Summer Students

Education and mentorship play a large role in the core activities of Wa Ni Ska Tan. The Alliance employs community youth and undergraduate students from partner institutions. Students play a large role in our work by providing new perspectives, research assistance, and project coordination.



Summer 2016

Our 2016 summer students were focused on getting our first annual youth camp in Norway House up and running, which was a monumental task!

Brianna Delaney

Brianna Delaney worked to develop a photo voice project for the youth camp, created the youth camp t-shirts, and assisted in the creation of the youth camp schedule, registration, and event planning. She created and facilitated the photo voice presentation at the camp and taught the youth how to use the cameras distributed at the camp. The projects’ aim was to have participants document their experiences in Norway House during the youth camp and their perspectives of hydro impacts in the community. They were then invited to continue the project in their own communities, documenting the impacts of hydro on their lives in both Norway House and their own communities.

Lysette Neckoway

Lysette Neckoway was a summer student in 2016. She worked on planning our first youth camp, that took place in Norway House. Lysette focused on creating the youth camp schedule, contacting community members, and coordinating youth, elder and chaperone attendance. At the camp, Lysette accompanied youth in the sweat lodge and led a beading workshop. She shared her experiences and stories with the youth about Hydro impacts and aboriginal spirituality.  She worked diligently on the post camp evaluation, determining what went well and providing recommendations to improve future youth camps.

Megan Cromarty

Megan Cromarty, a community youth from Norway House, worked closely with Wa Ni Ska Tan staff to coordinate the youth camp in Norway House. Her community knowledge and enthusiasm was crucial to the camp’s success. Megan worked tirelessly to find camp cooks, security, elders, and presenters for the youth camp. Megan spent months coordinating camp logistics and continued to help with youth camp activities between her own York Boat races and other competitions that were taking place that same week in the community.

Rayanna Seymour

Rayanna Seymour worked as a Research Assistant on Professor Aimée Craft’s project, Anishinaabe Nibi Inaakenogewin (water law). Over the summer, she organized the project, which started in 2012. She created a cohesive digital filing system that matched on paper. As this project is based on elders’ gatherings, Rayanna also transcribed the audio and hand-written notes from the gatherings. In addition, she researched Anishinaabe water law and/or water stories, creating an annotated bibliography for Prof. Craft. Throughout the summer, Rayanna took note of the different research themes that kept arising throughout her research and wrote a “reflection piece” at the end of the summer for Prof. Craft outlining these themes with summaries of the stories and teachings that fell under each theme.

Summer 2017

Our 2017 summer students worked on a variety of projects including organizing our youth camp, archiving and documentation, communications, and water quality sampling.

Cody Blacksmith

Cody Blacksmith is a 25 year old Winnipeg based filmmaker. He originally emerged from the swampy lands of Pimicikamak Cree Nation, also known as Cross Lake, Manitoba. He studied film at the University of Winnipeg. Cody earned his Bachelor of Arts in film in 2016. Cody is a current member of the Winnipeg Aboriginal Filmmakers Collective.

Cody spent this past summer working with youth and the community of his original home, Cross Lake, through a documentary training program under the supervision of Aaron Goldman. Cody attended the Spring Gathering in Norway House along with his Grandfather Jackson Osborne, Aaron and various youth from Cross Lake.  He worked with Aaron during Cross Lake’s Indian and Treaty Days and helped capture through film traditional and modern activities to share with the people of the present and future, as well as people outside of the community.

Ema Coleman

Ema Coleman, a visiting International Studies student from Indiana University worked on a variety of projects as a summer student in 2017. In addition to assisting with the Nelson House youth camp coordination, she handled logistics around accommodations and transportation for our spring gathering in Norway House. Ema reviewed the audio transcripts from our previous gatherings, pulling out themes and valuable information to use in future events, meetings, and research. She also read through and analyzed new research proposals, producing simplified summaries for our various communications.

Emily Unger

Emily Unger worked on various communications projects as a summer student in 2017. She worked with Ema Coleman on coordinating logistics for the Nelson House Youth Camp, and together they also developed Who’s Got the Power? (formerly known as Let’s Build A Dam), a role playing game that allows youth to learn about the impacts of hydro development. She took photos for our annual spring gathering and youth camp, and worked on our post event evaluations. Emily also assisted in the development of our calendar, and has been working on a variety of projects on our website.

Hasini Fernando

Hasini Fernando moved from Sri Lanka to study Environmental Chemistry at the University of Manitoba. She is passionate about water research and began working with Wa Ni Ska Tan this past summer. She started a community based project with Tataskweyak Cree Nation (Split Lake) focused on keeping a record of water quality in the lake and a few houses over the course of two years. She collected samples from various houses and the lake. Hasini is planning another visit to train TCN youth on the procedures of sample collection. Under Dr. Stéphane McLachlan’s guidance, she is working on documenting her research regarding northern communities’ water quality and analyzing the data over two years.  


Maddie Soldier

Mary Louise Soldier, also known as Maddie is from Swan Lake First Nation. She is  currently attending the University of Manitoba, in their University 1 program, and plans on taking Environmental Sciences in the future. For the summer of 2017 she worked with Dr. Jarvis Brownlie and graduate student Erin Yaremko on oral history research, which gave her the opportunity to go up north to South Indian Lake for the first time.

Robin Neckoway

Robin Neckoway worked under the supervision of Prof. Jarvis Brownlie to contribute to the archiving and documentation project for Wa Ni Ska Tan. Over the summer he created an inventory of oral interviews already completed with community members. Robin also worked to produce summaries of interview content and subjects addressed in the interviews. He created an archive and summary of internet transcripts of submissions at the public inquiries into Hydro by the CEC and PUB, especially those from community members, but also from academics associated with Wa Ni Ska Tan. Robin also began to canvass existing oral history projects held at the Manitoba Archives and the Oral History Centre at the University of Winnipeg.

Summer 2018

Our 2018 summer students worked on a variety of projects including preparing for the National Energy board hearings on MMTP, organizing events, archiving and documentation, communications, and filmmaking.

Kseniya Zaika

Originally from Belarus, Kseniya Zaika is an international scholar in global political history with a focus on marginalized national identities. She defended her Ph.D. in Political Science in Moscow with the expertise in Canadian Studies. Being a new comer to Canada, Kseniya is taking M.A. program in Native Studies at the University of Manitoba, which turned upside down her perspective on Canadian state and led to understand the structural similarities in assimilationist policies of Modernity. Kseniya worked with Wa Ni Ska Tan researchers and partners to compile, research, and prepare for National Energy Board hearings on the Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project.

Bobbie Mang’eli

Bobbie Mang’eli was a co-op student with us this summer. She worked on defining set goals and strategies for the existing Communication Strategy. She also reviewed transcripts and worked on the upcoming Voices of Resistance project and the upcoming Swan Lake First Nation’s community based monitoring project. The long term goal of the community monitoring project is to promote ‘capacity exchange’ where communities and researchers work together to share the knowledge each of the groups have, and  to have the research done in communities driven by members of the communities who live in them, using their knowledge to identify environmental issues and monitor them scientifically. She is happy to have had all the opportunities to travel and see Manitoba but more importantly to meet people, interact with them and learn from them.

Carrington Houser

Carrington Houser was a graduate student summer intern from Indiana University studying international studies and climate change. He mainly worked on developing and refining our interactive game that focuses on showing the effects of hydro development on Indigenous communities. He also worked on press releases, communication, outreach, and planning for David Bighetty’s walk for Granville Lake, as well as covering the NEB Hearings that took place in June. He is beyond grateful for the opportunity to have visited Canada, travel, and work alongside the people at Wa Ni Ska Tan. He is also grateful to have had the opportunity to interact with the Indigenous peoples of Manitoba to not only hear their stories, but also to learn about their practices and customs.

Katie Yegorov-Crate (Volunteer)

Katie was a summer student volunteer with Wa Ni Ska Tan and spent most of her time collaborating on the organization of David Bighetty’s awareness walk “Walk for Granville Lake”. She assisted in interviewing Bighetty and capturing film footage for the in-the-works documentary project “Voices of Resistance”. She also helped in writing letters to publicize Bighetty’s “Walk for Granville Lake” and helped at Wa Ni Ska Tan’s booth at the West Broadway Farmers’ Market. Additionally, Katie worked on culling through transcripts from Indigenous community gatherings, panels, and discussions Wa Ni Ska Tan has previously been involved in, selecting quotes and highlighting themes of resilience and resistance for the project.
Highlights of Katie’s summer were volunteering at and attending the 2018 Indigenous Food Sovereignty Summit and traveling north to Thompson and Leaf Rapids.

Summer 2019

Our 2019 summer students worked on and helped with a variety of projects including environmental policy reviews, Public Utilities Board awareness campaigns, Ki Ta Ski Naw conference planning and Kis Kin Ha Ma Ki Win Science camp volunteering.

Karlee Lemus

Karlee Lemus was a co-op student through the Environmental Studies program at the University of Manitoba. Her focus is on policy & law and biology and would in the future, she seeks to pursue a career as an environmental lawyer, focusing primarily on the relationships between Indigenous people and the land. Over the summer she carried out environmental policy reviews in the hopes of compiling plain language versions of policies. She also helped with the Kis Kin Ha Ma Ki Win camps providing volunteer support throughout the summer. Her highlight over the summer was encouraging Indigenous youth to build a stronger relationship within their community incorporating land, water and cultural teachings.

Mathew Scammel

Mathew is currently an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Global Political Economy, after first finishing a degree in Environmental Science. He has been working with Wa Ni Ska Tan since the summer of 2019 and has worked on various projects such as an archiving project in Grand Rapids, organizing for the conference in Fall 2019, and producing promotional material for Wa Ni Ska Tan. Mathew is especially interested in how environmental and social justice have been affected by hydro development in Manitoba, and plans to continue studying this at university.

Summer 2020

Our 2020 summer students worked on and helped with a variety of projects including identifying green-washing and highlighting feasibility of alternative energy and developing learning modules for Kis Kin Ha Ma Ki Win Science camps.

Cliff Dano

Cliff Dano is currently a second year undergraduate student in the University of Manitoba’s Engineering Access Program (ENGAP). He has been working with Wa Ni Ska Tan since summer 2020 in the role of Energy Alternatives Research Assistant. He has a background in Electrical Engineering Technology, graduating with a diploma from Red River College in 2010 and has worked in the power distribution & technical service industry for 6 years. Cliff is a band member of the Fisher River Cree Nation and is of Ojibwe, Cree & Lithuanian descent. Raised on the Waterhen River, Cliff developed his passion for the outdoors while spending time on the land and ice fishing with his father. In his free time, he also enjoys reading, self-care practices and spending time with family & friends.

Jessica Bound

Jessica Bound is an M.A. student in the faculty of English, Film, Theatre and Media at the University of Manitoba. She received her B.A. (Hons.) from the University of Manitoba in June 2018 and is currently working on her SSHRC-funded creative writing thesis under the supervision of Dr. Warren Cariou. Jessica has been working with Wa Ni Ska Tan since summer 2020 as a student research assistant for the Energy Alternatives subcommittee, which has her gathering information on the different types of alternative energy projects that are currently being developed in various Indigenous communities across the globe. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys reading, playing video games, and attending music festivals.

Jade Hamelin

Hello, my given name is Jade Hamelin, and my spirit name is The Looking Through White Wolf Woman. I’m from Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation, and I’m currently an undergraduate student at the University of Winnipeg. I’m currently in the Integrated Education Program working towards a Bachelor of Science and Education, with a major in biology. In the future, I would like to become a teacher who is able to incorporate land teachings to my students that will help them make deeper connections to the material, indigenous culture, and also with Mother Earth. In my free time, I love any activity that can be done outdoors, especially running and hiking. My love for nature has motivated me to learn more about sustainability and practice it in my everyday life. As an Indigenous person from a hydro impacted First Nation, I hope to help create more awareness for environmental injustice facing indigenous peoples in our own communities and be a part of the solution.

Summer 2022

Our summer 2022 students at the University of Manitoba, explored a range of topics including the impacts of hydropower production, the health and environmental impacts of hydro dams, and the intersection of Indigenous rights and environmental justice.  These diverse research projects demonstrate the wide-ranging significance of issues related to sustainability, Indigenous rights, and environmental justice.

Gerald Beta

Gerald is an environmental masters student at the University of Manitoba, his research is on the impacts of hydro dams on the health and environment of northern Manitoba communities. Working with the Wa Ni Ska Tan alliance, Gerald uses GIS and remote sensing to study the pre and post-flooding events at South Indian Lake and Split Lake.

Summer Student Focus: Exploring the Health and Environmental Impacts of Hydro Dams in Manitoba

Soumik Simanto

Soumic’s research is on the impacts that hydropower production has on Indigenous communities in northern Manitoba and Bangladesh. As a fourth year undergraduate student at the University of Manitoba, Soumic is dedicated to identifying the issues related to hydropower production and finding solutions for sustainable development.

Summer Student Focus - Sustainable development and hydropower

Amy Cherpako

 Amy is a graduate student in the University of Manitoba’s master of human rights program. Her research is on the intersection of Indigenous rights and environmental justice. With a focus on legal personhood, indigenous knowledge revitalization, and participatory community development, Amy’s work examines the connections between diverse Indigenous perceptions of the natural world and legal rights for natural entities. During her practicum placement with Wa Ni Ska Tan, Amy explores these concepts in the context of Indigenous communities in northern Manitoba.

Summer Student Focus: Exploring the Intersection of Indigenous Rights and Environmental Justice

Bobbie Mangeli

Bobbie is an international graduate student from Kenya. Her research is on the federally funded land guardians program. Bobbie’s work focuses on building bridges between communities who have yet to join the program and those who are already a part of it, facilitating the exchange of knowledge and experiences.

Summer Student Focus: Examining Indigenous Land Conservation methods

Summer 2023

Our summer 2023 students at the University of Manitoba,

Andrea recently graduated with a Bachelor of Environmental Science from the University of Manitoba. She first worked with Wa Ni Ska Tan in 2019, where she studied the greenwashing of Canadian hydroelectricity. Since then, she has developed an awareness for a broad range of environmental justice issues. She is now reviewing the distribution of toxic landscapes to evaluate and help address environmental racism in Canada, and intends to continue working towards justice by pursuing a career in law.