At every step, highly qualified and dedicated professionals are involved in our operations. Click an individual for a brief biography.
First Nations 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.
Sue Chiblow (Ogamauh annag qwe), BSc, 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 PhD 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 Colburn 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.
Deborah McGregor, BSc, MES, PhD
Professor Deborah McGregor is from Whitefish River First Nation. She joined York University’s Osgoode Hall law faculty in 2015 as a cross-appointee with the Faculty of Environmental Studies. Professor McGregor’s research has focused on Indigenous knowledge systems and their various applications in diverse contexts including water and environmental governance, environmental justice, forest policy and management, and sustainable development.
Murray McGregor is the Public Works Manager in his home community of Whitefish River First
Nation. As the Public Works Manager, Murray and his team provide essential services that allow
the public to live and thrive in their community. Murray has worked on various initiatives
including the construction of the Water Treatment Plant, Low Lift Station, and Water Tower,
among many others. Murray 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. Murray continues to foster capacity building within the community and
takes pride in how the community develops and grows.
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.
Ray Moreau is the Infrastructure Specialist for United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising (UCCMM). Ray is from Michipicoten First Nation and lives on Manitoulin Island where he delivers technical services to UCCMM member communities. Ray was an integral part of the first Water First Internship on Manitoulin Island.