AMC Executive Council of Chiefs

The Executive Council of Chiefs (ECC) receives its mandate from the AMC Constitution and via Chiefs-in-Assembly certified resolutions. The ECC is a source of authority between Assemblies and typically includes at a minimum; the Grand Chief, five Chiefs selected by northern First Nations, and five Chiefs selected by southern First Nations.

The Executive Council of Chiefs:

  • Deliberates and provides a record of decisions on a range of issues as mandated by the various resolutions passed at our Chiefs Assemblies;
  • Acts as the body to vote on resolutions that get carried over from the various Assemblies that, due to time constraints, are not passed at those meetings; and
  • Maintains linkages to AMC-mandated organizations by issuing a call-for-names process to fill vacant Board of Director positions.

As of 2023, the membership of the ECC is as follows:

  • Grand Chief Cathy Merrick, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs


  • Interim Regional Chief Sheldon Kent
  • Chief Betsy Kennedy, War Lake First Nation
  • Chief Cornell McLean, Lake Manitoba First Nation, Interlake Reserve Tribal Council
  • Chief Jason Daniels, Swan Lake First Nation, Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council
  • Chief Derek Nepinak, Minegoziibe Anishinabe (Pine Creek First Nation), West Region Tribal Council
  • Chief Gordon Bluesky, Brokenhead Ojibway Nation, SouthEast Resource Development Corporation
  • Chief David Crate, Fisher River Cree Nation
  • Chief EJ Fontaine, Sagkeeng First Nation
  • Chief Murray Clearsky, Waywayseecappo First Nation
  • Grand Chief Scott Harper, Anishininew Okimawin
  • Grand Chief Walter Wastesicoot, Keewatin Tribal Council
  • Chief Elwood Zastre, Wuskwi Sipihk First Nation
  • Chief Angela Levasseur, Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation
  • Chief Larson Anderson, Norway House Cree Nation
  • Chief Shirley Ducharme, O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation
  • Chief David Monias, Pimicikamak Cree Nation

AMC Council of Elders, Grandmothers, Knowledge Keepers

AMC Council of Elders, Grandmothers, Knowledge Keepers:

  • Florence Paynter, Sandy Bay First Nation Treaty 1
  • Harry Bone, Keeseekoowenin Ojibway First Nation, Treaty 2
  • Sherry Copenace, Ojibways of Onigaming First Nation, Treaty 3
  • James Cote, Waywayseecappo First Nation, Treaty 4
  • William Lathlin, Opaskwayak Cree Nation, Treaty 5
  • Jonathan Flett, St. Theresa Point First Nation, Treaty 5 Adhesion
  • Katherine Whitecloud, Sioux Valley Dakota Nation

The Elders Declaration

The Elders’ Declaration was convened at the Turtle Lodge on March 27, 2013. This Declaration covers Elder duties according to the Cree, Anishinabe, Denesuline, Dakota, and Oji-Cree people. It is a Declaration of unity and a call to First Nations to uphold our Natural Laws, appealing to leadership and Elders within the province of Manitoba.

“We respect Motherhood as the foundation of Nationhood. We are guided by the sacred laws and ceremonies given to us by the Great Spirit; committed to practice, preserve, and uphold the spiritual relationship with the land and dedicated to the future for our children… for Seven Generations and beyond – as long as the sun shines, the grass grows and the water flows.”

Excerpt from The Elders Declaration

In a Spirit of Unity:

Our Elder Duty is to empower the voice of the Land, the Spirit of our Ancestors, and the People that
will preserve the Spirit of the Water, the Land including the Fire and Wind, and all Living Beings; and

Our Elder Duty is to empower the Leaders of their spiritual responsibility to the People and the Land.

We declare that:

The Indigenous Peoples of Our Land are the stewards of Our Land, which we do not own but owe our existence to; We all belong to the Land and it provides spiritual nutrition for a Good Life.

It is Our Intention to live a way of life that will be visible by clean water, abundant land, thriving
animals and sovereign People inspired to follow the laws that the Great Spirit has given us.

Read the full pdf of the Elder declaration

AMC Women’s Council

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Women’s Council continues to work to advance the well-being of women, children, families and communities. This includes numerous issues such as: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit people; human trafficking; stopping the sexual exploitation of children, girls and women; child welfare; domestic violence; and gender equity.

It is essential that women re-occupy a sacred place in our families, communities and nations and has a strong leadership role within the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs through the AMC Women’s Council.

We look forward to Manitoba First Nations leaders’ continued support on First Nations women’s contributions in resolving issues affecting all First Nations people to ensure healthy and strong individuals, families and nations. This support includes working with the AMC’s Grandmothers Council.

The AMC Women’s Council has ten members, they are:

  • Chief Betsy Kennedy (Chair), War Lake First Nation
  • Chief Heidi Cook (Co-Chair), Misipawistik Cree Nation
  • Chief Angela Levasseur, Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation
  • Chief Shirley Ducharme, O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation
  • Chief Maureen Brown, Opaskweyak Cree Nation
  • Chief Taralee Beardy, Tataskweyak Cree Nation
  • Councillor Sophie Lockhart, Fox Lake Cree Nation
  • Councillor Cindy McKay, Pine Creek First Nation

Chief Betsy Kennedy (Chair)

War Lake First Nation

Chief Taralee Beardy

Tataskweyak Cree Nation

Chief Shirley Ducharme

O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation

Chief Heidi Cook

Misipawistik Cree Nation

Chief Maureen Brown

Opaskwayak Cree Nation

Chief Angela Levasseur

Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation

Councillor Sophie Lockhart

Fox Lake Cree Nation

Councillor Cindy McKay

Minegoziibe Anishinabe (Pine Creek First Nation)

AMC Grandmothers Council

In 2017, at the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs’ Special Chiefs Assembly on Child and Family Services, the AMC Women’s Council and the Chiefs Task Force on Child and Family Matters recommended amending the AMC Constitution to include a Grandmothers Council.

The Grandmothers Council reclaims the significant role grandmothers have played within our First Nations to share teachings with Manitoba First Nations leadership and communities and to take back responsibility for teaching our children, youth, young mothers, young fathers and parents.

Ammended Article 21 of the AMC Constitution to create a Grandmothers Council:

  1. The Grandmothers Council shall consist of Grandmothers representative of the First Nations in Manitoba.
  2. The size and membership of the Grandmothers Council will be determined by the Executive Council of Chiefs and based on the advice of the Grandmothers.
  3. The Grandmothers Council will select a representative who will assist in Assemblies. Executive meetings and Special Assemblies.
  4. The Grandmothers Council will be called upon to provide advice and functional guidance to the Chiefs-in-Assembly.
  5. The Grandmothers Council may make recommendations to the Executive Council and to the Assembly of Chiefs-in-Assembly.

Grandmothers Statement:

The gift of creation, gifted to Women by our Creator, a shared blessing and a responsibility, a responsibility to care for, love and teach our children and grandchildren. Teachings provided by our Creator and our Mother Earth that can only be taught by our Mother.

“We all have a sacred responsibility to take care of and make an alliance with Mother Earth. We are a peaceful people. We are not asking for anything for ourselves. The human being was the last part of creation to be created. It is our spiritual responsibility to take care of that life.”

Excerpt from The Great Binding Law

View Igichi Tibakonigaywin, Kihche Othasowewin, Tako Wakan: The Great Binding Law here.

Manitoba First Nation Youth Council

This year, we are pleased to embark on the revival of a Manitoba First Nations Youth Council by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs! This Council initiative stems from a resolution passed by Chiefs at an Assembly in Dakota Tipi First Nations, marking a monumental step forward. After a brief hiatus, we’re excited to re-establish this Provincial First Nation Youth Council, providing a stronger platform for us to raise our voices and enact meaningful change.

On March 26, 2024 we held an election in Manitoba, introducing 14 Candidates from First Nations across Manitoba. On April 3, 2024, we announced the winners:

North Youth Leader:
Hunter Beardy

York Factory First Nation

Hunter Beardy, a 23-year-old member of the York Factory First Nation residing in Thompson, northern Manitoba, possesses a profound interest in First Nations Governance and treaties, a fascination that took root during his high school years. As he delved deeper into his people’s history, his commitment to understanding and preserving their culture strengthened, leading him to actively work towards decolonization from Eurocentric perspectives and embracing the narratives shared by First Nations knowledge keepers.

Reclaiming his Cree language has been a pivotal aspect of Hunter’s journey, guided by the wisdom passed down by his grandparents. He is deeply dedicated to advocating for the well-being of youth in Manitoba, emphasizing mental health, language revitalization, traditional practices, and addressing social needs, particularly within First Nations.

Hunter finds immense value in connecting with the land and learning from the diverse peoples and cultures across Manitoba. His overarching goal is to empower youth by fostering mutual support and amplifying their voices while advocating for their collective needs and interests.

South Youth Leader: Jazmyn-Rae Desjarlais

South Youth Leader:
Jazmyn-Rae Desjarlais

Brokenhead Ojibway Nation

Jazmyn-Rae Desjarlais, a proud Ojibway woman from Brokenhead Ojibway Nation, embodies the essence of a leader with an old soul and a youthful spirit. With diverse experience in health transformation, food sovereignty/agriculture, and program development, her mission is to create holistic, safe spaces for all generations within Manitoba communities. These spaces are envisioned as environments of acceptance, growth, and unity in diversity.

As a high-calibre athlete and experienced sports educator across Manitoba, Jazmyn-Rae is passionate about fostering a sense of belonging through movement. She sees movement as a transformative force, offering younger generations opportunities to embrace their truths and express themselves positively and bravely.

Her drive to create such safe spaces stems from her own upbringing. Growing up in her community, she lacked healthy outlets and mentors for guidance. Thus, it is her ongoing goal to pave the way for the next generation, advocating for their voices to be heard in a safe and respectful environment, allowing them to reclaim their truths and flourish in their purpose.

In addition to our Youth Leaders, we are pleased to welcome the following Council Members:

Representing the North:

  • Julianna Albert, Norway House Cree Nation
  • Tim Folster, Norway House Cree Nation

Representing the South:

  • Shelby Sinclair, Pinaymootang First Nation
  • Keaton Thomas-Sinclair, Mosakahiken Cree Nation

Congratulations to our elected Youth Leaders! Your dedication, passion, and commitment to serving our First Nations are truly inspiring. We have every confidence that under your Leadership, we will continue to advocate for the rights and interests of our youth and create positive change in our Nations.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the election process, whether as candidates or voters. Your engagement and support are invaluable as we work together to build a brighter future for our Youth.