Paul Birckel

If you want an effective leader, then you want Paul Birckel, the former Chief of the Champagne-Aishihik First Nation and current President of the Dakwakada Development Corporation. After working in the oil patches in Alberta and Saskatchewan, he began a sixteen-year career with the Yukon Electrical Company Limited where he eventually achieved the level of Assistant Superintendent, overseeing the maintenance of all of the company’s diesel plants. Mr. Birckel left to work for the Council of Yukon Indians as its Executive Director in 1975. Under his leadership, the Council undertook major land claim negotiations with government as well as the unprecedented amalgamation of three Aboriginal organizations under the auspices of the Council. In 1978, he was elected Chief of the Champagne-Aishihik First Nation. As Chief, Mr. Birckel spearheaded one of the first land claims settlements in the Yukon, securing 960 square miles of land, $58 million dollars, and a self-government agreement that became a template for future self-government agreements across Canada. In 1996, he successfully negotiated and signed an agreement with the Province of British Columbia to co-manage Tatshenshini-Alsek Park, which covers over 6,000 square miles and spans the border of Yukon and British Columbia. He was also instrumental in the establishment of the Yukon Native Language Centre as well as the Champagne-Aishihik Construction Company and Truss Plant. Mr. Birckel negotiated the only child welfare agreement for a Yukon First Nation with the Yukon Government and took the lead in enabling five Yukon bands to purchase the Yukon Inn, an established hotel in Whitehorse. Mr. Birckel’s accomplishments were recognized when he received the 1995 Businessman of the Year Award from the Yukon Chamber of Commerce. After becoming President in 1999, Mr. Birckel launched a forest operations division at Dakwakada, a project that employs more than 20 people.