Deborah Chief was born in a log house built by her father on the land of Brokenhead Ojibway Nation, delivered by two elderly Ojibway Grandmothers.
Named White Thunderbird Woman, those Grandmothers knew Deborah was bound to do great things for her people. She lived a difficult life through her young years, much like any other youth, but she lived within very good values handed down from her mother and father, Myrtle and Tom Chief.
At a very young age, she left school, began working, and decided to return to school to further her education. She then started worked at the Winnipeg Friendship Center. It was at the Winnipeg Friendship Center that Deborah became interested in accounting and her life changed completely.
Deborah moved back to Brokenhead to serve her people. Starting as a Secretary and working at various positions, learning as she went along, in 1994, Deborah won a by-election for Chief and served as the first female Chief in Brokenhead. She has served in the positions of Band Councillor and Chief over the last 17 years, elected as Chief for three and one half terms.
All the while, Deborah was upgrading her education. She obtained Leadership Certificates, First Nations Financial Certificate, and an Advanced Degree in Financial Management and has attained her Masters of Business Administration through Athabasca University to become the first Chief in Manitoba with an MBA.
Through her last two terms as Chief, Debbie has shown a great deal of success as Brokenhead Ojibway Nation is one of the most progressive communities in all of Manitoba with a lot of economic development. Having established strong business working relationships with all levels of government, banks and entrepreneurs, Deborah’s goal is to continue to work towards financial independence for her community by 2025.
In addition to Deborah Chief’s dedication to further the business interests in her community, she serves as a Board Member on the BAAS (Baaskandibewizibiing) Trust. She is currently the Health Director of the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation Health Centre. Deborah is also a co-writer of “First Nation Lady, Vol. II” and is in the process of writing her own book. Her personal interests are riding her Harley trike, golfing, reading and writing.