Who we are

Niiwin Wendaanimok

The Niiwin Wendaanimok (Four Winds) Partnership is an Indigenous-owned and operated corporation dedicated to providing construction, contracting, and environmental monitoring services in Treaty 3 territory. With a mandate to employ Anishinaabe workers and assets in construction and development projects, the Partnership is committed to rebuilding our economy, being a major part of the regional economy and ensuring Anishinaabe laws and voices are respected throughout development processes within Anishinaabe territory.

The Niiwin Wendaanimok Partnership is comprised of representatives and experts from four Nations—Wauzhushk Onigum Nation, Washagamis Bay First Nation, Shoal Lake 40 First Nation and Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation.

Community members look over a map of the traditional lands of the Niiwin Wendaanimok (Four Winds) Partnership.

brief history

four Nations

The Niiwin Wendaanimok Partnership formed in October 2018 when the Nations of Wauzhushk Onigum, Washagamis Bay, Shoal Lake 40, and Niisaachewan signed a Unity Agreement to coordinate their shared experiences, concerns, and interests as they relate to the Twinning of the Highway 17 between the Manitoba/Ontario border and Kenora.
 
Since May 2019, the Niiwin Wendaanimok has undertaken the Anishinaabe Aki Kakendamowin (AAK), referring to the documentation of the knowledge and practices associated with the care and protection for the lands, skies, soils,
and waters.
This knowledge has been used to identify and assess potential impacts of Phase 1 of the Project through a new process called the Harmonized Impact Assessment (HIA). On February 5th, 2020, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the Partnership and the Government of Ontario. Through this document and ceremony, participating governments confirmed their relationship under Manito Aki Inakonigaawin and committed to a respectful, collaborative working relationship. This MOU will guide the process in the sprit of collaboration and cooperation.
 

our team

Chief Chris Skead

Chris Skead

Chief
Wauzhushk Onigum Nation

Chris Skead has been a Councillor in Wauzhushk Onigum since 2011 and a Chief since 2013. Chief Skead serves as Secretary and Treasure on the Kenora Chief’s Advisory Board of Directors as well as Grand Council Treaty 3’s Cultural Chiefs Committee. 

“From time immemorial, resource-sharing in our territory has been guided by Manito Aki Inakonigaawin- our Great Earth Law. When we follow this path and its protocols, wise, fair and sustainable decisions are made for both the land and the people …for all the people who share these lands.”

Chief Marilyn Sinclair speaking into a microphone at a ceremony.

Marilyn Sinclair

Chief
Washagamis Bay First Nation

Marilyn Sinclair is in her second term as the first female Chief for Washagamis Bay First Nation, and feels extremely honoured to have the power of an all-female Council. 

“By respecting our Manito Aki Inakonigaawin laws and protocols, the [province’s] technical team have learned that it’s possible for us to work side by side toward common goals…the commitments of Ontario’s Cabinet Ministers make it possible that the partnership between the Anishinaabeg and the Crown can lead us to mutual success, not only for the twinning project, but well beyond.”

Chief Vernon Redsky holds the Harmonized Impact Assessment report (a large binder) at the HIA ceremony in Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, July 2020.

Vernon Redsky

Chief
Shoal Lake 40 First Nation

Vernon Redsky has 10 years of experience as a Councillor for Shoal Lake 40 before becoming Chief in 2020. 

Chief Redsky serves on the Kenora Chiefs Advisory Board of Directors as well as  Grand Council Treaty 3’s Environmental Chiefs Committee. 

Chief Loraine Cobiness, speaking into a microphone.

Lorraine Cobiness

Chief
nIISAACHEWAN aNISHINAABE nATION

With 12 years of experience as Chief of Niisaachewan First Nation, Lorraine Cobiness is thankful for the opportunities she’s had to create meaningful partnerships that benefit her people. Among Chief Cobiness’ many accomplishments, she is the most proud of the balance she has been able to strike between national and community needs.  

“The Anishinaabeg in Treaty 3 are demonstrating time and time again, that the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate can be a win-win. Working together is good for the whole region. Following Manito Aki Inakonigaawin actually improves the ‘consultation’ process and it can even speed up decision-making. The Crown’s respect for our Treaty partnership gives us a solid base as we move forward on the important work of accommodation.”

GeorgeKakeway

george kakeway

Protocol Advisor
Wauzhushk Onigum Nation

As former Chief of Wauzhushk Onigum for 28 years and Councillor for 8, George brings with him an incredible depth of knowledge and experience. George’s deep understanding of the Manito Aki Inakonigaawin (Sacred Earth Law) advises and guides the Technical Team, bringing together customary and contemporary protocols for all agreements and processes. 

When asked about his role as Protocol Advisor, George said, “The twinning project represents establishment of a process for reconciliation by means of harmonizing laws and policies with the provincial government. Environmental protection is my priority and making sure our sacred sites, the water, the land, and all our resources are protected for future generations.”

Brenda Chartrand

brenda chartrand

Representative
Washagamis Bay First Nation

Brenda is a well-known Councillor of Washagamis Bay known for bringing vision and leadership to the table. A compassionate individual with a gift for looking out for community members, Brenda is a dedicated, task-driven Representative with strong focus and a drive for getting things done.

“The biggest task is making sure that the community understands the rewards and benefits of the project. And that we’re approaching this with due diligence. For our Nations, the biggest opportunity is economic development and protection of our traditional lands.”

Bill Wahpay2

Bill wahpay

Highway 17 Project Lead
Shoal Lake 40 First Nation

Bill is an accomplished Project Lead, with many years under his belt as Councillor of Shoal Lake 40. With a focus on safety and successful highway development, Bill is pleased to be Project Lead for such a significant project and is working towards getting highway development started and creating regional Economic Opportunities for North Western Ontario. 

When asked about his role as Project Lead, Bill said, “Safety for the citizens of North Western Ontario is the priority with this project, while ensuring a smooth transition between Ontario and Manitoba.”

FabianBlackhawk

fabian blackhawk

rEPRESENTATIVE
nIISAACHEWAN aNISHINAABE nATION

Fabian is a Councillor of Niisaachewan who brings a creative perspective to the Partnership that is protocol-driven and rooted in tradition. With a strong sense of stewardship and responsibility, Fabian hopes to encourage young people to embrace their heritage and join in the cause. 

“This project demonstrates our commitment to being stewards of the land in a sensitive time for our country’s journey to reconciliation. I hope to achieve a meaningful Nation-to-Nation relationship and form partnerships with governments and municipalities that are driven by Aboriginal laws, rights, and trust. Equality is key!” 

EdSkeid

ed skeid

rEPRESENTATIVE
wAUZHUSHK oNIGUM nATION

Ed is an accomplished Representative, bringing with him experience as Councillor of Wauzhushk Onigum. As part of the Technical Team, Ed tirelessly represents his community, the Treaty, and the Partnership in working with committed governments and partners to secure employment opportunities for community members. 

When asked about his role as Representative, Ed said, “We need to learn to trust one another and find ways to work with other governments and agencies, and work towards common goals that make the most beneficial impact for all our treaty partners. Not only that, but we must allow reconciliation to be a part of our daily lives.” 

Marvin Sinclair

Marvin Sinclair

Representative
Washagamis BaY

Marvin is a fierce advocate, lending his voice to uphold Treaty and Inherent rights regarding land use and land management. A warm individual with a passion for Indigenous businesses, Marvin is committed to furthering the economic development and prosperity for Nations and businesses in the Kenora area. 

When asked about his role as Representative, Marvin shared this message, “This project represents a critical starting point for all parties concerned with respect for our rightful place in society. From this starting point, I hope to see a true nation-to-nation relationship on all matters concerning our lands. This process represents a great beginning in the recognition of our true potential as an economic force in Our Territory.”

Tom Anderson holding a ceremonial flag.

TOM ANDERSON

Advisor
Shoal Lake 40 First Nation

Tom is a former Councillor of Shoal Lake 40 who supports the Partnership through an incredible depth of knowledge and advocacy. As a community-oriented, forward-looking individual, Tom is dedicated to bringing forth opportunities for young people now and into the future. 

When asked about his role as Advisor, Tom said, “It is particularly exciting to see four individual communities working together for a collective common goal, which will be a precedent setting success. That carries into the one message I’d like to share—when people cooperate and work with each other, great things can happen!”

BerniceMajor

bernice major

cOORDINATOR and Representative
Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation

Serving as a Councillor of Niisaachewan for her second term, Bernice is a warm individual with a passion for community and getting things done. In early 2020, Bernice spear-headed a community initiative to open a public library in Niisaachewan, thus benefiting many children and increasing local opportunities for learning.

As well as being a representative to the Technical Team, Bernice is the Community Coordinator for Niisaachewan, organizing workshops, interviews and gatherings. 

Cassandra Redsky

Cassandra Redsky

Community Coordinator
Shoal Lake 40 First Nation

Cassandra Redsky recently joined the Niiwin Wendaanimok Partnership as a Community Coordinator for Shoal Lake 40. She is from Shoal Lake 40 and currently resides in the community. Cassandra is the Grade 1 and 2 teacher at Ojibway Heritage School. She has been teaching for over 10 years and is pondering the idea of attaining her Master of Education degree in the near future. She also enjoys assisting the Niiwin Wendaanimok Partnership in her spare time and looks forward to helping with future functions and gatherings as they arise.

Terry Skead

terry skead

cOMMUNITY cOORDINATOR
wAUZHUSHK oNIGUM nATION

Terry is a well-respected Elder and Drummer from Wauzhushk Onigum known for connecting Elders and community members alike. 

A knowledgeable individual full of stories, Terry isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, and has spent many days with us out documenting the land. Terry is a hard worker and can be counted on to bring the community together.

Davy Redsky

Davy Redsky

cOMMUNITY cOORDINATOR
Shoal Lake 40 First nATION

Davy recently joined the Niiwin Wendaanimok Partnership as a Community Coordinator for Shoal Lake 40. Davy is a former police officer and  the head of the Shoal Lake 40 Pandemic Response Team. 

Kris Chartrand

Kris Chartrand

Community Coordinator
Washagamis BAY First Nation

Kris provides community coordination and technical advice with the Manito Aki Inakonigaawin to assist and support in developing a vision that will strengthen the Anshinaabe Aki Kakendamowin.  

When asked about his role Kris said, “The involvement of First Nations is important of this holistic collaboration of working together to achieve our own fundamental laws based on mutual respect.”

Don Morrison

Don Morrison

Financial Advisor
Shoal Lake 40 First Nation

As former Director at Bimose Tribal Council, Don brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Partnership. 

Don is a straightforward, hard-working individual with a keen eye for numbers and a passion for education.

Somia Sadiq

Somia Sadiq

Somia is a Certified Environmental Professional and a Registered Professional Planner, specializing in Impact Assessment, Community Engagement, and Conflict Transformation informed and inspired by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Somia’s role on the team is to support negotiations, coordinate with the Crown, lead the Harmonized Impact Assessment and offer other advice as needed.

Cuyler Cotton

Cuyler Cotton

Advisor
Dovetail Resources

Culyer’s role is to support the Anishinaabe and non-Anishinaabe governments in their efforts to arrive at a successful, positive outcome.

“It’s exciting to see ancient Anishinaabe law being respected and being applied today. If successful, this government-to-government partnership will provide great opportunities for jobs and capacity building but just as importantly, it will reinforce the capacity of the Anishinaabe Nation in Treaty 3 to strengthen their governance processes and jurisdiction.”

The four nations' chiefs

Chief Chris Skead, Wauzhushk Onigum Nation

Chief Marilyn Sinclair,Washagamis Bay First Nation

Chief Vernon Redsky, Shoal Lake 40 First Nation

Chief Lorraine Cobiness, Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation

The Board of Directors

George Kakeway, Wauzhushk Onigum Nation

Brenda Chartrand, Washagamis Bay First Nation

Billy Wahpay, Shoal Lake 40 First Nation

Fabian Blackhawk, Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation

The Technical Team

George Kakeway, Wauzhushk Onigum Nation

Ed Skeid, Wauzhushk Onigum Nation

Marvin Sinclair, Washagamis Bay First Nation

Brenda Chartrand, Washagamis Bay First Nation

Tom AndersonShoal Lake 40 First Nation

Billy Wahpay, Shoal Lake 40 First Nation

Don MorrisonShoal Lake 40 First Nation

Bernice Major, Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation

Fabian Blackhawk, Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation

Somia Sadiq, Narratives Inc.

Cuyler Cotton, Dovetail Resources

community Coordinators

Wauzhushk Onigum: Terry Skead

Washagamis Bay: Kris Chartrand

Shoal Lake 40: Cassandra Redsky and Davy Redsky

Niisaachewan: Bernice Major

The logo of the Niiwin Wendaanimok (Four Winds) Partnership, created by Terry Greene from Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation, represents the vision of the Niiwin Wendaanimok Partnership, deeply rooted in the Anishinaabe identity and Treaty rights. When asked to describe his logo, Terry said, “Niiwin Wendaanimok means the Wind comes from four directions. The Highway is from West to East, so I moved the medicine wheel colours to reflect that. I made the road to symbolize our Anishinaabe path (red road). The smaller circle represents Treaty 3, with its sunrise, trees, and water. The feathers represent the four winds, the four directions, and the four communities.

About our Logo

Our logo, created by Terry Greene from Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation, represents the vision of the Niiwin Wendaanimok Partnership, deeply rooted in the Anishinaabe identity and Treaty rights. When asked to describe his logo, Terry said, “Niiwin Wendaanimok means the Wind comes from four directions. The Highway is from West to East, so I moved the medicine wheel colours to reflect that. I made the road to symbolize our Anishinaabe path (red road). The smaller circle represents Treaty 3, with its sunrise, trees, and water. The feathers represent the four winds, the four directions, and the four communities.”

“To the East is Wauzhushk Onigum, to the South is Washagamis Bay, to the West is Shoal Lake 40, and to the North is Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation. This logo represents acknowledgement of the Memegwesiwag (the Little People) who will be disturbed as part of this highway, and an acknowledgement of Burial Grounds, Sacred Sites, and Ceremonial Grounds that should be protected. Also, when we pray, we ask the Creator to send helping spirits from the four directions to come help us. Waabinong (the East), Zhaawanong (the South), Epangishmok (the West), and Kiiwedinong (the North).”

“This logo is a reminder that we will continue to seek guidance, take our time, and do things right so we can honour who we are as Anishinaabe Peoples.”

 
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