Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Expands Office

Adds Indigenous Policy Leader and Community Engagement Specialist

(HALIFAX, NS) – The Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief for NS and NL, Morley Googoo has enlisted Indigenous leaders Rhonda Knockwood and Shannon Monk to support his office’s vision and mandate to 2020.

Knockwood is in the process of relocating from British Columbia on the completion of a term with the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government (Ucluelet First Nation) as a Political Advisor and Chief Negotiator.  She joins the NS-NL Regional Office as Chief of Staff and brings with her a robust career that includes working with Indigenous organizations across the country.  Knockwood was Chief of Staff for Shawn Atleo’s term as AFN Regional Chief for BC from 2003-09.  Following this, she performed consulting work with the Atlantic Policy Congress of Atlantic Chiefs and the Union of Nova Scotia Indians while living in Sipekne’katik. Knockwood returned to British Columbia to complete her graduate degree and worked as the Director of Operations with the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government and will conclude her term as a key organizational advisor at the end of this month.  Knockwood currently serves as the volunteer Board President of the First Nations Education Foundation and will complete her Executive MBA in Indigenous Business and Leadership from Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business this October.  The program is the only accredited masters level program in North America that is centrally focussed on Indigenous business, economic development and governance.

Regional Chief Googoo announced at AFN meetings in Ottawa this week that Knockwood will be joining his office in Oct. “Rhonda’s commitment to creating a new narrative for Indigenous people is an invaluable asset to my office and to all First Nations.” He said adding, “Her experience in policy development and Indigenous governance will help to propel, guide and inform our dynamic discussions as we move toward a Nation-to-Nation government.” 

Furthering his office’s role of community engagement Regional Chief Googoo has also recruited Shannon Monk, an accomplished First Nations community liaison who recently acted as the Indigenous lead on the Canada C-3 project.  She has been engaged by the Federal and several Provincial governments, corporations and several non-profit organizations as an outreach facilitator with Indigenous communities.  As part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s mandate she coordinated and hosted a series of 30 national conferences with Residential School survivors, service providers, and First Nations leaders.  As a Policy Analyst with the Assembly of First Nations she has travelled to more than 150 First Nations communities across the country to assess and report on the impact of Residential schools.  As CEO of Sakatay Global, Monk developed the Indigenous Circle Approach to Cultural Confidence™ as a framework for reconciliation and has provided extensive training to government and business.  Monk holds a degree in Arts, Education and a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) from Queen’s University with a focus on Indigenous Policy and Governance from the School of Policy Studies.

Regional Chief Googoo praised Monk’s career and her addition to his office. “Shannon has an incomparable record for Indigenous community outreach across Canada. Her in-depth perspective will bring an innovative and strategic insight to working with communities in NS and NL as we work together to address their needs.”

About the Assembly of First Nations

First Nation leaders (Chiefs) from coast to coast to coast direct the work of AFN through resolutions passed at Chiefs Assemblies held at least twice a year.  The AFN National Executive is made up of the National Chief, 10 Regional Chiefs and the chairs of the Elders, Women’s and Youth councils.  Regional Chiefs are elected every three years by Chiefs in their regions.  Chiefs, who are elected by the citizens and members of their respective communities, elect the National Chief every three years.

The role of the National Chief and the AFN is to advocate on behalf of First Nations as directed by Chiefs-in-Assembly.  This includes facilitation and coordination of national and regional discussions and dialogue, advocacy efforts and campaigns, legal and policy analysis, communicating with governments, including facilitating relationship building between First Nations and the Crown as well as public and private sectors and general public.


Corinne MacLellan

AFN Regional Office, NS and NL

Phone:  902 209 3234


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