He feels just as comfortable in the presence of international leaders in the country’s capital as he does in talking to elders at the local dances in small communities. This is why Joseph Leon Handley is genuine.
From humble beginnings Handley has become on of the most prominent Aboriginal politicians in the modern age. He holds a deep commitment to public service since his early years as a public school teacher teaching in Africa and remote Native communities inSaskatchewan. It’s his tender but firm hands-on approach that he learned while teaching that helped him excel in the hard-hitting political arena.
“He has lived among the people and they know the kind of person he is because of the work he did,” says Dogrib Elder Judy Charlo. “He helps with even the smallest things – helped fixed the water in my house. We asked others to do it but nothing. I f we ask him he will try to get it down right away.”
During his 20 years in the north he has demonstrated his commitment by rising to the top post, as the ninth Premier of the NWT. As a politician he has shown commitment and integrity in the face of dilemma, as a teacher he serves as role model, for all Canadians, as a true advocate of life long learning. As an Aboriginal person he represents dedication to community that we all can learn from.