Nishnawbe Aski Nation

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August 12, 2020

NAN mourns passing of Bill Nothing

THUNDER BAY, ON: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, on behalf of the Executive Council, sends condolences to the family, friends and community of Bearskin Lake First Nation following the passing of Bill Nothing, one of the founders of NAN:

“We were saddened to learn of Bill’s passing and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the entire Bearskin Lake community at this difficult time.

Bill was one of the founders of our Nation and was instrumental in the early days of Grand Council Treaty No. 9 and the declaration of Nishnawbe Aski Nation in 1977. He was a talented and unique individual - a Residential School survivor who refused to allow the trauma he endured as a child to overshadow his hope for a better future for First Nations across NAN territory.

Bill always opened his heart and his home to anyone in need, but what really set him apart for many of the leaders he worked with was his sense of humour. No matter how difficult or challenging the situation, he could always find a way to ease the tension.

Bill touched many lives in many meaningful ways through his compassion and professionalism. He will be remembered not only for the tremendous work he did to improve the lives of our people, but for the way he overcame many of the challenges that have strengthened our Nation.”

Bill served NAN in many roles including Deputy Grand Chief (1982-1984) and Executive Director. Early in his career he worked on housing and justice issues under Andrew Rickard, NAN’s first Grand Chief. He retired as NAN’s Bilateral Protocol Director after leading several governance initiatives.

He helped establish Tikinagan Child & Family Services and was Board Chair when Tikinagan received its mandate as the first Indigenous child welfare agency in Ontario. He also served as a board member with the Nishnawbe Aski Police Service.

For more information please contact: Michael Heintzman, Director of Communications – (807) 621-2790 or by email

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