Michael Nadli says his new position as chief negotiator is an opportunity to return home.
Nadli is a well-known figure in the Dehcho, serving as grand chief from 1997 to 2003, and says he is very familiar with what his new position will involve.
“From a personal perspective I want to make things better,” Nadli said. “I’m grateful that I’ve been chosen to take on this challenge.”
Nadli isn’t the only one excited by this development.
“Michael served as grand chief during the beginning of the Dehcho Process and is no stranger to the issues and challenges in negotiations,” says Grand Chief Gladys Norwegian, in a statement.
Christopher Reid worked with Nadli during part of his tenor as grand chief.
“He’s smart, ethical and passionate about his work in the Dehcho,” he says in an email, “I’m delighted that he has been hired.”
Nadli explains, in his position he will be responsible for leading a team of negotiators and support staff.
He says he will participate in discussions with both the Government of the Northwest Territories and the federal government to reach agreements. This will often be around self-government, as well as land and resources that are reflective of the desires of the Dehcho.
Nadli says he will be working a lot with Dehcho leaders and Elders.
Back to his roots
Before taking the position Nadli says he needed some time to reflect and ensure he was ready for the responsibility.
“I kind of took some time to rest and reflect and just to try and to be in a good mind and a good place to launch myself into a role like this,” he says.
But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been busy, most recently Nadli was working in Fort Providence on employment initiatives.
Before this Nadli served as the Dehcho MLA from 2011 to 2019.
Before working in politics, Nadli says he spent the early 1990s mapping the Dehcho.
“So I had a good immersion of visiting all the communities and got to know lots of people,” he says, “it’s a beautiful part of the NWT.”
Taking on the role of chief negotiator will involve a lot of responsibility, but he knows the Dehcho will support him.
“It’s a humbling experience to be asked to undertake this responsibility and role,” he says. “But for me, it’s going back to my roots, this is actually my home.”
Nadli began his new role on Dec. 2.
With files from Mariah Caruso.