Submitted by: Nina Henley, MNO Kenora Métis Council Secretary

MNO Kenora Métis Council 2016 AGM
PCMNO Region 1 Councillor Theresa Stenlund (far left)
stands with members of the MNO Kenora Métis Council:
(L-R) Councillor Jordan Benoit; Treasurer and Region 1
Captain of the Hunt Sandra Triskle; Councillor Martin
Camire; Chair Liz Boucha; Secretary Nina Henley; Senator
Karen Cederwall; and, President Joel Henley. Click here to
view a larger version.

On May 15, 2016, the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Kenora Métis Council (KMC) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM). The AGM started with an opening prayer by MNO Senator Karen Cederwall and a warm greeting from MNO KMC President Joel Henley. MNO KMC Chair Liz Boucha then called upon each of the council members and MNO staff to give an update on this year’s milestones.

Senator Cederwall started by explaining her role as an MNO Senator—to provide an elder’s presence at community events and meetings and to facilitate opportunities between youth and elders to share Métis traditions and way-of-life activities. Examples of activities include: medicinal plant walks, snow-shoeing, ice fishing and sucker fishing, beading, medicine bag making, and sacred tobacco teachings. Senator Cederwall also sits on committees related to forestry, education and water quality.

MNO KMC Treasurer Sandra Triskle gave the financial report for the fiscal year-end April 1, 2015 through March 31, 2016. She talked about the MNO Kenora Métis Council Bursary, which is available at two local high schools. She also encouraged MNO citizens to make sure they self-identify as Métis when registering their children at school.

Treasurer Triskle also read the Captain of the Hunt Region 1 report. She urged all MNO harvesters to make sure that they send their Harvester Survey’s to the MNO as soon as possible. She also mentioned the Education committee and the Local Citizens Committee (Forestry) that both she and Senator Karen Cederwall attend.

Janet Hipfner, MNO Community Support Services (CSS) Coordinator from the MNO Dryden office, spoke on behalf of MNO CSS Coordinator Ron Neufeld as he was away at a prior commitment. Hipfner spoke about the number of clients they see and what the CSS program can do to help. They are always looking for volunteers to help out with medical transports, and she urged MNO citizens to step forward if possible.

MNO staff, Dana O’Donnell from the MNO Fort Frances office and Mandy Montgomery from the MNO Dryden office, sent a report to the AGM regarding the MNO Education and Training (ET) branch that was read for citizens. ET programs and services help MNO citizens find a job, therefore an assessment of needs and eligibility is undertaken so as to find the best pathway to employment.

MNO KMC Councillor Martin Camire sits on several committees. He is the Vice-Chair of Waasegiizhig Nanaandawe’Iyewigamig (WNHAC). This organization represents 14 member communities—including the MNO KMC— and delivers health-related care and education to Aboriginal people in the catchment area. Councillor Martin is also a member of Habitat for Humanity and is on the Aboriginal Justice Committee through the Ne-Chee Friendship Centre. Every year on Remembrance Day, Councillor Martin chooses someone to walk with him to lay the MNO KMC veteran’s wreath, which is donated by the family of our deceased former MNO Senator Kay Lynch. This past November, two Métis youth— Hailey Fortier and MNO citizen Katelyne Stenlund—were honoured to walk with Councillor Martin.

MNO KMC Councillor Jordan Benoit is the council’s Forestry and Natural Resources Advisor. He mentioned a few different items, including the MNO Forestry workshop that was held this past February, the Whiskey Jack Forest Management Planning phase, as well as Grassy Narrows and their claims in wanting an active role in the forest management planning and operations of the Whiskey Jack Forest. Councillor Benoit also relayed information on the spring bear hunt, moose hunting season, and the Kenora Fire 18 situation. He closed by congratulating MNO citizen Tony Griffiths with the premier issue of his magazine Wild Guide, which Griffiths was happy to autograph for AGM attendees.

Nina Henley MNO KMC Secretary and the Core Consultation Point Person for the New Relationship Fund brought citizens up-to-date on the New Relationship Fund. She explained how this funding relates to the MNO Lands, Resources and Consultation branch and how it benefits MNO community councils.

MNO KMC President Joel Henley was next to speak; he summarized a detailed report on New Gold’s Rainy River Project—one of the regions newest mines. He also mentioned that the MNO and New Gold have jointly administered training for 12 students—three students from the surrounding First Nation communities and three Métis students. One of the Métis students—Maria Vandenbrand, who is also an MNO citizen—was hired as a driller for New Gold. Maria also attended the Prospector’s and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) conference as a panelist for Women in Mining. Her representation made the MNO KMC very proud.

Last but not least, newly acclaimed PCMNO Region 1 Councillor Theresa Stenlund summarized the PCMNO election results and talked about the record voter turn-out this year. She congratulated the newly elected MNO President Margaret Froh and the other candidates who will now sit at the PCMNO table.

PCMNO Councillor Stenlund also updated citizens on topics such as: the MNO’s debt repayment of $4.2 million dollars; MNO solar energy projects; the Daniels’ decision and what this means for the Métis Nation; the Region 1 Treaty #3 Modern Day Land Claim; and, the first MNO Region 1 signed Cooperation Agreement (Traditional Land Entitlement Claim) with the Mitaanjigamiing First Nation.

The AGM ended with several draws, a question and answer period, and a closing prayer by Senator Cederwall. A reception followed the meeting, which allowed time for fellowship and a chance for citizens to speak with the MNO KMC members one-on-one.

Published on: June 1, 2016