Former MLA Michael Nadli named chief negotiator for Dehcho First Nations

·2 min read

The Dehcho First Nations is bringing back a familiar face to its executive team.

Michael Nadli, who served as grand chief during the beginning of the Dehcho Process, was named as the First Nations' new chief negotiator according to a news release on Wednesday.

The Dehcho process is a land, resource and self-government project. It began in 1999 and since 2019 has focused on self-government.

The Dehcho First Nations call Nadli, a fluent speaker of Dene Zhatié, a "champion for Dene rights."

"Michael ... is no stranger to the issues and challenges in negotiations," said Grand Chief Gladys Norwegian in a statement.

"Through his past roles in leadership and ability to speak our language, he has a strong connection to our culture and elders."

Before his new role with Dehcho First Nations, Nadli was "helping build capacity in his home community" with the Deh Gáh Got'ıę First Nation (Fort Providence), the release says.

He also served two terms as Deh Cho MLA from 2011 to 2019, was CEO of the Dehcho Land Use Planning Committee from 2007 to 2011, and was grand chief of the Dehcho First Nations from 1997 to 2003.

His time in the public spotlight has not been without controversy. Nadli spent time in jail in 2015, when he served eight days of a 45-day sentence after being convicted of assault after breaking his wife's wrist. He had a similar conviction in 2004, when he pleaded guilty to a charge of assault against his spouse and was put on probation.

"I feel I can be a positive asset to the Dehcho First Nations," Nadli said in a written statement on Wednesday.

"At a deeper level my work is driven by a passion for justice and fairness. Negotiations is a common day occurrence."