Summer Students

Education and mentorship play a large role in the core activities of Wa Ni Ska Tan. The Alliance employs community youth and undergraduate students from partner institutions. Students play a large role in our work by providing new perspectives, research assistance, and project coordination.



Summer 2016

Our 2016 summer students were focused on getting our first annual youth camp in Norway House up and running, which was a monumental task!

Brianna Delaney

Brianna Delaney worked to develop a photo voice project for the youth camp, created the youth camp t-shirts, and assisted in the creation of the youth camp schedule, registration, and event planning. She created and facilitated the photo voice presentation at the camp and taught the youth how to use the cameras distributed at the camp. The projects’ aim was to have participants document their experiences in Norway House during the youth camp and their perspectives of hydro impacts in the community. They were then invited to continue the project in their own communities, documenting the impacts of hydro on their lives in both Norway House and their own communities.

Lysette Neckoway

Lysette Neckoway was a summer student in 2016. She worked on planning our first youth camp, that took place in Norway House. Lysette focused on creating the youth camp schedule, contacting community members, and coordinating youth, elder and chaperone attendance. At the camp, Lysette accompanied youth in the sweat lodge and led a beading workshop. She shared her experiences and stories with the youth about Hydro impacts and aboriginal spirituality.  She worked diligently on the post camp evaluation, determining what went well and providing recommendations to improve future youth camps.

Megan Cromarty

Megan Cromarty, a community youth from Norway House, worked closely with Wa Ni Ska Tan staff to coordinate the youth camp in Norway House. Her community knowledge and enthusiasm was crucial to the camp’s success. Megan worked tirelessly to find camp cooks, security, elders, and presenters for the youth camp. Megan spent months coordinating camp logistics and continued to help with youth camp activities between her own York Boat races and other competitions that were taking place that same week in the community.

Rayanna Seymour

Rayanna Seymour worked as a Research Assistant on Professor Aimée Craft’s project, Anishinaabe Nibi Inaakenogewin (water law). Over the summer, she organized the project, which started in 2012. She created a cohesive digital filing system that matched on paper. As this project is based on elders’ gatherings, Rayanna also transcribed the audio and hand-written notes from the gatherings. In addition, she researched Anishinaabe water law and/or water stories, creating an annotated bibliography for Prof. Craft. Throughout the summer, Rayanna took note of the different research themes that kept arising throughout her research and wrote a “reflection piece” at the end of the summer for Prof. Craft outlining these themes with summaries of the stories and teachings that fell under each theme.

Summer 2017

Our 2017 summer students worked on a variety of projects including organizing our youth camp, archiving and documentation, communications, and water quality sampling.

Cody Blacksmith

Cody Blacksmith is a 25 year old Winnipeg based filmmaker. He originally emerged from the swampy lands of Pimicikamak Cree Nation, also known as Cross Lake, Manitoba. He studied film at the University of Winnipeg. Cody earned his Bachelor of Arts in film in 2016. Cody is a current member of the Winnipeg Aboriginal Filmmakers Collective.

Cody spent this past summer working with youth and the community of his original home, Cross Lake, through a documentary training program under the supervision of Aaron Goldman. Cody attended the Spring Gathering in Norway House along with his Grandfather Jackson Osborne, Aaron and various youth from Cross Lake.  He worked with Aaron during Cross Lake’s Indian and Treaty Days and helped capture through film traditional and modern activities to share with the people of the present and future, as well as people outside of the community.

Ema Coleman

Ema Coleman, a visiting International Studies student from Indiana University worked on a variety of projects as a summer student in 2017. In addition to assisting with the Nelson House youth camp coordination, she handled logistics around accommodations and transportation for our spring gathering in Norway House. Ema reviewed the audio transcripts from our previous gatherings, pulling out themes and valuable information to use in future events, meetings, and research. She also read through and analyzed new research proposals, producing simplified summaries for our various communications.

Emily Unger

Emily Unger worked on various communications projects as a summer student in 2017. She worked with Ema Coleman on coordinating logistics for the Nelson House Youth Camp, and together they also developed Who’s Got the Power? (formerly known as Let’s Build A Dam), a role playing game that allows youth to learn about the impacts of hydro development. She took photos for our annual spring gathering and youth camp, and worked on our post event evaluations. Emily also assisted in the development of our calendar, and has been working on a variety of projects on our website.

Hasini Fernando

Hasini Fernando moved from Sri Lanka to study Environmental Chemistry at the University of Manitoba. She is passionate about water research and began working with Wa Ni Ska Tan this past summer. She started a community based project with Tataskweyak Cree Nation (Split Lake) focused on keeping a record of water quality in the lake and a few houses over the course of two years. She collected samples from various houses and the lake. Hasini is planning another visit to train TCN youth on the procedures of sample collection. Under Dr. Stéphane McLachlan’s guidance, she is working on documenting her research regarding northern communities’ water quality and analyzing the data over two years.  


Maddie Soldier

Mary Louise Soldier, also known as Maddie is from Swan Lake First Nation. She is  currently attending the University of Manitoba, in their University 1 program, and plans on taking Environmental Sciences in the future. For the summer of 2017 she worked with Dr. Jarvis Brownlie and graduate student Erin Yaremko on oral history research, which gave her the opportunity to go up north to South Indian Lake for the first time.

Robin Neckoway

Robin Neckoway worked under the supervision of Prof. Jarvis Brownlie to contribute to the archiving and documentation project for Wa Ni Ska Tan. Over the summer he created an inventory of oral interviews already completed with community members. Robin also worked to produce summaries of interview content and subjects addressed in the interviews. He created an archive and summary of internet transcripts of submissions at the public inquiries into Hydro by the CEC and PUB, especially those from community members, but also from academics associated with Wa Ni Ska Tan. Robin also began to canvass existing oral history projects held at the Manitoba Archives and the Oral History Centre at the University of Winnipeg.