Niigani was formed in early 2007 as the Working Group of the Elders Forum. It was made up of 12 members chosen from the membership of the Elders Forum. The group worked with the NWMO between meetings of the Elders Forum to foster a greater understanding of Canada's Aboriginal peoples.

Niigani provided cultural training sessions for NWMO members and actively participated with the NWMO when requested to provide briefings with Aboriginal organizations and communities. Niigani and Elders Forum members were also instrumental in the design of the two summer projects conducted with Aboriginal students.

The word Niigani means "leading the way" and represents all people working together. It was the wish of Niigani to work collaboratively with the NWMO, incorporating both Aboriginal and western world views in the long-term management of used nuclear fuel.

The Niigani logo depicts geese in flight and was given to Niigani in a ceremony during which both Niigani’s name and the logo representing Niigani’s work were given to one of the Niigani Elders. Artwork to represent this logo was commissioned through Kevin Belmore, an Ojibwe artist from Thunder Bay, Ontario. The logo of geese flying in formation behind a lead goose represents all people working together to find solutions.

Members of Niigani


Chair: Gordon Williams (Orleans, ON)

Donna Augustine (Rexton, NB)

Thomas Mattinas, Sr. (Thunder Bay, ON)

Micheal McGuire (Thunder Bay, ON)

Jim Sinclair (Regina Beach, SK)


Tanisha Augustine (Rexton, NB)

Mary Magiskan (Thunder Bay, ON)

Krista Peterson (Fredericton, NB)

Secretary/Facilitator: Chris Lafontaine

Niigani Newsletters

Together with the NWMO, Niigani published a newsletter from June 2008 to June 2011 outlining its work with the NWMO. It was designed to keep Elders Forum members aware in between meetings of the progress of the NWMO's work, and the initiatives in which Niigani assisted the NWMO.