The Kapabamayak Achaak Healing Forest Winnipeg is a non-profit organization managed and maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers. Board members are called Keepers of the Forest. Supporters are Friends of the Forest.
Administrative support is provided by St. John's Anglican Cathedral, which also processes donations.
Keepers of the Forest
Rachelle Carlisle is a French speaking Indigenous researcher, educator, land defender and water protector. Her family is Métis and Saulteaux from Treaty Territory 1. Rachelle is a French Immersion educator who shared Traditional Indigenous Knowledge and learning with students from preschool to beyond grade 12 and as a lecturer, research assistant and teacher assistant at the University of Winnipeg. She currently teaches in the Seven Oaks School Division. Her lifelong passion has been Indigenous education and she holds a post-baccalaureate degree in Indigenous Knowledge from the University of Winnipeg and a Land-based Masters degree from the University of Saskatchewan.
Rachelle's maternal grandmother fought for Métis rights in Manitoba and her paternal grandmother was a Residential School Survivor. Having been directly affected by this horrific legacy, she was drawn to the Healing Forest and the work that was happening in response to the 94 Calls to Action. She is humbled to have been called upon to be part of this on-going work with fellow educators, community members and Keepers of the Forest. Miigwetch.
Very Rev. Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson is the Rector of the next door Cathedral and Dean of the Anglican Diocese Rupert's Land. He can be found just steps away from Kapabamayak Achaak Healing Forest at St. John's Anglican Cathedral, established in 1820, only after the signing of the Peguis-Selkirk Treaty of 1817, and the subsequent land grant by Lord Selkirk. The Cathedral and the Diocese are both publicly committed to the good way of healing and reconciliation, and Dean Paul is a founding Keeper of the Healing Forest, the Cathedral a committed supporter of this important project of learning for us all.
Paul is interested in creation theology, liberation theology, and post-colonial theology, right along with history and politics, and has a passion for justice. He is thankful for the rich diversity which is our community, and grieves the deep poverty and inequity all around in our wealthy society, along with the brutal attack on Mother Earth which is still the basis for Western ‘success’. He is not an optimist, but has an abiding hope in a better future, where human beings work together for a healthy society and a creation healed.
Kyle J. Mason
Kyle is an experienced award-winning Indigenous Leader, Reconciliation Consultant and Speaker. Through his personal and professional life as the son of both residental and 'day' school survivors, Kyle knows first-hand the tension between Indigenous Peoples, Canada, and the difficult journey of Reconciliation. He also knows struggles of living in poverty and overcoming the many connected challenges. Kyle has extensive experience building non-profits from the ground up - including the North End Family Centre in 2008 and building it to the point where supported thousand of families later when he left a decade later.
Ryan Epp - Treasurer
Ryan is an associate landscape architect with ft3 in Winnipeg. His interest in design and the built form began at a young age with friends, building forts from fallen branches in a near-by thicket of trees. From there it evolved into an enthusiasm for design that is rooted in the belief that people of all abilities should have access to and interaction with landscapes that contribute to wellbeing and happiness. His design experience and expertise is in health and wellness as well as multi-family housing.
Mira has been working to support Indigenous-led conservation since 2018 through her work with the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society's Manitoba Chapter. The daughter of co-founder Lee Anne Block, Mira has supported the Healing Forest since its inception and became a founding Keeper in 2020. Mira has been working in non-profit communications and program development since she returned to Winnipeg in 2016. She previously lived in Chicago where she worked as a journalist with Agence-France Presse.
Deb Radi - Co-Chair
Dr. Debra Radi is a French, Metis educator who embraces Indigenous teaching in her professional and personal life. She is passionate about social justice perspectives bringing them forward with the various communities in which she engages as a leader and learner. Deb is an experienced teacher and senior administrator who brings experience from both University and K-12 contexts. Deb believes in building individual and community capacity through learning experiences that embrace equity, diversity and inclusion of all perspectives and beliefs. She is currently the Co-chair of Kapabamayak Achaak Healing Forest Winnipeg, amongst other community led engagements.
Chantal Shivanna Ramraj
Chantal Shivanna Ramraj (she/they) is a queer, non-binary person of colour working as a classroom teacher at Amber Trails Community School, a K-8 school in Seven Oaks School Division in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Although they work as an educator, they don’t want to solely identify themselves that way. Originally, they planned to work in a non-profit setting after completing a BA in political studies and women’s and gender studies, where the work would not be solely dictated by ideologies of capital and profit. However, they ended up completing an after degree in education, specializing in English and history as subject areas and early-middle years level.
Kerry Saner-Harvey - Secretary
Kerry is a white, male, Settler Mennonite living and working in Winnipeg as a guest on Treaty 1 Territory. He is passionate about walking with people beyond fears of the other and working together to repair harms done. He works as the Program Coordinator for the Indigenous Neighbours Program of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Manitoba, aiming to facilitate relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people towards reconciliation and strategies for justice. In the past, Kerry has worked with First Nations youth in Cranberry Portage, Manitoba; did restorative and environmental justice and food security work alongside Indigenous partnerships with MCC Newfoundland and Labrador; and supported peacebuilding opportunities while serving with MCC in Bangladesh. Trauma awareness, nonviolence theory, comparative theologies and playing music are other areas of continued interest and pursuit. As a husband and father, he hopes to see a future where love, equity, and ecological humility draw us closer towards sustainability for the world our children will create.
Val Vint - Co-Chair
Born in Winnipegosis, Manitoba, Val spent the most meaningful part of her childhood in the bush chasing foxes and pelicans with her Grandfather, a conservation officer. She draws from a background of photography, engineering, design, theatre, music, travel, and work with other indigenous peoples. Her cultural heritage makes her feel that she has a license to investigate all forms of art. Val has been facilitating cultural art workshops, including drumming and singing for about forty years. Val's phenomenal sculpture "Education is the New Bison" was installed at the Forks in 2020, steps away from her soaring collaborative work NIIMAAMAA.
Judy is a Manitoba trailblazer and leader in politics, community development, feminism and disability rights. First elected in 1986 as the MLA for St. John, Judy represented Winnipeg's North End for more than 40 years at both the provincial and federal level.
Since retiring from political office, Judy has devoted her boundless energy and time to serve countless charities and organizations devoted to social progress, disability rights and inclusion, democracy, the arts, and community economic development.
In Memorium - Dr. Lee Anne Block
Dr. Lee Anne Block was a driving force behind the creation of the Healing Forest and the development of educational programming. The Keepers of the Forest are indebted to Lee Anne for her leadership, energy, and vision to create a space for healing and reconciliation in Winnipeg's Northend.
Her family established Baba's Bannock and Jam Fund to carry on her legacy.
Learn more about Lee Anne in this Winnipeg Free Press Passages article or in the video below.