Water First is guided by the Indigenous youth and young adults who participate in our programs, our Indigenous staff and board members, local Indigenous community partners, and by members of our Indigenous Advisory Council. Our collaborations are built on respect and meaningful partnerships, with Indigenous youth and community partners at the heart of our work.
Water First does not identify as an Indigenous organization. As such, our Indigenous Advisory Council members provide valuable feedback on our programs and delivery in communities.
Through a four-part video series, we are highlighting the advisory council in our member’s own words about our relationships.
Indigenous Advisory Council
Part 1: Intro1:01
Part 2: Sue2:06
Part 3: Jean Marie2:44
Our Advisory Council
Bill Assinewai is the Technical Services Manager in his home community of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island. As the Technical Services Manager, Bill has worked on various initiatives and programs including the construction of a new water treatment plant. Bill was an important advisor and partner of the first Water First Internship on Manitoulin Island.
Ogamauh annag qwe, B.Sc., MEM
Ogamauh annag qwe is crane clan born and raised in Garden River First Nation. She has worked extensively with First Nation communities for the last 26 years in environmental related fields. She sits on council in Garden River First Nation and is currently pursuing her Ph.D in Environmental Science at York University with a focus on N’be Kendaaswin (Water Knowledge). Sue has worked with Elders for the last 26 years documenting their knowledge and currently works with the Traditional Ecological Knowledge Elders from the Huron Treaty area.
Jean Marie Colbourn
Jean Marie Colbourn is an experienced school teacher currently teaching at Christian Island Elementary School at Beausoleil First Nation. Jean is originally from Whitefish River First Nation and has taught in numerous Indigenous schools across the province, from James Bay to Georgian Bay.
Jeannette Corbiere Lavell, CM
Jeannette Corbiere Lavell is an Anishinaabe community worker from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory. She has dedicated decades of her life to raising the status of Indigenous women in Canada and has helped build strong support systems for women as a founding member and president of many organizations, including the Ontario Native Women’s Association and the Native Women’s Association of Canada. Jeannette received the Order of Canada in 2018.
Murray McGregor is the Public Works Manager in his home community of Whitefish River First Nation. Murray has worked on various initiatives including the construction of the Water Treatment Plant, Low Lift Station, and Water Tower, among many others. He is a key collaborator with other departments within the Whitefish River First Nation on water initiatives as well as emergency preparedness planning. He also partners with other agencies, municipalities, and other First Nations where he is called upon for advice and guidance.
James Simon Mishibinijima
One of Canada’s foremost artists, Mishibinijima has created a unique body of artwork in North America and overseas. Mishibinijima began painting in his community of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory and over the years he has been awarded many first and best of show awards at international art exhibitions. He has also developed curriculum materials for First Nation schools and continues to develop teachings to guide people to a positive future.