Ogimaawabiitong would like to send a huge Miigwetch to Kenora Chiefs Advisory Staff, community members, helpers, Elders, and everyone who came out to this year’s Annual General Meeting and Fall Feast on November 7.

Held at Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation’s Band Office and Community Hall, the annual ceremony and gathering allows staff members, community members, and leadership to come together and celebrate the important work KCA is doing for our communities, while giving thanks to the season that’s ending.

The day began with an opening ceremony with our drummers and KCA’s Grandmother Drum – Shawanoong Banaise’seek – with prayers from local Elders Allan White, Andy White, George Land, Susan Fobister, and Agnes Paul. KCA’s Cultural Coordinator Reno Cameron served as the day’s emcee.

Opening words from Niisaachewan Chief and KCA Board President Lorraine Cobiness came shortly afterwards, followed by Wauzhushk Onigum Nation Chief and KCA Secretary-Treasurer Chris Skead and KCA Executive Director Jennifer Dreaver, before closing comments from Grassy Narrows First Nation Chief Rudy Turtle later on.

“Our communities and our Chiefs work so hard, with the best people surrounding us, to challenge the norm,” says Chief Cobiness. “To challenge systemic policy, legislation, and to think outside the box to do the best for our people. And that’s what we’re all about. Making those changes and not being afraid.”

“And we have horses,” Chief Cobiness says with a laugh. “Whoever thought that we would have horses? We think outside of the box to support our people the best way that we know how. By coming together through feasting, through laughing, through tears, and talking about solutions. Finding creative solutions right across the board.”

“We’re growing and people want to be with us, that’s important for us,” she adds. “We’re guided by our elders, supported by our communities, and we’re here to set the stage for our youth. This is our legacy for our kids.”

Chief Cobiness also thanked outgoing Executive Director Joe Barnes for his years of guidance, friendship, and continued growth of the organization, and acknowledged new ED Jennifer Dreaver in her role to lead us on the path forward.

After an amazing lunch prepared by staff and volunteers from the community, KCA Directors, leadership, and staff members were able to present reports on their department’s progress and growth over the last fiscal year, ending March 2023.

Several organizational successes were highlighted, including the continued growth of our Right to Play and Indigenous Rookie League programs, our work in children’s mental health, Indigenous healing and diabetes awareness, the Kenora Makwa Patrol, addictions programming, and much more.

Many presentations also highlighted the significance of our partnerships with community partners and organizations such as the Lake of the Woods District Hospital, Morningstar Detox Centre, Kenora Youth Wellness Hub, Kenora Justice Centre and Primary Care teams and community clinics, among others.

The ceremony and gathering wrapped up with the KCA Board members, including Naotkamegwanning Chief Howard Kabestra and Wabaseemoong Independent Nation Chief Waylon Scott attending virtually, presenting a motion to accept KCA’s 2022-2023 AGM Report – which was passed.

The day’s celebration even included a special Happy Birthday song to KCA’s own Alice Pemmican, Office Manager, rendered by our Grandmother Drum, and a giveaway song for all of those in attendance.

Ogimaawabiitong would like to send a huge Miigwetch to Niisaachewan staff and helpers for the amazing food, and to Chief Lorraine Cobiness, Chris Skead, Rudy Turtle, Howard Kabestra, and Waylon Scott for their leadership.

Miigwetch’s also go out to Elders Allan White, Andy White, George Land, Susan Fobister, and Agnes Paul for their guidance, and to our Youth Council members: Harmony Scott of Northwest Angle #33 First Nation, Sydney Flett of Wauzhushk Onigum Nation, Lex Paul of Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation, Shy Loon, and Shy Cobiness.

And a special Miigwetch for our drummers for their beautiful renditions throughout the day, and emcee Reno Cameron for his work. We look forward to seeing you all again in 2024!