Invited Speakers

Michèle Audette Photo

Michèle Audette
National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Tera Beaulieu Photo

Tera Beaulieu PhD (Candidate)
Clinical & Counselling Psychology
University of Toronto
Private Practice

Tera is a Citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario and is currently completing her Doctor of Philosophy in the Counselling/Clinical Psychology Program at the University of Toronto. Her program of research examines the supports and challenges of Métis traditional knowledge in addressing the life transition needs (mental health, education and employment) of urban Métis homeless peoples. Tera is a registered psychotherapist and has a private practice in Toronto, where she focuses on providing clinical care to Indigenous peoples and those who have experienced trauma. She acts as an independent consultant for projects related to Indigenous health and well-being, with a specialization in Métis mental health. Tera is past President of the Métis Nation of Ontario Toronto & York Region Métis Council, and is a proud Métis scholar, clinician, and community member.

Carrie Bourassa Photo

Carrie Bourassa BA MA PhD
College of Medicine
University of Saskatchewan
Scientific Director, Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Dr. Carrie Bourassa BA MA PhD is a Professor, Community Health & Epidemiology, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan and the Scientific Director, Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health – Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR-IIPH). She is an adjunct in the Faculties of Education and Kinesiology & Health Studies at the University of Regina and is the Nominated Principal Investigator for the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) funded Morning Star Lodge established in 2010, based in Regina, as well the recently CFI-funded Cultural Safety, Evaluation, Training and Research lab, hosted at the University of Saskatchewan.

Dr. Carrie Bourassa spent over 15 years as a professor of Indigenous health studies in the Department of Indigenous Health, Education and Social Work at the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) in Regina.

Through her role as Scientific Director of IIPH, she leads the advancement of a national health research agenda to improve and promote the health of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples in Canada.

In 2012, Dr. Bourassa won the (Wee-e- chee-hee- way- shin-awn) Wiichihiwayshinawn Foundation Inc. Métis Award in Health and Science. Dr. Bourassa is Métis and belongs to the Riel Métis Council of Regina Inc. (RMCR, Local #34).

Isadore Day Photo

Isadore Day
Wiindawtegowini, Serpent River First Nation

Isadore Day, Wiindawtegowinini, is an Anishinaabe from Serpent River First Nation. He is of the Genozhe ndodem (Northern Pike Clan). He brings many years of political and policy expertise. A former Regional Chief of Ontario, Lake Huron Region Grand Chief and Vice Chair of the North Shore Tribal Council, he has served 15 years as an elected leader for First Nations and has handled various high-level policy files. He is hereditary to Chief Shingwauk, Wiindawtegowinini and Genebek, who signed the Robinson-Huron Treaty and the Manitoulin Treaty and were allies to the British Crown in the War of 1812.

Chief Day has been involved in various boards and committees; at both regional and national levels over the past two decades while remaining a strong grassroots visionary. With a background in Social Sciences, Business, Public Administration and Governance – he is a firm believer that education that is culturally rooted and is bridged into mainstream disciplines is essential to success. His most noted accomplishment was repatriating First Nation children back to his First Nation from mainstream foster care systems. He has been an energy policy leader, community developer and a tireless advocate for First Nation treaty rights.

Isadore Day’s main focus is on Nationhood rights and Sovereignty; and specifically, the improvement in First Nation health, social, economy conditions of current and future generations. Isadore is emphatic that the Indian Act is colonial oppression and at the root of what must change in all First Nations – he vows to maintain and refine his life’s mission to be focused on reconstituting Indigenous Nations on Turtle Island.

Rodney Haring Photo

Rodney Haring PhD MSW
Beaver Clan, Seneca Nation
Research Faculty
Office of Community Outreach and Engagement
Department of Cancer Prevention and Control

Rodney C. Haring is research faculty at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Office of Community Outreach and Engagement, Department of Cancer Prevention and Control. He is also a research professor at the Native American Research and Training Center, Family and Community Medicine, University of Arizona and held fellowships at the National Congress of American Indians and the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Haring (Beaver Clan) is an enrolled member of the Seneca Nation of Indians and resides on the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation (NY). He holds a doctoral degree in social work with over 15 years of social work practice and recently held an at-large appointment on the US Department of Health and Human Services American Indian/Alaska Native Health Research Advisory Council. He is also the lead delegate for the historic MoU between Rowell Park and Indian Health Services with the common mission of addressing health burdens in Indigenous communities. He served as an expert panel member to the United States Department of Education, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy—Executive Office to the President. In 2017 he was awarded an Impact Award by the National Indian Health Board. His research interests intersect eliminating disparities and encouraging resiliencies within First Nations and Indigenous societies.

Karen Hill Photo

Karen Hill MD CCFP
Mohawk, Grand River First Nation
Lead Physician
Juddah’s Place

Karen Hill is a Mohawk physician from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. She completed medical school in 2003 and Family Medicine Residency in 2005 – both from McMaster University. Karen’s vision is to see Traditional Indigenous Knowledge return to the centre of healthcare for Indigenous people across Canada. This vision led her to co-create a collaborative practice with Traditional Medicine Practitioners at Six Nations called “Juddah’s Place”. In 2015 she became the first recipient of the Thomas Dignan award for Indigenous Health conferred by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons. In the same year she also received The College of Family Physicians Excellence Award for leading the way in collaborative care in primary practice. Lastly in 2016 she was honored by McMaster University with a Community Impact Award. Karen continues to practice family medicine at Six Nations and Moose Factory. She has completed 4 years apprenticeship in Traditional Indigenous Medicine and continues this learning along with Mohawk language classes as lifelong commitments.

Jason LeBlanc Photo

Jason LeBlanc
Executive Director
Tungasuvvingat Inuit

Jason is an Inuk from Goose Bay Labrador. His life has represented a mix of the old and the new for Inuit. Growing up, Jason embraced learning traditions, hunting and fishing in his homelands, while attending school and later Acadia University.

Jason began his career with Tungasuvvingat Inuit (TI) over 19 years ago when he moved to Ottawa. His knowledge of traditions and understanding of culture coupled with his education and keen sense of community development have served the community well, and have dramatically increased Inuit-specific services. He spent the first 10 years at TI in operational and financial management roles which have helped to inform his most recent position as Executive Director since February 2012.

Diane Longboat Photo

Diane Longboat BA MEd
Mohawk Nation, Turtle Clan, Six Nations Grand River Territory
Senior Project Manager, Guiding Directions Implementation
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Traditional Healer
Soul of the Mother

Kahontakwas Diane Longboat, BA, BEd, MEd is a member of the Turtle Clan and Mohawk Nation at Six Nations Grand River Territory, Canada. She is a ceremonial leader, traditional teacher and healer. She has served as Elder for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health since January of 2013, and is the Senior Project Manager for the implementation of Guiding Directions, the CAMH strategy to improve practices and partnerships for First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.Diane lead the development of Ceremony Grounds at CAMH including a Sweat Lodge, medicine gardens, a Sacred Fire and the policies authorizing traditiona healing.

Ms Longboat is founder of Soul of the Mother, a Healing Lodge on the shores of the Grand River at Six Nations Grand River Territory, with extensive relationships with First Nations in Canada and the United States. She is also founder of First Nations House (Office of Aboriginal Student Services and Programs) at the University of Toronto

In 2017 and 2018, Ms Longboat was the Indigenous Education Advisor to the Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne, and the Ontario Ministry of Education. She was also Co-Chair of the Indigenous Working Group for the development of the Indigenous Peoples Program at the Parliament of the World’s Religions global gathering in Toronto in November 2018. Over 100 Indigenous spiritual leaders spoke in the Lodge of Nations built inside the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Joshua Stribbell Photo

Joshua Stribbell
Program Coordinator
Tungasuvvingat Inuit

Joshua Stribbell was born and raised in Keswick, Ontario. His family is from Iqaluit, Nunavut. He has served as President of the National Urban Inuit Youth Council, on the Board of Directors for the Toronto Inuit Association, and as the Youth Program Worker for a grassroots initiative called Torontomiutaujugut. He is currently working as a National Program Coordinator at Tungasuvvingat Inuit, and is a freelance writer in his spare time.

Liette Vasseur Photo

Liette Vasseur PhD
Canadian Commission for UNESCO
Department of Biological Sciences
Brock University

Dr. Vasseur is a full professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Brock University where she is also a member of the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre. Since 2014, she holds the UNESCO Chair on Community Sustainability: From Local to Global at Brock. Her research program is highly interdisciplinary and links issues such as community-based ecosystem management, climate change adaptation and resilience, and sustainable agriculture, linking issues of human and ecosystem health. She works in China, where she is a visiting scholar at Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University. Her work in Ecuador focuses on the community sustainability and ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change of rural indigenous communities in the Andean region of the Chimborazo. In Canada, in addition of her research program in sustainable agriculture, climate change, and ecosystem management, she has been working with various groups on environmental stewardship, especially regarding conservation. She is also involved in women in STEM in her program and as the current past president of the Canadian Coalition for Women in Engineering, Science, Trades and Technology. She is President of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO). She also is the vice-chair for North American Region of the Commission for Ecosystem Management at the International Union for Conservation of Nature and leads the thematic group on Ecosystem Governance.

Shaelyn Wabegijig Photo

Shaelyn Wabegijig
Caribou Clan, Algonquin Anishinabe Nation

Shaelyn Wabegijig is an Algonquin youth from Timiskaming First Nation and Caribou Clan, but she grew up in Rama First Nation. She received a BAH in Indigenous Studies and Philosophy from Trent University. Shaelyn is currently the project manager for Plenty Canada, an Indigenous, environmental non-profit organization. Plenty Canada facilitates access to and shares resources with Indigenous peoples and other community groups around the world in support of their environmental protection and sustainable development goals.

Examples of projects with which she is involved include the development of an Indigenous Cultural Heritage Resource Policy for the Nature Conservancy and co-creating Ontario Nature’s Youth Circle for Mother Earth. Shaelyn has also been a part of the Pathway to Canada Target 1 process by participating in ceremonies and conferences to discuss Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCA). Shaelyn spoke on a youth panel at two IPCA conferences in 2018 and shared her perspective while learning from leaders in Canadian conservation and Indigenous knowledge keepers. Shaelyn is also providing an Indigenous youth perspective on the planning committee for the 2019 Canadian Parks Conference.

Youth Panelists

Conlin Delbaere-Sawchuck Photo

Conlin Delbaere-Sawchuck

Conlin is Métis originating from the Red River settlement region. He is a professional folk and classical musician, and a JD candidate at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law. He holds a Bachelor of Music in classical voice performance from the University of Ottawa.

In addition to his performance practice, Conlin has worked extensively as a presenter and workshop facilitator: bringing his passions for Métis history, writing, and performance, into the classroom. He believes all learning can be enhanced by creative processes, and aims to inspire participants to engage with the material through activities such as vocalization, songwriting, and movement.
As a law student, Conlin has been active within the Indigenous Law Students Association at the University of Toronto, helping to organize events aimed at educating with respect to indigenous issues, the law school community, and the legal community more broadly. As a Callwood summer research fellow, in 2018 he researched and drafted a report describing indigenous client experiences at the Social Justice Tribunals of Ontario.

Semiah Smith Photo

Semiah Smith
Mohawk Nation, Turtle Clan, Six Nations Grand River Territory

Semiah Kaha:wi Smith is a multi-disciplinary artist and student from the Kahnyen’kehàka (Mohawk) Nation, Turtle Clan, Six Nations of the Grand River. Currently, at 21 years of age, Semiah is in the Bachelor of Health Sciences Program at McMaster University. She has interned at the Roswell Park Cancer Comprehensive Center where she assisted in the creation of the film, “Translating the Interplay: Indigenous Knowledge and Modern Medicine” under the guidance of Dr. Rodney Haring as well as worked in a clinical research setting under urologic surgeon, Dr. Kurhsid Guru. This past summer she was chosen to participate in the Four Directions Summer Research Program offered by Harvard Medical School. She worked in Dr. Matt Warman’s orthopedic research lab where she genotyped zebrafish for the WISP3 gene. Semiah is also an artist, singer, and songwriter of Indigenous and contemporary songs. Her most noted performances include: dancing in the North American Indigenous Games Opening Ceremonies led by Santee Smith, singing in the Illuminato Festival under Cris Derksen, and performing in The Mushole produced by Kaha:wi Dance Theatre. Semiah looks to find a future where her love for the arts, and science can intersect as well as stem from and benefit her Indigenous heritage.

Sila Rogan Photo

Sila Rogan

Sila Rogan is an Inuk born in Iqaluit and raised for a time in Winnipeg. She is currently studying genetics and physiology as a Loran Scholar at the University of British Columbia and works as a research assistant in First Nations engagement at UBC’s Centre for Rural Health Research. Outside of school, Sila is a passionate advocate for youth engagement and Indigenous health and serves as a council member on the Prime Minister’s Youth Council and a board member at large for the Canadian Society for Circumpolar Health. Sila is interested in the intersections between health, Indigenous knowledge, scientific innovation, and the environment.

Elders & Faithkeepers

Meeka Kakudluk Photo

Meeka Kakudluk MEd 
Inuktitut Instructor
Nunavut Sivuniksavut School
Tungasuvvingat Inuit

Meeka Kakudluk was born in Padloping Island, now Nunavut, where she grew up. She is a graduate of the Nunavut Teacher Education Program in Iqaluit, McGill University, and she holds a master’s degree from the University of Prince Edward Island. She currently lives in Ottawa and works as an Inuktitut instructor at the Nunavut Sivuniksavut School and is an elder at Tungasuvvingat Inuit.

Amos Key Jr Photo

Amos Key Jr
Mohawk Nation, Turtle Clan, Six Nations Grand River Territory
Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement & Associate Professor
Faculty of Education
Brock University
Sacred Circle of Faith Keepers of the Longhouse
Six Nations of the Grand River

Amos Key Jr. ~ Tae ho węhs (Amos) was born into the Onkwehonweh Civilization, and is a member of Mohawk Nation, gifted into the Turtle Clan of his Mother and conferred to the Sacred Circle of Faith Keepers of the Longhouse, at Six Nations of Grand River Territory. He is an educator and staunch advocate for: First Peoples’ human, civil and linguistic rights; social justice; the decolonization of Indigenous Education and the emancipation of Indigenous Peoples.

He has worked 35 Years as the Director of First Nations Languages at Woodland Centre and has been a champion of the ongoing restoration of the former Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School under the banner of “Save the Evidence” fundraising campaign, which will reopen as Canada’ first Canadian Museum of Conscience!!

Amos is currently the Inaugural Vice-Provost for Indigenous Engagement at Brock University after serving as a Professor at University of Toronto’s Centre for Indigenous Studies.

Jan Kahehti:io Longboat
Mohawk Nation, Turtle Clan, Six Nations Grand River Territory

Jan Kahehti:io Longboat, Turtle clan of the Mohawk Nation is a knowledge keeper, educator, writer, herbalist, cultural advocate, and visionary having dedicated her life to the dissemination and learning of Indigenous language and culture. She shares her knowledge of Earth teachings, storytelling, fasting, dreams, visions, medicine teachings, women’s roles and relationships, Haudenosaunee wampum belts, leadership, environmental changes, and the impact that her original language has on understanding important values for life. Kahehti:io is the keeper of the Earth Healing Herb Gardens and Retreat Centre at Six Nations. She believes our ancestors left us a great legacy of Indigenous knowledge with which we can carry our spiritual, physical, mental and emotional medicine bundles.

Longboat ran a ten-year program called Idawadadi, which won the Aboriginal Healing Foundation’s best practices award, and an outgrowth project entitled Dotah’s House to assist Indigenous women survivors to heal from the abuse of Residential schools while strengthening their communities through cultural knowledge. She has produced numerous articles, interviews, books, DVDs, audio CDs, radio and television shows, including her own publications the book “Idawadadi: Coming Home”, DVD set “The Cycles of Mother Earth”, and a booklet “Fasting: The natural healer for body, mind, spirit and emotions”. As early as 1983, Longboat founded the Haudenosaunee Women’s Circle.

Frequently called on as a counselor, committee and board member, Longboat has served on the Centre for Indian Scholars, Association of American Indian Physicians, Chiefswood National Historic Society Board, Six Nations Elders Council, Kanatsiohare:ke Mohawk Community and the Children’s Aid Society of Brant, among others. Most recently she was invited to participate in the Canadian Centre for Accreditation to assist in the writing of standards for Indigenous policies. Kahehti:io continues to serve as a board member at the St. Michael’s Hospital Well Living House in Toronto to organize an Indigenous maternal health care information centre, as well as on the elders council at the University of Toronto, Enaahtig Healing Lodge and Learning Centre, and the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto.

Longboat is currently an Indigenous Knowledge Keeper/advisor to the Ministry of Justice Aboriginal Court in Brantford, the Indigenous Justice Division. She taught at Mohawk College, McMaster University, and the University of Toronto and has worked with several Aboriginal health centres including Wabano, Desdwadadesnye and SOHAC.

Kahehti:io is recognized in her community and internationally, having received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Guelph University in 2011; the Six Nations Treasure Award in 2010; the “Peace Award” from the Indigenous Women’s Initiative in 2008; and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian “Peacemaker Award” in 2007. In 2017 she received the Indspire Award for Culture, Heritage, and Spirituality, the Order of Canada, and the Einstein Legacy Foundation Award. Longboat received her degree as a Natural Health practitioner from the London School and Canadian College of Natural Healing and received a degree in counselling from Laurentian University. She continues to live, teach, write and garden on Six Nations of the Grand River where she was born and raised.

Oren Lyons Photo

Oren Lyons
Turtle Clan, Onondaga and Seneca
Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs & Haudenosaunee Confederacy

Oren Lyons (Joagquisho) is an American Indian icon and probably the most widely heard orator of traditional Haudenosaunee philosophy and practice. A faithkeeper of the Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs and of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, Oren Lyons has been a traditional “runner” and consistent spokesman for the elders of one of the oldest continuously operating Native governments in the Western Hemisphere.

He is recognized not only in the United States and Canada but internationally as an eloquent and respected spokesperson on behalf of Native peoples. He is a sought-after lecturer or participant in forums in a variety of areas, including not only American Indian traditions, but Indian law and history, human rights, environment and interfaith dialogue, and has received numerous honors and awards.

As traditional orator and principled delegate, Lyons has succeeded in framing the issues facing humanity through an Indigenous lens that relies on ancient teachings such as the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address, the Ceremony of Condolence, and cultural protocols that speak to universal values.