DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION
OPASKWAYAK CREE NATION
Tansi, my name is Bev Fontaine (kôtâwînaw aski piyesew iskwêw/Mother Earth Thunderbird Woman). I was born and raised on Opaskwayak Cree Nation, the daughter of late Lazarus “Trapper” and Barbara Constant and sibling to four brothers and three sisters. My late father was a trapper and commercial fisherman. My mother was a labourer, going to work cleaning homes after sending us all off to school.
My siblings and I grew up on a strong work ethic. It is this work ethic that helped me attain my first job when I was fourteen; to graduate from high school, and then to pursue post- secondary studies. Together with my late husband Derek, we have seven children, Angel, Marcel, Brittany, Derek, Zachary, Anthony and Ashley. I am the proud kokum of 5 grandchildren. Most of my career life has been working towards the best interests of my community in the area of Education. My passion is in language preservation and revitalization.
Along with other community members, we continuously advocated for a language immersion program to our community leaders. Finally in 2005, we were approved a pilot year in Kindergarten. That was the beginning of our Cree Language Immersion Program. Our Language immersion program is now from Nursery to grade 6. It has been a struggle but we are very proud of our achievements.
Further advocacy for educational opportunities came through appointments to the Keewatin Community College Board of Directors and the University College of the North. We were successful in achieving a new campus for Thompson, MB. My role through education and training is to help empower our children to be self-confident. When a child is self-confident, it opens their world to endless possibilities. It is the start of something positive. We work hard at providing innovative opportunities of self-growth.
With our holistic approach, we provide traditional dance and singing, as well as land based learning and growth. Through proposal writing, we provided fine arts instruction at the community level (guitar, violin and piano). Other self-growth initiatives include our global travel group at the high school level. Our students have been to New Zealand, Australia and the Vimy Ridge Commemoration in 2011.
Another global travel trip took place in July 2016 to Switzerland, France, Scotland and England. It goes without saying that there have been challenges and barriers along the way. As a team, we continue on towards our goals. An Elder once told me, “if you don’t quit, it will get done”. I am very much team oriented. We would not achieve what we have if it was not for teamwork. With strong support and mutual aspirations for our community, we have been able to achieve enhanced education and training programming for OCN members. Ekosi
NIGUGTUGEWEI / FOREST KINDERGARTEN EDUCATOR
LISTUGUJ FIRST NATION
I have been teaching for 10 years. I have been fortunate enough through the years to be a part of a few early years (3-5 year old) curriculum building projects that have truly opened my eyes concerning the needs and wants of students and educators alike. I began my land-based education journey 4 years ago. I was teaching kindergarten at the time and found that most of my day was spent trying to ‘control’ the behaviour of my class and a small amount of time was set aside for actual learning. I was motivated to create a program that would nurture the well being of my students and connect them (and myself) to our culture and language. Thus, Nipugtugewei/ Forest Kindergarten was born. I joined forces with Joyce and each year we are able to develop different aspects of the program, focusing more and more on mental health, language learning and cultural traditions. All of this is achieved while maintaining ‘mainstream’ standards.
DIRECTOR OF STRUCTURAL READINESS
FIRST NATIONS EDUCATION ADMINISTRATORS ASSOCIATION
Dr. Cathy Martin, Ed.D. is a Mi’gmaq woman who was raised and resided most of her life in the Listuguj First Nation. Dr. Martin has a Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Phoenix. Dr. Martin has been an elected member of council for three terms for the Listuguj Mi’gmaq Government; two of those terms she was elected Chief Councillor.
Dr. Martin has a wealth of experience interacting at the grassroots level. Her diverse academic and career experiences, have demonstrated her research abilities, facilitation, and co-ordination skills. In addition, to the research skills necessary to obtain a Doctorate in Leadership, Dr. Martin was the main writer/researcher for the development of the First Nations Health Directors Curriculum Manual; which was an eight-module curriculum for Health Directors Association of British Columbia. Dr. Martin has also facilitated, at the grassroots level within her First Nation Community of Listuguj, in the development of a Community Safety and Wellness Accord; and in the grassroots development of domestic violence research and recommendations for a reduction of abuse program in the same community.
Dr. Martin’s future goals include a return to consultation, research, writing and the facilitation of workshops on the short-term; followed by a return to First Nation politics.
DR. DAPHNE MAI’STOINA
KEE TAS KEE NOW TRIBAL COUNCIL EDUCATION
Dr. Daphne Mai’Stoina is the Superintendent of Education for Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council Education Authority and has been in the education system for 30 years serving in various capacities such as a special education teacher, vice principal, acting principal and assistant superintendent, superintendent and province-wide Special Education Director. She is originally from the Siksika Nation and has strong cultural ties with Siksika traditions. Daphne has a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership/Administration (University of San Diego) and a Doctorate of Education (University of Calgary). She has served on various regional, provincial and national education bodies representing First Nations over the years. Daphne has presented at local, provincial, national and international conferences on topics that include special education, Indian Control of Indian Education and inequities in First Nation Education.
She has received numerous awards & recognition for her achievements, including the Dr. Olive Dickason Award. She has been blessed with three beautiful children and seven grandchildren that make her life complete
Dr. Point currently serves as the Knowledge Keeper for the BC Assembly of First Nation
Chiefs. She also served a term 2015-2018 as The Chancellor for the University of the
Fraser Valley. She has a Doctor of Education from Simon Fraser University, a Master in
Education from the University of Portland, a Post Baccalaureate from SFU, and a
Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia. She also has an
Honorary Doctorate in Education from the University of Victoria.
She served as Chatelaine for Government House and was an Honorary Patron in her role
for numerous organizations with her husband who served as Lt. Governor for British
Columbia. She currently is a Patron of the First Nation House at the University of
Numerous awards include, Paul Harris Fellow, Order of Chilliwack, BC Aboriginal
Tourism Award, Seattle Art Museum: “The Recognition for work in First Nation
Language & Culture”, The University of the Fraser Valley: “The Betty Urqhart
Community Service Award”, Chilliwack School District set up 2 bursaries in her name.
DR. IMELDA PERLEY
CHIEF HAROLD SAPPIER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Dr. Perley is a member of St. Mary’s First Nation who is currently the Elder-in-Residence at Chief Harold Sappier Memorial Elementary School. She is also a part-time instructor at UNB teaching Wolastoqey Language and Wabanaki Worldviews courses. Imelda is retired from her position as Elder-In-Residence for the University of New Brunswick. She continues her role as cultural advisor for community organizations, provincial and federal agencies. She is a Cultural Consultant for two Health Canada initiatives titled “Oluwikoneyak Weckuwapasihtit (From the Womb to Beyond) within the Maternal Child Health program and “’Ciw Wolakomiksuwakon” (For Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit) within the Maliseet Nation Mental Wellness program. Her traditional roles within the community include Sweatlodge Keeper, Medicine Wheel Teacher, Sacred Pipe Carrier, and Keeper of the Women’s Ceremonies.
To date, Imelda has been acknowledged for her language and cultural contributions through many awards, certificates and medals. Most recently, Imelda was one of Canada’s 150 Ambassadors and continues to share with Canada her language through language teaching tweets. In 2012, Imelda received the Queen Jubilee Medal for community service. She was also awarded the 2017 Governor Generals Sovereign Medal for Volunteers for delivering language and cultural activities. Maine State Legislative Assembly also recognized her dedication to language revitalization efforts within both university and community programs. In May of 2019, Imelda received an honorary doctorate of letters degree from University of New Brunswick for her “incredible work contributing to the support, education and visibility of Indigenous peoples at UNB and across the province
Edward Mirasty is a Cree member of the LacLaRonge Indian Band and has worked at the Prince Albert Grand Council as Director of Education for over thirteen years, including fourteen years in education. He is happily married for over thirty years to his high school sweetheart, and they both have a little girl named Lilly B. He graduated from the Indian Teacher Education Program (ITEP) in 1994, completed his Master of Education in 2006 (Education Administration), and is currently in his sixth year of a Doctorate of Education through Wilkes University. He is currently a Board of Governor for the First Nations University and has sat in various provincial and national tables including the AFN, FSIN and Provincial Task Teams. Edward loves being outdoors where he can hunt, fish, golf and camp with his family.
MEADOW LAKE TRIBAL COUNCIL
I am originally from English River First Nations, I have been in Education for almost 25 years and this is my 7th year with MLTC. As one of the Superintendents with MLTC I can support you in the following areas:
Student Wellness (Student Services & Clinical Team Support Workers) in the areas of:
* Educational Psychology, Speech-Language Pathology & Occupational Therapy referrals, Assessment & Therapy
Support School-Based Adminstrators in areas of:
* SBA & Teacher Appraisals
* LLRC Initiatives
* Secondary Program Approvals; Modified, Alternate, Locally Developed & FIP programs
CURVE LAKE FIRST NATION
INNOVATIONS FOR LEARNING CANADA
Born in Paris, France, Fabrice Grover grew up in Vancouver on Coast Salish territory. Fabrice has been with IFL for six years, initially as the Regional Director – Northeast, based in New York City. He relocated to Canada as national Executive Director in 2018 to establish Innovations for Learning in Canada and bring its programs home. Before joining IFL, Fabrice taught Business Communications and Organizational Dynamics at the Native Education College in Vancouver. He has been privileged to work with the United Nations Development Programme’s Equator Initiative (which celebrates the
work of Indigenous groups that protect the environment), Bloomberg Philanthropies, and international initiatives such as the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, the Centre for Minority Rights Development in Kenya, President Obama’s US-Africa Leaders Summit, and the UN World Humanitarian Day.
SENIOR DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION
MEADOW LAKE TRIBAL COUNCIL
Heather Merasty is the Senior Director of Education at the Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC) based out of Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan. MLTC Education provides Second Level Services to the 9 Meadow Lake First Nations that include both Dene and Cree Linguistic groups, that are scattered across three Treaty Territories – 6, 8, 10. She has over 20 years of experience in the field of Education specifically in the areas of Special Education and Leadership. She is a proud Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation Band Member – Assin’skowitiniwak means “people of the rocky area”. Heather believes in developing a Holistic Education Model that values one’s language and culture and supports all learners.
INNOVATIONS FOR LEARNING CANADA
Jacob’s determination to improve his own career opportunities naturally led him to want to help other youth to achieve their goals.
While supply teaching in Wiikwemkoong, Jacob learned that a not-for-profit agency would be established within the board. Innovations for Learning (IFL) provides a unique educational support system for teachers by providing individualized classroom instruction and web-based face-to-face learning.
During that first year working with a school in Wiikwemkoong, the program saw incredible results. 74% of SK students who continued working with Jacob through the pandemic achieved grade-level reading proficiency by the end of the summer, compared to less than 6% the year before.
Now a program manager with the organization, Jacob continues his work in the spirit of innovation, developing technology programs, identifying literacy challenges in Indigenous schools and designing learning systems that meet the needs of communities.
NIPUGTUGEWEI / FOREST KINDERGARTEN EDUCATOR
LISTUGUJ FIRST NATION
I have been teaching Mi’gmaq immersion at Alaqsite’w Gitpu School for over 20 years. I have developed programs for Kindergarten and Grade 1 immersion (4-6 year old) and four years ago I incorporated an outdoors nature-based component, called Nipugtugewei Kindergarten. In this model, mornings are spent in the classrooms and afternoons are spent on the land. Both the in-class and outdoors components address provincial curriculum concepts in science, social studies, math, and language arts, as well as physical education. In the immersion program, all these subject areas include language-related and cultural learning outcomes.
VICE-PRESIDENT EXTERNAL RELATIONS & DEVELOPMENT
Julie Davis has served three terms as vice-president of External Relations & Development at Trent University. Responsible for philanthropy, alumni affairs, external, community and indigenous relations, VP Davis’ portfolio includes responsibility and oversight of the campus vision, following the recent approval of the Trent Lands and Nature Areas Plan (2021). She oversees Cleantech Commons Research and Innovation Park, as well as the collaboration with peopleCare Communities to create a long-term care home on University lands as part of the vision of a University-Integrated Seniors Village.
Through her work with local First Nations and her leadership of the Trent Lands and Nature Areas Plan, Ms. Davis and her team have developed strong foundations for reconciliation, honouring the treaty and traditional territory on which Trent is located, while building stronger, mutually beneficial relationships with local Michi Saagiig (Mississauga) Anishnaabeg communities.
KHRYSTYNA OROBETS – PRESENTER
MANAGER, MNP INDIGENOUS SERVICES CONSULTING (CALGARY)
Khrystyna Orobets, MPA is a Manager in the Consulting Practice of MNP’s Indigenous Services Consulting Niche. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. Khrystyna has over 9 years of experience working with Indigenous communities and assisting her clients with various activities, including the development of project work plans and strategic plans, managing stakeholder engagement, performing financial and funding analysis, and preparing written reports and deliverables.
Most recently, Khrystyna has been providing project management, funding analysis, negotiations and planning support to various education clients, including Little Red River Board of Education, Siksika Nation, Tallcree Tribal Government, Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council Education Authority, Maskwacîs Education Schools Commission, Assembly of First Nations etc.
ÉCOLE WIINIBEKUU SCHOOL
My name is Lisa Jerome from Gesgapegiag First Nation. I am currently a Principal Ecole Wiinebekuu School in Waskaganish Eeyou Istchee. It’s my Fifth year working with the Cree People of the North. I graduated from UNB with my BA in Anthropology and Bachelor Of Education. I am a mother of 9 children and a grandmother of 2 grandchildren. It’s my 15 years in Administration. I love helping Teachers, Principals, and Educators. I’ve did workshops in non-Native schools about how First Students have different learning styles, norms and ways of life. I truly believe that many of our students learn best with Land Base Learning involving elders, parents and community members.
V.P. HUMAN RESOURCES & SERVICES
FIRST NATIONS EDUCATION ADMINISTRATORS ASSOCIATION
Manon Lamontagne is the V.P. Human Resources and Services for the First Nations Education Admininstrator’s Association. She is Métis and is a certified Indigenous consultant specializing in Indigenous capacity development and learning. She has worked with First Nations and Indigenous organizations in Quebec and nationally and has been an instructor in areas of: Human Resources Management, Governance, Leadership, Emotional Intelligence. Organizational Planning, Financial Management, Small Business Development and Proposal Development.
Manon is a Certified Human Resources Professional and a Certified Aboriginal Professional Administrator (CAPA). She holds a Master’s Degree from McGill University with a specialization in Knowledge Management and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Montreal’s Hautes Etudes Commerciales.
Minogiizhgad, Turtle Clan, is Anishinaabe from Bkejwanong Territory also known as the Walpole Island First Nation…located within the heart of the Great Lakes. Minogiizhgad has an extensive background learning his ancestral language Anishinaabemowin as a second language. He helped develop language revitalization initiatives in his community as a member of the ‘Anishinaabe Language Advisory Group (ALAG). As a member of ALAG’s ‘Language Planning Task Force’ he helped develop an ‘Anishinaabemowin Language Declaration’ endorsed by Chief and Council in 2008. In 2010, he was a student of a 4-year Anishnaabe language immersion program he co-developed for his community. In partnership with the University of Ottawa the immersion program called “Maatookiidaa Anishinaabewin – Let’s share Our Anishinaabe Ways of Life”. Today, Minogiizhgad is the Immersion Coordinator of the immersion school called ‘Anishinaabeg Kinomaagewgamig’ that currently runs from jr. kindergarten to grade 5.
MR. VINCE BRITTAIN
THIRD LEVEL SPECIALIST
PRINCE ALBERT GRAND COUNCIL
Vince Brittain is a James Smith Cree Nation Band member who grew up and attended school at
Bernard Constant Community School. He met his wife Connie later on in life and has been
married for over twenty years. They have two boys named Merit, who is attending his second
year of University at Regina in Social Work. His other son is named Merik, who is attending
grade 11 at Carlton Comprehensive Highschool. Vince has been involved in education for over
23 years and is currently in his first year of a doctorate of education through the University of
Saskatchewan. He now works at the Prince Albert Grand Council as their Third Level
Specialist. He believes in honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, which leads to strong relationships.
Vince’s parents truly believed in education and vehemently supported him in his educational
journey. They would be proud of him as he continues with his educational journey and
helps empower communities as they move forward.
MEADOW LAKE TRIBAL COUNCIL
I am a proud muskeg neynuw iskwew from Cumberland House Cree Nation. I have been with MLTC Education for going on for five years.
I thought I would let you know some of the things I support as a Superintendent of Education
-Support Early Learning in areas such as
Early Learning Interventionist- community-based position
Administrators in areas such as:
* Land, Language, Relationship, and Culture
* Instructional Leadership
* School Success Plans
* SBA and Teacher Appraisals
ELDER AND PRESIDENT
QUEBEC NATIVE WOMEN
Roseann Martin – Residential School Survivor and a Mi’gmaq Grandmother has travelled all over Canada and who is a pipe carrier, drum keeper and water protector and likes to share her teachings. Born in Listuguj Quebec on September 2, 1952 to Howard Metallic and Rebecca Wysote both of Mi’gmaq ancestry. She is the eldest of 14 siblings. At the tender age of 5 she was sent to the Shubenacadie Indian Residential School where she stayed for 3 ½ years. Following her return to her community she was once again sent away to the Gaspe coast for an additional 8 years. In total she spent most of her childhood away from her community and family and friends. Her journey has seen enough trauma and anger along with multiple addictions that she has overcome. Today she has over 27 years of sobriety and healing to be able to share her story for future generations to begin the healing process. Some of her hobbies include various types of beading and sweet grass picking. As a respected Elder within her community, she is able to conduct sweats and various other ceremonies to help the healing process for family and community. Previously she has sat on the Board of Directors for both the Quebec Native Women as the Regional Elder for two three year terms. She also represented for the Native Women’s Association of Canada as a National Elder for the southern direction representing the two provinces. She also worked on the National level with the Native Women’s Association of Canada as an Elder Advisor for two and half years providing the Association with traditional knowledge from an Indigenous perspective.
DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION
Sandy Pinay-Schindler is a Cree/Nakawe mother, partner, daughter, sister and aunty from Peepeekisis Cree Nation in southern Treaty 4 Territory. She also has ancestral ties to Piapot and Shesheep First Nations. Passionate about Indigenous leadership and the Treaties, Sandy’s Master’s thesis was a nominee for the 2011 Governor General’s Award at the University of Regina. Honoured to serve the youth and community of Cowessess First Nation, her responsibilities include K’awasis Day Care, Head Start, Cowessess Community Educational Centre, Transportation, Policy and Post-secondary education. Sandy has been on a journey of re-awakening languages, Indigenization and de-colonization of policies and re-vitalizing Indigenous governance.
STONEY NAKODA FIRST NATIONS
Sykes Powderface is from the Stoney Nakoda Nation in Morley, Alberta. He attended a residential school at Morley and moved to Mount Royal College. He has researched and studied Indigenous Treaty Rights for many years. His work experience includes administrative duties in various capacities with the Stoney Nakoda Nation, federal and provincial governments. He now has his own consulting services in treaties and the Canadian Constitution, traditional cultural teachings and policy analysis. His work continues to bring awareness of who Indigenous peoples are to the non-Indigenous peoples.