The City of Thunder Bay Anishinaabe Elders Council is an integral component to the work of the Indigenous Relations Office which provides guidance, support and direction. The Elders Council creates a fundamental way of connecting to the community while receiving support and guidance on issues of protocol, traditional practices and ceremonies, and continues to serve a vital role in guiding the work of the Indigenous Relations and Inclusion Office and the City Corporation as a whole. 


Through the creation of the Indigenous Relations Logo, the City of Thunder Bay Anishinaabe Elders Council provided us with our vision: Maamawe - All Together. By respecting our uniqueness, sharing our gifts and celebrating our successes we will live, learn, grow, and build. Maamawe – All Together.

MAAMAWE Logo by Kevin BelmoreMeaning of logo

The sweet grass braid represents healing, the four colours represent the diversity in our community. The sun represents the Inuit people as well as the new light that is shining on our relationship. The man (wearing a Métis sash) and woman represent a balanced approach and are at the centre of what is important.  People. They are kneeling on the Sleeping Giant, which represents the City of Thunder Bay.

Logo by Kevin Belmore in tradition woodlands style artistry


The Seven Grandfather Teachings is a sacred Indigenous story and governing principle of the Anishinaabek, the Original Peoples of this area. These Teachings will guide the Council’s work and conduct in serving the local Indigenous population in a good way: 

  • Respect-Mnaadendimowin: to honour all of creation is to have respect.
  • Honesty-Gwekwaadziwin: to walk through life with integrity is to know honesty.
  • Humility-Dbaadendiziwin: is to know that yourself as a sacred part of creation.
  • Love-Zaagidwin: is to know peace.
  • Bravery-Aakwa’ode’ewin: is the ability to face changes and the foe with integrity.
  • Truth-Debwewin: is to know all of these things and act with sincerity. 
  • Wisdom-Nbwaakaawin: to cherish knowledge is to know wisdom.

Elders Council membership

Members of the Elders Council are individuals appointed as recommended by the community. Elders are those the community recognizes and draws upon as Elders and/or Knowledge Keepers.

The Elders Council and the City of Thunder Bay recognizes the important contributions of Indigenous peoples to community life. Prior to colonial influence, Indigenous communities historically held all genders in equal regard, recognizing the gifts each brought to the community’s well-being. However, this gender balance was disrupted from imposition of settler structures.

To reconcile this part of our history, there will be equal representation on the Elders Council. Members will comprise at least three (3) women, three (3) men, one (1) female youth, and one (1) male youth.

Anishinaabe Elders Council

Current members are as follows (voting members):

  • Ina Commanda
  • Elder Ma-Nee Chacaby
  • Elder Anthony (Tony) DePerry
  • Elder Ira Johnson
  • Sheila Karasiewicz (Knowledge Keeper)
  • Elder Marlene Pierre
  • Bo Sault (Knowledge Keeper)
  • Ken Simard
  • Kerry McLaughlin
  • Vacant - Female Youth
  • Vacant - Male Youth

Non-voting members:

  • City Council representative, Councillor Shelby Ch’ng, Northwood Ward 

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