Board Members

Ron ChambersCo-Chair
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Mr. Chambers is of Southern Tutchone, Tlingit and Scottish ancestry. He was born and raised in the Kluane area but spent his high school years in Haines, Alaska, and northern California. After graduation, he pursued his artistic interests at SAIT in Calgary. He was a Park Warden in Jasper and Kluane parks for 22 years before retiring to start his own guiding

business. Ron has been a member of many boards over the years and was Deputy Chief of Champagne and Aishihik First Nations. He currently sits on the Yukon Heritage Resources Board and Yukon River Salmon Subcommittee.

John RitterCo-Chair
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Mr. Ritter has served the Board for four consecutive terms. He is also Director Emeritus of the Yukon Native Language Centre. As a linguist, he has worked with all Yukon languages and contributes to the spelling and pronunciation of native place names. Also crucial to the place name application process is his ability to provide the Board with translation services

during consultation periods held with First Nations elders.

Gordon AllisonMember
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Mr. Allison’s career has centred around natural resource management, with positions with the Federal and First Nations governments. He presently does contract work in land management and heritage, primarily for CAFN, from his long-time home in Haines Junction. He has a keen interest in Yukon’s geography and history and in his free time enjoys historical research.

André BourcierMember
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Dr. Bourcier holds a Ph. D. in linguistics and has studied seven of the eight Yukon FN languages in his 15 years with the Yukon Native Language Centre. His particular study has been Gwich’in, and he has also worked in Inuvialuit. He is presently Acting Director of YNLC. Dr. Bourcier’s knowledge of the Yukon languages is a great asset to the Board.
Bessie CooleyMember
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Ms. Cooley is a fluent speaker of the Tlingit language and served for many years as the Tlingit Language Instructor at the Teslin School. At Yukon College she completed the Certificate and Diploma Courses for Native Language Instructors, and earned both an Associate of Applied Science degree in Native Language Education and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Native

Studies at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. In retirement Bessie continues to serve as a Tlingit language resource person and mentor in her home community of Teslin.

Testloa SmithMember
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Testloa Smith was appointed to the Board in 2016. He is a member of the Ross River Dena Council and is a fluent speaker of the Kaska language. Testloa has served in various capacities for the Ross River Dena Council and the Kaska Dena Council for many years. He is currently serving as Land Steward in the Department of Lands, Resources, and Heritage for the Ta'an

Kwäch'än Council in Whitehorse.

Garry NjootliYukon Toponymist
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Mr. Njootli was appointed Yukon Toponymist in 2003. He is responsible for reviewing place-name submissions sent to the Government of Yukon's Heritage Resources Unit. He ensures they are complete and meet basic criteria before being forwarded to the Yukon Geographical Place Names Board for consideration. He also serves as a non-voting member of the Board. Mr.

Njootli is a member of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation (Old Crow, Yukon)

Deana LemkeYGPNB Secretariat
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Ms. Lemke was first contracted by the Board during the 2006-2007 fiscal year to provide administrative and secretariat support for its activities. She is the proprietor of Beyond Words Business Services and has extensive experience in board functioning and financial management.