New Indigenous Ministry.

The Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh is the name of a new diocese in the Anglican Church of Canada, which came into being on June 1, 2014 occupying northern Ontario and Manitoba, led by  Bishop Lydia  Mamakwa . 

The creation of this new diocese marks a major milestone in the journey of establishing a self-determining, self-sustaining Indigenous church within the Anglican Church of Canada.   The Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh(ISMM) encompasses over twenty-five First Nations communities in Northwestern Ontario and Northern Manitoba.  Its structures and program will be  uniquely aboriginal, an expression of Indigenous self-determination within the Anglican  Church,  committed to upholding the tradition, and discipline  of the  Church,  expressing that commitment  consistent with the cultural and spiritual heritage of the Indigenous  people of the region.

This fulfills a vision of a deeply loved and highly respected elder, The Rev. William Winter. It had been revealed to him that someday there would be a truly indigenous church with leadership from among his own people.

Having founded a school of ministry, he saw a number of indigenous men and women trained to be catechists, deacons and priests.  Rev. Winter, was encouraged when the synod of the diocese of Keewatin responded  favorably for the creation of a Northern Ontario Region, self-determining and self-sufficient with respect to the provisions of ministry throughout its communities.

When the Ecclesiastical province of Rupert’s Land amended its canon, making provision for indigenous peoples to elect a bishop in accord with their own custom for raising up new leaders, he  was delighted in the election and consecration of his niece, Lydia Mamakwa, on May 4, 2010.


Lydia’s ministry of building up the church in those northern communities gave the people confidence to take steps toward the creation of a new diocese. This move enjoyed the full support of Archbishop David Ashdown, and the synod of Keewatin, the co-operation of neighboring dioceses and the full endorsement of the provincial synod.

In 2013, the General Synod gave unanimous concurrence to the formation of the new diocese. Speaking on behalf of the elders and youth present, Bishop Lydia said, “I don’t know if there ’is one word to describe the elation we felt when we saw all those hands going up. All I can say is thank you everyone for your support and may God bless you.“Mishamikoweesh” in Oji-Cree, Means “Big Beaver House.”


Reference IAWN.