On November 25th the WHA Steering Committee met in Winnipeg to discuss next steps for the WHA and review research priorities, budgets, and core activities. The agenda included:

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  • Community & Research Projects
  • Research
  • Reporting
  • WHA Activities

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  • Staffing
  • Budget
  • Spring Gathering [/wr_1_2_column]


Community & Research Projects

Lake Winnipeg Indigenous Collective, funding requested $32,888

Project proposal focused on three on-going strategies: (1) Community outreach focused on treaty and aboriginal rights education; (2) Uniting the affected First Nations from around Lake Winnipeg; and (3) Documenting and reporting impacts of hydropower development.

Decision:The Steering Committee accepted the Research Committee’s recommendation that the LWIC Coordinator resubmit a proposal that is more project-based for consideration and email decision in January 2017.

Jerch Law, funding requested  $12,000

Research proposal focused on the drafting of two legal memoranda: (1) Explore and address the issue with respect to Tataskweyak Cree Nation’s signature on, and agreement to, the Adhesion to Treaty 5; and (2) Explore the legal status of the implementation agreements.

Decision:The Steering Committee accepted Research Committee’s recommendation of funding $6,000 for preliminary reporting (background and surface analysis) on the two memoranda in order to decide whether it makes sense to move forward on them.

Justice Seekers of Nelson House, funding requested  $37,800

Research proposal focused on a youth (14-17 years), land-based gathering, offering an opportunity to bridge knowledge between elders and camp participants in a land-based setting. The youth camp can be viewed as an extension of the inaugural Wa Ni Ska Tan Youth Camp held in Norway House Cree Nation in August 2017.

Decision:The Steering Committee accepted the Research Committee’s approval of the youth camp proposal with a recommendation to consider a site closer to water. It deferred further discussion and ideas to the Youth Camp Planning Sub-Committee.

Recommendation: The Steering Committee feels that there should be an annual youth camp with an allocated amount of $37,000 to the project on an annual basis. Communities can then submit proposals to host the youth camp using this funding. This recommendation will be presented to the broader Alliance at the next Gathering. Many people also liked the possible alignment of 7 years of youth camps with the 7 teachings.

For more information on approved projects, please click here.

Research Committee Decisions

Decision: Research proposal decisions will no longer go to the Steering Committee for final approval and instead be done at the Research Committee level.


Southern & Northern Priorities

There was a general consensus that the WHA needs to start looking at the bigger picture. It’s not about who is impacted more but working together for solutions. It was acknowledged that no one wants to fall into the trap of just looking at one region; we need to look province-wide (systems approach).

Suggestion: Coordinate a joint Gathering with both LWIC & WHA as an opportunity to learn and share with each other.

Archiving & Documentation 

The WHA would like to centralize the process of documentation and archiving. Possibilities include partnering with the NCTR or take it on ourselves.

Action Item: Set up sub-committee to come up with a suggested ethics protocol around documentation and archiving and bring it back to the Steering Committee for discussion and decision.

Supports for Community Members 

How can we support community members when they experience emotional trauma from re-telling past histories? Suggestions included: having health support workers at Gatherings, supporting individuals who can access support within their own communities, and using First Nation organizations do that do counselling.

Action Item: Kelly to follow up with Aimée for a list of organizations that the WHA can call upon in the future.


SSHRC Milestone Report

Report due December 15th. Provides quantitative indicators and road map for the first half of the project. The report also provides an opportunity to respond and reflect on the comments provided in the Expert Panel Review Report.

SSHRC Partner Reporting

As part of SSHRC reporting we are required to have partners complete a Partner Contribution Statement on an annual basis.

Action Item: Kelly to follow up with project partners in the New Year to complete Partner Contribution Statements.

Project Evaluation & Reporting

Based on the Milestone Report, Mid-Term Report, and our previous MAFRA evaluation template, Kelly drafted an evaluation and reporting template to be completed by researchers and/or community organizations after completing community and research projects.

Action Item: Kelly to follow up with projects to fill out research and project evaluations.

WHA Activity Update

Since the Gathering in Brokenhead Ojibway Nation, we have been pretty busy:

  • We hired four summer students
  • We held a five-day youth camp in Norway House Cree Nation
  • Funded four research projects
  • Increased communications through an e-newsletter & social media
  • Attended the SSHRC Start Up Meeting in Ottawa
  • Started preliminary work on archiving and documentation with a trip to Grand Rapids, Nelson House, and Gillam

Defining Core Activities

It was discussed that along with on-going communications, administration, evaluation and reporting, and coordination, that core activities would also include documentation and archiving. This would include finding ways to be present and report on community activism, such as blockades.


Northern Coordinator

Suggestion: Change name of position from Northern Coordinator to Community Coordinator to reflect Southern communities participation in the WHA.

This position could/would do a number of things:

  • Liaise with communities
  • Assist Kelly in coordinating and planning events
  • Follow up on community projects and research
  • Assist communities in finding ways to leverage funding and resources
  • Speak Cree (an asset)

There was a general consensus that the best person for the job should be hired, whether they are from the North or South.

Action Item: Kelly and Stef to draft a job description, which will then be sent to the Steering Committee for approval.


The budget presented at the meeting was the original budget put forward in the SSHRC application and it was acknowledged that there was room for flexibility within the current budget categories. It was also acknowledged that despite the cross-community project category already exceeding the intended budget of $50,000, much of those expenses were around travel.

Action Item: Kelly to update budget to show travel expenses separately from community project expenses. Other changes to how the budget will be presented in future meetings include ensuring that allocated funds are reflected in expenses to provide an accurate total of monies remaining and extra notes to explain line items.

Action Item: Kelly will monitor student funding to ensure Indigenous students are participating in research and receiving funding through the WHA.

Action Item: Kelly to work with Jonathan and Stef to come up with a communication plan to ensure students and youth are aware of opportunities for funding and summer employment.

Decision: The $20,000 in allocated funds to Communications in the budget will go to a half-time position in the ECL to continue design, web maintenance, and documentation work.

Spring Gathering 

The date and location of the next WHA Gathering has not yet been confirmed. There was a suggestion from Aimée to have the WHA Gathering in conjunction with the Water Gathering taking place May 24th to 27th in the Whiteshell. There are both pros and cons to this idea and there was not enough time at the meeting to discuss the suggestion in detail. The decision will go to the Executive to be looked at in more detail.

It was noted that the last Gathering took place in the South and that the Gathering should take place in a Northern location next. Another suggestion was to have the Gathering in Fairford, Manitoba.

Update: The Executive decided that the WHA Gathering would not be held in conjunction with the Water Gathering. We are looking for a community to host the WHA Spring Gathering in April! The meeting location needs to be able to accommodate up to 100 people and have break out rooms. The community would also need to have lodging for up to 100 participants and catering services available. If you are interested in having your community host, please contact Kelly at kelly@hydroalliance.ca or 204-474-9316.

Standing with Standing Rock on November 25th, 2016. Members of the Steering and Research Committees.
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