From Co-existing to Collaboration: First Nation – Municipal CEDI Partnership Panel


Many First Nations and municipalities would like to collaborate on community economic development initiatives but often aren’t sure where to start. In part, this is because there are significant differences in the communities’ legal rights and governance structures, economic conditions, demographics and cultures; however, often First Nations and municipalities share many of the same hopes, and they struggle with similar issues and challenges. Through relationship building, First Nations and municipalities have overcome their differences and built resilient, sustainable partnerships. While collaboration requires an investment of time to build the relationship, it provides significant return as communities gain access to broader range of skills, ideas, funding, and assets. Perhaps the most compelling reason to engage in joint First Nation - municipal community economic development (CED) is simple: communities are stronger together. Join the CEDI team, along with Collaborative Working Group Champions from the CEDI partnerships, Enoch Cree Nation and the City of Edmonton & Fort William First Nation and Thunder Bay, to learn about how they transitioned from co-existing to collaborating. Together they have collaborated on many CED initiatives to increase prosperity for their regions!


Michelle Wilsdon

Enoch Cree Nation

Michelle Wilsdon is from Enoch Cree Nation and has served her Nation as an elected member of Council since August 2015. Michelle is responsible for leading the Planning & Development Services Division and the Corporate Division. In this role, she is mandated to pursue initiatives that are targeted with growing the Nation’s economy and implementing land governance systems to ensure the sustainable development of reserve lands. Working towards goals of business development, job creation and attracting investment; Enoch’s economic development is achieved through strategic planning, strengthening corporate and land governance, and establishing partnerships with key stakeholders. Prior to her role as a council member, Michelle served as the Director of Economic Development for the Ministry of Indigenous Relations, Government of Alberta. She had also worked in the non-profit sector working, primarily on national strategic initiatives that focused on community economic development and resource management. Some personal accomplishments include the honor of being awarded the 2016 Esquao Award for Community Involvement, nominated for the 2014 IPAC Edmonton Regional Group New Public Servants Award of Excellence; and being recognized as a national Aboriginal role model on the 2009 Cando National Youth Panel. Michelle’s formal education includes a B.Sc., Geology, from the University of Victoria, Certificate of Indigenous Peoples Resource Management Program from the University of Saskatchewan, and Professional designation as a Certified Aboriginal Lands Manager.

Councillor Scott McKeen

City of Edmonton

Scott McKeen is in his second term as the councillor for Ward 6, which encompasses the greater downtown and some of Edmonton's most historic neighbourhoods. Prior to his election in 2013, McKeen was a reporter and columnist with The Edmonton Journal, covering everything from civic politics to crime. He is known as an advocate for mental health, reconciliation and evidence-based policy decisions. McKeen serves as the City’s council Champion for the Enoch-Edmonton CEDI partnership work.

Morgan Bamford

City of Edmonton

Morgan is an Indigenous Relations Consultant with the City of Edmonton, connecting Indigenous communities and urban organizations to city resources and supporting city departments with their work impacting and involving Indigenous peoples. His areas of focus are community economic development and First Nation/municipal collaboration.  Morgan is the City’s staff Champion for the Edmonton-Enoch CEDI partnership work. Morgan holds an MBA in Community Economic Development (First Nations specialization) from Cape Breton University, a Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies from the University of Alberta and is a Cando-certified Technician Aboriginal Economic Developer (TAED).

Corina Morin Hollingworth

Enoch Cree Nation

Corina (Morin) Hollingworth is a member of the Enoch Cree Nation and works as their Community Planning Manager, with the Planning & Development Services Department. Planning and Development Services are now based out of the new River Cree Crossing Building. Her education background includes having graduated with a SAIT Business Program diploma, a Bachelor of General Studies' degree with honours from AU, a Program of Legal Studies for Native People diploma from the U of S along with other certificates achieved. She is working on a Master's Degree (when time permits) and is pursuing a Regional Planning Professional designation. Corina’s experiences have included working in the far north and various regions of Canada, along with receiving various awards recognizing her education and business achievements. She has worked in executive positions with the private and government sectors for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal organizations in the financial, legal, human resources, business, education, planning and economic sectors over the past 22 years. Recent achievements are having done the MOU with the CEDI/City of Edmonton/Enoch partnership, finalizing various land use and planning documents, helping to establish the DPS Department along with other ongoing work.

Michael Pelletier

Fort William First Nation

Michael Pelletier is a member and lifelong resident of Fort William First Nation (FWFN). FWFN is located in Northwestern Ontario, on the shore of Lake Superior and adjacent to the City of Thunder Bay. Michael graduated as an Instrumentation Engineering Technician and immediately was employed after college by Ontario Hydro at the Bruce Nuclear Development in Southern Ontario. Following several years in this capacity, he returned to his community to work. Beginning in Land Management (having negotiated a $180 million land claim) he moved onto other portfolios including Property Management and his current position of Director of Economic Development. Some of the areas of responsibility under ‘Economic Development’ include: managing industrial lands; commercial/office buildings; managing the FWFN Economic Development Corporation; negotiating and managing various Joint Ventures; responsible for FWFN Public Works. Michael has also been involved in the political government of FWFN, serving 8 terms as a Band Councillor.

John Mason

Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission

John is a Registered Professional Geoscientist in the Province of Ontario and holds an Honour’s Bachelor of Science degree in geology from Lakehead University. In mid 2011, John joined the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission as Project Manager, Mining Services, with a mandate to grow the exploration and mining sector in Thunder Bay and region as well to more fully to capitalize on the service and supply businesses that feed into the mineral sector. On June 1st, 2013, John Mason was awarded an Honourary Doctorate in Science from Lakehead University. In April of 2014 John received a Lifetime achievement Award from the Northwestern Ontario Prospectors Association.