Dr. Deborah Simmons was a trained as a social scientist specialising in social and environmental issues relating to Indigenous peoples. She was raised in the Northwest Territories and completed her doctorate in the field of Native Studies at York University. Deborah had been involved in interdisciplinary research combining traditional knowledge and science in the Sahtú Region since 1999, including work for the Sahtú Land Use Planning Board and Délı̨nę Uranium Team (Dene Náowérǝ́ Chets’elǝ) and Délı̨nę Knowledge Project. She was an Adjunct Professor in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at University of Waterloo, and Special Graduate Faculty at Trent University in Environmental and Life Sciences at Trent University. She welcomed opportunities to mentor graduate students interested in pursuing Sahtú-based research to support preservation of both wildlife and Dene and Métis ways of life. In implementing vision, goals and objectives of the Board, she remained actively involved in community-collaborative research and conservation planning. She helped to found the Nę K’ǝ Dene Ts’ı̨lı̨ (Living on the Land) Forum. She was a member of the NWT Species At Risk Committee and Canadian Mountain Network, and helped to represent the Board on the NWT Conference of Management Authorities (CMA) on Species At Risk and the Advisory Committee for Cooperation on Wildlife Management (ACCWM).