Sport and Reconciliation Panelist and Speaker Biographies
In alphabetical order



Eugene Arcand

Eugene ArvcandA Cree from the Muskeg Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan, Eugene Arcand spent nine years at the St. Michael Indian Residential School in Duck Lake and two years at the St. Paul’s Lebret Students Residence, both in Saskatchewan. First Nation Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Mr. Arcand has dedicated much of his time to organizing regional and national events – First Nations sports events, cultural events, tourism events, and events geared to the advancement of First Nations youth. Over the past few years, through the Indian Residential Schools Survivor Committee at the TRC and the NCTR Governing Circle, he has worked to ensure that both the public and Survivor communities are kept informed of the developments and processes associated with the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement.


Karen Beaudin

Karen Karen Beaudin, OM strengthens community wherever she goes. As a tireless volunteer and proud Métis woman, Beaudin champions Indigenous youth, believing in their potential and shared right to opportunity. She brings her positivity to everyone she meets—whether she’s coaching soccer or teaching square dancing to Indigenous kids. With University of Manitoba degrees in arts and social work, Beaudin supports downtown and Elmwood neighbourhoods as a community resource coordinator for the City of Winnipeg. Both personally and professionally, she steps forward to help the city’s most vulnerable. Beaudin received the Order of Manitoba in 2015.


 Kevin Chief

kevin chiefKevin is vice president at the Business Council of Manitoba.

Born and raised in Winnipeg’s North End, he has considerable public sector and community experience. He spent six years as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, representing Point Douglas, and previously worked in the field of education.

Kevin and his wife Melanie have three young sons: Hayden, Kellan, and Daxton.  He is also known as a high steppin’ square dancer as part of the Norman Chief Memorial Dancers.


Trevor LaForte

Trevor LaForteTrevor has worked at the Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre (WASAC) for nearly over 10 years, first being hired as the Executive Finance Manager and moving onto the Executive Director position in 2011.  Prior to that Trevor has been employed working within the Indigenous community for over 15 years, most notably as the Finance Coordinator for the 2002 North American Indigenous Games held in Winnipeg.  Trevor has a Business Administration Diploma from Red River College and enjoys many sport activities in his spare time, which benefits him in his position at WASAC.


Lynn Lavallée

Lynn LavalléeDr. Lynn Lavallée was named the U of M's first Vice-Provost (Indigenous Enagagment) in September of 2017. A visionary who unites Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing with university policies and culture, Dr. Lavallée is an Anishinaabe woman registered with the Métis Nation of Ontario.

Prior to the U of M she served as Ryerson University's associate director in the School of Social Work and led an equity, diversity and inclusion initiative for student admissions for the School. She was also instrumental in establishing Ryerson's Aboriginal Education Council and served as Chair of their Research Ethics Board.

Dr. Lavallée's research and teaching interests include Indigenous health, cultural, sport and recreation programs; Indigenous epistemology and Indigenous research methods.

The University of Manitoba's role in reconciliation, its connections with Indigenous communities, and its commitment to Indigenous achievement are central to the culture we seek to create.

Jayme Menzies

Jayme MenziesJayme Menzies est une fière métisse, née içi au Manitoba, et ses origines familiales sont français, écossais, cri et ojibway.

Jayme completed her legal education at the University of Manitoba in 2013 and is currently working for the National Inquiry in to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. She previously practiced law in the areas of child welfare and First Nations governance.

Jayme sits on the Volleyball Manitoba Board of Directors and currently chairs their Sport Initiation committee.  She is a certified Performance Coach (formerly known as Level 3 Coach) and has over a decade of experience at the school, club, provincial team and summer camp levels. Her most recent coaching highlights include coaching the North American Indigenous Games 19U female volleyball team and the gold medal winning female Canada Games volleyball team, both this past summer.

In 2009, Jayme graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a Bachelor of Science. During her time there she completed five years as a Wesmen varsity volleyball athlete, three of which she served as captain.

Don Robertson

don robertson Don Robertson is a Cree from Norway House. He received his education at the Cook Christian Training School, Phoenix Junior College in Arizona and at Union College in British Columbia,where he was ordained as a United Church Minister. His subsequent theological training concentrated on clinical counseling at Brandon General Hospital and the Calgary Pastoral Institute.
Accomplishments in the field of education include, Director of the Brandon University Northern Teachers Education Program (BUNTEP), and Coordinator of Community and Program Liaison for Special Projects; Coordinator of Program Support Services and Education for the Core Area Training and Employment Agency for the Province of Manitoba, Department of Education; Director of Education for Island Lake Tribal Council; Chair of the Council on Post-Secondary Education; and Chair of the Implementation Team for the University College of the North.
Don received an honorary doctorate from Brandon University in 1992 and from the University of Manitoba in 2007; the Queen’sDiamond Jubilee Medal in 2002; and received the Order of Manitoba in 2004. On January 13, 2004, Don was initiated into the fellowship of the Elders of Northern Manitoba.  

Blair Robillard

blair robillardBlair Robillard has been researched, explored, gifted and has modified Traditional Indigenous games and activities for over thirty-eight years. Blair has taught in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation for eighteen years, with University College of the North and many northern and remote communities in Manitoba. He implements a traditional perspective in his pedagogy in and outside the classroom. In 2017 he was awarded the Innovators Award by the Manitoba Physical Educators Society. Blair’s goal is to share the original intent of play, where tools and toys are low to no cost, while incorporating artistic and craftsmanship in the design of traditional indigenous games and activities.


 Moneca Sinclaire

moneca sinclaireMoneca Sinclaire is a member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN) who currently lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her health career began as a Nutrition Educator then the areas of renal dialysis, diabetes and cancer before moving to Toronto to complete her PhD studies. She is currently a Project Coordinator with the Debwewin-the truth of our hearts study at the University of Manitoba at the Faculty of Health Sciences. Her mother, from OCN influenced her to be a social activist as she remembers her mom sending out hundreds of letters to have Leonard Peltier released. Moneca is also a self-taught artist that was inspired by watching her paternal grandmother make exquisite art pieces from household objects, such as making garland from candy wrappers. She often heard her grandmother say, “The Earth can’t take so much garbage.” She is also a mother to a son and an auntie to many of her friend’s children.

Gary Swanson

Gary SwansonGary is a Community Resource Coordinator for the City of Winnipeg, working with citizens in their neighbourhoods to assist them in the provision of programs and services to their local community within North End of Winnipeg.

Gary is also the lead representative for the City of Winnipeg for the Winnipeg Community Sport Policy (WCSP). The development of the policy was unique in Winnipeg. The Community Services Department along with five key community partners drafted the policy in its entirety. Thus the accountability for the policy outcomes has been built upon our partnership! The WCSP was passed unanimously by our City Council in November 2012.

His commitment to community goes beyond his work life as he served for six years as Chair of the North End Community Renewal Corporation Board, is a member of the Coaching Manitoba Excellence Awards Selection Committee and Board member of the Winnipeg Association of Public Service Officers. Gary has also found time to coach soccer (NAIG 2017) and manage football teams.

Gary is Metis, is married and a parent to two young men.

Brandi Vezina

brandi vezinaBrandi Vezina is a spirit building sensation who is committed to making life better for children and the planet. Brandi is an educator, author, entertainer, motivational speaker, and columnist. Brandi Vezina brings her irresistible lively spirit to any organization she works with. She studied at the University of Manitoba earning a Bachelor of Environmental Science and Education degree.




Doris Young

doris youngDoris Young is a member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation of The Pas, Manitoba, a residential school survivor, and an educator and researcher specializing in government policy, program development and evaluation. Along with teaching at the University of Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg, and the University of Saskatchewan, she has lent her extensive experience to various Boards and Committees such as the University Of Manitoba Board Of Governors, the Health Science Centre Aboriginal Services Committee, Norman Regional Health Authority Board of Governors, and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.


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This event is supported by the Indigenous Initiative Fund