2008 ONECA Conference

Ontario Native Education Counselling Association 
24th Annual Conference 
“Respect, Reflect, Rekindle – Our Journey of Success”


The 24th Annual ONECA Conference was held at the Holiday Inn Select – Toronto Airport in Toronto, Ontario from May 25th – 28th, 2008. This year marked the 30th Anniversary of the Native Counsellor Training Program.

To honour and recognize the former students, graduates, staff and the achievements of the NCTP, a day of recognition was held on Sunday May 25th, 2008. Activities throughout the day included: discussion groups, workshops from ONECA President Cindy Fisher & NCTP Coordinator Christine Migwans and a banquet held that evening. Peter Morriseau, Clifford Meness, Barbara Nolan, William Webkamegad, Andrew Lavalley, Atsynia Willam, Thomas Williams were acknowledged and recognized as part of the 1st graduating class of 1977.

Evening highlights included a comedy/ hypnosis show by certified hypnotherapist, Darren Thomas of Ohsweken, Ontario and a special guest appearance and presentation made by the 27th Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, the Hon. James K. Bartleman who spoke briefly about the 5 First Nations Youth Literacy Camps he established throughout Northern Ontario.

Participants were treated to the untapped musical talent of ONECA’s members at ONECA’s rendition of the popular TV show Canadian Idol. Farley Flex (Canadian Idol Judge) made a special appearance as one of the judge’s for the competition. Approximately 20 contestants battled for the title of ONECA Idol.

Maxine Nahdee (London District) won the title of ONECA Idol with her performance of the Hank Williams classic “Long Gone Lonesome Blues”.

Counsellor of the Year:

This year’s recipient of the Counsellor of the Year Award went to Kathy Marsden of Georgian College. Kathy has been an active member of ONECA for 14 years. Congratulations Kathy!

ONECA 10 & 20 Year Members:

The following people were recognized for 10 years of active membership with ONECA.

Stella Fiddler – Sioux Lookout District

Gail Lafleur – London District

Colleen McCabe – Sudbury District

Donna Nashkewa-Jackson – Georgian Bay District

Kimberly Smith – Peterborough District

The following people were recognized for 20 years of active membership with ONECA:

Janis Adams – Fort Frances District

Judy Ellis – Peterborough District

ONECA would like to thank Centennial College for providing our conference participants with a tour of Centennial College, Dinner and Reception on Saturday May 24th, 2008. Your hospitality was greatly appreciated!


2008/09 ONECA Election Results:

Executive Committee:

President – Cindy Fisher

Vice-President – Tracey Sillaby-Ramsey

Past-President – Kimberly Smith

Treasurer – Becky Kingbird

Secretary – Rae Anne Hill-Beauchamp


District Representatives:

Brantford District – Randy Pitawanakwat

Fort Frances District – Gary Medicine

Georgian Bay District – Gayle Mason-Stark

James Bay District – Nellie Trapper

Kenora District – Diane Cornish

Lakehead District – Carrianne Agawa

London District – Maxine Nahdee

Nakina District – Roberta Wesley

Peterborough District – Paul Latchford

Sioux Lookout District – Stella Fiddler

Sudbury District – Claudette Jones


Special thank you to the former Sudbury District Representative Rhea Assinewe and former Lakehead District Representative Janice Battiston. Your hard work and dedication was second to none! ONECA would also like acknowledge Graham George for his contribution as the Electoral Officer at the conference and for providing the NCTP 30th Anniversary material displayed throughout the conference. Thank you Graham!


NCTP 1st Year Graduate Presentation:

NCTP Graduate Clifford Meness (left), ONECA Executive Director Roxane Manitowabi (center) and Hon. James K. Barlteman (right)