Board of Directors
Paul is of Anishinaabe and European ancestry, with roots in Manitoulin Island. Paul is a member of Wikwemikong Unceded Territory, which is part of the Three Fires Confederacy of Ojibwe, Odawa and Potawatomi tribes. Paul was born and raised in Thunder Bay, ON and belongs to the Bear Clan. Paul currently works at St. Joseph’s Care Group as its first Director of Indigenous Relations and recently starting a private practice, Shkode Mkwa Counselling. Paul is a graduate of Leadership Thunder Bay class of 2011 and also served on the board of directors, and was instrumental in visioning and developing the Di-No Wi-GEHMIN Aboriginal Youth Leadership Program.
Bryanna Scott-Kay is a Metis woman born and raised in Fort Frances, ON. Bryanna moved to Thunder Bay several years ago to pursue post-secondary studies and now has a BA in Sociology, an Honours Degree in Social Work and a Master's Degree in Public Health. Bryanna is currently employed at Lakehead University in the Faculty of Education as the Indigenous Education Programs Coordinator, where she is also a Ph.D. candidate. Bryanna has a twelve-year-old daughter, Lily; a Red Rock Band Member.
Shelby Gagnon is an Anishinaabe artist and member of Aroland First Nation, who grew up in Thunder Bay. Shelby is a graduate of Lakehead University in the Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts program where she explored the culture and traditions of being an Indigenous woman in Canada. Through involvement with community-engaged arts organizations and projects, she uses multi-disciplinary mediums to express and share her holistic feelings. Currently, she is working with Canadian Roots Exchange as a community animator and Thunder Bay District health unit and university working to build food sovereignty in northwestern Ontario.
Megan Clark is a recent HBSc Psychology graduate from Lakehead University. She completed a honours thesis and is well versed in research. She was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and holds status with the Manitoba Métis Federation. She moved to Thunder Bay ten years ago to help her ailing grandmother with Alzheimer’s disease. This experience inspired her to pursue psychiatry, and she has recently applied to medical school and physician’s assistant programs. Megan is also a pharmacy assistant, member of the Canadian Ski Patrol, and standardized patient, committed to the health and well-being of this community.
Annette is of Anishinaabe, Hungarian and French ancestry. Her ancestral lands are Pawgwasheeng Pays Plat First Nation, a small First Nation community in the bundaries of the Robinson Superior Treaty. Annette was born and raised in Thunder Bay. Annette is on a journey to live a more cultural and traditional life with her husband and two daughters. Through self discovery of her Anishinaabe traditions, she continues to explore and understand her ancestral ways.
Frances Wesley, originally from Long Lac, ON lived in Ottawa, Toronto, and various other places in Ontario prior to moving permanently to Thunder Bay in 1983 with her two sons. While attending Confederation College she took Early Childhood Education and Community Development which launched her into a lifetime of community development work including the establishment of the Indigenous People’s Court in Thunder Bay, and the Urban Aboriginal Strategy, which is the roots of Shkoday’s Biwaase’aa program. Frances had a dream of bringing hundreds of hand drummers together to bring healing to missing and murdered Indigenous women, youth and their families. That dream was realized on Mother’s Day May 2016 when more than 500 drummers came together at Waverly Park in Thunder Bay and marched downtown.
Sarah Nelson's main focus in her career has been enhancing the lives of Youth and encouraging them to speak out. As the Youth Social Infrastructure (YSI) northwest lead, Sarah provided the opportunity for youth to enhance their skills through training, coaching and practice opportunities. Sarah’s other past community work has the common thread of uplifting the voices of Indigenous youth and whole communities, including with the Feathers of Hope as a Youth Amplifier and with the Thunder Bay Urban Aboriginal Strategy organizing community engagements and interviews which informed the 2012-2017 Urban Aboriginal Strategy, as well as working for Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund, to determine best practices to engage with community about their programs and services. She has also volunteered with the Canadian Roots Exchange as a Reconciliation Leader providing the opportunity for Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth to come together and learn about decolonization by facilitating the Blanket Exercise and organizing and leading trips to visit Indigenous communities.
Diane Walker is the CEO of Children’s Centre Thunder Bay (CCTB). She has worked for CCTB in a variety of management roles since 1989. Diane is a non-Indigenous person who grew up in a small community outside of Hamilton, Ontario. She moved to Thunder Bay in 1979 to attend Lakehead University and chose to remain after she finished her education. Diane has many years of experience working in children’s services, education and leadership. Her current interests include social justice, governance structures and continuous quality improvement. Diane is most content when she is learning, contributing to positive change, enjoying nature and spending time with family and her two poodles – Cambria and Oliver. In response to Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recommendations and in the spirit of reconciliation, Shkoday changed our bylaws in 2019 to include a limited number of non-Indigenous people as Directors. Shkoday is happy to welcome Diane to our Board of Directors for 2020 and beyond.
Jason Thompson is a proud member of the Red Rock Indian Band. He was born and raised in Lake Helen Reserve community until he moved away for work, in Ear Falls and Thunder Bay. Jason is a graduate of Confederation College in Thunder Bay, with a degree in Human Resource Management, and a founding board member of the Anishnawbe Business Professional Association. Jason currently works at Superior Strategies Supply and Service, a locally owned business founded and operated by himself. Jason has a passion for health and safety, and has taken part in various health and safety courses over the years.
Lana Ray, PhD is an Anishinaabe scholar and from Opwaaganasiniing (Red Rock Indian Band). Her Anishinaabe name is Waaskone Giizhigook and she is a member of the Muskellunge Clan. Lana is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Indigenous Learning at Lakehead University and Lakehead University’s inaugural Indigenous Research Chair in Decolonial Futures. She has over a decade of experience working in the public and not-for profit sectors, including as the Director of Policy and Research at a provincial Indigenous organization. She recently received the emerging Indigenous scholar award at the International Conference on Qualitative Inquiry and is a past recipient of Lakehead University’s teaching innovation award for land-based learning.
Elizabeth (Betty) Kennedy
Betty is of Ojibway and Irish descent and is a member of the Anishinabek Nation. Her home community is Lake Helen First Nation. She was given her Spirit Name in ceremony “Minoweginiwaa” which, when translated means “Good Sounding Woman”. Betty is a graduate of Confederation College and Lakehead University and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree and an Honours Bachelor of Social Work Degree. Her forty-year career began with service to Canada in the Canadian Armed Forces. Over the years she was employed in numerous leadership and governance roles for a variety of Federal, Provincial and Community organizations. Betty also served as a member of Thunder Bay City Council for 21 years (1982-2003) and only recently retired with the closure of the Ontario Child Advocates Office. She is a passionate advocate and has dedicated her life and work in service to others.