Dr. Dean Jacobs is the Consultation Manager for Walpole Island First Nation (WIFN). For the past 43 years, he has been the driving force behind WIFN’s internationally acclaimed community-based research program called Nin.Da.Waab.Jig. (those who seek to find). He is a member of the International Joint Commission’s Great Lakes Water Quality Board. Dr. Jacobs is a former Chief of WIFN, and is the recipient of two eagle feathers and three honorary doctorate degrees.


Dr. Dean Jacobs is a former Chief of the Walpole Island First Nation and the founding director of the Walpole Island Heritage Centre.  He has over 39 years of experience in public service. The community-based research program at Walpole Island First Nation, which he established, is recognized by scholars as one of the best First Nation community research offices in Canada. In 1982, he was instrumental in enhancing community-based research capabilities by implementing a socio-economic and environmental research program called Nin.Da.Waab.Jig. In 1989, he became the founding Director of the Walpole Island Heritage Centre. In 1995, the Walpole Island First Nation received the “We the Peoples: 50 Communities Award” from the Friends of the United Nations for its exemplary record in environmental research and sustainable development. In 1997, the Walpole Island Heritage Centre was designated by Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development as a “First Nations Effective Practices” site. In 1976, he was the first Canadian First Nation individual admitted to the Smithsonian Institution’s American “Indian” Cultural Resources Training Program. He has been an expert witness in a number of hunting and fishing rights court cases. He was awarded honorary doctorate degrees from Bowling Green State University (1998), University of Windsor (2006) and York University (2008). He is the recipient of the J. Norman Emerson Silver Medal (1998) from the Ontario Archaeological Society and The Commemorative Medal (1992) presented by the Governor General of Canada. He is also a recipient of two Eagle feathers from his peers.