From left to right: Councillors Myrtle Swanson, Bill Swanson, Don Humphries, Chief Joe Buckell,
Former Councillor Irene Armstrong, Former Councillor Linda Peterson, and Councillor Evelyn Stone
Michipicoten First Nation – Inaugural Meeting and Celebration
On Wednesday, April 8, 2015 Michipicoten First Nation held its Inaugural Meeting of Chief and Council, as elected on March 14, 2015 for the term April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2017. Members, their families and guests were invited to witness the swearing in of Chief and Council and to share in a community feast. The evening festivities opened with a Prayer and smudging ceremony, an honour and celebration song and a welcome speech from Chief Buckell.
The official meeting began with Chief and Council swearing in their Oath of Office and Undertakings, along with the signing of appropriate banking and signing authorities. The Chief spoke briefly about the importance of consistency in serving the membership and creating a sustainable economic future for the First Nation and in turn, each Councillor addressed the audience individually. Once the official portion was concluded, the evening continued with a dinner and social in the spirit of togetherness and community. Our sincere appreciation to all in attendance and to our member voters who supported this Council.
Elected Chief and Council 2015 – 2017
- Chief Joe Buckell
- Councillor Don Humphries
- Councillor Irene Armstrong
- Councillor Evelyn Stone
- Councillor William Swanson Sr.
- Councillor Myrtle Swanson
- Linda Peterson resigned as a Councillor MFN effective January 1, 2016
Chief Joe Buckell is serving a seventh straight term in office as Chief. The Chief resides in the town of Wawa and has an office on Michipicoten First Nation reserve. The Chief can be reached in the office when he is not required to be away on First Nation business attending all Chiefs meetings with the AFN, Chief’s of Ontario, Casino Rama, Robinson-Superior Chiefs’, Northeast Superior Regional Chiefs’ Forum and as a guest speaker at many government/energy/resource and political functions as required. The Chief has a Masters Degree in Business Administration and an extensive background in Management and Administration in the industry sector. The Chief has been a strong advocate for socio-economic development and self-sustainability and outspoken on issues regarding land and resources; traditional and treaty rights and is known and well respected on federal, provincial, regional and municipal government levels. The Chief also has a strong background in the promotion of Educational opportunities for First Nation members and has initiated beneficial Memorandums of Understanding in developing working relationships within the mining industry. Chief Buckell is an advocate for government to government consultation and accommodation on all matters impacting treaty and traditional rights and meaningful approaches to creating a consistent sustainable economic future for generations to come through the ability to support long term benefits and a life of opportunity and dignity for all members.
Councillor Donald (Donnie) Humphries is serving a second term on Council and has provided his background for Members. “I am the grandson of Kate Souliere. I was born and raised in Hawk Junction and presently live in Wawa with my wife of 30 years. I raised three great kids who have all left the nest and entered the world of work. Upon graduating from Michipicoten High School I worked for the Algoma Central Railway and later Algoma Steel. I returned to school at the age of 24, obtaining my Bachelor of Social Work degree from Lakehead University in Thundery Bay and my Masters of Social Work degree from York University in Toronto. I worked in the field of child welfare for over 30 years helping disadvantaged children and parents. I am presently retired, but have a strong background in leadership, communication, organizational, managerial and teaching skills. I value commitment, passion and vision which drives me to always put those I serve first. I also believe in teamwork, change, excellence and making a difference. Finally, I am extremely proud of my Native heritage and Souliere Blood. I welcome the challenge of representing the community and people of MFN. As a Councillor I consider my position a tremendous honour and opportunity to work together with the Elders, parents and youth of MFN to achieve its vision of being an economic, independent, self-sustaining, self-governing First Nation where all Members share a strong cultural identity.” Councillor Humphries can be contacted by phone 705-852-2255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Councillor Evelyn Stone has been a lifelong resident of the community and served as Chief in the early nineties as well as sitting on Council for several terms since. Evelyn is a Traditional Elder who shares her knowledge and wisdom; with strong values and belief in living in balance with Mother Earth. She has three children who are her pride and joy and recently became a first time Nookomis of Dante (Tasha) and expecting a 2nd grandchild in August (Krista). Evelyn is an active volunteer on various committees in Wawa including the Special Events Committee for the Municipality of Wawa and the Legion Auxiliary as 3rd Vice President; and also is called upon by various organizations. She is a past employee of the First Nation in Health Promotion and has dedicated over 30 years to her community. Evelyn looks forward to the future on strengths and balance as a whole, and strongly believes we will succeed in walking hand in hand by acknowledging the teachings of the Medicine Wheel in the future endeavors of MFN. She sees an awesome future for our children and the ones yet to come, “Our Future Leaders” and you the members, within our beautiful homeland. Evelyn is quoted as saying, “working together, anything is possible”.
Councillor William Swanson Sr. is a respected Elder in the Community and has served a total of nine consecutive terms on Council. Councillor Swanson worked for many years in the mining industry, has a keen and active interest in mining and forestry and is the appointed representative on forest management planning and resource issues attending meetings with the Ministry of Natural Resources and on various planning committees; he Chairs the Economic Development Committee of MFN and was a member of the negotiation team on both the Algoma Surrenders and Boundary Claims. Councillor Swanson brings a strong presence to Council and is dedicated, knowledgeable, providing an historical perspective on all issues concerning the Community and Members.
Councillor Myrtle Swanson, a respected Elder in the Community, is in her seventh consecutive term on Council and Chairs the Education Committee; she attends Restoration of Jurisdiction Working Group on Governance and Constitution building sessions on behalf of the First Nation; she has attended the Women’s Council as an invited Elder and currently sits on the Board of Directors of Dilico. Councillor Swanson has an educational background in Health, has represented the community on a variety of groups keeping in touch with health and educational issues and contributes a keen interest, knowledge, experience and patience in all matters affecting the First Nation and its members.
Meetings of Chief and Council are usually scheduled a year in advance by Council Resolution and are regularly held once a month on the fourth Thursday evening to allow members to attend, however, emergency or special meetings may be called at any time by the Chief as necessary. There are typically no scheduled meetings of Council in July of each year. The Band Manager with the Chair prepare the Agendas for Chief and Council Meetings. Regularly scheduled meeting of Chief and Council may have an In-Camera portion where the public may not attend, for matters of confidentiality, or under negotiation or naming individual members or staff and are held prior to the public meetings.
Chief and Council, for the duration of their term, are also the Officers and Board Members for two First Nation Corporations, the First Nation of Michipicoten Cultural Association which holds lands in Trust for the First Nation, and the Michipicoten First Nation Economic Development Corporation.