Kekinusuqs, Dr. Judith Sayers is a member of the Hupacasath First Nation and mother of two. Currently she works as a Strategic Adviser to First Nations and corporations and is an adjunct professor with the Peter Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria.
Judith was the elected Chief of the Hupacasath First Nation that is located in Port Alberni, BC for 14 years and the Chief Negotiator for 15 years. In her role as Chief, she focused on capacity building, sustainable development and restoring and rehabilitating Hupacasath territory. As Chief of her Nation, Judith was instrumental in the development of the China Creek Run of the River Project which operates in Hupacasath territory. Judith was the President and Chair of Upnit Power Ltd which operates the China Creek project for 6 years. Hupacasath is the majority owner in the China Creek project. China Creek project has received environmental awards from the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Nuu-chah-nulth Economic Development Corporation, and in June of 2008, Judith received a silver award from the Canadian Environmental Awards in the Climate Change category for her role in developing the project.
Currently Judith remains involved in Energy issues through advising First Nations and corporations on clean energy projects. Judith speaks at many conferences, think tanks and strategic sessions concerning issues affecting energy including developing, transmitting and selling power, climate change, capacity needs, negotiating agreements, regulatory requirements and export of power. Judith has a passion and commitment to ensuring that energy is produced in a sustainable way with minimal impact on the environment and strongly believes that alternative energies can be developed within First Nations values. Judith’s educational background includes a business and law degree and an honourary Doctor of Laws from Queen’s University. Judith has an extensive background of practicing law for 18 years in both Alberta and British Columbia, working in international forums, lobbying governments and other agencies for the promotion and protection of First Nations rights and title.
Judith was on the political executive of the First Nations Summit for a two-year term in 2006. Judith serves on the boards of the New Relationship Trust Foundation, Clean Energy BC, the Island Corridor Foundation, and Chairs the Joint Working Group on Heritage Conservation. In February 2009, the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business inducted Judith in the Aboriginal Business Hall of Fame. Further accomplishments include being the recipient of the Bora Laskin Fellowship on Human Rights, a Finalist for the Buffet Award for Indigenous Leadership and twice awarded the Woman of Distinction from the Alberni Chamber of Commerce. She has been honoured by Atira Women’s Resource Society as an Inspirational Women.