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Profiles

 

Madeleine Redfern

Madeleine Redfern Politician:Madeleine Redfern is the mayor of Iqaluit, Nunavut (elected in 2010). She has a law degree and was the first Inuk to be offered a clerkship at the Supreme Court of Canada. She was also executive director of the Qikiqtani Truth Commission, which chronicled Inuit recollections of the relationship between Inuit and non-Inuit people from the 1950s through the 1970s. She... Read More »

 

Dr. Stanley Vollant

Dr. Stanley Vollant Doctor:Dr. Stanley Vollant is an oncologist and First Nations Coordinator at the Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montreal. He believes that among the most serious threats to the Aboriginal community are obesity, diabetes, and school drop out rates. These problems, he feels, must be faced head on. That's why Vollant, an Innu from Pessamit (Betsiamites) on Quebec's North Shore, has... Read More »

 

Diom Roméo Saganash

Diom Roméo Saganash Politician:Diom Roméo Saganash has spent the past twenty years of his life defending the rights of the James Bay Cree. In the spring of 2011, he was elected as a Member of Parliament for the Quebec riding of Abitibi - Baie James - Nunavik - Eeyou In his position as NDP critic for natural resources, Roméo Saganash continues the work... Read More »

 

Mary Beth Doucette

Mary Beth Doucette Community Worker: They say that education is the path to the future for Aboriginals. Mary Beth Doucette, a young Mi'kmaq, originally from Cape Breton, in Nova Scotia, personifies this hope. After studying and starting her career in Toronto, she returned to her people, in Membertou, to get involved in her community's development. Like many young people raised off reserve, she... Read More »

 

Jordin Tootoo

Jordin Tootoo NHL Player: Jordin Tootoo was born in 1983 in Churchill Manitoba and grew up in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. A highly talented athlete, Tootoo excelled in hockey from a young age and was a member of the silver medal team representing Canada in the World Juniors in 2003. He received the National Aboriginal Achievement Award's Youth Award in the previous year.... Read More »

 

John Lagimodiere

John Lagimodiere Consultant: John Lagimodiere is a Métis consultant and owner of ACS Aboriginal Consulting Services in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. In his consulting business, Lagimodiere offers an 'Aboriginal 101' workshop to businesses looking to hire, retain, and build relationships with Aboriginal people. "When I break it down, it's just to tell people the truth. There are so many myths and misconceptions about Aboriginal... Read More »

 

Elisapie Isaac

Elisapie Isaac Singer and filmmaker : Elisapie Isaac is an Inuk singer, songwriter and filmmaker. She was born in Salluit, Nunavik to an Inuk mother and a father from Newfoundland. She was later raised by an adoptive family, living within the Inuit culture. In 1999, Elisapie Isaac travelled south to study communications; later distinguishing herself as a composer and performer. Her first... Read More »

 

Samian

Samian Rapper: Poet, musician and singer. Samian considers himself an ambassador for Indigenous culture. Born of a Quebecois father and an Algonquin mother he grew up in Pikogan, in Abiti-Témiscamingue, and in other cities in Quebec. Samian got his start thanks to Wapikoni Mobile, a travelling film studio, which encourages young Aboriginals to express themselves. He's proud to be their... Read More »

 

Kent Monkman

Kent Monkman Visual Artist: Kent Monkman is a visual artist who works in a variety of media including painting, film/video, performance and installation. As a boy growing up in Winnipeg, Monkman was keenly interested in art and he began drawing constantly and also pouring through various art books. He became intensely aware of his own Aboriginal heritage -- both through his... Read More »

 

Jasmine Thomas

Jasmine Thomas Environmental & Indigenous Rights Activist: Jasmine Thomas, 25, is a Dene/Cree in British Columbia and an environmental & Indigenous rights activist in the fight against the Northern Gateway Pipeline project. The Enbridge project, proposing to build an oil pipeline across B.C. to the Pacific coast, is facing strong opposition from among the fifty First Nation communities which sit on the... Read More »

 

Ashley Callingbull

Ashley Callingbull Model and Actress: Ashley Callingbull, 22, is from Enoch Cree Nation in Alberta, but spent part of her childhood in one of the most dangerous reserves in Canada, the neighbouring Hobbema First Nation. Ashley survived domestic abuse and endured extreme poverty as a child, but overcame these obstacles to pursue a successful modeling and acting career. In 2010, she was... Read More »

 

Ron E. Scott

Ron E. Scott Director: Ron E. Scott is Executive Producer, Writer and Director of Blackstone, the award winning television series about life on a fictional First Nation. The program is broadcast on APTN. The dramatic series has won wide acclaim for its unflinching look at corruption, violence, addiction and everyday life on this fictional reserve. Scott is a Métis who grew up in... Read More »

 

First Nations University of Canada

First Nations University of Canada Saskatchewan's First Nations University of Canada (FNUC) attracts Aboriginal students looking for an alternative to mainstream Canadian universities, where they often make up only one percent. Those who do make it are a minority, about eighty percent of Aboriginal youth never make it to college or university at all. Students say they are drawn to FNUC because of the... Read More »

 

Pakesso Mukash

Pakesso Mukash Cree Musician and Activist: Pakesso Mukash is the guitarist in the band CerAmony, along with lead singer, and a fellow Cree, Matthew Iserhoff. In 2011, they won a Juno for "Best Aboriginal Album of the Year". Pakesso Mukash is Cree/Abenaki, though he identifies himself primarily as Cree. He was born in Whapmagoostui in the James Bay region of Quebec.... Read More »

 

Harry Flaherty

Harry Flaherty Entrepreneur and Inuit Leader: The Inuit are famous for their resilience and Harry Faherty's life illustrates that. His personal story is linked to one of the darkest chapters of Canadian history; the relocation, in the 1950's, of several dozen Inuit families of the Far North to the High Arctic - 1200 km further North. They were attracted by the... Read More »

 

Grand Chief Matthew Mukash

Grand Chief Matthew Mukash Grand Chief: Matthew Mukash is a former Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees in Quebec. He has been a strong advocate for the protection of his peoples traditional way of life in the face of hydroelectric mega projects. He was born in 1951, in the bush, near Whapmagoostui, the northernmost Cree village on James Bay, Quebec.... Read More »

 

Chief Clarence Louie

Chief Clarence Louie Chief: Clarence Louie is Chief of the Osoyoos Indian Band, a community in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley, a position he has held since 1985. He is one of Canada's most high profile Aboriginal leaders and has made a name for himself as a successful entrepreneur and a proponent of economic self reliance for the Aboriginal community. Chief Louie believes... Read More »

 

Armand MacKenzie

Armand MacKenzie Legal Consultant: Armand MacKenzie is a consultant on legal issues for the Innu nation in Quebec. He was born in Labrador, where his parents and grandparents taught him how to hunt and live off the land. He later became interested in human rights issues and graduated from law school at the University of Ottawa. Mackenzie writes that while working... Read More »

 

Shannen Koostachin

Shannen Koostachin Activist: Shannen Koostachin was a young Cree teenager from Attawapiskat, an isolated community in Northern Ontario, near James Bay. Before her untimely death at age fifteen, she won national recognition for her campaign to raise awareness about the right to quality education for Aboriginal children. The community had waited a decade for the construction of a new school when,... Read More »

 

Nadya Kwandibens

Nadya Kwandibens Artist: Nadya Kwandibens is Anishinaabe and French from the Northwest Angle #37 First Nation in Ontario. She is based in Toronto and much of her work explores the identity of urban Aboriginal people as illustrated in her popular Concrete Indian photography series. "I remember one time my Dad telling me this nickname that old folks used to have in... Read More »

 

Nadir André & Marie Christine Gagnon

Nadir André & Marie Christine Gagnon Lawyers: Nadir André and Marie Christine Gagnon are lawyers and a married couple with an office in Wendake, outside Quebec City. They work with BCF, a mid-sized Quebec legal firm, and are focused these days on facilitating business deals that benefit Aboriginal communities. Nadir André is a member of the Innu Nation of Matimekush-Lac St. Jean. He has also... Read More »

 

Honorable Justice Murray Sinclair

Honorable Justice Murray Sinclair Judge: Justice Murray Sinclair is the chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which is travelling across the country chronicling stories of residential school survivors. The testimonies will be collected as an archive about a shameful chapter in the history of Canada's relationship with Aboriginal peoples. "There is not one Aboriginal person in this country who has not been... Read More »

 

John Borrows

John Borrows Scholar: John Borrows is Anishinabe and a member of Ontario's Chippewas of Nawash First Nation on Georgian Bay. His ancestor signed a treaty with the Crown in the mid 19th century, believing that huge tracts of land in southern Ontario would be held in trust for his descendents. This didn't happen, and Borrows says he became interested in law... Read More »

 

The Right Honourable Paul Martin

The Right Honourable Paul Martin Former Prime Minister: Canada's former Prime Minister has been passionate for years about trying to fix the relationship with Aboriginals. He was the architect of the shelved Kelowna Accord which envisioned investing five billion dollars over a decade to improve education, employment, health and living conditions for Aboriginals. He now heads a charity which funds educational initiatives for Aboriginal... Read More »

 

Rayanne Charlie

Rayanne Charlie Teacher: Rayanne Charlie has seen a lot of change in the last ten years as a teacher in Burns Lake, BC. She remembers what it was like when she first moved to town. "It felt like First Nations on one side, non-native on the other side. You walk into an event or even a restaurant, or you go to... Read More »

 

Vanessa Peigan

Vanessa Peigan Mother: Vanessa Peigan is from the Pasqua First Nation in Saskatchewan. At 33, she has already lived an extraordinary life and defied the odds. She had her first child at sixteen, then another one at seventeen. She was a high school dropout with six kids when she decided to change her life. "I got so sick and tired of... Read More »

 

Chief Lucinda Phillips

Chief Lucinda Phillips Chief: Lucinda Phillips is Chief of the Lil'wat First Nation near Whistler, B.C. For years, she and her community faced encroachment of their traditional territories from all sides... with little to no consultation or compensation. But those days are nearly over. Her people's traditional territory was recognized on an international stage for the first time at the 2010 Olympics.... Read More »

 

Howie Miller

Howie Miller Comedian: Howie Miller is a stand-up comedian based in Edmonton. He travels the world performing and has appeared on television in shows such as Comedy Now Presents Howie Miller and Caution: May Contain Nuts on APTN. Howie was born on a Cree reserve in Alberta but as a baby he was adopted by a white family and grew up knowing... Read More »

 

Tyson Houseman

Tyson Houseman Actor: Tyson is Howie Miller's eldest son. You might recognize him from his role in the hit series Twilight. Tyson plays a member of the all-Aboriginal wolf pack. He is hoping his role in the popular series will give him an opportunity to become a role model for Aboriginal youth. "I don't really know where we need to go... Read More »

 

Victoria Freeman

Victoria Freeman Author: Victoria Freeman's interest in the impact of the colonial enterprise on both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people isn't just academic, it's personal. And it drove her to explore the full impact from a unique perspective: her own. The result was a seven year journey of discovery and the book Distant Relations: How My Ancestors Colonized North America. In it she... Read More »

 

Leslie Varley

Leslie Varley Director, Aboriginal Health Provincial Health Services Authority (BC): Leslie Varley is a long time activist for Aboriginal peoples' health. Being an activist may be in her DNA; she is the great-niece of the late Chief Frank Calder, the first First Nations member of a Canadian legislature (1949). (Frank Calder is also known for the Calder Case, a landmark Supreme Court... Read More »

 

Winnipeg's Most

Winnipeg's Most Aboriginal Hip-Hop Group: Winnipeg's Most is a Canadian hip/hop trio made up of Jon-C, Charlie Fettah and Brooklyn. Their first music video, All that I Know generated half a million hits on YouTube. Their successful debut album, Winnipeg's Most was produced by Juno nominees Stomp and Jay Mak of RezOfficial Music. Although they enjoy fame now, the three young men... Read More »

 

Steve Keewatin Sanderson

Steve Keewatin Sanderson Artist: The first thing you notice about Steve Sanderson is his height. He's seven feet tall. So it might not come as a surprise that when he was thirteen, one of his heroes was the Incredible Hulk, and another Spiderman. He loved telling stories with pictures. And when he saw a Japanese animated film, he knew he wanted to draw... Read More »

 

Lee Maracle

Lee Maracle Writer and Poet: Lee Maracle is a celebrated author, poet, educator, storyteller and performing artist. She is one of the country's most prolific First Nations' writers, and was first published in the early 1970s. Among her novels are Ravensong, Bobbi Lee: Indian Rebel and Daughters Are Forever. She's a member of the Stó:lo Nation of British Columbia, and is a... Read More »

 

Nakuset

Nakuset Adoptee and Advocate: When Nakuset was young, her Jewish adoptive mother in Montreal would instruct her to tell people that she was Israeli and not First Nations. Born to a Cree family in Manitoba, Nakuset says she spent many years wrestling with her identity. She has come to terms with being " a Jewish Indian. I'm proud to be both."... Read More »

 

Taiaiake Alfred

Taiaiake Alfred Professor and Author: Taiaiake Alfred is a Mohawk scholar, writer and outspoken activist on issues ranging from assimilation to the environmental destruction of Aboriginal lands. As a teenager from Kahnawake, Quebec in the 1980's, as a teenager, Alfred signed up for a stint with the US Marines. It was a way, he says, of satisfying a desire for adventure and... Read More »

 

Dr. Evan Tlesla Adams

Dr. Evan Tlesla Adams Medical Doctor: Dr. Evan Tlesla Adams is British Columbia's first-ever Aboriginal Health Physician Advisor. He's a Coast Salish from Sliammon First Nation in British Columbia near Powell River. Many people know him as "Thomas Build-the-Fire" from the 1998 movie Smoke Signals. He still works as a performer, but most of his time these days is spent monitoring the health of... Read More »

 

Cindy Blackstock

Cindy Blackstock Advocate for Aboriginal Children: As a child in rural, northern BC, Cindy Blackstock came to understand that "there were two things you did not want to be; a Communist, (though I was never sure what that was), or an Indian." Her mother was of European descent, her father Gitxsan First Nation. "It just felt like the world was a lot... Read More »

 

Edith Cloutier

Edith Cloutier Community Leader: Washing dishes at age fifteen at a Native Friendship Center might not seem like the best route to advancement. But eight years later Edith Cloutier was the Executive Director of the Native Friendship in Val-d'Or Quebec. It's a position she still holds today, as well as being President of the Quebec Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centers. Cloutier's mother... Read More »