Special Guests

Summer Bear Dance Troupe

Founded by Barbara Nepinak, the Summer Bear Dance Troupe will perform on opening day (July 28) of Native Assembly. The Summer Bear Troupe formed in 1992 and has been recognized and awarded the first Aboriginal Tourism Award of Manitoba in 2004 and was also recognized by the Mayor of Winnipeg with the “Stars of the City” award.  The Troupe members have performed across their home Province of Manitoba, other parts of Canada, as well as Adelaide, Australia, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Mexico City, Sweden and Ylan, Taiwan.

Barbara Nepinak, a Cultural Awareness Coordinator is a band member of the Pine Creek Ojibway First Nation. After retirement from the federal public service of 35 years Barbara continues to serve on various boards and committees.   Barbara is a past member of the Special Advisory Council to the Police Chief of Winnipeg and twice was recognized with the Mayor’s Citizenship Award for her work with this Advisory Council.

Barbara has also received the Recognition Award for ‘Honouring Women of Distinction’ from the Original Women’s Network in Manitoba, nominee in the Women of Distinction Award of Winnipeg and a nominee for Women’s Mentor Awards of Canada, and many other awards and recognitions. She resides in urban Winnipeg with her husband, Clarence and family.

Clarence Nepinak

We are honoured to have E. Clarence Nepinak light the Sacred Fire on opening night of Native Assembly.

Clarence, a member of the Pine Creek First Nation, has a Bachelors Degree in Education from the University of Manitoba and is a survivor of nine years in a residential school in Pine Creek and two years in Assiniboia High School in Winnipeg. Clarence provided Ojibway language commentating for the 2010 Olympics for Aboriginal Persons Televison Network of the Pairs Skating competition and has recently established a company named Anishinabe First Speakers.

Clarence and his life partner Barbara have been awarded the Knowledge Keepers Award from the Aboriginal Circle of Educators. Both have received the Queens Golden Jubilee Award for being Cultural Ambassadors. Clarence and Barbara have been involved with the Canadian Human Rights Museum as Protocol/Cultural Advisors to the staff of the Museum in regards to artifacts found on the site and protocols in dealing with their own First Nation communities. He is also a recognized Elder for the Comprehensive Community Institute hosted by the University of Winnipeg.

Clarence resides in Winnipeg with his life partner, Barbara and they have four daughters and two granddaughters.