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Board of Directors

The Forks Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors. Its current members are:

Cheyenne Thomas

Cheyenne is an Anishinaabe designer, born and raised in Winnipeg and a member of Peguis First Nation. She received her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design from the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Manitoba. After graduating in 2013, Cheyenne began working on several architectural projects in Indigenous communities across Manitoba. She currently works with Patrick R. Stewart in Vancouver as well as working freelance on Indigenous projects in Winnipeg.

Barbara Nepinak

Cultural Awareness Coordinator and Elder at the University of Winnipeg. Has served on a number of community boards after retirement from the federal public service including, Folklorama, Cultural Human Resources Council (Ottawa), Aboriginal Healthy Network (Vancouver) and as a cultural advisor for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Received the Excellence Award by Inter-Provincial Association on Native Employment, the City of Winnipeg’s Citizenship Mayors Award, the Recognition Award Honouring Women of Distinction from the Original Women’s Network and the 2010 Knowledge Keepers Award for significant contributions to Aboriginal education. Founder of the Summer Bear Dance Troupe, a First Nation performing arts group awarded the first Aboriginal Tourism Award of Manitoba in 2004.

Jean Friesen BA McGill, PhD UBC

Came to Manitoba from the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa in 1973; has taught Canadian and Aboriginal history in the University of Manitoba since 1973; Founding editor of Manitoba History, served on the Board of the Museum of Manitoba, past Chair of the Manitoba Heritage Council; served on the first board of The Forks Renewal Corporation; MLA for Wolseley 1990-2003; Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Deputy Premier of Manitoba 1999-03; Currently teaches Aboriginal history and Public history at the University of Manitoba .

Dave Lalama

Principal, Number Ten Architectural Group; member of the Manitoba Association of Architects; fifteen years experience in architectural field; Projects have included Ducks Unlimited National Headquarters, Oak Hammock Marsh, VIA Rail Restoration in Vancouver; a number of schools, day care centers, and multi-purpose centers in First Nation communities and projects in the hospitality and entertainment sectors. Community affiliations include Board member of Fort Garry Community Club, Kidney Foundation of Canada and the United Way.

Philip M. Sheps

Partner, Pitblado Barristers & Solicitors, Chair of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, former Board Director, The Forks North Portage Partnership.

Rick Bel, Ex-officio

Currently owner, Fort Garry Hotel and Sandpiper Restaurant Group. Previously owner of Sandpiper and Prairie Oyster Restaurant. Former Professor of Economics at the University of Manitoba and Professor of Economics at Kobe University in Japan and Lecturer in Economics at London’s School of Economics. Prior to that, Rick pursued doctoral studies at the London School of Economics.

Toby Chase, Executive Director

Executive Director of The Forks Foundation and Vice-President of Strategic Planning of The Forks North Portage Partnership. Work experience has included intergovernmental affairs, coordination of public consultation activities and sponsorship development. Has previously held the position of Manager of Operations with the Winnipeg Core Area Initiative, an inner city urban renewal program providing housing, training initiatives, education support services, business development and community services projects. Has served as Chair of the Winnipeg Centre Plan Housing forum working group and past Board member of the Downtown Winnipeg Business Improvement Zone.