The committment of the Council of Elders is fundamental to the work of the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba. The Elders are historians, teachers, spiritual caregivers, language experts, and advisors. With their input, support and guidance, the TRCM is able to address specific Treaty language and knowledge to ensure deeper understandings in the TRCM research initiatives such as: the Manitoba Treaties Oral History Project and the Historical Atlas of First Nations in Manitoba. In addition to the research initiatives, the TRCM Council of Elders has advised in curriculum development, leadership forums, and participated as members of the TRCM Speakers’ Bureau.
The current members of the AMC Council of Elders are:
- Treaty No. 1 – Wayne Scott (Swan Lake First Nation)
- Treaty No. 2 – Harry Bone (Keeseekoowenin First Nation)
- Treaty No. 3 – Elmer Courchene (Sagkeeng First Nation)
- Treaty No. 4 – James Cote (Waywayseecappo First Nation)
- Treaty No. 5 – Elder William G. Lathlin (Opaskwayak Cree Nation)
- Treaty No. 5 Adhesion – D’Arcy Linklater (Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation)
- Treaty No. 6 – Vacant
- Treaty No. 10 – Elder Joe Hyslop (Northlands Denesuline First Nation)
- Dakota Nations – Doris Pratt (Sioux Valley Dakota Nation)
Elder Wayne Scott (Naazhikigaabow from the Mashtadim Clan) is from Gaa-biskigamaag (Swan Lake First Nation). Elder Scott has completed extensive research as a member of a dedicated team in Treaty Land Entitlement for his community that was successful in settling the outstanding TLE claim. This work allowed Elder Scott to continue his research and assist other First Nation Bands in conducting independent research to file Comprehensive Land Claims. Elder Scott is interested in understanding legislation and policies as they relate and affect Treaty and Aboriginal rights.
Elder Harry Bone is from the Keeseekoowenin Ojibway Nation. Elder Bone has worked tirelessly throughout his life to bolster Indigenous rights. He has served extensive terms in many fulfilling roles such as Chief and Director of Education. He also served as a CEO at the West Region Tribal Council, a Director of the Manitoba Indian Education Authority, he is a graduate student in political studies at University of Manitoba, he was a Student Advisor and Lecturer. He was a Director of Native Programs for the Federal Government, a Vice-President of Aboriginal Cultural Centres of Canada and currently sits as Chairperson of the TRCM Council of Elders.
Elder Bone is experienced in First Nations Governance, He has led delegations that have met with all levels of government while being instrumental in projects such as the Oral History Project and the Historical Atlas of First Nations in Manitoba. Elder Bone and Elder Doris Pratt co-authored Untuwe Pi Kin He – Who We are: Treaty Elders’ Teachings, Like Elder Bone, the book aims to inspire people through compassion, reason, humility and human dignity.
His distinguished achievements in leadership, scholarship and public service have been recognized by many individuals and communities who have touched by his work. The University of Manitoba honoured Elder Bone with an Honorary Doctor of Law degree for his trendsetting work that continues to advance Aboriginal education in Canada.
Elder Elmer Courchene is from the Sagkeeng First Nation. Elder Courchene is fluent in Ojibwe and English. His first educators were his parents until the age of 5, when he was sent to the Fort Alexander Residential School where he received education until Grade 8. He travelled, working in several fields as a Tradesman, Labourer and General Contractor. Traditionally practicing Anishinaabe customs, Elder Courchene is a pipe carrier and sundancer, and continues to help at traditional ceremonies. He was instrumental during the Manitoba Indian Brotherhood (precursor to the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs) in the mid 1960’s to the mid 1970’s. He participated in discussions of the 1969 White Paper, Wahbung: Our Tomorrows that included the movement of Indian Control of Indian Education, with his home community being the pilot to transfer administrative control from the federal government to the First Nations government. As well, he became Advisor to Chief and Council for several years. In 1997, Elder Courchene served as the Elder Advisor and Spiritual Giver to then National Chief Phil Fontaine at the Assembly of First Nations (AFN). Elder Courchene currently sits as the Manitoba Elder representative to the AFN Senator Council. Most recently, Elder Courchene has served as the Elder Advisor to the AMC Executive Council of Chiefs and has been appointed to the TRCM Council of Elders.
Elder James Cote (Makade Makwa) is from Waywayseecappo First Nation (Wewezhigaabawing). He is the son of James and Margaret Cote. Elder Cote attended the Birtle and Brandon Residential Schools from 1947-1957. He had worked as a farm labourer prior to his marriage to Lena McKay in 1967. He served as a Band Councillor for 16 years and an Ojibwe Language Instructor for two (2) years. Currently, he enjoys his retirement and sits on the TRCM Council of Elders.
Elder William G. Lathlin is from The Opaskwayak Cree Nation. His first teachers were his parents Liz and George Lathlin and his grandparents are Horace Whitehead and Mary Lathlin. William was raised with three sisters and three brothers in winter camps until he was sent to Prince Albert Residential School, where he attended from 1950-1954. He obtained a Grade 7 education. He married Myra Personius and raised 5 children. He sponsored his own Diploma in Business Management, He served a Band Councillor for Opaskwayak Cree Nation for 24 years from 1974 to 1997 and served as Chief of Opaskwayak Cree Nation for one term 1997-1999. William was committed to improvement matters of health, education, economic and social development for Opaskwayak. He currently involves himself with youth issues by promoting education and teaches at the school when he is asked. William is currently developing a land based/traditional teachings program for disengaged youth in his community.
Elder D’Arcy Linklater (Wapiskiw-Ma’inkan from the Ma’inkan Clan) is from Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation (NCN). He was raised by his grandparents who taught him to live openly like the water and the river to experience life to the fullest. His great grandfather was Pierre Moose the Chief who made the Adhesion to Treaty #5 with the Crown in Nelson House on July 30, 1908. Elder Linklater has worked as a trapper, fisherman, hunter and miner. Elder Linklater served as Executive Director for his Cree Nation and an elected leader for over fifteen years. Elder Linklater has a keen interest in justice and equal rights for his people. He continues to work tirelessly for his people with the aim of combating injustices and poverty. He seeks sustainable ways to use the natural resources in a way that will provide meaningful opportunity for First Nations people while at the same time providing the protection and respect for the land.
Elder Joe Hyslop (Treaty 10) is from the Northlands Denesuline First Nation. His late father was Chief for 27 years for the Barren Lands Band. He is fluent in his first language of Dene and is grateful and continues to cherish his early formative years of education that he credits to his parents and grandfather, the late Donald Tssassaze Sr. Joe went to the Guy Hill Residential School for seven years in The Pas. He worked as a Welfare Administrator for the Barren Lands First Nation and from 1993 to 2010, he entered First Nation politics and served as Councillor and two terms as Chief. As well, he has been involved with the North of 60 Negotiations Team from 1999 and continues to assist.
Elder Doris Pratt is from Wikoza Wakpa (Sioux Valley Dakota Nation),she has dedicated her life to revitalizing and preserving the Dakota Language for the benefit of this vibrant and resurging culture, which she has shared with her three daughters and three sons, encouraging them always to take pride in the gifts of the Dakota language and culture. Elder Pratt earned her Masters in Education from Brandon University and holds an Educational Specialist Degree from the University of Arizona. Elder Pratt has developed a wide range of Dakota Language related materials for classroom and/or home education, including materials that range from the Primary School Level to Senior Advanced Studies in the Dakota Language.