Full Name
Nahanni Fontaine
Government of Manitoba
Speaker Bio
Nahanni Fontaine is the NDP MLA representing the St. Johns constituency in the Province of Manitoba.
First elected in 2016, Nahanni was re-elected in 2019 and October 2023, Nahanni currently serves as the Minister of Families, Minister Responsible for Accessibility, and Minister Responsible for Women and Gender Equity.
Nahanni holds a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) from the University of Winnipeg in Environmental Studies and International Development, as well as a Master of Arts (M.A.) from the University of Manitoba in Native Studies, Women’s Studies, and Critical Theory.
With a commitment spanning twenty-five years, Nahanni has been a dedicated advocate for the rights of Indigenous women and girls, particularly focusing on critical issues such as missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirited individuals (MMIWG2S).
Nahanni is actively involved in providing workshops, training, and keynote addresses on the historical and contemporary context of Indigenous women and girls in Canada, Indigenous human rights and empowerment, and the imperative for racial and gender representation in politics.
Her extensive service includes representation within the Indigenous community at municipal, provincial, national, and international levels, serving on various boards and committees such as the Winnipeg Police Advisory Board, Canadian Race Relations Foundation, Native Women’s Association of Canada, Mother of Red Nations, RCMP Aboriginal Advisory Board, and the United Nations Working Group on the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, among others.
Nahanni is a recipient of multiple awards, scholarships, and fellowships, including the 2021 Indspire Award for Public Service, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s Doctoral Scholarship, the YMCA Women of Distinction Award, and the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Person’s Case.
Before her tenure in the Manitoba Legislative Assembly, Nahanni served as the Special Advisor on Aboriginal Women’s Issues for the Aboriginal Issues Committee of Cabinet of Manitoba for six years. Additionally, she held the position of Director of Justice for the Southern Chief’s Organization for ten years and worked as a Sessional Instructor in the Department of Native Studies at the University of Manitoba.
Nahanni, a Status Ojibway from the Sagkeeng Anishinaabe First Nation in southern Manitoba, takes pride in being the mother of Jonah, Niinichaanis, and her fur baby, Chilly Dog.
Nahanni Fontaine