Kluane Adamek - Former youth panelist becomes Yukon Regional Chief
By Sam Laskaris
Kluane Adamek recalls being rather nervous about the prospect of speaking in front of several hundred people almost a decade ago when she was a member of the Cando youth panel.
Being a youth panelist, Adamek, a member of Yukon’s Kluane First Nation, was required to speak at the 2009 Cando Conference held in Enoch, Alta.
When she showed up for the Enoch event that year Adamek unexpectedly bumped into a lawyer from her First Nation, who also happened to be attending the conference. He provided some words of encouragement which eased her fear of standing up and make a presentation.
“It was a special moment to connect with him,” Adamek said. “It was just a moment of feeling supported by another northerner.”
When Adamek was on the youth panel for Cando, the national organization that promotes Indigenous economic development, she had just completed her Bachelor of Arts in Canadian Studies from Ottawa’s Carleton University.
And she had returned to her home territory to work with First Nations in the Yukon and local communities in the areas of education, governance and economic development.
She has gone on much greater things since then. This past June she was acclaimed as the Yukon Regional Chief for the Assembly of First Nations (AFN). She had been serving in the same position on an interim basis since this past January when the previous regional chief died.
Adamek, who is turning 32 on Sept. 24, is also pursuing her Master of Business Administration through British Columbia’s Simon Fraser University.
During her career Adamek has also served on various boards and committees. This list includes the Yukon College Board of Governors, Aboriginal Sport Circle, Aboriginal Healing Foundation and the Kluane Dana Shaw Development Corporation.
Adamek has also worked with AFN national chief Perry Bellegrade and had served as an advisor for former national chief Shawn Atleo.
Upon reflection, Adamek said she believes the fact she was able to have a successful presentation as a Cando youth panelist almost a decade ago was instrumental to her current status.
“It allowed me to recognize my abilities,” she said. “And that has led to the next opportunity and the next one.”
Yukon First Nation residents and communities are also benefitting as Adamek is focussed on bringing their interests and priorities forward at the national level.