From his beginnings as a small business owner, running his own body shop for 16 years, Kris Nahrgang has gone on to become a patent-holding inventor, an entrepreneur, a graduate of the Native Law Centre, a mediator for First Nations, an advocate on First Nations social issues and an award winning Indigenous artist and sculptor. As the Chief of Kawartha Nishnawbe First Nation he has been awarded an eagle feather, the highest honour a chief can receive, four times in recognition of his tireless work as a community organizer and advocate.
Kris’ journey has been guided by the plight and suffering of First Nations peoples and as a leader, he seeks to assist in healing. Using his experience in social work and his love of carving, he developed an art therapy program for aboriginal inmates at Millbrook Correctional Centre.
As a founder of Sprit Eagle Capital, Kris has a wide portfolio of business ventures and investments including Burleigh Falls LED, Northwest Healthcare, and Grand Medicine Health Services. He has also developed both life jackets and fishing lures with water-activated lights for the airline and boating industry.
Kris is proud to lend his voice to First Nations issues across Canada, as a defender of First Nation burial sites and advocate for the repatriation of First Nations artifacts. He holds an archeological licence from the Ontario Ministry of Culture and is frequently called as an expert in disputed First Nations burial sites, most notably mediating Ontario Realty Corp’s consultation over the Seaton lands in Pickering, Ontario, which also marked the first time that the Iroquois, Hurons and Objiway officially met since the Treaty of Montreal in 1701. Kris has served as the Trent University’s Native Liaison for archeological interest, as well as archeological liaison for Scugog Island First Nation and the Alderville and Curve Lake First Nation.
A passion for art informs every aspect of Kris’ life. He has been called one of the foremost Ojibway soapstone sculptors in North America and often appears at art festivals throughout Ontario. His work appears in numerous Canadian government buildings as well as in the homes of countless business leaders and elected officials. Kris’s work is housed in the collections of former U.S. President George Bush, Prince Andrew of England, and the late Nelson Mandella.
Kris Nahrgang’s work is available for sale through Spirit of the Stone, a gallery and studio business he owns and manages. He believes art is an extension of his work as chief; a therapeutic way of expressing the plight of First Nation’s people so it can be understood and ultimately overcome. He is currently executive producing a documentary series with Sarain Fox from Vice TV entitled Future Voices. The project celebrates the reclamation of Indigenous knowledge and identity by challenging the colonial narrative. It is scheduled for release in 2018.
Kris Nahrgang, Kawartha Nishnawbe First Nation Chief