Board of Trustees

Chair Lydia Hwitsum, JD (British Columbia)

Chair Lydia Hwitsum, JD (British Columbia)

Lydia Hwitsum is a citizen of the Cowichan Nation, which gives her deep connection and understanding of the importance of Indigenous nationhood. She served as elected Chief of Cowichan Tribes for eight years (1997-2001 and 2007-11). Lydia has worked and advocated locally, nationally, and internationally at the United Nations Permanent Forum on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and at the Organization of American States Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Ms. Hwitsum served as Chair of the First Nations Health Authority Board of Directors (2012- 2018), supporting the transfer and implementation of First Nations control of health services in British Columbia. Other appointments at federal and provincial levels include the Board of Directors for the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (1999-2004); BC Capacity Initiative Council; and, the BC Land Titles and Survey Authority Board of Directors (2008-10). Ms. Hwitsum was also appointed by the BC First Nations Summit to serve on the BC First Nations Health Council as Chair and was appointed to the Tele’ethw Aboriginal Capital Corporation as Board member (1999-2003).

Lydia graduated from University of Victoria’s Law School (1997). Her undergraduate work at UVic was in the Faculty of Human and Social Development in the School of Public Administration: Certificate Administration of Aboriginal Governments; Diploma in Public Sector Management. She also has dispute resolution and mediation training from the BC Justice Institute.

Vice-Chair Peter Dinsdale (Ontario)

Vice-Chair Peter Dinsdale (Ontario)

Mr. Dinsdale is a citizen of the Curve Lake First Nation. He is a strategic thinker and action-oriented Executive who strives to improve the world around him. In June 2016 Peter became the President and Chief Executive Officer of YMCA Canada where he is working to create the Canada We Want through the YMCA We Need.

Prior to joining YMCA Canada Mr. Dinsdale lead the Assembly of First Nations as the Chief Executive Officer. Under National Chief Shawn Atleo, Peter co-lead a team to conceptualize, design, organize and execute the 2012 Crown-First Nation Gathering and the 2013 meeting between Prime Minister Harper and First Nation representatives which sought to forge a new Treaty relationship with Canada.

With National Chief Bellegarde, Peter served as Assembly of First Nations representative on the Truth and Reconciliation All Party Committee, was central in the development and execution of the 2015 federal election strategy and worked with the AFN Executive and senior staff to advocate for an unprecedented $8.4 billion investment in First Nation issues in the 2016 federal budgets.

Mr. Dinsdale holds a B.A. and M.A. from Laurentian University as well as an honorary diploma in Education from Canadore College. He serves as a Director in corporate and non-profit organizations.

In 2018 Peter received the Order of Ontario and in 2019 he received an Indspire Award for his work in Public Service.

Peter is married, with 2 children.

John Beaucage (Ontario)

John Beaucage (Ontario)

In 2004, John Beaucage was elected as Grand Council Chief to serve the 42-member First Nations of the Anishinabek Nation. John was re-elected in 2006 by acclamation. Prior to 2004 John was the elected Chief of Wasauksing First Nation for four consecutive terms.

John is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario and he has done post-graduate work at the University of British Columbia. He also was the recipient of a Honourary Doctor of Letters from Nipissing University in the 2009 Convocation. An economist by education, John worked for CMHC for over 15 years across Canada. After leaving CMHC in 1989 he was in property development and management.

John played an instrumental role in the First Ministers' Meeting which took place in Kelowna, BC in November of 2005. Leading up to the First Ministers' Meeting, he served as the Co-chair for First Ministers' Working Groups for both Housing and Relationships.

In March of 2008, John Beaucage was appointed first Chairperson of the First Nations Market Housing Fund.

John serves on a number of boards and is working on developing green energy projects with several First Nations across the country. He has also worked in mediation on land disputes and was appointed as Special Advisor to the Minister of Children & Youth Services in Ontario.

Eyaabay (his traditional name) is a Pipe Carrier from the Bear Clan. A citizen of Wasauksing First Nation, he was raised on the Shawanaga First Nation and has extended family in Nipissing First Nation.

Kathleen BlueSky, MBA (Manitoba)

Kathleen BlueSky, MBA (Manitoba)

Kathleen BlueSky is a Nehetho-Anishinabe Iskwew from Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation and mother of three. She is strongly influenced by the traditional teachers in her life and strives to be an advocate for collaborative approaches that support community-driven solutions. Kathleen has an MBA and has worked over 20 years in the Indigenous government sector with a focus on consultation, engagement, and community development. She has spent much of her career working with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and Nanaandawewigamig, as well as her home community where she most recently served as CEO.

Kathleen is currently the CEO of her own company, Seven Feathers Consulting which is focused on empowering First Nation self-determination and strategic business development. She also serves as the Founding Chairperson for Wiijii’idiwag Ikwewag and several corporate boards of economic initiatives in Northern Manitoba.

Stacy McNeil (British Columbia)

Stacy McNeil (British Columbia)

Ms. McNeil is a citizen of Seabird Island Band. She has worked for almost 10 years to support First Nations’ communities through capacity development and mentorship related to First Nation housing – including in her roles as General Manager, Lands Governance Director, Director of Public Works and Housing and housing,mentor. She has worked with some 60 communities in BC on housing related matters. She is a director with the Housing and Infrastructure Council. In addition, she was part of the work done to negotiate A-A Leasing for the construction of market-based housing in her community of employment. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a Masters Degree in Business Administration.

Chief Sidney Peters (Nova Scotia)

Chief Sidney Peters (Nova Scotia)

Chief Sidney Peters was first elected as Chief of Glooscap First Nation in 2012. Chief Peters is the seventh child of 14 children of the late Chief Joseph Peters and his wife Doris. Chief Peters has a Technology Diploma in Agricultural Modernization from Truro’s Nova Scotia Agricultural College.

Since his graduation, Chief Peters has worked predominately in Aboriginal housing with various organizations including but not limited to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the Native Council of Nova Scotia. In 2006, Chief Peters became CMHC’s Senior Advisor on Aboriginal Housing. In 2008 he moved to The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq (CMM) as the Manager of Lands, Environment, and Natural Resources.

Throughout his career Chief Peters has worked closely with not-for profit groups, band councils, tribal councils, municipalities, and federal and provincial governments. He possesses strong organizational and communication skills, as well as in depth experience in project management, leadership, team building, motivation and communications.

As Chief of Glooscap First Nation, Chief Peters has focused on accountability, transparency, cultural rejuvenation, economic development and capacity building within his community. Chief Peters and his Council hope to instill a sense of pride in all community members, both on and off reserve. Chief Peters resides in Masstown with his wife Darlene and has two children, Dylan and Joecy.

Michael L. Rice (Quebec)

Michael L. Rice (Quebec)

Michael Rice was born and raised in Kahnawake and is a Kanien’keha:ka (Mohawk) of the Bear Clan. He is founder and past manager of the Caisse Populaire Kahnawake, the largest Indigenous credit union in North America. He has worked over 35 years as an access to capital and institutional development specialist in the areas of housing, commercial, developmental business, venture capital and infrastructure financing and is currently self-employed operating under the name of ATC Innovators. His housing work over the years has been with the credit union, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Community Infrastructure Branch, Housing as a Business (HaaB) and the Kahnawake Housing Department in initiatives to move First Nations communities to private home ownership. He currently sits on the boards of Indigenous Housing Solutions Inc and the First Nations Venture Capital Partnership of Quebec. Mr. Rice holds an MBA from the Ivey School of Business, the University of Western Ontario. He is married with two sons and resides in Kahnawake.

Errol Wilson (Alberta)

Errol Wilson (Alberta)

Errol Wilson is Cree-Ojibway from the Peguis First Nation in Manitoba. Currently, a resident of Edmonton, he serves as Manager, Capacity Development at the First Nations Financial Management Board.

He has corporate leadership experience including First Nation clients' capacity building and sustainable entrepreneur development.

Mr. Wilson has an ICD designation through the Directors Education Program, through the Rotman School of Business, an Executive Master of Business Administration degree from the Alberta School of Business, and an Agriculture undergraduate degree from the University of Manitoba. His life-long learning also includes certificates in Not-For-Profit Governance Essentials, Indigenous Partnership Development, Public Sector Management, and Advanced Business Counselling.

Mr. Wilson has over 15 years of board governance experience. He currently serves as chair of financial trustees for the Peguis First Nation Surrender Claim Trust. His past board experiences include a founding director of AKSIS, Edmonton Aboriginal Business and Professional Association, and CANDO, Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers.

Jean Vincent (Quebec)

Jean Vincent (Quebec)

Jean Vincent, MSC, FCPA, FCA, CAFM is President and CEO of the Aboriginal Commercial Credit Corporation (SOCCA). The corporation provides commercial financing to Aboriginal start-up or expanding businesses. Mr. Vincent is also President and CEO of the Aboriginal Savings Corporation of Canada (ABSCAN). The corporation provides Aboriginal people with savings products and loans in the real estate, institutional and commercial sectors.

Jean Vincent was Vice-Grand Chief of the Huron-Wendat Nation from 2008 to 2018. He was involved in the creation of the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA), for which he is currently the Chairman of the Board. He was also a founding member of the Native Financial Officers Association of Canada and Vice-Chair of its Board of Directors. Early in his career, he worked for the National Bank of Canada and the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.

Mr. Vincent has a pilot’s licence and is a member of the Canadian Association of Aircraft Owners and Pilots.