Gwektaadzaajig / Elders Advisory Council (EAC)


The Gwetkaadzaajig (EAC) was initiated in October 2016 and their role is to assist KGCFS within an advisory capacity to provide insight, guidance and advice to the Board of Directors.

The Gwetkaadzaajig (EAC) will make recommendations that will assist to identify areas of development on the future of the agency’s wide range in the delivery of services to involve Anishinabemowin Language, Traditions, Cultural practices including guidance in ceremonies, teachings and in the retention, reintroducing and reviving spiritual values within all agency levels.

In accordance to the Terms of Reference, The Gwektaadzaajig will consist of two (2) appointed Elder representatives from each member First Nation in representation on the Gwektaadzaajig/Elders Advisory Council (EAC).

2019: Ken Antoine, Zhiibaahaasing, Jake Ago-neh, Sheguiandah, Bill Antonie, Zhiibaahaasing, Elizabeth Laford, Sheshegwaning, Joyce Madahbee, Aundeck Omni Kaning, Jean McGregor-Andrews, Whitefish River, Muriel Assinewai, Wiikwemkoong, Gerry Kaboni, Wiikwemkoong, Terry Debassige, M’Chigeeng. Missing: Marie McLeod, Sheshegwaning, Marion McGregor, Whitefish River.

Jean McGregor-Andrews (Wabigoonis / Crane Clan)

Jean was born into the Serpent River First Nation and is a life- long resident of Wauwaskinaga (Whitefish River).

Jean is naturally caring, patient, easy-to approach, intuitive / spiritual, well grounded, efficient, organized, articulate and well-spoken individual and considered an Anishinabemowin Language Keeper.

Jean has work experience as a Band Manager for Whitefish River First Nation, Education Manager and a Counselor Indian Affairs including Community and Development, Education with the North Shore District School Board, and Anishinabemowin Language Instructor.

Jean received a Council Diploma from Adult Education at St. Francis Xavier University, Social Counseling from Ontario Institute for Studies in Education from University of Toronto, and certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution with the Union of Ontario Indians / Cambrian College.

Jean currently provides elder support on varies committees:  Education, Family Services, Housing, Band Trust Fund, Health / Elders’ Advisory with the University of Sudbury, Church Council President / Bookkeeper, Community Outreach, Child and Youth Outreach, UCCMM Justice, KGCFS Elders Advisory Council including the Association of Native Child and Family Services Agencies of Ontario (ANCFSAO) Elders Advisory Council.

Jean is a proud recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award entitled Zaagidwin and a Papal Cross Community Service Award.  She hopes to contribute her life knowledge to help create a better world especially to children and youth and people in need of support.

Jeans loves sports and the outdoors and enjoys exploring new places, travelling, reading, sewing, writing, cooking, and spending time with grandchildren and great grandchild.  She appreciates visiting with friends and keeping alive spiritual and traditional practices of Anishinabek.

Marie McLeod (Sheshegwaning First Nation)

Marie has many years’ experience as an Anishinabemowin Language Teacher servicing the Rainbow District School Board in Sudbury.  She attained her Language Instructor certification from Lakehead University.  Her involvement with education also extended her as a school bus driver.

In the past Marie also graduated from a Secretarial Program from Cambrian College.  Marie had served as a board member to the UCCM Police Service Commission and varies committees within Sheshegwaning First Nation.

After retirement Marie currently manages a Gas Bar and Convenience Store in her home community of Sheshegwaning.

Marie loves spending time with her wonderful family and grandchildren riding on trails on her side-by-side, fishing, or snow shoeing in the winter.

With her involvement in the KGCFS Elders Advisory Council, she agrees that collectively the agency is being guided into a good direction in developments to help families to heal to succeed in achieving better futures.

Marion McGregor
Whitefish River First Nation)

Marion is currently retired and has many years of experience servicing within the elementary educational field with at least 26 years as a Teacher including Special Education and 25 years as a Principal at Shawanosowe School in Birch Island.

Marion was recognized and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Anishinabek Nation including Recognition of Service from the Assembly of First Nations. At the time of retirement, the Whitefish River First Nation gifted her with an eagle feather in recognition of her service and was also recognized as Woman of the Year by Noojmowinteg Health Centre.

Marion originates from Wiikwemkoong and is a Residential School Survivor. She has extensive knowledge upon the history of the Anishinabek in our area from 1925 to current. While a young child she recalls that she personally witnessed traditional practices and ceremonies prior to her attending residential school.

Marion continues to live an idyllic life as she has nine (9) adult children, is a grandmother and a great-grandmother. She continues to live in her waterfront home overlooking McGregor Bay built by her late husband, Murray Sr.

Since her involvement with KGCFS, Marion began to gather her sacred bundle and is beginning to share her knowledge when requested. Marion will continue to advocate for the preservation of the Anishinabemowin language and continue to act on behalf of children, elders and the environment through her involvement on the Traditional Environmental Knowledge Activist Elders Group (plants, forests, water and animals).

Terry Debassige
M’Chigeeng First Nation)

Terry has experience in working with the M’Chigeeng First Nation within the Band Membership and Housing Programs. He also has past work experience with the Robinson Huron Forestry Program. Terry received certification in First Nation Membership Data Base, Lands Management, Trapping and Carpentry as he is a carpenter by trade.

Terry was raised by his grandmother and considered the bush as his playground as a child. Throughout his life, Terry has explored and lived in various parts of Canada and the USA (Toronto, Los Angeles, Chicago and in the State of Florida) before returning home to M’Chigeeng First Nation.

Terry has a genuine interest in Anishinabek history and is an advocate in Anishinabek Law Developments as they pertain to land, water and Anishinabemowin language. Terry will passionately share his knowledge and advocate for Anishinabek to exercise and uphold their supreme authority as ‘self-sovereign’ nations.

Terry is a pipe carrier and member of the Raindance Lodge (Grandfather). It is his hope that KGCFS can build a teaching lodge for our children and youth in care and that KGCFS will be operationally in line with sovereign entity and laws.

Gerry Kaboni (Bear Foot Clan)
Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory

Has past work experience included being an Assistant Director at the Tucson Indian Centre, Director of Economic Development of the First Nations of Alberta and as a Court Worker. Gerry attended both MacEwan University and Fanshaw College and has certifications in Public Administration, Personnel Administration and as a Paralegal.

Gerry is currently retired and was a private business owner of a convenience store / gas bar for 22 years. He currently provides elder support with the Wiikwemkoong Elders Council, KGCFS Elders Advisory Council including the Association of Native Child and Family Services Agencies of Ontario (ANCFSAO) Elders Advisory Council and is a member of the Raindance Lodge (Grandfather).

Gerry enjoys singing and playing his guitar and can be seen at pow-wows singing and dancing with his family and grandchildren.

Through his involvement on the KGCFS Elders Advisory Council he hopes to attribute his knowledge to help others achieve a good healthy life with children and parents.

Elizabeth Laford (Bii-dah-si-geh Kwe) (Pi-Pi Gwen) Sparrow Hawk Clan

Elizabeth is a former Chief of Sheshegwaning First Nation and is currently working within the Family Well-Being Program at Sheshegwaning Health Services.

She had served as a board member to the UCCM Police Service Commission in the past.

Elizabeth is active in ceremonial practices and is continually learning about traditional medicines. She currently enjoys being a member of the local Women’s Hand Drum Group where she sings and learns new songs to share.

One of her personal goals is to converse in the Anishinabemowin Language as she understands; however, has yet to speak fluently. She mentions that the Anishinabemowin Language is very descriptive as meanings are connected to spirituality.

It is her hope that KGCFS will continue to develop and include traditional ways of living including ceremonies and teachings within agency planning and policies.

Bill Antoine (Baashigeh Aashiget / Bear Clan)
Zhiibaahaasing First Nation

Is a former Chief of Sheshegwaning First Nation and is currently retired as he had also worked in various capacities within Toronto and in USA over this life span.

Bill recently was honoured in recognition of providing 30 years of service to the UCCMM Justice Circle Program.

He currently provides elder support with the UCCMM Elders Council, KGCFS Elders Advisory Council and serves as a board member to the UCCM Police Service Commission including Kenjge-win Teg Educational Institute.

Bill is a piper carrier and can be seen singing at pow-wows with Chi-Giizis Singers. He has genuine interest to share his knowledge and life experiences with KGCFS to assure services are based upon being an Anishinabe agency enriched with traditional teachings and healing for our children, youth, and families.

Ken Antoine (Bear Clan)
Zhiibaahaasing First Nation

Ken resided in the USA and worked for the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan for 30 years of his life and is now retired. He is a proud member of the United Auto Workers (UAW).

He currently provides elder support with the United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising (UCCMM) and KGCFS Elders Advisory Council.

Ken has extensive knowledge on spiritual connection of self which is not limited to body, mind and spirit. He is self-trained in combining all elements in their purest form for purpose of achieving life enrichment and guidance. Ken believes that the energy of life itself is our link to be an Anishinabe.

Ken is an advocate to maintain healthy living and that we each must maintain our whole being to remain clean in all elements. He wishes to contribute his knowledge and life experiences to KGCFS to help children and youth to know who they are, to have a sense of connection and to utilize our inherent gifts as spiritual beings which can help them to live healthy lives.

Joyce Madahbee
(Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation)

Joyce has over 20 years past work experience servicing as an Educational Counsellor with the Wiikwemkoong Board of Education and took great pride guiding students to achieve their educational goals. Joyce received certification from the Ontario College of Teachers and recently received training from the Association of Native Child and Family Services Agencies of Ontario (ANCFSAO) in Heart & Spirit.

Joyce brings past service on the Rainbow District School Board, Band Councilor, Educational Committee, Housing Committee and Elders Committee for Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation. Her past membership also includes the Ontario Native Education Counselling Association of which she proudly received the Counsellor of the Year Award.

Joyce was born into the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory and married into Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation. Joyce was raised with the Catholic Religion and has beginning interest to engage into cultural teachings and ceremonies as she has genuine interest to promote and encourage others to learn and speak the Anishinabemowin Language.

Joyce is 75 years of age with 7 grandchildren who are her happiness and joy. Joyce would like to honour the Creator by giving back her knowledge and life experiences in contributing to our communities through KGCFS.



Arthur (Art) D. Petahtegoose
(Atikameksheng Anishinabek

Art was nurtured in an Anishinabek home where he grew up with both his mom and dad. His grandparents were illiterate in English as they did not attend residential school – they were ‘ceremony’.
Art graduated at the top of his class in both high school and college. He graduated with a diploma in Chemical Engineering Tech. at Cambrian College (1971) and is now skilled in public speaking and in organizing.
In his past profession, Art was a professor at Cambrian College for 13 years within the Child Welfare Care Program and as a Community Physical Planning Coordinator for 7 years at the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC), Sudbury District.
Art also served on the Atikameksheng Anishinabek, Chief and Council – (3 terms, 1970’s, 1990’s and current). He also served on the Mamaweswen, The North Shore Tribal Council as Board of Director, the Cooperative Aile Nord Inc. in Sudbury and at the Land Code Development (1st editing) for the Atikameksheng Anishinabek as Coordinator and Chair.
Now you can see Art at the visiting Elder at McEwen School of Architecture at Laurentian University in Sudbury.
Art enjoys studying the Indigenous History of Indigenous Peoples in North America, the Anishinabek in particular. He has a personal goal to settle the Atikameksheng Anishinabek boundary dispute with Canada and loves to see the Anishinabek take back the responsibility of child and family care of ‘our people’ who live on Manitoulin Island and the North Shore of Lake Huron.

Muriel Assinewai (Bear Clan) Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory

Was raised by Ester and John Wakegijig Sr. and has 2 daughters and 1 son with 13 grandchildren.

Muriel is currently retired and has over 20 years’ experience working with the Wikwemikong Nursing Home with certification as a PSW.

Muriel currently provides elder support with the Wiikwemkoong Justice Program (Gladue Court), Wiikwemkoong Elders Council and as Grandmother for the Pre-Natal Program with Naandwechige-Gamig Wikwemikong Health Centre.

Muriel is a pipe carrier and a member of the Midewewin Lodge. She has knowledge of traditional teachings and ceremonies including medicinal knowledge and is a Cedar Bath conductor.

Muriel is happy to be of service to KGCFS and expresses that individually and together, we all share our life experiences.