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Our Team

Directors

Elaine Ho

Dr. Elaine Ho-Tassone

Director of Operations, NORDIK Institute

Elaine holds a PhD from the Social and Ecological Sustainability (Water) program at the University of Waterloo. She is passionate about building bridges between people and organizations, raising social-ecological awareness, and exploring innovative, sustainable solutions for ecological protection or restoration and community development.  In addition to being our Director of Operations, Elaine is also Part-time Faculty at Algoma University, and Researcher-in-Residence for Waterlution (a national, youth and water focused non-profit organization).  A recognized water leader in the Algoma Region, she is an appointee to the City of Sault Ste. Marie’s Canada Water Agency Task Force – a role in which she led a series of community engagement discussions around the potential mandate and location for the Agency.  Elaine is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) as of 2014 and is a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps, having trained with Al Gore (former Vice President of the USA) in 2015. 
 
At the core of Elaine’s project approach is collaboration that results in collective impact, especially in community-based projects. In her experience, collective benefits (e.g., sustainable development) are best achieved by meaningfully working together.  She has collaborated with people from a variety of industries and sectors, e.g., construction, engineering, public education, tourism, natural resource management, renewable energy, academia, government, businesses, non-profit organizations, and community members (Canadian and Indigenous). Elaine has delivered dozens of talks and has designed/delivered workshops in settings that range from small community events and corporate meetings to international conferences. She has provided input on various levels of water policy and research. For example, she contributed to policy briefs at the 2018 High-Level Political Forum and has provided input at the request of Canadian Federal Ministers, the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario, and the planning committee for a national roundtable on community-based water monitoring.  In addition, she has also been a driving force in the growth and development of several social-economic ventures.   In 2019, Elaine’s work was awarded the Our Water – Our Life – Most Valuable Resource Award by the Canadian Water Resources Association. In January 2022, she was recognized with two Algoma Visionary Awards: Environment & Nature, and Professional of the Year.  
 
Research Interests: Environmental monitoring indicators, water quality monitoring and management, collaborative approaches (e.g., co-management, co-created solutions, community-based participatory action research), bridging Western and Indigenous ways of knowing, and sustainable development (e.g., Sustainable Development Goals).

Websitee-h2o.ca

 

Sean Meades

Dr. Sean Meades

Director of Research, NORDIK Institute; Assistant Professor, Department of Community Economic and Social Development, Algoma University

Sean Meades was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland and raised in the small community of Flatrock before relocating to Sault Ste. Marie with his family in 1995.

He completed his B.A. (Hons) in Gender and Women’s Studies and Linguistics at Dalhousie University and M.A. and Ph.D. in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics at York University. His research focuses on political economy of language policy, discourse analysis, cultural and heritage policy, land-use planning and community economic development in northern, rural and Indigenous communities.

After returning to Sault Ste. Marie from Nova Scotia, Meades worked in popular education as an anti-homophobia and safe-sex educator with the Access AIDS Network. He later joined the team at NORDIK first as an intern in 2008. During this time, he took Anishinaabemowin and Anishinaabe Studies courses through Algoma University and Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig, which led to a number of years volunteering and working with Shingwauk Education Trust.

Meades’ community involvement has included work with the LGBT2SQ community, anti-racism and Anishinaabe solidarity causes, cultural policy, and urban sustainability. He is currently the chair of the Cultural Vitality Committee with the City of Sault Ste. Marie and the Social Impact Lead for Algoma Universityʻs involvement in Universities Canadaʻs Social Impact Initiative.

Research Interests: policy studies (particularly cultural policy, language policy, social policy and economic policy), discourse analysis, land-use planning, community economic development, political economy

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Research Associates and Affiliated Faculty

Dr. Pedro Antunes

Professor, Department of Biology, Algoma University 
Canada Research Chair for Invasive Species Biology

Dr. Pedro Antunes is the Canada Research Chair for Invasive Species and a Full Professor in the School of Life Sciences & the Environment at Algoma University. He is the Principal Investigator for the Plant and Soil Ecology Research Group and oversees its laboratory on the Sault Ste. Marie campus of Algoma University. He attained his B.Sc. in Biology at the University of Évora and his PhD in Soil Science from the University of Guelph, and is also currently an Adjunct Professor for the Biology Departments at Queen’s University and Wilfrid Laurier University, as well as the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph. Dr. Antunes also previously served as the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Research Chair in Invasive Species Biology from 2010-2015. He has provided supervision and mentorship to dozens of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Nusrate Aziz

Dr. Nusrate Aziz

Associate Professor, School of Business and Economics, Algoma University

Dr. Aziz is an Associate Professor of Economics in the School of Business and Economics at Algoma University. He is also a Fellow of the Global Labor Organization (GLO) and a Member of the International Migration Research Centre (IMRC). He received his PhD (International Economics & Finance) and MSc (Development Economics) from the University of Birmingham. He has published extensively in leading Economics publications, including World Economy, Applied Economics, International Review of Economics and Finance, Tourism Economics, Defense and Peace Economics, and the Review of Development Economics, among others. His current research interests include labour migration, international trade, international finance, institutional quality, and economic development. He is currently leading two projects on Northern Ontario labour market and Northern Ontario tourism development (funded by SSHRC Institutional Grants).

Research Interests: International trade, international finance, migration, tourism & climate change.

Website: https://sites.google.com/view/nusrate-aziz

Profile of Works

Gayle Broad

Dr. Gayle Broad

Professor Emerita, Department of Community Economic and Social Development, Algoma University

Dr. Gayle Broad is a Research Associate with NORDIK Institute and Associate Professor Emerita in the Community Economic and Social Development (CESD) program at Algoma University. A lifelong resident of Northern Ontario, lifelong learner and community activist, Gayle’s community-based research has a strong inter-disciplinary focus, with the mentoring and training of students, staff and community researchers as a central objective. Her teaching and research collaborations have afforded Dr. Broad with opportunities to learn from and with Indigenous communities and organizations; rural communities in both the North and South; women’s and low-income communities across Canada; and with labour activists.

Research Interests: Northern, Indigenous and rural community development; the social economy; community engagement and resilience; social, economic and environmental justice; public legal education; and community-based and Indigenous research methods and ethics.

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Dr. Susan Chiblow (Ogamauh annag kwe)

Assistant Professor, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Guelph

Susan (Sue) Chiblow is crane clan from Garden River First Nation. She was raised in Garden River First Nation by a single male parent in a home with 4 brothers and 3 sisters at Bell’s Point. Sue has participated in Water Walks, water ceremonies and water gatherings learning the responsibilities to the waters. She has a strong connection to the lands and waters through Anishinaabek harvesting activities. She has worked extensively with First Nation communities for the last 30 years in environmental related fields and is a volunteer for the Traditional Ecological Knowledge Elders of the Robinson Huron Treaty territory. Sue holds a B.Sc. in Biology with a minor in Chemistry, a M.E.M. in Environmental Management, and a Ph.D. from York University. She is an appointed member of the Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Subcommittee to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada and is appointed co-chair on the Indigenous Advisory Committee to the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada. Sue is the recipient of the Vanier Graduate Scholarship and was the Pre-Doctoral Fellowship in American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program at Michigan State University. She is and  Assistant Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College, since November, 2021, teaching in the new Bachelors of Indigenous Environmental Science and Practice program.

Sue’s work focuses on “N’bi G’giikendaaswinmin” (water knowledge) exploring humanity’s relationship to N’bi and how improving the relationship can support the well-being for N’bi and all life.

Research Interests: Indigenous knowledge systems and naaknigewin (law), Anishinaabek women’s knowledge, waters, star world, land-based learning, Indigenous environmental management, food sovereignty, Anishinaabek research methodologies, ecosystem approaches.

Website: https://susanchiblow.com  

Aaron Gordon

Dr. Aaron Gordon

Associate Professor, School of Business & Economics, Algoma University

Aaron Gordon is a tenured Associate Professor in the School of Business & Economics at Algoma University, where he has both developed and taught various courses within the Human Resources specialization and the Project Management certificate at both Sault Ste. Marie and Brampton campuses.

Equipped with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) he also earned a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and a Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.), with a specialization in Project Management. Prior to accepting a faculty position, Aaron was the Project Management and Integration Lead for Ontario’s north-east region, where he led various healthcare integrations under Ontario’s Ministry of Health. Aaron has offered academic leadership in the development of Algoma University’s Project Management Certificate and currently researching the viability of a Social Cultural and Economic Innovation Centre for Algoma University. He provides advisory services in the areas of HR and Project Management, where he has previously advised teams within government, private, and non-profit, in Canada, USA, Germany, and South-East Asia.

Research Interests: Aaron’s research interests surround leveraging human resource systems through effective project and change management planning. His publications focus the application of project management theory in government context and was invited to speak at the Project Management Institute’s Research and Education Conference in Portland, OR – Topic: The Symbiosis of Project Management and Change Management During Healthcare Integrated Planning: A Case Study of Ontario’s Healthcare System. In addition, Aaron has collaborated and published with renowned project management expert – Dr. Julian Pollack (University of Technology Sydney, Australia).

Professional Affiliations: Project Management Institute, Birkman International, Human Resources Professional Association

Profile of Works

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Dr. Sheila Gruner

Associate Professor, Department of Community Economic and Social Development, Algoma University

Sheila Gruner is an Associate Professor of Community Economic and Social Development (CESD), Algoma University, Adjunct Research Faculty at Carleton University, and Visiting professor in the Faculty of Environmental and Rural Studies, Universidad Javeriana (Colombia). Critical educator, researcher and activist, Dr. Gruner works with women’s, Indigenous, Afro-descendent, rural and environmental organizations in Canada and Colombia, accompanying efforts for the protection of gender, political and territorial rights. Her research draws on critical, participatory, decolonial and institutional ethnography methodologies, to explore issues related to development, violence/conflict and displacement; transitional justice and culturally-based alternatives to development; environmental and land defense movements; as well as gendered and racialized violence. Dr. Gruner currently acts as a Coordinator of Colombian Truth Commission in Ontario, gathering testimonies of victims of armed conflict in exile, and is researching issues related to the implementation of the Ethnic Chapter of the Colombian peace accords. She has published in both English and Spanish.

Vivian Jimenez Estrada

Dr. Vivian Jiménez-Estrada

Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Algoma University

Dr. Jiménez-Estrada is an Associate Professor and Chair in Sociology at Algoma University. Her recent 3-year appointment as Academic Lead, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion compliments her activist research work locally with the Indigenous Women’s Anti-Violence Task Force, and internationally with the National Coordinator for Indigenous Women in Mexico (CONAMI). She holds a Bachelor and a Masters of Environmental Studies (BES) (MES) from York University. She received her PhD from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. She specializes in global hemispheric Indigenous studies and currently on Indigenous responses to gendered and colonial violence. Her published work has appeared in the Canadian Journal of Native Education, the Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, and the Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Her latest chapter will appear in the anthology Red Dresses on Bare Trees: Stories and Reflections on Indigenous Murdered and Missing Women and Girls. 

Research Interests: Global and Hemispheric Indigenous Studies; Indigenous and Qualitative Research Methodologies; Decolonizing, Anti-racist, and Indigenous Theories and Discourse; Indigenous Feminisms; Education, Race, Indigeneity and Racialization.

Andrea Pinheiro

Prof. Andrea Pinheiro

Associate Professor, Department of Music & Visual Arts, Algoma University

Andrea Pinheiro began her art studies at White Mountain Academy of the Arts in Elliot Lake, Ontario. After traveling west for further studies and to work in artist-run centres in Vancouver, she returned to the Algoma region to teach in Visual Arts at Algoma University. Pinheiro works in photography, print, paint, film, clay, and installation, weaving together elements of documentary and collecting practices with the poetics of embodied experience. Her work is distilled from experience of place, and is intertwined with consideration of the long and complex histories of land, objects, and materials. Referencing historical events, significant sites, or other artworks, the images and materials in Pinheiro’s work become vessels that record her interactions; gestures that oscillate between creative and destructive processes of transformation. Pinheiro has exhibited across Canada and internationally. She has completed numerous national and international residencies. Her work is represented by Cooper Cole Gallery in Toronto and Republic Gallery in Vancouver. She is the Founder of 180 Projects in Sault Ste. Marie, and lives and works along the Goulais River in Searchmont and often Big Basswood Lake.

Research Interests: Art, land-based art, digital art, photography, film and video, ecological art, uranium/nuclear industry – environmental and cultural impacts, invisibility, memory, perception, human legacy, wild ceramics, foraging and collecting, art in community, art and wellbeing

Photo of Jody Rebek

Dr. Jody Rebek

Assistant Professor, School of Business & Economics, Algoma University

I am a teacher, mother, outdoor enthusiast/athlete, adventurer, traveller, artist, musician, and entrepreneur. I have always loved to explore my curiosities and find ways of strengthening inspiration in my life and others. I have been drawn to being more conscious and focused in the moment to the wonders in the moment. As Assistant Professor at Algoma University, in the School of Business and Economics (Sault Ste. Marie, ON), I explore ways to strengthen entrepreneurship, teams, strategy and strength-based cultural developments that can enhance our work lives. I am also a Leadership Consultant at Vive Strategies Consulting. I have enjoyed engaging others in transformation efforts that renew focus, positive growth and results-oriented action plans for individuals, organizations and communities. With a Ph.D. in Educational Studies in Leadership and Policy (Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, ON), I was introduced to the importance of narratives, and arts-integrated approaches in research. I explored intrapersonal development in my research, looking to investigate ways we can heighten consciousness or self-awareness via contemplative and meditative inquiry. I am also a serial social entrepreneur, who has led, supported and/or launched many enterprises over the past twenty years.

I received a Canada Graduate Scholarship (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) to complete my Masters of Arts degree in Leadership and Training (Royal Roads University, Victoria, BC). Some accolades include: the Athena award, the Innovative Educator of the Year award, and delegate of the Governor General’s Candian Leadership Conference 2020.

Research Interests: Motivation, leadership development, entrepreneurship (contemporary management), strategic people services (also known as HR), holistic community development, organizational development and behavior, cultural development, team synergy, ancient wisdom teaching/practices, indigenous teachings, contemplative education, mental models, career development, well-being/holistic health, active and play-based learning, participatory action research, social entrepreneurship (triple “P” – planet, people, profits) and other purpose-based business models, ecological/environmental stewardship especially of the Great Lakes, imagination/innovation/creativity, arts-integrated research and participatory action research.

Photo of Tamanna Rimi

Dr. Tamanna Afreen Rimi

Part-Time Faculty, Department of Community Economic & Social Development and School of Business & Economics, Algoma University

Tamanna Rimi is a part-time faculty member at Algoma University and works at the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre as an Intermediate Data Analyst. Before working at SSMIC, she worked as a researcher at NORDIK Institute and served as a lecturer at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Dr. Rimi has a PhD in Human Development and Family Studies from Iowa State University and received her Master’s degree in Economics from Tufts University. Her professional experience encompasses the fields of economics, family finance, and community economic development. She has experience working in community-based research, including the Sault Ste. Marie Poverty Reduction Indicators report, the Sault Ste. Marie Living Wage calculation, and the Northern Ontario Tourism Recover and Development project, among others. She has lived and travelled in many different countries and places and enjoyed building meaningful connections with the people around her. Dr. Rimi is passionate about bringing an equitable, anti-racist and grassroots lens to rural community development and social innovation spaces. She sits on the board of directors at the Algoma Community Foundation and has found working for communities and having a positive impact on them the most rewarding part of her career in academia.

Research Interests: Family finance and wellbeing, community economic development, financial literacy, consumer economics.

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David Thompson, M.B.A.

Manager, Rural-Agri-Innovation Network, Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre

Website: http://rainalgoma.ca/ 

 

Dr. Laura Wyper

Dr. Laura Wyper

Assistant Professor, Department of Community Economic and Social Development, Algoma University

Dr. Laura Wyper is an Assistant Professor of Community Economic and Social Development and holds a Bachelor of Health Sciences in Midwifery from Laurentian University, a Bachelor of Education from Trent University, a Master of Arts in Adult Education and Community Development from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto, and a PhD in Adult Education and Community Development with a specialization in Comparative, International and Development Education from OISE, at the University of Toronto. She has worked in community development for more than twenty-five years in women’s health care, community-based adult education, literacy and basic skills, and post-secondary education. Dr. Wyper’s current research interests include food sovereignty, translanguaging, equity of access in higher education, and community mobilization.

Staff

Profile Avatar of Jude Ortiz

Dr. Jude Ortiz

Research Coordinator

jude.ortiz@algomau.ca

Dr. Jude Ortiz is NORDIK’s Research Coordinator and holds PhD (University of the West of England, UK) in Arts, Education and Creative Industries and has been conducting research with NORDIK and leading its community development initiatives since its inception. Jude also holds a Bachelor of Education (University of Windsor) with a long teaching career in post-secondary education engaging diverse student populations including, Inuit, Indigenous, and settler communities. She is an adjunct professor with the Community Economic and Social development program, having taught since 2012.

Jude’s research with NORDIK began with the Community Resilience of Sault Ste. Marie initiative aimed to increase resilience through strengthening capacity to respond to disruption and transition to place-based knowledge economies by investing in human, natural and cultural capital. Her contributions include: Mapping Northern Creative Spaces (2021); Culture, Creativity and the Arts: Building Resilience in Northern Ontario (2017); Value of Northern Libraries (2017) and Animating the John Rowswell Hub Trail (2015) with the latter two being awarded Innovative Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre’s, Innovative Project of the Year. Currently she is leading the Social Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (SEE) initiative. Jude’s research and development studies include methodologies that create partnership and engagement to cogenerate new and deeper understanding of the issues, participant recruitment, communication and marketing, strategic planning activities, data collection, analysis and report writing, and dissemination.

Photo of Sarah Blackwell

Sarah Blackwell

Waa-Naadmaaged Site Manager

sarah.blackwell@algomau.ca

Sarah is a member of Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation on beautiful Manitoulin Island, and is a proud Anishinaabe-kwe. She is a survivor of the Sixties Scoop and has lived half of her life reunited with her birth family.  Sarah has worked with First Nations communities for 25 years in the field of health and social services.  She holds a master’s degree in Health Studies and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Child & Youth Care.   Sarah is passionate about teaching and encouraging personal growth through discovery of cultural identity and land-based learning.  She is a mother of three children and enjoys being outside, biking and doing yoga in her free time.
Sarah will be managing the Site Search project with the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association

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Amy Boyer

Communications Manager

amy.boyer@algomau.ca

Amy is a member of Batchewana First Nation. She is NORDIK’s Communications Manager. She has a BA (Hons) in Political Science from Lakehead University. For over 10 years Amy has worked as a community-based researcher with Indigenous communities throughout the 1850 Robinson Huron Treaty territory.  She has extensive experience in strategic planning, First Nations governance, policy analysis, development, event planning, facilitation, and treaty research. Amy comes to NORDIK from the academic library field with a keen interest in Indigenous literatures and Anishinaabe storytelling protocols.

Amanda Debassige

Community Outreach Facilitator

Amanda Debassige ndiznikaaz. Kizhep Waazakonens niin Anishinaabe nooswin Makwa ndoodem. M’Chigeeng n’doojibaa. Hornepayne n’daaw.

Amanda Debassige (Kizhep Waazakonens) comes from M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island. She has a BA (cum laude) in Anishinaabe Studies and Anishinaabemowin from Algoma University. She is passionate about the Anishinaabe language and culture. She loves teaching and learning new things. Her hobbies include reading, walking, being outdoors and Zumba. She is excited to work with the
community and elders.

Monique Levesque, RSW

Site Search Administrative Assistant

monique.levesque@algomau.ca

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Haley MacLeod

Aki Kikinomakaywin Research Assistant

haley.macleod@algomau.ca

Haley is a PhD Candidate in the Natural Resource Management Department at Lakehead University. Haley has earned an Honours Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.; Biology, and Environmental and Resource Sciences) from Trent University, and a Masters of Science (M.Sc.) with a specialization in Cell Biology and Genetics from Trent University. She is expecting to complete her PhD in the spring of 2023.

Haley has a diverse research background with experience in environmental toxicology, cellular and molecular biology, freshwater ecology, and fisheries science. Her current PhD research is focused on answering fundamental questions around the drivers of freshwater fish production, developing more effective tools for monitoring fish populations, and understanding how aquatic contaminants such as microplastics and their chemical additives impact freshwater fish populations. Haley has also developed and led multiple Two-Eyed Seeing hands-on STEM programs for Indigenous elementary and high school youth to improve Indigenous-science knowledge and science literacy.

Research Interests: Freshwater ecosystems, multiple-stressors, conservation and Indigenous-led conservation, aquatic contaminants, climate-change, community-led research, science communication.

Kendall Mitchell

Administrative & Research Assistant

kendall.mitchell@algomau.ca

Kendall is a member of Batchewana First Nation and is an administrative and research assistant at NORDIK Institute. She earned her BA (Hons) in Community Economic and Social Development and Political Science from Algoma University where her thesis studied topics including social capital, social enterprises, and their impacts on Indigenous communities in northern Ontario.
 
Currently, she is working with Dr. Sheila Gruner with The Global Network – Ethnic Peoples and Peace as well as with the Institute for Peoples, Territory, and Peace.

Miranda Pic

Miranda Moffatt

Site Search Community Coordinator

miranda.moffatt@algomau.ca

Miranda brings years of experience supporting and managing health, social service, economic development, and First Nation Community projects. She possesses a unique combination of technical and interpersonal skills, allowing her to build trusting relationships within the communities she has worked alongside. Miranda is a member of the Eagle Clan, and has family ties to Beausoleil First Nation located in the southern tip of Georgian Bay. She resides in Sault Ste. Marie with her husband and daughter, and is humbled by the opportunity to be a part of the Site Search Team. 

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Annika Sonntag

Laboratory Technician & Research Assistant

annika.sonntag@algomau.ca

Annika completed her Bachelor of Science (Honors) in Biology. In 2016, during the beginning of her studies, she joined the team of Isabel Molina at the Biochemistry lab at Algoma University. During her research she collaborated with many Universities to work on the analysis of plant lipid metabolism. Her research included the understanding of the impact of certain genes on plant evaporation rates and the possibility to change genetics in benefit of drought resistance. Her research resulted in 6 qualifications.
Currently Sonntag is completing an Internship with NORDIK institute at the Soil Science lab of Pedro Antunes. Research Interests: Biochemistry, Chemistry, Biology, Soil Science, Microbiology, Environmental science.

Cynthia Tribe

Cynthia Tribe

Community Outreach Facilitator

cynthia.tribe@algomau.ca

Cynthia Tribe is a member of Kettle & Stony Point First Nation in southern Ontario. She is from the turtle clan and a proud Anishnabwe of the Three Fires Confederacy. Cynthia is the daughter of a survivor that attended “The Mushole” in Brantford, and her grandfather on her father’s side attended “ Mount Elgin” on the Chippewa of the Thames First Nation. Cynthia has worked with First Nation Communities for most of her career in the field of social services and health which allowed her to build trusting relationships with those that she served. Cynthia is extremely excited to work with our community and most importantly our elders.

Board of Directors 

Pedro Antunes (Chair)

Lauren Doxtater

 

Mitch Case

William Hollingshead

 

 

Krista Bissiallon

Dawn White

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Promoting more vibrant, caring and sustainable communities through research, dialogue, analysis and reflection dedicated to the practice of holistic community development.

Employment

Employment

Keep tabs on opportunities to work with NORDIK.
Algoma University

Algoma University

Learn about our partner, Algoma University, and the 30+ programs it has to offer.
Annual Reports

Annual Reports

Review the history of NORDIK’s work since 2007.