community experience from his service as General Manager in the Co-operative system in the NWT; as Economic Development Officer for the GNWT; Executive Director of The Deline Land Corporation in Deline, NT; Finance Manager for North-Wright Airways Ltd. and now, in his current role. Tim served as a Justice of the Peace in the NWT from 1988 to 1992 and participated with the Alberta Chamber of Resources as a member of the Aboriginal Programs Project from 2005 to 2013. Tim and his wife, Lucie, recently completed phase one of a long time vision to pursue sustainable living practises by building their near net zero all electric home which won the 2015 Alberta Home Builders Green Home of the Year Award with Effect Home Builders. Phase two is now in progress developing bio-intensive, organic food production and animal stewardship utilizing holistic management techniques. Take a peek at their blog, The Chronicles of Aspen Acres, to see phase one learnings and follow along as they start into the next round of content.

Regan Smith, Secretary

Regan is an Indigenous Engagement Specialist at Alberta Energy Regulator (AER)

Tweela Nepoose, Past President

Tweela Nepoose is a member of the Samson Cree Nation, Maskwacis, Alberta.  Tweela has over 20 years of experience working with Indigenous governance, administration, oil and gas industry and Indigenous communities in the Treaty 6, 7, & 8 territories. Her experience includes compilation of corporate submission for successful recognition of Aboriginal Partnership awards to the following organizations:  Alberta Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and Alberta Chamber of Resource. Tweela has worked for the Samson Cree Nation Project, McCoy Law, Samson Cree Nation, Samson Oil and Gas Inc. and Savanna Energy Services Corp. Tweela is also the co-founder of a networking group – Professional Aboriginal Women in Industry.

Board Members

Board Members at Large

Andrea McLandress

Andrea is an Indigenous Relations Consultant. She recently served as the Executive Director of the Mining Association of Manitoba Inc. and  has worked in the private and public sector building relationships between mainstream organizations and Indigenous communities for 15+ years. Her persuasive communication skills and commitment to improving relations between business and community have been invaluable at building support for a variety of projects and programs across Western Canada. She has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Manitoba and is a founder of the St Norbert – LaBarriere Parish Metis Local, established in 1999.

Janel McLaren

Janel works with CP Rail in Indigenous Relations. Currently Ms. McLaren is enjoying family time while on maternity leave, congratulations Janel!

Jorge Avilés

Jorge is an Indigenous Relations / Cross-cultural Communications Strategist with proven ability to engage and retain key stakeholders. His years as an overseas Sustainable Projects Manager provided him with more than a decade’s experience in communicating, training and negotiating with Indigenous groups in Latin America, West Africa and Southeast Asia. A true citizen of the world, Mr. Avilés not only makes good use of the 4 languages he’s fluent in, but he also trains other professionals in the art of cross-cultural communications and negotiations. He also takes the time to volunteer as a Mentor for the University of Calgary’s Haskayne graduate students’ program and the Indigenous Leadership Program at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Most recently, the University of Calgary asked Mr. Avilés to assist with the writing of an Indigenous Awareness unit for Engineering students at the Schulich School of Engineering. His participation in several significant initiatives focused on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have afforded Mr. Avilés the savvy needed to promote a corporate culture of early engagement and meaningful consultation – a set of skills he’s proud to utilize at his present employer: Canada West Land Services.

Lorne Ternes    

Owner, Lorne J. Ternes Professional Corp.

Lorne Ternes provides counsel to diverse senior elected and appointed government and Aboriginal leaders and Industry decision makers. He has a reputation for delivering successful outcomes to complicated conflict situations through collaboration and innovation.

Working as a land agent gave Lorne insight regarding the necessity for effective management of the changing resource industry and community expectations. He appreciates his early work experience for providing a solid foundation of understanding regarding the intricacies of oil and gas resource development in Canada.

“Bringing Aboriginal perspectives alive is one of my great passions. We need to understand each other and our shared history before we can have meaningful conversations and collaborate for an honourable future. It is a pleasure to speak at conferences and seminars and build those bridges of understanding.”

Serving as part of the team that negotiated and drafted the Alberta Métis Settlements Legislation and over a dozen land claims represents high points in Lorne’s career. The same is true in his role as Lead Negotiator for Meadow Lake Tribal Council and Meadow Lake First Nations in self-government negotiations in Saskatchewan. These are examples of working with Canada’s laws to facilitate change benefiting a previously overlooked people without denying the rights of any other sector.

Working with the province of Alberta, resource developers, First Nations and Aboriginal communities, in developing policy, legislation and a variety of agreements and understandings gives Lorne a front-row view of the continued importance of respectful negotiation.

Lorne was appointed by the Cabinet of the Government of Alberta as a Part-Time Hearing Commissioner between 2013 and 2018.

Lorne teaches seminars at the University of Alberta’s School of Business, lectures regularly at the Banff Centre, and speaks at national and international conferences.

He was awarded a 2008-09 Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Deputy Minister’s Pride and Recognition Award and the Alberta Premier’s Award of Excellence (Silver) in 2010.

Lorne has a LLB from the Faculty of Law, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB; and a BA (cum laude) from the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK.

He is a member of the Law Society of Alberta, the Canadian Bar Association (CBA), International Right-of-Way Association, Alberta Chamber of Resources and the Circle for Aboriginal Relations (CFAR) Society.

Dr. Patricia Makokis

Dr. Patricia Makokis resides on Saddle Lake Cree Nation with her husband Eugene.  Pat currently works as a private contractor and is semi-retired (hard to do)!  She has years of experience in teaching and program development and delivery.  She is one of the development and delivery team members of the Indigenous Community Industry Relations Certificate (ICIR).

The ICIR certificate is a partnership between the University of Alberta and CFAR and is designed to assist in building better relationships between industry, governments and Indigenous peoples. The program is team taught with Indigenous scholars and Elders and several of the courses are land based.  All who work in business development on the traditional lands of Indigenous Peoples’ should consider ICIR.  It is all about enhancing Indigenous Business Development.  Having worked in Business Development most recently, Pat understands how critical those relationships are in understanding and working with Indigenous Nations.

Pat believes in life-long learning and works with Elders, ensuring curriculum development and instruction is holistic, and incorporates Indigenous instructional methods and age old ways of knowing. She sees herself as a servant of the people and works towards a better humankind for all.

Her most recent work is being a team member in the production of the film, TREATY TALK: SHARING THE RIVER OF LIFE.  www.treatytalk.com   An off shoot of the film was the walk entitled, WALKING FOR COMMON GROUND. Pat and others are walked from Edmonton to Calgary from May 31, 2019 to June 14, 2019.

Richard Piché   (New Board Member)

Scott Mcleod   (New Board Member)

Todd Belot

Todd’s passion is the relationships he has the privilege of maintaining as he has spent his entire career in customer and stakeholder relations to add to his extensive background in team sports.  Todd currently is employed for a major Canadian energy producer which he is proud to serve with their Indigenous and community relations team.  Born and raised in Alberta he remains active in athletics, having recently competed in Auckland, New Zealand at the “World Masters Games” in basketball.  Todd’s most important role is that of a proud husband and father of two young ladies.

Todd is particularly thankful of the time served on the CFAR Board of Directors.  “I’ve had the opportunity to work with many uniquely talented people in my years with CFAR.  I am particularly proud of the team we currently have in place.  We have a very accomplished and eclectic Board of Directors serving with the best Executive Director and Events Coordinator team around.  We’re also blessed to have an expanding team of gifted and energetic volunteers.  This just blows me away when they’re there to eagerly and unselfishly help our organization.”

Todd Pruden

Todd Pruden is the CEO of Dreamline Canada Inc. and AWS Group.


Andrew Loosely, Art Cunningham, Bob Phillips, Cliff Supernault, Dan Toth, Deion Blackman, Esther Johnson, James Blackman, Janais Turuk, Joe Moravetz, Jonathan Stringer, Mel Benson, and Robin Campbell.


Alita Murowchuk, Garret Strawberry, Justin Fontaine, Mitch Wincentaylo


Sandra Sutter, Executive Director