Tony Penikett spent 25 years in public life, including two years at the Canadian House of Commons as Chief of Staff to federal New Democratic Party Leader Ed Broadbent; five terms in the Yukon Legislative Assembly; and two terms as Premier of Canada’s Yukon Territory. His government negotiated settlements of Yukon First Nation land claims; passed pioneering legislation in the areas of education, health, language; and organised Yukon 2000, a unique bottom-up economic planning process. After serving as Premier of the Yukon, Penikett acted as Senior Aboriginal Policy Advisor for the Premier of Saskatchewan (1995-97) and Deputy Minister for Negotiations, and later Labour, for the Government of British Columbia (1997-2001).
He is the author of three books, Breaking Trail: A Northern Political Journey (Victoria, BC: Trafford, 2004); Reconciliation: First Nations Treaty Making in British Columbia(Vancouver, BC: Douglas & McIntyre, 2006) and Hunting the Northern Character (Vancouver, BC: UBC Press, 2017), and two films, The Mad Trapper (BBC TV/Time Life Films) and La Patrouille Perdue (ORTF France). As a mediator and negotiator, Penikett has worked on devolution in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon. He has lectured on the history of aboriginal treaty negotiations at Simon Fraser University, Queen’s University and the University of Washington.
In 2013, Penikett became Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Arctic Studies at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. In September 2014, Simon Fraser University’s Public Policy School appointed him visiting professor, and he now serves as Senior Associate at the Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue there. Penikett serves as a Mentor for the Walter & Duncan Gordon Foundation’s Jane Glassco Northern Fellows, Trudeau Mentor at The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and member of the Advisory Board at Polar Research and Policy Initiative.