The newly unveiled Pays Plat First Nation flag. - Photo courtesy of Jesse Achneepineskum
Stan Beardy was elected as the Ontario Regional Chief in June 2012 at the 38th Annual All Ontario Chiefs Conference, presenting the 133 First Nations in Ontario. Regional Chief Beardy was formerly the Grand Chief of Nishnawbe Aski Nation and is from Muskrat Dam First Nation.
As Regional Chief, he is a member of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Executive and the Chair of the Political Confederacy for the Chiefs of Ontario. In this capacity, he is mandated to deal with the federal and provincial governments on certain issues relevant to First Nations within Ontario.
The Chiefs of Ontario is a political forum and secretariat for collective decision-making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nations communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario. The Regional Chief’s activities are guided by our Chiefs-in-Assembly who represent the Anishinaabek, Mushkegowuk, Onkwehonwe, and Lenape Peoples.
With their guidance and direction, the Regional Chief’s primary role is to actively advocate our Indigenous Nations’ inherent and Treaty rights are protected, respected and implemented. Much effort is allocated to reminding and pressing the federal and provincial governments of their obligations and responsibilities in implementing Treaties and to ensure they respect our Peoples’ inherent and Treaty rights.
Regional Chief Stan Beardy was born and raised on a trap line at Bearskin Lake First Nation. He attended high school and college in Thunder Bay where he also worked as a welder-fitter for several years. In order to return to a traditional lifestyle of living off the land, Beardy moved to Muskrat Dam First Nation where he was elected and served as Chief for 10 years.
Regional Chief Beardy has held a variety of leadership positions with several organizations, including Sioux Lookout Chief's Committee on Health, Northern Nishnawbe Education Council, National Aboriginal Economic Development Board and the Northern Ontario Native Tourism Association. In his role as Grand Chief of Nishnawbe Aski Nation which he served for 12 unprecedented consecutive years, he represented 49 First Nation communities in Ontario in the territories of James Bay Treaty 9 and the Ontario portion of Treaty 5.
Throughout his time in office, Grand Chief Beardy has worked toward the implementation of traditional governance based on beneficial Treaty relationships with the governments of Ontario and Canada. He continues to champion the inherent rights of First Nations by influencing legislation, yet maintains positive working relationships with all levels of government to continue to make progress for all Peoples in Ontario in his current role as Regional Chief. He was recognized for his efforts in advocacy with the conferring of 2 honourary doctorate degrees, the first in Education by Nipissing University (2011) and the second in Philosophy by University of South Florida (2012).
In 2009, Regional Chief Beardy partnered with the Trillium Gift of Life Network to promote the lifesaving benefits of organ and tissue donation in memory of his late son Daniel. In partnership with Trillium Gift of Life, he and his wife Nellie spearheaded an awareness campaign focused on reaching Ojibway, Cree and OjiCree speaking people in Ontario.
Regional Chief Beardy lives in Thunder Bay with Nellie and together they return home to the land as often as they can.