Early in the NWMO's mandate, we reached out to Aboriginal people, organizations, and communities to better understand Indigenous Knowledge, and how it might inform and become an integral part of our work. We invited recognized Aboriginal organizations to recommend to the NWMO two Elders to sit on a group that would provide wisdom and advice in engaging with Aboriginal peoples as our process evolved.

The Elders Forum was formed in 2005 and met each year until 2012. It has since been replaced by the Council of Elders. It was made up of First Nation, Métis, and Inuit members who represented a broad range of interests, including:

  • Aboriginal communications
  • Indigenous Knowledge
  • Community development
  • Community protocols
  • Cultural life of the community and relationships
  • Health and welfare
  • Political affairs
  • Treaty and historical relationships
  • Youth interests

Each Elder was also invited to ask a young person to attend the Forum, to act as a support and to learn from Elders in the discussions with the NWMO. The goal was to promote intergenerational learning, which we believe is essential to the long-term nature of our work.

Mission Statement

Protect and preserve all creation: air, land, fire, water, plants, medicines, animals and humankind – guided by the seven universal teachings of love, trust, sharing, honesty, humility, respect and wisdom.

Members of the Elders Forum


Eli Angiyhou (Akulivik, QC)

Donna Augustine (Rexton, NB)

John Boyce (Eabamet Lake, ON)

Elmer Courchene (Pine Falls, MB)

Jean Courchene (Pine Falls, MB)

Francis Dumais (Bonnyville, AB)

Jim Favel (Ile-a-la-Crosse, SK)

Bill Flett (Selkirk, MB)

Angus Gardiner (Ile-a-la-Crosse, SK)

Vianney Laliberte (Ile-a-la-Crosse, SK)

Josephine Mandamin (Thunder Bay, ON)

Thomas Mattinas, Sr. (Thunder Bay, ON)

Micheal McGuire (Thunder Bay, ON)

Madeline Meeseetawageesic (Eabamet Lake, ON)

Joseph Poitras (Scarborough, ON)

Jim Sinclair (Regina Beach, SK)

Roland St. Germain (Owen Sound, ON)

Billy Two Rivers (Kahnawake, QC)

Gordon Williams (Orleans, ON)


Lindsay Amahoose (Bonnyville, AB)

Tanisha Augustine (Rexton, NB)

Roy Bois (Eabamet Lake, ON)

Jimmy Favel (Ile-a-la-Crosse, SK)

Lance Gardiner (Ile-a-la-Crosse, SK)

Helen Jacob (Eabamet Lake, ON)

Tasha Kaye (Winnipeg, MB)

Amber Laliberte (Ile-a-la-Crosse, SK)

Mary Magiskan (Thunder Bay, ON)

Veronica McGuire (Thunder Bay, ON)

Melanie Nepinak (Winnipeg, MB)

Krista Peterson (Fredericton, NB)

Jennifer Prisciak (Barrie, ON)

Anna Novalinga (Puvirnituq, QC)

Members of the Elders Forum were not at the Forum as representatives of the recommending organization. Rather, they were asked to offer insight and wisdom as individuals.

Elders Forum Meeting Reports

The Elders Forum was part of an ongoing dialogue between First Nation and Métis communities and the NWMO. This dialogue took place between 2005 and 2012. Elders shared advice on how to engage with Aboriginal communities, better understand Aboriginal cultures and apply traditional knowledge to Adaptive Phased Management. The Elders Forum reports share the history of these discussions.

All Elders Forum meeting reports are listed below, with one exception. Elders Forum Meeting 8 met in camera in October 2010, and no written report of proceedings was provided to the NWMO for posting. A verbal debriefing was provided to the NWMO by Elders Forum members, including the need to restructure the Elders Forum and initial thoughts on how best to proceed. These ideas were reflected in material that was jointly developed with members of the Elders Forum. That material was the foundation for the restructuring documents presented and discussed at Elders Forum 9 and Elders Forum 10.