Cheryl Knockwood is an L’nu and proud citizen of the Mi’kmaw Nation. She grew up within the Sikniktuk District of Mi’kma’ki and currently resides in the Unama’ki District of Mi’kma’ki with her partner Candice and their family. Cheryl received her B.A. (honours) in anthropology from the University of New Brunswick. She later earned an LL.B. from the University of British Columbia and completed her LL.M. in Indigenous peoples' law and policy at the University of Arizona.
For 13 years, Cheryl worked as a senior policy analyst with the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs, where she gave strategic advice in areas such as fisheries, environment, treaty education and economic development to the Mi’kmaw, Maliseet and Passamaquoddy chiefs and communities. Cheryl was called to the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society Bar in 2009, becoming the first Mi’kmaq-speaking female lawyer in Nova Scotia.
In 2015, Cheryl was appointed to the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission and still serves as a commissioner. Since 2010, Cheryl has been the governance coordinator for Membertou, Nova Scotia, where she engages the community in the development of laws in relation to lands and citizenship. She occasionally teaches courses at Cape Breton University on Aboriginal and treaty rights, governance and Indigenous economic development.