Fort Erie and Fort William First Nation, Ontario – FortisOntario Inc. and Wataynikaneyap Power LP are pleased to introduce the recipient of FortisOntario’s Future Generations Scholarship: Ms. Cheyenne Wassaykeesic of Poplar Hill First Nation.
In honour of 2022 National Indigenous Peoples Day, FortisOntario announced the $10,000 Future Generations Scholarship program available to the Wataynikaneyap Power Project’s 24 owner First Nations. The scholarship represents respecting First Nation way of life and what we leave behind for future generations yet to come, or chinagatamaageyeg (Anishinaabe, “to leave something behind for others”). An internal selection committee reviewed all applications, completed interviews with candidates, and made its final selection in May 2023.
Ms. Wassaykeesic is a full-time third-year student studying a Bachelor of Arts in First Nations Indigenous Studies with a Minor in First Nations Endangered Languages at the University of British Columbia. She is a fluent Anishininiimowin speaker who grew up with her Anishinaabe culture taught to her by family and community connections.
“I hope to continue to help our communities become leaders within managing their own resources in a sustainable and good way, whilst thinking about past and future generations. There is a lot of work to be done, and I am excited to eventually be a part of the opportunities this project will allow us. This project allows us to think imaginatively at what is now possible for our communities,” states Ms. Wassaykeesic within her application.
Scott Hawkes, President and CEO of FortisOntario, remarks, “As a partner in the Wataynikaneyap Project, FortisOntario encourages First Nations youth to pursue educational opportunities. We look forward to supporting Ms. Wassaykeesic on her academic journey and learning from her unique perspective.”
“Future generations are the reason we are building this transmission line,” Margaret Kenequanash, CEO of Wataynikaneyap Power, also remarks. “Congratulations to Ms. Wassaykeesic! It is students and youth like her that are bringing the First Nations’ vision for this project to reality. We believe she is an excellent champion who represent the values of Kanawayandan D’aaki (Anishinaabe land ethics) and will be an important role model to all the Participating First Nation youth thinking about their futures.”
Wataynikaneyap Power would also like to acknowledge Ms. Wassaykeesic’s grandmother, Emma Wassaykeesic, for her inspiration, spiritual guidance, teachings, and encouragement she has instilled in Cheyenne to make her the successful young woman she is today.
The Wassaykeesics’ community, Poplar Hill First Nation, is scheduled to be connected to the power grid in the spring of 2024.
About Wataynikaneyap Power
Wataynikaneyap Power is a licensed transmission company majority-owned by a partnership of 24 First Nations in partnership with Fortis Inc. and other private investors, regulated by the Ontario Energy Board. FortisOntario Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Fortis Inc., acts as the project manager through its wholly owned subsidiary, Wataynikaneyap Power PM Inc. The 24 First Nations also established Opiikapawiin Services to lead the community engagement and participation for Wataynikaneyap Power LP. To connect remote First Nations communities to the electrical grid, Wataynikaneyap Power will develop, manage construction, and operate approximately 1,800 kilometres of transmission lines in northwestern Ontario. For further information, please visit: www.wataypower.ca or www.oslp.ca.
Mary Kita, Manager, Communications
About FortisOntario Inc.
FortisOntario is an electric utility, which owns and operates Canadian Niagara Power Inc., Cornwall Street Railway Light & Power Company Ltd., and Algoma Power Inc., serving a combined approximate 66,000 customers. FortisOntario also owns regulated transmission assets with approximately 3,460 kilometres of distribution and transmission lines, and meets a peak demand of approximately 257 MW. FortisOntario also act as project manager for the Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Project. For further information visit www.fortisontario.com. FortisOntario is a subsidiary of Fortis Inc., a leader in the North American regulated electric and gas utility industry. For further information visit www.fortisinc.com.
Kristine Carmichael, Director of Corporate and Customer Services