Jonathan Riberdy of Zhiibaahaasing First Nation announced as recipient of the 2021 National First Nations Water Leadership Award
December 9, 2021 — Ottawa, Traditional Algonquin Territory, Ontario—Indigenous Services Canada
In 2018, the National First Nations Water Leadership Award was established to recognize First Nations individuals or organizations that have demonstrated leadership and outstanding dedication to the advancement of clean and safe drinking water in First Nations communities.
Today, Indigenous Services Canada is pleased to announce that Jonathan Riberdy of Zhiibaahaasing First Nation is the recipient of the 2021 National First Nations Water Leadership Award. Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services, had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Riberdy last week and deliver the exciting news that he was this year's award winner.
Mr. Riberdy is a water operator whose commitment and passion are an inspiration to his community. He has worked alongside his Chief and Council to help bring long-term solutions that provide safe and clean drinking water to his community, and he strives to share his knowledge with others.
For many years, Jonathan has worked tirelessly to uphold high drinking water standards in his community and to train young Indigenous water operators across Ontario. Jonathan currently serves as his community's water supervisor, a project manager for Swim Drink Fish Canada, and a director for the Aboriginal Water and Wastewater Association of Ontario.
Additionally, $10,000 in bursaries are made available each year in the winner's name to First Nations individuals who are pursuing or furthering their career in the water and wastewater industry. Applications are open, and those interested in pursuing professional development in the industry are highly encouraged to apply. The Circuit Rider Trainer Professional Association (CRTPA) is responsible for administering the bursaries and more information is available on the CRTPA website, including an application form for the bursaries.
Congratulations Mr. Riberdy!
"My favourite part of my day-to-day work within Zhiibaahaasing First Nation is ensuring we have clean drinking water and showing trainees and community members the processes of the water plant. Teaching my knowledge to other operators is the most rewarding, knowing that I can share my knowledge. Four times a year, our Elders and women take the lead in water ceremonies for our clean drinking water. We take this time to say Miigwech (thank you) to the water for letting us have clean, drinkable, fishable and swimmable water. Having leadership at these ceremonies shows the commitment towards water and gives them an understanding of the water processes."
Jonathan Riberdy, water operator, Zhiibaahaasing First Nation
Recipient of the 2021 National First Nations Water Leadership Award
"Congratulations Jonathan Riberdy of Zhiibaahaasing First Nation for being named the 2021 recipient of the National First Nations Water Leadership Award! Thank you for your work and dedication to your community. The expertise and commitment of water operators like Mr. Riberdy are vital in achieving our shared goal—ensuring that all First Nations communities have access to clean drinking water and maintaining strong water and wastewater infrastructure. Thank you Jonathan and congratulations!"
The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services
The recipient will receive a trophy and a piece of Indigenous artwork, and all nominees receive a pin designed by an Indigenous company.
The recipient is also honoured through the creation of bursaries in their name to support water operators in their professional development.
Nominees are First Nations individuals, community members or leaders, or First Nations organizations or communities.
Nominations are reviewed by an advisory committee formed of First Nations partners.
The nomination period for the National First Nations Water Leadership Award 2022 will be January 3, 2022, to February 21, 2022.The nomination process is outlined on National First Nations Water Leadership Award web page.
Last year's recipient of the National First Nations Water Leadership Award was Éric Sioui, a Circuit Rider Training Program Coordinator from Wendake, Quebec, recognized for his leadership and for sharing his expertise with other First Nations water operators across Quebec through the Circuit Rider Training Program.
The recipient in 2019 was Deon Hassler, a First Nations military veteran and former water operator in his home community of Carry the Kettle, Saskatchewan.
The recipient of the inaugural National First Nations Water Leadership Award in 2018 was Lorraine Crane, Chief of Slate Falls Nation in Ontario, in recognition of her outstanding leadership and dedication to the advancement of clean drinking water in her community.
For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services
Indigenous Services Canada
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