Meet Our Team

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Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation (NAN), Community Partner 

Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation (NAN) is an Anishinaabe community located along the Winnipeg River. NAN exercises its inherent right to protect ancestral lands and waters for future generations, to practice its cultural traditions, and to exercise self-governance to ensure the wellbeing of all our relations.

The Economic Development Committee, which creates growth opportunities on reserve, has partnered with the Research Team on the Manomin Project. In the words of Chief Lorraine Cobiness, “The project is a first major step in the revitalization of… wild rice as a food source and as an economic driver.”

Dr. Brittany Luby, Co-Investigator

Brittany Luby, whose paternal ancestors originate from NAN, is an award-winning historian who joined the University of Guelph in January 2017. Outside of the classroom, Luby seeks to stimulate public discussion of Indigenous issues through her critical and creative work. The Canadian Historical Association has described Luby’s research as “innovative in its structure and responsive to Indigenous research methodologies.” Her historical work can be found in periodicals such as the Canadian Bulletin of Medical History and the Canadian Journal of Native StudiesHer first academic monograph was published by the University of Manitoba Press in Fall 2020.

Dr. Andrea Bradford, Co-Investigator

Andrea Bradford obtained her Ph.D. from Queen’s University at Kingston in 1999. Her dissertation addressed the water balance and hydroecology of Minesing Swamp, near Barrie, Ontario. She has had five years of experience in environmental consulting and two years of experience in the Water Policy Branch of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. Her teaching and research are currently focused in the areas of urban water systems, low impact development, ecological flow assessment, and stream and wetland restoration. Bradford lives in Guelph, Ontario with her husband and three children.

Chief Lorraine Cobiness, Chief of Niisaachewan First Nation

Chief Lorraine Cobiness has over a decade of experience as Chief of Niisaachewan First Nation. She will continue to oversee the Manomin Research Project. From her position, Cobiness will set research priorities, review progress reports, and establish objectives for research dissemination and use. She has experience collaborating with industry and government to manage the Kenora Forest. She is keen to apply these relationship-building and negotiating skills to water management in the upper Winnipeg River drainage basin.

Barry Henry, Economic Development Officer

Barry Henry is the Economic Development Officer (EDO) at Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation. As such, Henry assists in the development of plans for the use of traditional lands by community members. The Manomin Research Project is one such initiative as field restoration would stimulate agri-business on reserve. Henry is also responsible for providing training and educational workshops to enhance employability skills for band members. As EDO, Henry shares employment opportunities on reserve, identifying Knowledge Keepers to consult on the Manomin Research Project. He also co-hosts bi-annual feasts with University of Guelph Researchers to ensure the dissemination of information among potential harvesters and local teachers. In order to facilitate information sharing at feasts (and during all other manomin-related activities), Henry provides invaluable Anishinaabemowin translation support to English speakers.

Allan Luby, River Guide

Allan Luby is a band member, federally-licensed captain, and expert navigator. He has been President of Lake Navigation Ltd., which operates a 200-passenger capacity vessel, since 1987. Luby has agreed to share his water expertise with the Manomin Research Project by maintaining boating equipment and acting as a river guide. He safely transports University of Guelph researchers between field sites, and also transports band members along the river to participate in site-based knowledge dissemination activities (co-hosted by University of Guelph and Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation).

Guy Henry, Niisaachewan First Nation band member and Project Partner

Guy Henry is a Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation band member who works along the Winnipeg River to restore both Sturgeon populations and Manomin crops. Guy has agreed to share his water expertise with the Manomin Research Project by maintaining the photo diary to keep track of crop growth over the course of the season. He also recommended an additional field to study, noting its high yields in years past!

Samantha Mehltretter, Graduate Research Assistant

Samantha Mehltretter is a Water Resources Engineer in Training with an interest in the social and environmental impacts of engineering. She completed her bachelor’s in water resources at the University of Guelph in 2015, and subsequently worked at a Coastal Engineering company for two years before starting her M.A.Sc. Samantha’s experience in engineering consulting experience was exceptionally valuable to her professional development; however, she decided to pursue graduate studies to learn more about water resources and how she can use her knowledge to help people and the environment. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. and focus on investigating manomin decline on the Winnipeg River. Samantha successfully completed her TCPS2 training in 2018.

Margaret Lehman, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Margaret Lehman is a fourth-year undergraduate student who is completing a Bachelor of Arts degree through the University of Guelph with specializations in History, English Literature, and Creative Writing. Lehman is the social media coordinator for the Manomin Research Project (@manominproject). Her favourite manomin dish is a recipe from The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen Cookbook: the Tatanka Truck’s Fried Wild Rice Bowl (which combines minced squash, turnips, wild onions, and wild rice, and seasoned with some maple syrup)! Margaret completed her TCPS2 training in 2019 and her OCAP training in 2021. 

Emma Scott, Research Assistant

Emma Scott is a University of Guelph alum who graduated with her Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and History in 2021. Throughout her studies, she developed a strong interest in the use of language to form connections, recount the past, and inspire others. Emma uses these interests to guide her work as a Communications Assistant for the Manomin Project. Emma successfully completed her TCSP2 training and her OCAP training in 2021. 

Jane Mariotti, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Jane Mariotti is a third-year undergraduate student at the University of Guelph studying Environmental Science and majoring in Ecology. Her interests lie in nutrient cycling and botany. Her experience includes field work in environmental monitoring and tallgrass prairie restoration, lab work in soil sample processing, and collaboration on a book review for NiCHE Canada. She has been a part of the Manomin Project since January 2021, where she assists with projects as an Undergraduate Student Research Assistant. Jane successfully completed her TCPS2 training and her OCAP training in 2021.

Casey Joseph August, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Casey Joseph August is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of Guelph, and is majoring in History. He likes reading fiction and watching weird and experimental movies, though he overall prefers something that will make him laugh out loud or cry like a baby. He has experience in online database management and diary transcription from his work as Webmaster of the Rural Diary Archive. He has worked with the Manomin Project since May 2022 as an Undergraduate Student Research Assistant. Casey successfully completed his TCPS2 training in 2019.

Laura Legzdins, Communications Coordinator and President’s Research Assistant 

Laura Legzdins studies Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph and works to advance environmental, cultural and community care. As a Research Assistant, she helps develop culturally appropriate strategies for reseeding and restoring Manomin which braid perspectives from Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Western Science. As Communications Coordinator, she maintains relationships with partners and ensures transparency in research through routine communication and knowledge dissemination. She draws from experience with plant restoration, teaching at a cultural heritage school, documenting stories of Latvian elders and numerous opportunities learning from the land and Indigenous cultures. Laura successfully completed her TCPS2 training in 2022.

Tim Liebregt, Transcriptionist

Tim Liebregt is currently pursuing a Master of Arts from Concordia University as a member of the Deindustrialization and Politics of Our Time project. His MA work addresses the movement of capital out of Windsor, Ontario and the subsequent flight from surrounding communities. He previously graduated from the University of Guelph in 2021, majoring in History with a minor in Political Science. Tim’s previous academic and professional work with nineteenth and twentieth-century documents aids in his work as a transcriptionist for the Manomin Project. Tim successfully completed his TCPS2 training in 2022.

Autumn Perry, Graduate Research Assistant

Autumn Perry is a graduate student who studies Public Issues Anthropology at the University of Guelph. She received her BA from Guelph in 2022, majoring in Anthropology and History. Autumn’s MA research focuses on cultural responses to environmental degradation, with emphasis placed on resource sustainability. She has transcribed historic documents for the Manomin Project since January 2022. Autumn successfully completed her TCPS2 training in 2022.


The Indigenous Marketing Company (IMC), partners with entrepreneurs, organizations, and Indigenous communities to develop comprehensive marketing solutions designed to create better futures for Indigenous Peoples. IMC’s services include web design, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising (PPC), social media marketing, logo design, video production, and a wide variety of other creative design services.

Currently, IMC is collaborating with the Manomin Project to manage and develop social media content with the goal of sharing research updates, increase overall awareness of Manomin, and amplify Indigenous voices across Turtle Island that promote food sovereignty.

The Manomin Project Alumni

Emma Stelter, 2018 Undergraduate Research Assistant

Emma was active on the Manomin Project from summer 2017 to August 2019. During this time, Emma transcribed oral interviews, focus groups, and video diaries. She also contributed to the initial set up of the project website and the student section of a grant. 

Presently, Emma is in her second year of a Master of Arts in the Tri-University History Program at the University of Guelph. She holds a Joseph Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS M) through SSHRC. Emma‘s thesis focuses on Mississauga treaties with the Crown around the beginning of the nineteenth century. She currently works for Dr. Kim Anderson as a Research Assistant in the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition and as a Teaching Assistant in the Department of History. 

Gabrielle Goldhar, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Gabrielle worked on the Manomin Research Project from January – December 2020. During this time, she researched and wrote an informative blog post about the differences between food security and food sovereignty for Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation, transcribed and coded oral interviews, and created and added metadata to site photos. 

Goldhar continues to learn about Indigenous peoples and is grateful to Dr. Luby and the team for giving her the opportunity to work on this amazing project.

Elli Pattrick, 2020 Undergraduate Research Assistant

Elli Pattrick is one of the the Undergraduate Research Assistants for Summer 2020. She is going into her fourth year of environmental engineering in Fall 2020. Apart from academics, Pattrick spends most of her time at the barn riding and helping out. Pattrick is really looking forward to working on and learning more about the Manomin Research Project over the course of this summer! Elli successfully completed her TCPS2 training in 2020.