The Story Team, led by storyteller and elder William Dumas, and Warren Cariou, the Director of the Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture at the University of Manitoba, is responsible for creating the cycle of stories based on the six seasons of the Asiniskaw Īthiniwak and set in the protocontact period. The team works with community members to identify specific, significant locations in Rocky Cree territory to be used as the story settings, and collaborates with knowledge keepers, archaeologists, and historians on cultural and historical accuracy.
William Dumas is the Coordinator for the Culture and Language Program for Nisichawayasi Nehetho Culture and Education Authority, a knowledge keeper, and an acclaimed storyteller from O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation (OPCN). He is Co-Leader of the Story Team for the Six Seasons of the Asiniskaw Īthiniwak project. Dumas is experienced as a Northern educator and administrator, having worked as a First Nations Language & Culture Specialist (Cree) at the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre (MFNERC), Cree Language and Culture Consultant in the Mystery Lake and Frontier School Divisions, as the Director of Education for Fox Lake Education Authority in Nelson House, and as the Executive Director for Northern Nishnabe Education Council. Dumas is the author of the award-winning picture book Pīsim Finds Her Miskanow (2013), which is the first book in the Six Seasons of Asiniskaw Īthiniwak series.
Warren Cariou was born into a family of Métis and European ancestry in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan. He has published works of fiction and memoir as well as critical writing about Indigenous storytelling, literature and environmental philosophy. He has also created two films about Indigenous communities in western Canada’s tar sands region, and he has written numerous articles, stories and poems about Indigeneity and petroleum. His visual art project, Petrography, uses tar sands bitumen as a photographic medium. He is a Professor of English at the University of Manitoba, where he directs the Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture. He is a Co-Leader of the Story Team for the Six Seasons of the Asiniskaw Īthiniwak project.
Dr. Melanie Braith is excited work as a postdoctoral fellow with the Six Seasons project. Melanie is from Germany and came to Canada for her PhD in Indigenous literatures at the University of Manitoba, which she finished in July. She worked for the Six Seasons project as a research assistant from 2018 and 2020 while she was a PhD candidate. During this time, she created transcriptions of William’s stories and Six Seasons meetings. She also designed a book version for Clifford Hart’s story Whiskeyjack Finds Her Purpose. As a postdoctoral fellow, Melanie will work for the Story Team under supervision of William and Warren and will help to transform traditional stories from community members into books. She will also help with preserving and sharing Rocky Cree stories, and she will do research that will reflect on the Six Seasons project as an example of collective storytelling. Melanie is hoping to work as closely together with the community as COVID restrictions allow.
Thamer Linklater is a member of Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation and a survivor of the Child Welfare system in Manitoba. She recently graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a B.A. in English and is now working on her Master’s in Indigenous Studies at Trent University. She has worked in various teams for the Six Seasons Project. She has been involved with Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak and is an active First Nations advocate. Thamer has recently started work on her collection of poems and hopes to publish them soon. In her free time, she enjoys reading novels, studying her culture, and painting. She has developed a passion for her culture and pursues any chance at learning more about her people.