Indigenous Languages of Manitoba Inc. is under the guidance of a volunteer Board of Directors representing the seven languages within our territory and is responsible for setting the direction of the organization. Each Director is fluent in their language and are vital advocates for their community working towards the revitalization of their languages. The Board of Directors ensures our activities and services fulfill our mandate, respect the traditional teachings of Elders while upholding the promise to build partnerships and connections within the communities.
Grace Schedler is from Gods Lake Narrows Cree nation, a fly in community 500 miles northeast of Winnipeg. Her parents were Joe and Margaret Anderson, she has 5 brothers and 2 sisters. Grace has worked for the province for the past 18 years. Grace is very active in trying to keep Indigenous languages and culture alive by teaching introduction to Cree as well as doing presentations on Indigenous 2018.
Grace will be facilitating circles for reconciliation this fall (www.circlesforreconciliation.ca).
Grace also volunteers with the Civil Air Search and Rescue, and was recently voted into the Palliative Care Board of Directors. Graces hobbies include walking, pickle ball, swimming, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, bowling, card games, and does many walks for awareness such as suicide, Parkinson's, arthritis, cancer etc.
Kevin Tacan is from Sioux Valley Dakota Nation where he was raised alongside his seven siblings, and two relatives. Kevin holds a diploma from Yellowquill College in Economic Development, a certificate from Assiniboine Community College in Applied Agriculture, as well as a degree in Native Studies from Brandon University with a minor in the Dakota language. Kevin has taken on various positions in his community in different areas including governance and business development; he also sat on the Board of Governors at Assiniboine Community College for six years, and served as Vice-Chair for three.
Kevin has been with the Brandon School Division since 1996 as a Cultural Consultant as well as a Professor in the Native Studies Department at Brandon University teaching the Dakota language. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of Indigenous Languages of Manitoba as the Chairperson.
Kevin dances men’s traditional powwow, sings and plays flute music, as well as emcee’s many powwows and conferences including the Winterfest conference on languages in Brandon, MB. In his free time, he does team roping, as well as many workshops and presentations on his language, culture and traditions.
Helen Robinson-Settee is an Anishinaabemowin speaker from Winnipeg, MB. Helen sits on many community boards such as Indigenous Languages of Manitoba’s Board of Directors as the Anishinaabemowin Representative, the Manitoba Aboriginal Language Strategy Elders Council and the Career Trek Honorary Board.
Robinson-Settee is currently the Director for the Indigenous Inclusion Directorate for Education and Early Childhood Learning with the Government of Manitoba. She is an active community member, an advocate, and is passionate about sharing and teaching about her Indigenous culture and language.
CPL Melvin Swan CD (retired) is an Anishinaabemowin speaker born in Ashern, MB and raised in Vogar, MB and Dog Creek Reserve. Swan is a survivor of the Lake Manitoba Day School and the McKay Residential School in Dauphin. Melvin Swan joined the Col Barker Air Cadets in Dauphin in 1978, this was the start of his long and respectable journey with the Canadian Military. Throughout his military career, Swan has been an advocate, a leader, and a trailblazer for Indigenous service members and efforts. Today, Swan is a proud military veteran and wears his spirit Thunderbird Badge with pride and honour.
Melvin has taken part in many community organizations and boards. He was the Vice-Chair and Spiritual Leader of Spirit Wind (an advocacy group for residential school survivors), Anishinaabemowin Representative on the Indigenous Languages of Manitoba's Board of Directors, Vice President of the Manitoba Aboriginal Veterans Association and President of the Association from 95-96, an Elder for Eagle and Hawk Band, among many other positions in Melvin's lifetime. Melvin’s life is a journey of devotion to the Anishinaabe People, respect for traditions as derived from the languages of his ancestors and to follow the ways of the Creator.
Read Melvin’s full bio here: Melvin Swan Bio Nov 2021.pdf
Byron Beardy was born Garden Hill First Nation and was raised in Wasagamack First Nation, both Anisininiw communities in the Island Lake region of Manitoba. He currently sits as the Anininew Representative on the Indigenous Languages of Manitoba’s Board of Directors, and continues to share his language, culture, and knowledge with others.
Beardy currently works as the Program Manager for Four Arrows Regional Health Authority Kimeechiminan Food Security Department, and has done a lot of work in food security and sovereignty efforts for the communities in the Island Lake region.
Verna Demontigny is a Michif speaker from Li Kwayn, near Binscarth, MB. She currently sits as the Michif Representative on the Indigenous Languages of Manitoba’s Board of Directors. Demontigny has been involved with many different projects to help revitalize and teach others the Michif language.
Verna has worked in the Brandon School Division teaching Michif, Assiniboine Community College as a visiting Elder, the Manitoba Metis Federation teaching Michif classes to community members in the Southwest Region of Manitoba, with linguists discussing the different linguistic aspects of Michif, among many other efforts. Verna is committed, dedicated, and a trailblazer in revitalization work regarding the Michif language.
Born in Ste. Madeleine, Manitoba in 1935, George was one of the Founding Fathers of the Manitoba Metis Federation, being first elected in 1968 as Vice President for the Southwest Region. George became an addictions counselor with Addictions Foundation of Manitoba in 1980, since retiring in 1999, he has dedicated himself to music and reviving the old Michif songs he learned as a child from his mother. For several years, George has also been a long time member of the MMF Michif Language Committee and has served as an Elder for the Shawane Dagosiwin Aboriginal Education Research Forum as well currently is Elder on the Manitoba Aboriginal Language Strategy Elder Advisory Committee and on the Indigenous Languages of Manitoba Board of Directors. In October, 2017 George received from the Manitoba Council on Aging – the prestigious Murray and Muriel Smith Award. George’s family are citizens of the Metis Nation and take great pride in what they have learned from him about the strength of family and strength of nationhood. George believes that our greatest strength comes from our spiritual belief and that we can accomplish what we set out to do if we have faith.
Our gathering supports, strengthens and celebrates our Indigenous languages and our theme Bringing Our Languages Home combats the standstill of intergenerational transmission and focuses on bringing the languages back to our communities and our homes.
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