Below is a list of the Commissioners for the new MNO Commission on Métis Rights and Self-Government:
Born and raised in Lafontaine, Ontario, a small community west of Midland, Victor Brunelle is a proud Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) citizen and descendant of the historic Drummond Island Métis community. Vic now lives in Huntsville—MNO Georgian Bay Region 7. Multilingual, Vic speaks French, English and some Michif. Married with three adult children and now many wonderful grandchildren, Vic worked for over 20 years in the construction business, eventually owning and operating his own business.Vic presently serves as Vice President of Rendezvous Lafontaine Complex—an adult retirement complex for people 55 years and over. Vic also has experience working with organizations such as Credit Union and the local government Parks and Recreation. Vic is an active volunteer and community member, having served for 15 years as a volunteer fireman. He greatly enjoys the outdoors and the traditional Métis way of life. A keen and active MNO Harvester, Vic takes great pride in his Métis heritage.
Karen Drake is an Assistant Professor at the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law at Lakehead University and the Chair of the MNO Thunder Bay Métis Council. Her teaching and research interests include Canadian law as it affects Aboriginal peoples, Métis law, and Anishinaabe law. She is Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Lakehead Law Journal and was formerly Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Indigenous Law Journal. She previously clerked with the Ontario Court of Appeal and with the Federal Court and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Indigenous Bar Association.
Pearl Gabona is a proud Métis woman whose family originated in Moon River. She prides herself on her involvement with her family as a wife, mother, grandmother and elder. Pearl has a passion for working with those with special needs. She has a grandson with autism and also volunteers as a respite worker for a child with fetal alcohol syndrome. As a retired police detective, Pearl has great empathy for, and experience working with, victims of sexual and physical abuse. She is a pioneer of women in law enforcement. Pearl has served two terms on the Women’s Secretariat of the Métis Nation of Ontario (WSMNO). In her role as a member, she has participated in various conferences and seminars regarding violence against aboriginal women and women’s issues. Pearl is a strong advocate for women’s rights and Métis issues.
Senator Marlene Greenwood
Senator Marlene Greenwood was born, raised and has lived in North Bay her entire life. She did not discover her Métis heritage until 1971, but quickly joined the Métis movement that same year. Prior to the formation of the MNO, she held several different positions with local Métis associations including President. She is also one of the MNO’s earliest citizens—becoming a MNO citizen in 1994. Her late husband Norman Green was also an MNO citizen before his passing in 1995. She is currenty a Senator for the MNO North Bay Métis Council—a position she has held since 1997. In 2012, she received the Suzanne Rochon-Burnett Volunteer of the Year Award. Senator Greenwood has two grown sons, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
Nelson Montreuil became an MNO citizen in 1996 and was instrumental in re-starting the MNO Mattawa Métis Council (MMC) in 2008. He has been President of the MNO MMC ever since. Nelson’s family was identified in the Mattawa Report as one of the root Métis families in the region. His great-grandfather was identified as a Métis guide in 1903 and his grandfather was a cedar strip canoe builder and a trapper. Nelson continues the family tradition and has maintained a 100 square mile registered trap line since he was a child. Nelson is also a canoe builder, guide and owner/operator of Algonquin North Wilderness Outfitters. He was a canoe instructor for 15 years and is a trapper and gun and hunting instructor. As an MNO Harvester, he has a deep interest in Harvesting issues. Nelson is also a strong supporter of Métis youth and regularly gives trapping workshops to MNO Captains of the Hunt and at events such as the annual Infinite Reach March Break Camp. Nelson retired last year after 35 years with Dupont as a Manager. He is married with two children and has three grandchildren.
Kim Powley is a very well-known and proud MNO citizen. She is also the daughter of Steve and Brenda Powley. Kim is a very active member of the MNO, both as a volunteer and an elected representative. She currently serves as the President of the MNO Historic Sault Ste. Marie Métis Council. Kim has a passion for the outdoors and fishing, although she says she usually catches more sun rays than fish! Kim spent her summer visiting remote and isolated communities in the North as part of her work with Census Canada.
Paul Robitaille holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science from McMaster University and a Forest Technician Diploma and Certificate in Aboriginal–Canadian Relations from Confederation College. Paul is now completing a Master’s Degree in Forestry at Lakehead University, exploring methods of building collaboration both within and between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities within Ontario’s natural resource sector.
Paul is actively involved within the MNO, serving as an Infinite Reach Facilitator, Youth Representative on the MNO Thunder Bay Métis Council and now, as the Region 2 Representative on the MNO’s Youth Council. Paul also represents the Region 2 Consultation Committee in forestry-related consultation matters—working with both industry proponents and provincial administrators, developing opportunities for Métis citizens to meaningfully engage in lands and resources issues. He also ensures that Métis Aboriginal Rights are respected and upheld as development occurs and that the benefits and opportunities associated with resource development are shared equitably with and among Métis peoples.
Paul is excited to bring a youth perspective to the Commission on Métis Rights and Self-Government and to working with each of the MNO’s communities and constituencies to develop collaborative processes that will benefit our entire Nation, now and into the future.