Governance Update

On June 1 the WHA Steering Committee met to discuss next steps for the WHA based on our successful application for the SSHRC Partnership Grant and the outcomes from the Spring Gathering in Brokenhead Ojibway Nation. The agenda included:

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  • Organizational Structure
  • Working Committees
  • Decision-Making
  • Year 1 Budget
  • Youth Camp

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  • Hydro Tour
  • Gatherings
  • Summer Students
  • Staffing [/wr_1_2_column]



Organizational Structure

  1. Executive
    – The organizational structure of the Alliance calls for a smaller Executive within the steering committee that can deal with quick, day-to-day decisions. The Executive will meet on a monthly basis.
    – Decision: The Executive will be comprised of Stef McLachlan, Aimée Craft, Les Dysart, and the WHA Coordinator (Kelly Janz)
  2. Steering Committee
    – The current Steering Committee is comprised of Stef McLachlan (UofM), Peter Kulchyski (UofM), Aimée Craft (UofM, NCTR), Ramona Neckoway (UofM), Gilbert Fredette (Norway House Cree Nation), Carol Kobliski (Nelson House), Patricia Mitchell (Black River First Nation), Gord Bluesky (Brokenhead Ojibway Nation), Les Dysart (South Indian Lake), Gerald McKay (Grand Rapids), and Will Braun (Interchurch Council on Hydropower).
    – Decision: The Steering Committee will meet every 3 months and report back to the larger Alliance at Annual Gatherings.

Working Committees

  1. Research & Community Project Committees
    – Currently there is need for both a research and community project sub-committee to come up with criteria and processes for research and project proposals. Committees should have community, researchers, and student representatives. 7-8 people per committee. Terms will be built into the committees to allow for change in representation over time. Committees will meet on an as-needed basis.
    – Decision: A call will go out to the broader Alliance to participate on the two committees.
  2. Current Ad-hoc Research Committee
    – There are some proposals already in development. There needs to be an ad-hoc committee (a committee that meets as needed) to assess proposals for research & community projects.
    Decision: An ad-hoc research committee will meet in the upcoming month to discuss current research proposals.
    Decision: Researchers will be required to submit a 3-4 page proposal (bibliography can be extra) that includes: background, need, goal, description, methodology, timeline, budget & bibliography.


  1. Executive
    – Quick, day-to-day decisions and budget decisions under $10,000
  2. Steering Committee
    – Governance, long-term planning and actions, input on annual Gatherings, hiring, student funding, and budget decisions over $5,000.
  3. Research & Community Project Committees
    – Funding decisions for both research projects and cross-community projects

Budget Year 1 

  1. $356,500 Total Budget
    – $110,000 towards students (includes identified summer students & community students)
    – $50,000 Cross-Community Projects
    – $50-60,000 Project Coordinator
    – $40,000 Travel (community, students, etc…)
    – $34,000 Annual Gathering
    – $25-30,000 Part-time Northern Coordinator
    – $20,000 Communications & Film Documentary
    – $12,500 Technical Services, Supplies & Equipment
  2. Funding Indigenous Students
    – There was a question of whether there should be separate funding for Indigenous students from affected communities (PhD & Masters). It was suggested that funding line could be created where some money is put aside for Indigenous students and project proposals.
    – Most research money will be used for students, travel, honorariums, etc… However, not everyone is situated to have students. Research committee will have to sort this out.
  3. Funding to Support & Document Community Advocacy
    – There was some discussion about funding capacity building and workshops for effective events, organizing people, and advocacy work. These could be side workshops at Gathering.

Youth Camp

  1. Inaugural WHA Youth Camp Logistics
    – Norway House will host the first WHA youth camp from August 1-5, 2016
    – The camp will have a budget of $30,000 – $40,000.
    – Some costs can be covered in-kind from communities (ex: transportation)
    – Expecting 60-80 people including Elders and Chaperones
    – Will need someone from Norway House to facilitate the camp, also
    – For this first year Alliance partners will choose youth to participate in the camp; however there will be a more formal application process in future years.
    – Summer students will be hired from the communities to coordinate the camp

Hydro Tour

  1. Hydro Tour of Northern Manitoba Logistics
    – Peter has 13 people lined for the tour, which is taking place from June 6th to 12th
    – There will be three vehicles
    – Many of the communities will be hosting fishfry’s & lunches
    – A bit more organized this time; providing honorariums for cooking & tours
    – Small amount of funding needed from WHA Budget (up to $5,000)
  2. Future Possibilities of the Hydro Tour
    – Might be able to turn it into a university course connected to culture camp & tour (evolve it into something more)


  1. 2016 Spring Gathering
    – Kelly provided an overview from the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation Evaluations. Overall people were happy with venue, food, entertainment, and topics covered.
  2. Smaller Winnipeg Meeting
    – Steering Committee, Research Committee & Cross-Community Project Committee participants to meet in-person in November or December 2016.
  3. Next Annual Gathering
    – Spring 2017
    – Northern location

Summer Students

  1. It was decided that because there was so little time to do a proper call for summer students that this year the Alliance would hire already identified students to work on projects ready to get off the ground. In the future the process of funding students and other hires will require a more formal and public application process.
  2. Decision: The Steering Committee approved three undergrad summer student positions at $17,000 and one PhD funded at $20,000.
    – Lysette Neckoway, from Nelson House, will focus energies on the youth camp
    – Brianna Delaney (major environment, minor native studies), from the US, will focus on a number of projects, including communications and the youth camp.
    – Rayanna Hourie was hired to work with Aimée Craft and the water gathering.
    – Ramona Neckoway, from Nelson House, for the last year of her PhD research


  1. Alliance Coordinator
    – Kelly Janz has been the interim coordinator throughout the LOI and application process. Stef recommended the she continues in this role.
    Decision: The Steering Committee approved Kelly Janz filling the position of the Alliance coordinator.
  2. Northern Coordinator
    – There was a discussion about filling this position and the criteria around it. Someone recommended a Thompson office so they’re connected to all the communities and so that there is a constant presence in the North.
    Decision: Job description will be drafted over the summer for the position to be advertised in the Fall of 2016
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