Jolene Mercer, Director of Operations

Wilma Manningway, Assistant to the Director of Operations 

Wilma is an Ojibway of Peguis First Nation.  She is an enthusiastic and innovative professional with extensive experience in the Administrative and Executive Assistant field with over 20 years experience.

She joined Southern Chiefs Organization in October 2016 in the position as the Assistant to the Director of Operation.  Part of my responsibilities are reporting and operating directly to and under the Director of Operations, including the day to day scheduling and maintenance and operations of the records and documents.

In addition to her duties as an Assistant, Wilma is also involved in attending sporting events held in her community.

Kathleen Stone, Financial Controller

Kathleen is from Brokenhead Ojibway Nation. She joined SCO in September 2017 as financial controller. She came from public accounting practice in assurance, tax and management with a focus in Indigenous communities and organizations.

She is passionate about education in the Indigenous Community and encourages all to pursue their dreams in education (why not in finance!)

Chloe Courchene, Administrative Assistant, Youth Council Coordinator

Chloe is a member of Sagkeeng First Nation. She has been employed with Southern Chiefs’ Organization since August 2014 as an Administrative Assistant. Chloe has been committed to her work at SCO, first working under the Violence Prevention and Resource Program as a Program Assistant to moving on to being Administrative Assistant to all Programs. Her responsibilities focus on providing administrative support to program managers in a variety of tasks. While working with Southern Chiefs’ Organization, Chloe has gained great experience in communication, writing, growing partnerships with coworkers, along with other tasks. Chloe is also the Youth Council Coordinator.

Kate Kent, Assistant to the Grand Chief

Brandon Sinclair, Administrative Assistant 

Brandon Sinclair is a member of Little Saskatchewan First Nation. Brandon handles daily reception duties, and provides administrative support for all SCO staff.



Natalie Daniels, Child and Family Services Liaison

Natalie Daniels was born and raised in Winnipeg, MB and is a band member of the Peguis First Nation. Natalie brings over 14 years of experience working within the Child Welfare system of Manitoba delivering services to both the Northern and Southern regions. Her experience as a Case Manager, Program Developer, and Family Enhancement Team Leader has paved the way for her to create proactive approaches to assist children, youth, and their families. Natalie’s passion is to share her knowledge and help children, youth, and families as well as foster and kinship care homes navigate their way through the CFS System.




Joni Wilson, Health Research & Engagement

Joni Wilson is a member of the Peguis First Nation and is a proud mom to a son, daughter and stepdaughter. Since coming on board with Southern Chiefs’ Organization in November of 2016, Joni has worked in the positions of Disabilities Initiative Coordinator and Non-Insured Health Benefits Navigator, while also representing the Jordan’s Principle – Child First Initiative portfolio at SCO.  She greatly enjoys working with the First Nation communities, building working relationships, networking and strives to meet any needs identified. On her personal time, Joni is an active volunteer, advocate and spokesperson for numerous child-health charities.

Dean Parisian,  Senior Health Policy Analyst


Nick Courchene, Economic Development Officer

Gabriela Jimenez, Researcher

Gabriela Jimenez is originally from Venezuela and has been living in Canada for the last three years. She holds a B.S degree in Chemical Engineering, with focus on water treatment; and a Master’s degree in Development Practice from University of Winnipeg, with focus on Indigenous Development. Gabriela has hands-on experience in engineering projects, as well as in programs for Indigenous Development in Manitoba. Currently she is the Researcher at Southern Chiefs’ Organization working on the Indigenous Economic Contributions to Manitoba Research Project, for the SCO member First Nations.

Nicole Everett, Violence Prevention & Safety Coordinator

Joanna White, Healing Circles Coordinator

Wes Hunter, Youth Empowerment Program Coordinator

Wes Hunter, in Ojibwe he is Animikii Binesi “Thunderbird”.  Wes is from Ebb and Flow First Nation and is a proud father of 2.  Wes finished high school at Portage Collegiate Institute and went to Brandon University for a criminal justice certificate and to play volleyball.

Wes completed the Northwest Law enforcement Program and went on to work at Crane River Healing Lodge.  After this Wes gained employment with Manitoba Developmental Centre with the province then transferred to Agassiz Youth Centre with Provincial Corrections.  Wes worked with youth involved with the justice system for 6 years and then transferred to the AFM Compass youth addiction program outside Portage La Prairie.  Shortly after this Wes gained just under 2 years of CFS experience with Sandy Bay CFS as a CFS Worker and then attained the “YEP” Coordinator position.

With this combined knowledge and experience Wes hopes to branch out and bring together the resources, people and creator to help our youth to find that “good life”.  Miigwetch and Mitakuye

Chantell Barker, Director of Justice

Chantell is a First Nation women from Sapotoweyak Cree Nation and her spirit name is Geetchi Nodin Ikwe. Chantell’s educational background is Restorative Justice and Conflict Resolution. Prior to this position, she was employed with Manitoba Justice for ten years as a Probation Officer until she transitioned into program development and facilitation. During her time with Manitoba Justice, she developed the first recognized and court mandated Cultural Appropriate Program which is facilitated in all Correctional and Youth Centres, as well as Probation Offices across Manitoba. In 2016, Chantell participated in a National Web Cast hosted by Justice Canada regarding Indigenous Programming for Youth in Canada. Chantell’s work is recognized nationally as an evidence-informed program.  As the Community Justice Development Coordinator, Chantell strives to bring passion and a vision that restores balance and harmony within the First Nation communities she serves.

Bonnie Woodhouse, Community Justice Worker, Pinaymootang

Bonnie Woodhouse is from Pinaymootang First Nation as the JC she is responsible for administering the First Nation Justice Strategy to five First Nations.  She communicates and develops working relationships with RCMP, Manitoba Probations, Crown Attorneys, Chief & Council, and Clients. She is also a Board member of The Restorative Justice Association of Manitoba, and has her Commissioner for Oaths.

Lisa Makwebak, Community Justice Worker, Waywayseecappo 

Lisa is an Anishinabe Ikwe from the Waywayseecappo First Nation, where she currently resides.

Her areas of expertise are “Building healthy relationships” with families, high risk crisis management and mental health counselling.  In recent years, she has worked with the youth in her community who are in an alternative high school setting.  There she has delivered the Family Studies program with emphasis on culture and domestic violence topics.

She is the co-founder of the Woman’s Memorial March of Manitoba which began in 2008, and originated in Vancouver, BC.

She has participated in many traditional ceremonies for the past 25 years.  Her knowledge of her ancestors’ background has given guidance and direction to many people.  She shares the teachings that have been passed down from her father and several other significant elders.  She has been gifted to share women teachings and ceremonies.  She has also sat with a women’s drum group, which has sung at many ceremonies and gatherings.  She continues to participate in many of these gatherings and ceremonies and found it to become a good way of life for her and her family.  She strongly believes in the strong connection to the land.

Crystal Nepinak, Community Justice Worker, Pine Creek

Crystal Nepinak, Spirit name Minoda-a-geezhig Ikwe (Good Hearted Day Woman), is an Ojibway from Pine Creek First Nation where she currently resides.  She is a mother to one beautiful daughter.

Crystal joined SCO in August 2017 in the position of Community Justice Worker working with Pine Creek, Skownan and O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi First Nations.

Crystal has committed herself to her First Nation for the past 11 years.  She was raised in Winnipeg but decided to move back to her community to gain experience working directly with her people and become more familiar with First nation culture and practices.

Crystal’s educational background are in the areas of Accounting, Human Resource Management and Management.  She also holds a certificate for Community Legal Intermediary.

In addition to her duties as Community Justice Worker, Crystal greatly enjoys assisting her community in ways of volunteering, sitting on and helping create committees, advocating for band members in any way needed.  She also enjoys participating in traditional ceremonies and is a Jingle Dress dancer.

Andrea Swampy, Community Justice Worker, Sagkeeng

Andrea Swampy is from Sagkeeng First Nation; she is a wife and a mother of 3. She has been employed as a Community Justice Worker with SCO since July, 2012. Andrea loves her community of Sagkeeng; she was raised in Sagkeeng and continues to raise her own children in the community. She loves to work with her community members, as well as members from the surrounding area. Andrea strongly supports Restorative Justice and believes that anyone can turn themselves around if they are willing to work on self-healing and if they are ready to build a brighter future for themselves; with a strong support team and with self-determination anything is possible.

Eric Kristjanssen, Community Justice Worker, Long Plain

Arnold Spence, Community Justice Worker, Sandy Bay