Brian Indian of Onigaming First Nation announced as 2022 National First Nations Water Leadership Award recipient

News release

October 26, 2022 — Ottawa, Traditional Algonquin Territory, Ontario — Indigenous Services Canada

Each year, First Nations individuals and organizations from across Canada are recognized by their peers for demonstrating leadership and outstanding dedication to the advancement of clean and safe drinking water in First Nations communities through the National First Nations Water Leadership Award.

Today, Indigenous Services Canada is pleased to announce that Brian Indian of Ojibways of Onigaming First Nation is the recipient of the 2022 National First Nations Water Leadership Award. Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services, spoke with the recipient earlier this week to deliver the exciting news and learn more about his experience as a water operator. 

As one of the only certified water operators in his community, Brian Indian has worked tirelessly to ensure his community’s water remains safe to drink. He is using his 17 years of experience to mentor two operators-in-training and organizes “Water Awareness” days to educate youth in his community by providing tours of the water plant. Brian Indian continues to inspire all those who know him because of his ongoing dedication and commitment to his profession. 

A total of $10,000 in bursaries are made available each year in the winner’s name to First Nations individuals interested in pursuing or furthering their career in the water and wastewater industry. The Circuit Rider Trainer Professional Association (CRTPA) is responsible for administering the bursaries. More information is available on the CRTPA website, including a bursary application form.

The nominees for this year’s award provided insights on their day-to-day work and messages for others interested in the water industry, which are available on Indigenous Service Canada’s National First Nations Water Leadership Award website.


"Congratulations to the thirteen nominees from across the country this year and to Brian Indian of Ojibways of Onigaming First Nation, the 2022 recipient of the National First Nations Water Leadership Award. Your work is critical to ensuring Onigaming has access to safe and clean drinking water. Your dedication, years of expertise and mentorship to younger community members are an inspiration to other water operators across the country. Thank you for your service, Brian, and congratulations!” 

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services 

“My favorite part of the day is in the morning, looking at the data and seeing that everything ran the way it is supposed to and the community’s water is safe and potable to consume.”

Brian Indian, water operator, Ojibways of Onigaming First Nation
Recipient of the 2022 National First Nations Water Leadership Award

Quick facts

  • 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 prospective or current water operators in their professional development. 

  • Nominees for the National First Nations Water Leadership Award 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 and the previous year’s winner.

  • The nomination period for the 2023 National First Nations Water Leadership Award will be from January 2, 2023, to March 31, 2023. The nomination process is outlined on the National First Nations Water Leadership Award web page.

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For more information, media may contact:

Alison Murphy
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu 
Minister of Indigenous Services

Media Relations
Indigenous Services Canada

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