During his professional career, Stephen Kakfwi has been and continues to be instrumental in advancing the Aboriginal land and self-government rights of the Northwest Territories Dene, Metis and Inuit. He has had a distinguished career in public government promoting Northwest Territory political, constitutional and economic development in the North, within Canada and internationally.
Kakfwi served as the President of the Dene Nation from 1983 to 1987, during which he established the Northwest Territories Dene Cultural Institute as well as Indigenous Survival International. While president, he organized and acted as national host during Pope John Paul II’s two visits to the Northwest Territories in 1985 and 1987. Kakfwi was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories in 1987 and served as Premier of the Northwest Territories from 2000 through 2003. During his 16-year tenure in the Assembly, he promoted Indigenous rights and economic opportunity.
Kakfwi’s currently focuses on achieving a balanced approach to conservation and resource development in the North, focusing on community development in Aboriginal settlements. In 2014, he conceived of and founded the Canadians For a New Partnership, a group dedicated to bringing First Peoples and all Canadians together to build a strong economy and values-based society. Kakfwi currently serves as the Partnership’s president and CEO.