KI Consulting

First Nations Rising
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Our Experience

As sole proprietor, James Cutfeet, is joined by his wife Steffanie Petroni-Cutfeet. The combined experience and strengths of the pair ensures that work undertaken on behalf of clients is finely detailed as well as responsive to higher-level processes. KI Consulting is experienced in working across matters of importance in Governance, Administration, Education, Health, and Social Development.

With an extensive administrative and political background within provincial and federal bureaucracies, and as a former Chief of his community, James is especially strong in areas of advising and negotiating on behalf of First Nations on many matters including policy and legislation. James has a lengthy and successful career which has been underpinned by numerous and significant achievements. James’ impressive career highlights are listed below.

Steffanie’s varied career background began in areas of advocacy and program development for people with intellectual disabilities as well as youth. Eventually, her work would evolve into areas of community economic and social development where she found a passion for grassroots research. Steffanie was highly focused on developing recommendations and workplans that were highly implementable. Her career would take an unexpected turn in 2011 when she launched herself as a freelance journalist, later going on to establish her own alternative news site. Steffanie’s diverse career highlights are listed below.

Our Commitment

Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug Consulting sets out to Raise First Nation Capacity. Serving Indigenous priorities, whether an Indigenous entity or non-Indigenous entity, KI Consulting provides expertise in the areas of governance, administration, community economic and social development, and critical partnerships. KI Consulting casts a wide focus, working with stakeholders at the grassroots and governmental levels, and everything in between, to ensure successful outcomes which are detailed and sustainable.

At the heart of each initiative is the intention to increase education and skill development while strengthening the wholistic well-being of all First Nations with focus on areas of health, social, education, economic, environmental and cultural/spiritual growth. Ultimately, KI Consulting’s hope is to serve the First Nations direction towards self-determination.

What We Do

A brief overview of K.I. Consulting services include but are not limited to:

Research.

SWOT/Asset inventory; Literature reviews; development of research tools; gathering and analysis of data; liaison with stakeholders; recommendation process; and reports.

Writing.

Communication strategy; briefings, memorandums and resolutions; reporting; policy and procedures; MOU’s and terms; other as relevant.

Training.

Governance and Administration; Developing Capacity; Risk assessments, organizational structures; management controls.

Environmental Scanning.

Reading and interpreting political landscape to determine threats and
leverage opportunities for clients.

Advisory.

Options analysis, Risk Management, Influencing others, Collaborations, Mediation.

Advocacy and Lobbying.

On behalf of clients before governments, industry and NGO’s.

Engagement.

Coordination of stakeholders; Group facilitation; Partnerships and networking.

James Cutfeet

James Cutfeet attended the Big Trout Lake Indian Day School. He left the reserve to attend secondary and post secondary at Thunder Bay, Ontario. James Cutfeet began his career in Education. His educational career started as a classroom assistant, teacher, principal in the federal and a provincial Isolate School Board and as a Senior Advisor (role as Superintendent of Education) for federal schools in southern Ontario.

When James left teaching in 1982, he was hired as the Education Director with the Northern Nishnawbe Education Council (NNEC) in Sioux Lookout and he remained in that position until end of 1991. During his time with NNEC, he achieved numerous milestones. Some of the milestones include: the implementation of Wahsa Distance Education: planting the seed for the Pelican Falls First Nations High School (PFFHS); securing an administration buildings for NNEC and Wahsa.

James left NNEC end of 1991. He took a contract as the Senior Advisor with the Ministry of Education at Queen’s Park in Toronto. There he worked with various government ministries, Ministry of Education regional offices and school boards. He commuted from Sioux Lookout, Ontario to Toronto for two and a half years.

In May of 2006, James was appointed Acting Associate Regional Director General (ARDG), Thunder Bay Region. He returned to his substantive position to coordinate a First Nation’s capital projects valued at approximately 80 million.

Thereafter, James was reassigned as Director of Education and Social and the associated budgets. He frequently took on acting ARDG assignments both in Thunder Bay and Toronto offices. With retirement looming, he took an assignment as the Senior Advisor, superintendent role, for six federal schools at Six Nations and Tyendinaga.

At post retirement, James was elected Chief for his community of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) in August 2015 and he served until November 2017. In just two years, as KI Chief, James:

  • Secured over 65 million dollars in economic and infrastructure development that led to a new health centre; a joint hydro connection with a neighboring community; and a new school build.
  • Reduced KI’s multi-million debt by 50%.
  • Initiated and signed three agreements that will generate future dividends for the prosperity of KI’s next generations. These agreements led to establishing a community pharmacy; the Ontario First Nations acquisition of Ontario Hydro shares; and a partnership into Wataynecanyap Northern Grid.
  • Separated the political governance and administration roles, guiding first-time, newly elected Council.
  • Established KI’s governance vision using community documents to state community pillars, operational guidance and a declaration governance.

Signed Two relationship documents, one with Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) and one with Wapekeka First Nation.

From January 2018- to March 2019, James was employed with NAN as the Director of Health and Advocacy from January 2018 to March 2019. He established Long Term Care, Mental Health and suicide prevention as key priorities.

In April 2019, he proudly launched KI Consulting.

Steffanie Petroni-Cutfeet

Steffanie’s career history originates in wholistic community development practice with focus upon social planning, community-based research, economic development and policy development with particular emphasis on strategies for sustainable development in municipalities, First Nations communities and rural areas.

Over the past decade, her career took a fresh turn when she launched herself as a freelance writer. Driven by her own personal and professional experiences, as well as her love of storytelling, Steffanie eventually conceptualized her own independent news site, offering an alternative news source that provided an in-depth, research-based approach to the news, with focus upon the most pressing social, economic and environmental concerns in the Algoma District and Northern Ontario.

Steffanie relocated to Thunder Bay in 2017 to take up employment with the Canadian Mental Health Association, and in 2018 accepted a position with Nishnawbe Aski Nation. A few of Steffanie’s career highlights include:

  • Expert on grassroots research initiatives that capture quantitative and qualitative data. Development of recommendations and workplans to ensure continuity of initiatives. Research areas included opportunities to work side by side with society’s most disenfranchised, marginalized and misunderstood individuals such as sex trade workers, people who experience addiction and mental health challenges, and people who are familiar to the justice system.
  • A principled and highly experienced practitioner in diverse areas of community development including economic development, social economy, and partnerships. An impressive track record with extensive experience in strategic planning, project management, and effective team building. A proven ability to successfully tailor messaging for target market groups, and an exceptional understanding of social media.
  • Contributed to the development of a provincial initiative promoting the inclusion and citizenship of people with intellectual disabilities. The Passport Mentoring Initiative, now called Student Links, supported young people to pursue employment, post-secondary, volunteer and recreational opportunities in their communities. Partnerships were established with various Ministries, School Boards, employment agencies, and numerous community entities.
  • While serving with CMHA Thunder Bay, extended support to three regional areas to successfully establish Situation Tables.
  • Received a national media award in English print from Beyond Borders Canada while working as a freelancer.
  • Launched and operated a media site, the Northern Hoot, that took a research/solutions-based approach to the most pressing economic, social, and environmental issues in the community and Northern Ontario. The Northern Hoot challenged conventional media, fearlessly covering the most contentious issues, while holding reverence for no one and no entity with the aim of always getting to the truth.

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