Walter grew up on the Mattagami First Nation. He met his wife, Cathy, in Saskatchewan and they have been married for 26 years. They have seven children: three sons of their own - John, Noconi and Tyler; a daughter, Sarah, from Walter’s previous marriage; and three adopted children - Fallon, Max and Ethan. In addition, they have 5 grandchildren who have enriched their lives.
Family plays an integral role in Walter’s life, and he often says that he is blessed to see his children and grandchildren grow. And like any other parent or grandparent, Walter wants his children and grandchildren to be equal to all other citizens, and to have the same opportunities afforded to others. This is why Walter has embarked upon his journey of serving not only the people of Mattagami, but also now, the First Nations of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN).
Walter’s beliefs have guided him throughout his political career. He first ran for councilor successfully in 2003 and was on council until 2007. Walter then went on to become Chief for five terms from 2007-2017, and while there he has successfully negotiated agreements for Mattagami, bringing employment and opportunities for his people. Walter has diligently advocated for the inherent and Treaty rights of his people back home on Mattagami, and will continue to do so for those First Nations he now serves.
Walter has never refrained from speaking on issues that matter – when such has the potential to negatively impact his peoples’ rights. He is a strong advocate for youth, women and Elders, and he believes strongly in the future of the First Nations peoples, and as such, vows to maintain the traditional ways, language, and culture that is urgently needed. Lastly, Walter understands that the First Nations are sovereign and that government cannot simply run roughshod over our rights, and he therefore affirms his commitment to work toward improving the First Nations peoples’ lives.
PORTFOLIO AND RESPONSIBILITIES
- Chiefs Committee on Children Youth and Families
- Canadian Human Rights Tribunal
- Ontario Indigenous Child and Youth Strategy
- Family Well Being Program
- 60's Scoop
- Social Services Reform
- Ontario Disability Support Program
- Federal Child Welfare Legislation
WOMEN AND YOUTH
- NAN Women's Council
- Oshkaatisak Council
- Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
- Family Healing
- First Nation Draw the Line Campaign
- Life Promotion Strategy
- Men's Healing Initiative
- Choose Life
- Sexual Abuse Strategy
- Crisis Response Teams
- Residential School Program
- Victim Quick Response Program
- Crisis Coordinator & Mental Health Worker Training
- Homelessness Strategy
- Indigenous Youth and Community Wellness
- Social Emergency Response Protocol
- Indigenous Youth Treatment Centers
NAN REPRESENTATION – COMMITTEE PARTICIPATION: Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service Board