Chief Willy (Bill) Erasmus, B.A.


Mr. Erasmus was born in Yellowknife in 1954, and has spent much of his career in his homeland Denendeh.  He acquired a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from the University of Alberta.  Chief Erasmus’ political expertise and strong leadership skills has brought significant change and advancement to all Peoples of the NWT. He is a life-time advocate of Aboriginal and Treaty rights and a recognized Aboriginal leader worldwide. However, he still remains committed to the Dene Nation and his homeland Denendeh.

In 1993, Chief Erasmus received a Governor General commemorative medal for the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada, in recognition of his significant contribution to compatriots, communities and to Canada.  In 2005 he was the recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Commemorative Medal on the occasion of the 15th Anniversary of the accession of HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN to the throne.

In 1987 Mr. Erasmus was elected National Chief of the Dene Nation, a position he still holds today.  He has also been a member of the Assembly of First Nations Executive Committee since 1987.  Mr. Erasmus held the  Chair of the Chiefs Committee on Environment and Vice-Chair to the Finance Committee and Intergovernmental and International Relations.  He previously held positions on the following committees; Chiefs Committee on Claims, National Harvesters Planning Committee and the Health Committee.

Chief Erasmus Chairs the Centre for Nutrition and Environment of Indigenous Peoples, an independent research facility at McGill University established by Aboriginal Peoples of the North. Mr. Erasmus has contributed to communities in the NWT throughout his professional life as a fieldworker, reporter/photographer, researcher and negotiator for various First Nations communities and organizations.

Chief Erasmus is a visionary leader, well-grounded in his roots.  He is a skilled negotiator and incorporates his philosophy of connection to the land, community and Nation to resolve conflict and to be an instrument of change.  His deep respect for Elders, traditional knowledge and Aboriginal rights guides his vision to a better future for Indigenous Peoples worldwide.    He strongly believes in family and is a dedicated father and husband to his wife Reanna, son Lonny, daughter Sarah.  For more information, please go to “SPEAK OUT”.

rdbrinkhurstChief Willy (Bill) Erasmus, B.A.
Assembly of First Nations