THE CORE TEAM
Eric Hovius, J.D.
Director of Strategic Policy
Eric Hovius is a practicing lawyer and a member of the Law Societies of Saskatchewan and Ontario, with extensive work experience in Aboriginal law and Indigenous Issues.
Called to the bar in Saskatchewan and Ontario in 2008. He has also served as a land claim negotiator, a policy adviser, and continues to act as a negotiator and facilitator.
Eric began his career as a federal Crown and a provincial Crown. Beginning in 2010, he set out on his own, advocating on behalf of First Nations as a sole practitioner. He is one of very few lawyers in Canada to have worked for the federal and provincial Crown as well as First Nations. This has provided him with an invaluable perspective on Crown-First Nation relations.
Eric has appeared before the Court of Appeal, Divisional Court, Federal Court, and Superior Court, to name a few, advocating on behalf of First Nations and Indigenous rights. Although the Courts have a role in the process, this adversarial system is not necessarily conducive to Advancing Our Nations. By joining Bimaadzwin, Eric is excited to work with a solid team of likeminded people who are focused on making meaningful and positive contributions.
Eric lives and works in Cambridge Ontario with his wife and two young sons. He is a member of the Shades Mills Lawyers’ Association and the Waterloo Region Law Association, where he proudly serves as an elected Trustee.
Sarah Frances Yankoo
Director of Planning & Technical Services
Sarah Yankoo is Algonquin, Austrian, Irish, Romanian and Scottish. She was raised and educated in Toronto, and currently resides in Pikwakanagan First Nation. Sarah is a graduate of York University’s Environmental Studies program where she focused on philosophy, arts, culture and communication, concurrent with an Indigenous Studies certificate and a minor in English. In her final year of study, Sarah worked with the Centre for Aboriginal Student Services as a programming assistant and community engagement liaison while serving in an executive role with the Aboriginal Students Association at York University (ASAY).
After graduation, Sarah worked with the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) on Aboriginal self-identification, a provincial gathering of Aboriginal Education Councils from both colleges and universities as well as a speakers series, “Research Matters”. Following her contract with COU, Sarah served as an appointee to the Premier’s Council on Youth Opportunities and began advisory and media work during the iteration stage of the Ontario Indigenous Youth Partnership Project (OIYPP). OIYPP connects philanthropic partners such as the Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal People in Canada, Tides Canada, Inspirit Foundation and the Ontario Trillium Foundation with youth led projects and initiatives. Concurrently, Sarah worked briefly with the Algonquins of Ontario as a culture and heritage mapping assistant, facilitated workshops in schools as an artist supported by the Ontario Arts Council, advised on the eligibility committee for the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences’ JUNO awards in 2014 and 2015 while developing and performing her own artistic works.
Sarah also currently works with The Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation in developing communication materials and strategy for membership engagement in the Algonquin Land Claim/Treaty Negotiations.
Director of Marketing & Communications
Bryan Hendry spent 16 years at the Assembly of First Nations and Chiefs of Ontario in policy, communications, health, economic development, and employment and training. He has written and contributed to speeches for four National Chiefs and four Ontario Regional Chiefs. Former Chief of Staff to Regional Chief Isadore Day.
Bryan worked with Chiefs, Economic Development and Human Resource Development officers across Canada; helped organize Chiefs Committee on Economic Development, and Chiefs Committee on HRD meetings and events such as the 2011 International Indigenous Summit on Energy and Mining (IISEM) and the 2009 Inter-Nation Trade and Economic Summit (INTES); liased with INAC, HRSDC, and other federal departments. BryanI worked on 2012-13 Canada—First Nations Joint Task Force on the Activation of First Nation Economies.
Bryan assisted in the development of MoUs and Action Plans with Corporate Canada, and unions. Actively lobbied/advocated federal and provincial politicians; co-managed two national mining and railway training and employment projects that were recognized by HRSDC as two of the best projects in Canada.
Bryan worked for a Liberal MP and was called “the godfather of legislative assistants” by former Prime Minister Paul Martin. He is a former print and television reporter, editor, and assignment editor, and author of true crime fiction.
Bryan lives in Ottawa with his wife and two dogs.
Organization Development Coordinator
Charu Murti is an independent research analyst who brings 20 years of work experience in research and management positions spanning four countries. Her work experience includes leading and managing research projects and conferences involving academia, government and industry. In Canada, Charu has worked as a research and policy analyst for the Chiefs of Ontario in the Education and the Strategic Units and completed an environmental scan of First Nation education programs and services in Ontario.
Charu has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in mathematical statistics and a post-graduate diploma in marketing from University of Delhi, India. She also has a Certificate in Non-Profit Sector Management from Ryerson University and has written research papers on First Nations education. She has recently completed a certificate program in Aboriginal Law with the Osgoode School, at York University.
Charu has volunteered for 14 years in her community and local school as a board member and as a parent council member.
As a newcomer to this land, she tries to journey through life mindfully, trying to view the world through the perspective of the original people of this land.
In her leisure, Charu practices yoga and is a certified yoga teacher.
Veronica McLeod is a member of the Serpent River First Nation and currently living in Barrie, Ontario.
She worked with the former Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day as his executive assistant and continues this role with Bimaadzwin.