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Melissa Mbarki

I grew up on the Muskowekwan First Nation reserve in Saskatchewan. I left the reserve when I was 17 for a higher education and later started my career in the natural resource sector. I’ve worked on pipeline projects that crossed 3 provinces, a large scale acquisition project that involved billions in oil & gas assets and land transfers for a Treaty Land Entitlement settlement. 

The most rewarding part of my career was working with environmental groups and land reclamation. This allowed me to bring the traditional knowledge that I learned from my mushum (grandpa) and combine it current day practices. The work I currently do with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute combines the challenges I faced as a child with current day policy solutions. 

I advocate for the oil and gas sector because it has given me not only a rewarding, diversified career but it has kept me out of poverty. It has given women the opportunity to take care of our families and give the next generation a chance at opportunities that I didn’t exist when I was younger. My story is not what you’d hear from an ENGO or NGO and I want to start breaking those barriers of misinformation and poverty in our communities. 

Policy Analyst and Outreach Coordinator, Indigenous Policy Program, at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. Member of the Muskowekwan First Nation in the Saskatchewan Treaty 4 area.