“Indigenous people are going through a very important era today. In order for us to make effective change within our communities, we need programs and services that are based upon Indigenous values of community, as opposed to those that place more value upon the individual.”
Lila would like to see Indigenous communities create their governments based upon cultural principles and mechanisms. She believes that Indigenous culture has much to offer larger society and once offered a forum to teach, Indigenous worldview will offer societies and governments an alternative way of interacting with each other, the animals and the land.
Lila May Erasmus is a descendent of the Dene Cree from Fort Chipewyan, Alberta on her father’s side and of the Northern Tuchone people of Mayo, Yukon on her mother’s side. Lila’s parents are Peter Colin Fraser and Ellen Lewis. Her husband, Roy Erasmus Jr and their two children, Darian Faith (14) and Phoenix Roy Izidor (9), are a part of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation (YKDFN) from Akaitcho Territory in Denendeh (otherwise known as the Northwest Territories). Together they all live in the Yellowknives Dene Community of Ndilo, the home of approximately 300 YKDFN members.
Over the course of her career, Lila has accumulated 7 years of management experience supervising and leading teams as the Manager and Proprietor of Bows and Arrows Inc., Manager of the Sacred Circle Project, a non-profit organization, and as the Manager, Community Justice Projects and Programs with
the GNWT. In addition, she has almost 12 years of policy-related experience in public service, as an Assistant Negotiator, Special Projects Officer and as an Implementation Negotiator.
Lila has worked at supporting community initiatives that promote Indigenous ways of healing through ceremony, spending time on the land and nurturing relationships. She has a strong personal interest in both Indigenous issues and traditional healing and wellness and have demonstrated that commitment by volunteering on boards and agencies, such as the Tree of Peace, Native Women’s Association, and the NWT Wellness Society, all of which work to advance such issues. Furthermore, She was on the leadership team, along with other Aboriginal women, advancing initiatives such as the “Walking With Our Sisters” Exhibit in Yellowknife in 2015, which was intended to promote community awareness for the murdered and missing Aboriginal women.
Lila has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Native Studies with the University of Lethbridge, Social Services Diploma, two Business Management Certificates, Conflict Resolution Certificate, two Project Management Certificates and most recently Lila has acquired her Master’s Degree in Dispute Resolution. Her passion areas are in mediation and promoting the beautiful nature of Dene culture.
Lila’s thesis focused on Dene principles and mechanisms of resolving disputes and further examined how they can be used to inform our government programs and services: her research has made her the leading expert in this field today. She would like to use her research to support Indigenous communities in developing effective programs and services; governments to create policies that honour relationships; and, to work with businesses and organizations build bridges: offering a forum for Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities to work together.
Roy has extensive experience in putting together teams to tackle some of the biggest projects in the Northwest Territories. He was the President and CEO of Det’on Cho Corporation for 10 years. During that time, the corporation formed several companies that successfully bid and completed work for 3 major diamond mines, territorial and Federal Governments and the private sector.
Roy worked on projects that include the Care and Maintenance at Giant Mine, Underground Stabilization at Giant Mine, Roaster Deconstruction at Giant Mine and Tundra Mine Remediation, the provision of Camp Catering and Services for the Diamond Mines, winter road construction and maintenance, highway construction, construction management of the Chief Drygeese Government building in the Yellowknives Dene Community of Dettah. Roy worked to create new companies such as: Det’on Cho Logistics, Trinity Helicopters, Det’on Cho Training and Conference Centre, Bouwa Whee Catering, and Det’on Cho Construction.
Roy has also worked to promote responsible resource development in the North by workingcollaboratively with mining companies to promote development in the North with companies like Avalon Rare Metals, Diavik Diamond Mine, Dominion Diamond Ekati Corporation and DeBeers Canada.
Roy has strong community ties and has served a 3 year term as a Band Councillor for the Yellowknives Dene, two terms as a Director of the Tree of Peace Friendship Centre in Yellowknife, is a Director of the Chamber of Mines since 2013 and is a founding member of the Aboriginal Affairs Committee, he is also a current board member of the Akaitcho Business Development Corporation.
Roy has also owned a small retail outlet in Yellowknife selling traditional Dene arts and crafts as well as current fashion and household items. He is also current owner of a Consulting company Bows and Arrows Inc. providing business development services to northern businesses.
Roy has a Bachelor of Management from the University of Lethbridge, a Certificate in Conflict Resolution from the Justice Institute of BC, and a Certificate in Project Management from Genesis Group.