The Winter We Danced is a vivid collection of writing, poetry, lyrics, art and images from the many diverse voices that make up the past, present, and future of the Idle No More movement. Calling for pathways into healthy, just, equitable and sustainable communities while drawing on a wide-ranging body of narratives, journalism, editorials and creative pieces, this collection consolidates some of the most powerful, creative and insightful moments from the winter we danced and gestures towards next steps in an on-going movement for justice and Indigenous self-determination.
Royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to the Native Youth Sexual Health Network.
|Subject||Indigenous Studies/Colonialism & Post-Colonialism/Human Rights|
|Pages||440 pp (Paper)|
|Dimensions||5.5″ × 8.5″ × 1.0″|
Taiaiake Alfred is a Professor and the founding Director of the Indigenous Governance Program at the University of Victoria. He specializes in traditions of governance, decolonization strategies, and land-based cultural restoration. Taiaiake has been awarded a Canada Research Chair in the studies of Indigenous Peoples, a Canadian National Aboriginal Achievement Award in the field of education, and the United States’ Native American Journalists Association award for best column writing. He has served as a researcher and advisor for his own and many other Indigenous governments and organizations for 25 years and is the author of Wasáse (University of Toronto Press, 2005), named one of the decade’s most influential books by the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association in 2010; Peace, Power, Righteousness (Oxford University Press, 1999); and Heeding the Voices of Our Ancestors (Oxford University Press, 1995). Born in Montréal in 1964, Taiaiake is Kanien’kehaka from Kahnawake. He now divides his time between Kahnawake and the territory of the Wsanec Nation, where he lives with his wife and three sons, who are all Laksilyu Clan of the Wet’suwet’en Nation.
Siku Allooloo is a Haitian/Inuit woman from Somba K’e, Denendeh and is part of a strong lineage of leaders and activists. She has a BA in Anthropology and Indigenous Studies from the University of Victoria, primarily concerning Denendeh’s political history and forms of Indigenous resistance across the country. Her work continues to support the resurgence of Indigenous nationhood and autonomy, with particular focus on the strength, resilience, and power of Indigenous women in the healing and emancipation of our communities.
Through museum interventions, large-scale installations, sculpture, photography, printmaking, and paintings, Sonny Assu merges the aesthetics of Indigenous iconography with a pop art sensibility in an effort to address contemporary, political, and ideological issues. His work often focuses on Indigenous issues and rights, consumerism, branding and new technologies, and the ways in which the past has come to inform contemporary ideas and identities. Assu infuses his work with wry humour to open the dialogue towards the use of consumerism, branding, and technology as totemic representation. Within this, his work deals with the loss of language, loss of cultural resources, and the effects of colonization upon the Indigenous people of North America. His work has been accepted into the National Gallery of Canada, the Seattle Art Museum, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Museum of Anthropology at UBC and in other public and private collections across Canada and the US. Sonny is Liǥwildaʼxw of the We Wai Kai First Nation (Cape Mudge). He graduated from the Emily Carr University in 2002 and is currently enrolled in the MFA program at Concordia University. He received the B.C. Creative Achievement Award in First Nations art in 2011 and was long-listed for the Sobey Art Award in 2012 and 2013. He lives and works in Montreal.
Christi Belcourt (Pitawehaanikwatok) is an Otipemisiwak (Michif) visual artist and author whose ancestry originates from the historic community of Manitou Sakahigan, Alberta. Like generations of Indigenous artists before her, Belcourt celebrates the beauty of the natural world within her paintings while exploring nature’s symbolic properties. She is author of three books: Medicines To Help Us (2008), Beadwork (2011), and co-author of Jeremy and the Magic Ball (2008). Belcourt cocoordinated the Willisville Mountain Project, an activist art project that resulted in Inco/Vale reversing a decision to begin quarrying the Willisville Mountain within the LaCloche mountain range in Ontario. Currently, she is the lead organizer of the Walking With Our Sisters project. Involving over 1,200 artists in an eight-year international exhibit tour, the project honours the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous Women in Canada and the United States.
Lesley Belleau is an Anishnaabekwe writer, mother of four, educator, and activist from the Ojibwe nation of Ketegaunseebee Garden River First Nation, located outside of Bawating/Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. She is a PhD student in the Indigenous Studies Department at Trent University in Nogojiwanong (Peterborough, Ontario), and is studying Indigenous feminine literature and narratives. She has taught Indigenous Literature, Creative Writing, and Theatre at Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie, and is currently a PhD Teaching Assistant at Trent University in the Indigenous Studies Department focusing on Oral History. Lesley enjoys writing fiction, essays, and poetry and is the author of The Colour of Dried Bones, a collection of short fiction published by Kegedonce Press, as well as other poetic, fictional, academic, and blog publications both nationally and internationally. Lesley’s second novel, Sweat, is due to be launched in spring 2014 She has co-edited a dossier of Idle No More writing for Matrix Magazine, and is collaborating on two upcoming academic projects surrounding ideas of Anishinaabe Literature, poetics, and ethics. Lesley also performs her poetry, fictions, and performance art nationally.
Nathalie Bertin hails from Toronto, Ontario. After working as a graphic designer for several years, Bertin began showing her art publicly in 2009. Bertin’s work is often described as luminescent, energetic, bold, and colourful. She is also fond of strong shapes and textures. She incorporates elements of her French and Algonquin heritage into her work, including beadwork and furs, in concepts that blend her two cultures. Her most recent works are inspired from traditional storytelling and folk tales. Past projects explored the Canadian fur trade culture and her role within it as a modern subsistence hunter. In 2013, Bertin’s artwork was minted on a silver collector coin by the Royal Canadian Mint. In June 2010, Bertin was selected as an artist ambassador for the G20 Summit in Toronto, a volunteer position that garnered global media attention for Canadian artists from Muskoka. Her work can be found in government, corporate, and private collections across Canada, the US, Europe, and Africa. She works from her home studio in Newmarket, ON, and home-away-from-home in Muskoka, ON.
Eugene Boulanger is the Director of Strategic Partnerships and Planning at Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning. He is a Shutagotine Dene artist, hunter, community organizer, and crossmedia producer originally from Tulita, Denendeh. Eugene has worked as a web and social media consultant in content management, branding, digital strategy, public outreach, and audience engagement. He is a founding director of the Vancouver Indigenous Media Arts Festival, an advisor on a training and mentorship pilot program engaging urban Aboriginal and First Nations youth in careers in digital technology sectors, and a contributing editor of RPM.fm. Eugene has worked as program manager on the Vancouver Dialogues Project, a City of Vancouver initiative aimed at discerning challenges faced by First Nations, urban Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians seeking to build cross-cultural dialogue and collaboration. Eugene is a former communications officer for the W2 Community Media Arts Society, working on projects ranging from social and environmental justice issues to Indigenous media arts showcasing and large-scale event production.
Michael Redhead Champagne is a community organizer who was born and raised in the North End of Winnipeg. Originally from Shamattawa Cree Nation, Michael is the founder/organizer of AYO! Aboriginal Youth Opportunities and is working towards a university degree in education at the University of Winnipeg. Michael is a community youth advocate, a helper and public speaker addressing issues such as youth engagement, suicide prevention and advocating for healthy relationships. Michael is committed to breaking stereotypes, creating opportunities for young people, and leading by example.
Glen Coulthard is a member of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation and an assistant professor in the First Nations Studies Program and the Department of Political Science at the University of British Columbia. Glen has written and published articles and chapters in the areas of Indigenous thought and politics, contemporary political theory, and radical social and political thought. Glen’s book, Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition, is forthcoming from the University of Minnesota Press in 2014. He lives in Vancouver, unceded Coast Salish Territories.
Ethan Cox is Quebec Bureau Chief for rabble.ca and a regular commentator on television and radio in Montreal.
Isadore Day, Wiindawtegowinini is the elected Chief of Serpent River First Nation, which is located on the North Channel of Lake Huron in Northern Ontario. Serpent River First Nation is signatory to the 1836 Bond Head Treaty and the Robinson Huron Treaty of 1850. Under Chief Day’s leadership, Serpent River First Nation has undergone a paradigm shift in the areas of fiscal stability, economic investment, health and social policy framework development. As a part of the community’s economic direction, the First Nation has taken a strong stand on eradicating poverty and empowering change through economic prosperity. Chief Day believes that Community Development and transformative change can only be achieved when an individual achieves self-efficacy in a communal setting. To achieve this goal the community leadership is working diligently to bring a strong micro-loans program to the forefront of change. Chief Isadore Day resides in Serpent River with his partner Angela and two daughters Manook and Waasayaa. They enjoy participating in traditional Aboriginal festivals and living in harmony with the natural resources offered throughout their traditional territory.
Russell Diabo is Policy Advisor to the Algonquin Nation Secretariat, a Tribal Council and Senior Policy Advisor to the Algonquin Wolf Lake First Nation. He is also Editor and Publisher of an online newsletter on First Nations political and legal issues, the First Nations Strategic Bulletin. He is a member of the Mohawk Nation at Kahnawake, Quebec. He holds a BA in Native Studies from Laurentian University. In 1981, Diabo worked with the National Indian Brotherhood in Parliamentary Liaison. In the 1990s, as an alternative to the federal Comprehensive Land Claims Policy Mr. Diabo helped to negotiate a pioneering Trilateral Agreement (Canada-Quebec-Algonquins of Barriere Lake) to develop an integrated resource management plan for forests and wildlife over 10,000 sq km of the Barriere Lake Algonquin’s traditional territory based upon Algonquin traditional knowledge and way of life. From 1990-94, Diabo was vice-president of Policy for the federal Liberal Aboriginal People’s Commission and helped develop the 1993 Liberal Aboriginal Electoral Platform. From 1996-97, He helped to defeat a regressive Indian Act amendment package as the Assembly of First Nations-Indian Act Amendments Coordinator under then National Chief Ovide Mercredi. Diabo is part of the Defenders of the Land Network and works closely with Idle No More under a joint agreement between these two groups to work together on Sovereignty Summer.
Rosanna Deerchild is Cree from O-Pipon-na-piwin Cree Nation in northern Manitoba. Her first book of poetry this is a small northern town was nominated for several awards and won the Aqua Books Lansdowne Prize for Poetry/Le Prix Lansdowne de Poesie in 2009. These poems are about what it means to be from the north, a town divided along colour lines, and a family dealing with its history of secrets. She’s had her work published in a number of literary magazines and anthologies most recently in Manitowapow: Aboriginal Writings from the Land of Water. As a member of the Indigenous Writers Collective of Manitoba her work appears in urban kool (2000), Bone Memory (2004), Red City: a spoken word CD and the anthology xxx ndn: love & lust in ndn country (2011). Jeff Denis is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at McMaster University. Born and raised in Toronto, he is an ally and scholar whose research investigates the barriers to overcoming racism and colonialism and the strategies, alliances, policies, and practices that can bring about more just and sustainable societies.
Ryan Duplassie is a French/Anishinaabe PhD candidate in Native Studies at the University of Manitoba. Through his research, he interprets Treaty 3 through the lens of water, guided by the experiences of the Grassy Narrows FN resistance community as they contend with ongoing mercury poisoning, and unrelenting state-industry collusion in the “development” of their territories.
Ellen Gabriel was chosen by the People of the Longhouse and her community of Kanehsatà:ke to be their spokesperson during the 1990 “Oka” Crisis. For the past 23 years she has been a human rights advocate for the collective and individual rights of Indigenous peoples and has worked to sensitize the public, academics, policing authorities and politicians on the history, culture, and identity of Indigenous peoples. She has been active at the international level participating at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues, negotiations on the Nagoya Protocol of the Convention on Biodiversity and most recently, at the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. She has travelled across Canada, to the Hague in Holland, Strasbourg, France to address the European parliament, and to Japan to educate people about the events in her community. Ms. Gabriel has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Concordia University. She worked as an illustrator/curriculum developer, as an art teacher, and has worked on videos illustrating legends of the Iroquois people and local community stories. She is presently an active board member of Kontinón:sta’ts—Mohawk Language Custodians and First Peoples Human Rights Coalition.
David Garneau is Associate Professor of Visual Arts at the University of Regina. He was born and raised in Edmonton, received most of his post-secondary education (BFA Painting and Drawing, MA American Literature) at the University of Calgary and taught at the Alberta College of Art and Design for five years before moving to Regina in 1999. Garneau’s practice includes painting, drawing, curation and critical writing. His solo exhibition, Cowboys and Indians (and Métis?), toured Canada (2003-7) and Road Kill toured twenty one centers throughout Saskatchewan (2009-11). His work often engages issues of nature, history, masculinity and postcolonial Indigenous identities. His paintings are in many public and private collections. Garneau has written numerous catalogue essays and reviews and was a co-founder and co-editor of Artichoke and Cameo magazines. He has given talks and keynote lectures in Australia Canada, and the US. Garneau is currently working on curatorial and writing projects featuring contemporary Indigenous art and curatorial exchanges between Canada and Australia.
Leah Gazan is a member of Wood Mountain Lakota Nation in Saskatchewan and is currently teaching in the Faculty of Education at the University of Winnipeg. Leah has 18 years experience in the area of community capacity building and development, dedicating the majority of her efforts to supporting the advancement of First Nations across Canada. Leah is currently the president of the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg, a non-profit organization committed to providing leadership and support in the area of social planning and socially responsible policy development. Leah has been a very active participant in social movements, most recently as a participant in Idle No More. Her dedication towards the advancement of community self-sufficiency and self-determination has been the driving force that has guided her career in Winnipeg and Indigenous nations in Canada.
Jian Ghomeshi is an award-winning broadcaster, writer, musician and producer. He is the host and co-creator of the national daily talk program, Q, on CBC Radio One and CBC TV. Since its inception in 2007, Q has garnered the largest audience of any cultural affairs program in Canada and has become the highest-rated show in its morning time slot in CBC history. Q is also now broadcast across the United States, on PRI. The Washington Post recently named Q as “the most popular new arts and culture radio show in America.” Jian first came to public attention as a member of the multi-platinum selling political folk-rock group Moxy Früvous. His first book, 1982, a literary memoir based on a 14-year-old’s desire to be David Bowie, debuted as #1 Canadian bestseller. Jessica Gordon is a co-founder of Idle No More, a movement that represents opposition to government and industries’ disregard to Indigenous rights and environmental protection. She is a Cree/Saulteaux from Pasqua First Nation in Treaty Four territory and is a mother of five. She is most proud of the work she does empowering people to take control of the issues that affect them the most or those which they feel a passion for. She is committed to working for the people relentlessly until the day she leaves this earth and hopes to leave her children as well as future generations a legacy of tools to help them attain independence.
LauraLee K. Harris is a First Nations artist, born in Toronto in 1956. Her roots of Sioux, Cree, Chipewyan, Montagnais, Ojibwe, and Assiniboine First Nations are mixed with French, Irish. Harris began to seek her Anishinabe roots in 1994. This inspired her to create a unique art practice that melded cultural teachings and identity, through Indigenous Knowledge systems within a framework of the natural world’s flow, the direct connection to earth’s Creation, and the subconscious into self knowledge and poetry. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group shows across Canada and the US and published in periodicals, journals, and books. She is a self-published author and poet of four books. Her work has been studied at Universities nationally and internationally along varying lines of study Harris’s work and life as an indigenous woman artist, innovator, and writer/poet was honoured in the documentary “From the Spirit III” produced by Earth Magic Media, a Dene-owned production company based in Edmonton.
Stephen Hui is the web editor and technology editor at the Georgia Straight. He lives in Vancouver.
Sarah Hunt is Kwagiulth (Kwakwaka’wakw Nation) and is also of Ukrainian and English ancestry. Since she was a teenager, Sarah has worked passionately to address issues of violence and justice as a community-based researcher, educator, writer, and advocate. Sarah is currently a PhD candidate in Geography at Simon Fraser University where she is examining how Canadian law serves to normalize violence in “Indian space” and is seeking to change these norms by engaging the principles and practices of Indigenous law at a community level.
Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox was raised in Inuvik, NT, and currently lives with her husband and two sons in Yellowknife, where she has worked as an advisor to Dene, Metis, and Inuvialuit organizations for the past two decades. She earned her PhD at Cambridge University, England. She is the author of Finding Dahshaa: Self Government, Social Suffering and Aboriginal Policy in Canada (2009, UBC Press).
Dru Oja Jay is a writer, community organizer, and web developer. He is a co-founder and current board member of the Media Co-op, and a founding editor of the Dominion. Dru is co-author (with Nikolas Barry-Shaw) of the book Paved with Good Intentions: Canada’s development NGOs from idealism to imperialism, and the report Offsetting Resistance: The effects of foundation funding from the Great Bear Rainforest to the Athabasca River. His organizing has focused on solidarity with Indigenous struggles, reversing Canada’s participation in imperialism, war and occupation, and building a solidarity economy. He lives in Montreal.
Tanya Kappo is from the Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation, Treaty 8 Territory. She graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba. Tanya is the mother of three children.
Wab Kinew is a one-of-a-kind talent, named by Postmedia News as one of “Nine Aboriginal movers and shakers you should know.” He is a correspondent with Al Jazeera’s Fault Lines documentary program and the Director of Indigenous Inclusion at the University of Winnipeg. In 2012, he hosted the acclaimed CBC Television series “8th Fire.” His hip hop has won an Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Award. His journalism has won an Adrienne Clarkson RTNDA Award and a Gabriel Award, and been nominated for a Gemini Award. He has a BA in Economics, is a Sundancer, and is a member of the Midewin.
Hayden King is Pottawatomi and Ojibwe from Beausoleil First Nation on Gchimnissing (Christian Island) in Huronia, Ontario. He is an Assistant Professor of Politics and Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario.
Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist and author of the international bestsellers, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (2007) and No Logo (2000). She writes a regular column for The Nation magazine and the Guardian newspaper and is a contributing editor at Harper’s magazine. She is a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute and a former Miliband Fellow at the London School of Economics. Naomi serves on the board of directors for 350.org, a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis. Her forthcoming book and film are about the (r)evolutionary power of climate change.
Erin Marie Konsmo is the Media Arts and Projects Coordinator for the Native Youth Sexual Health Network. She is Métis/Cree from Onoway/Lac St. Anne, Alberta. She is a self-taught community-engaged visual and multimedia Indigenous artist, supporting community to create their own art and expressions about sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice. Her art practice is based in community spaces, culture and Indigenous-led media and arts initiatives and has been referred to as agitprop. Erin is currently serving as one of the North American focal points for the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. She is also on the Walking With Our Sisters National Collective as the Youth Coordinator and Media Contact. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Master of Environmental Studies.
Nadya Kwandibens is Ojibwe (Anishinaabe) and French from the Northwest Angle #37 First Nation in Ontario. She is a self-taught photographer specializing in artistic natural light portraiture, event and concert photography. Since 2006 shee has travelled extensively, photographing people and events throughout Canada and the United States. Nadya has worked for numerous groups and organizations including the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, Association for Native Development in the Performing Arts, imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, and the Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival. In 2008, she founded Red Works Studio and began photographing a series entitled Concrete Indians, “a portraiture series and exploration of collective Indigenous identity.” Her photographic work was featured on the cover of SPIRIT Magazine and in other magazines: FACE, THIS, SAY Magazine, and Red Ink. Nadya was also the invited artist-in-residence for the Native American Indigenous Cinema and Arts online exhibition, and has exhibited in group and solo shows in Canada and the US.
Winona LaDuke is an Ojibwe (Anishinaabe) activist, environmentalist, and economist. She is the executive director of Honour the Earth. LaDuke became an activist in Anishinaabe issues, helping found the Indigenous Women’s Network in 1985 and becoming involved in continuing struggles to regain reservation land lost since allotments to individual households in the 19th century. In 1996 and 2000, she ran for vice president as the nominee of the Green Party of the United States, on a ticket headed by Ralph Nader. She is also the author of a number of books and publications including Recovering the Sacred, and The Militarization of Indian Country.
Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond is president of the Canadian Council of Child and Youth Advocates, an alliance of provincial advocates from across the country who champion the voice and rights of children. She was appointed B.C.’s first Representative for Children and Youth in 2006 and has worked as a criminal law judge in youth and adult courts. Turpel-Lafond has also taught law at Dalhousie University Faculty of Law, and at other Canadian universities and holds a doctorate of law from Harvard Law School. She is active in her Muskeg Lake Cree Nation community and has published a book on the history of the Nation that was short-listed for a Saskatchewan Book Award.
Andrea Landry is working toward her Masters in Communications and Social Justice at the University of Windsor. She has been involved in advocacy roles within the indigenous community on a local, provincial, national, and international level. Andrea sits on the United Nations Global Indigenous Youth Caucus. She has been key in developing local, provincial, national, and international rallies for the Idle No More movement. Andrea hopes to accomplish a lot more in her life in advocacy, social justice, and the role of providing advancement for the Aboriginal community in Canada.
Lori M. Mainville is Anishinaabe member of Treaty 3 and a proud mother and grandmother. She has lived and worked in Winnipeg, Manitoba since the mid-1980s and is actively engaged in grassroots movements. Most her work in activism has focused on lobbying support for murdered and missing women and non-violence in families and communities but she has also supported actions to ensure the spirit and intent of the treaties are honoured in Canada. Lori received her BA from the University of Winnipeg in 2002, majoring in Psychology.
Lee Maracle is the author of a number of critically acclaimed literary works of fiction, short stories, non-fiction, and poetry. She has been widely published in anthologies and scholarly journals worldwide. Lee was born in North Vancouver and is a member of the Sto: Loh nation. The mother of four and grandmother of four, she is currently the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Canadian Culture at Western Washington University. She has also spent much of her time doing healing and cultural reclamation work in Aboriginal communities in Canada. Maracle is currently an instructor in the Aboriginal Studies Program teaching the Oral Tradition of Ojibway, Salish and Longhouse people. She is also the Traditional Teacher for First Nation’s House and instructor with the Centre for Indigenous Theatre. In 2009, Maracle received an Honorary Doctor of Letters for the healing work she has done over the past 40 years. Maracle recently received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for her work promoting writing among Aboriginal youth.
Jarrett Martineau is a Cree/Dene digital media producer, hip hop artist, and academic from Frog Lake First Nation in Alberta. He is a PhD candidate in Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria. Jarrett has worked at the intersection of art, media, and activism for many years, and his research examines the role of art and creativity in advancing Indigenous nationhood and decolonization. He is the co-founder and Creative Producer of Revolutions Per Minute (RPM.fm), a new music platform to promote Indigenous music culture; an organizer with the Indigenous Nationhood Movement; and a founding director of the New Forms Festival, an annual festival focusing on contemporary art, culture, and electronic music held in Vancouver. Through the dissemination of decolonizing media and practices, Jarrett’s work seeks to articulate strategies for community renewal, based on a commitment to Indigenous teachings and lifeways. He is currently based in Victoria, B.C. on WSANEC and Lekwungen territories.
Sylvia McAdam (Saysewahum) is a mother and grandmother from the Treaty 6 territory of the Nehiyawak (Cree) people on Turtle Island (Canada). Sylvia has her Juris Doctorate from the University of Saskatchewan and Bachelor’s in Human Justice from the University of Regina. She is a strong advocate and voice in the struggle for liberation and freedom for her people by way of self-determination and honouring of Treaty 6. Sylvia is co-founder of a global grassroots movement called “Idle No More” which stands against the genocide and unrelenting legislative attacks from the conservative government. Sylvia is a recipient of the Carol Geller Human Rights Award, Activist of the Year Award, and Social Courage Award. Her greatest joy and solace is enjoying her time on the lands and waters of her people’s territory.
Melody McKiver is an Anishinaabe musician, interdisciplinary media artist, and writer based in Ottawa. Melody is Anishinaabe of mixed heritage, with ancestry in Obishikokaang Wemitigoozhiiwitigwaaning Lac Seul First Nation. Melody is presently completing an MA in Ethnomusicology at the Memorial University of Newfoundland and is a graduate of York University (2010), with an Honours BFA in Music, Minor in Race, Ethnicity, and Indigeneity. Melody’s musical practice spans across viola/violin, drums and percussion, and guitar, drawing upon a broad set of influences that includes hip hop, electronic, contemporary classical, jazz, and blues. Melody works with digital video and photography to capture images of Indigenous resurgence, and uses this footage editorially and within video and sound art. Melody writes for RPM.fm, is affiliated with Tribal Spirit Music, and plays drums with Toronto’s Indigenous hip-hop fusion band Red Slam Collective.
Sheelah McLean is a PhD candidate in integrated anti-racist anti-colonial education at the University of Saskatchewan. Her goal is to bridge scholarship, policies, and praxis in order to address oppressions faced by marginalized groups, particularly focusing on the historical legacy of colonialism experienced by Indigenous peoples in a white-settler society. Her 2007 Master’s thesis is called Beyond the Pale: whiteness as innocence in education, and her 2012 essay “The whiteness of green: Racialization and environmental education” (which appeared in Canadian Geographer: The Critical Geographies of Education) address white supremacy within the Canadian colonial context.
Neal McLeod is Cree (from the James Smith reserve in Saskatchewan) and Swedish, having had the fortunate opportunity to study abroad at the Swedish Art Academy at Umeå. He was one of the founders of the legendary Crow Hop Café in Regina, Saskatchewan, which was a venue for Indigenous comedy, music, and poetry. Building from this in 2002, Neal directed A Man Called Horst, a comedy film which was screened in Berlin and across Canada. Neal has exhibited his art work throughout Canada, including at the 2005 exhibition au fil de mes jours (in my lifetime) at Le Musée National des Beaux-arts du Quebec, which was remounted at the Museum of Civilization in 2007. Neal has published two books of poetry: Songs to Kill a Wîhtikow and Gabriel’s Beach. In 2007, he published Cree Narrative Memory which was nominated for book of the year at the Anskohk McNally Aboriginal Literature Awards. Neal also has two other books in press: Indigenous Poetics (editor) and A Cree Word a Day. In addition, he is working on cîhcêwêsin: New Writing from Indigenous Saskatchewan, a book of poetry called Dreams of my Father’s Horses, a novel called Neechie Hustle, and a retranslation of Plains Cree Texts.
Ryan McMahon is an Anishinaabe/Metis standup comedian, writer, and independent media producer based out of Winnipeg, MB. He’s the creator/producer/host of The Red Man Laughing Podcast and his podcast work has been featured on the BBC (Europe), CBC (Canada), and NPR (US). Ryan’s standup comedy is irreverent and boundary-pushing as he focuses his attention on the good, the bad, and the ugly of the collision between Indian Country and the mainstream. In the summer of 2012 Ryan McMahon became the first Native comedian to record a one-hour mainstream comedy special, ”Ryan McMahon—UnReserved,” for CBC Television.
Miskwaasining Nagamojig (Swamp Singers) is a women’s hand drum group that sings in Anishinaabemowin. Information about participants and songs can be heard at their website ojibwe.net.
Waneek Horn-Miller is a Mohawk from Kahnawake Mohawk Territory and member of the Bear Clan. She was co-captain 2000 Olympic women’s waterpolo team and a North American games participant. At 14 years old Waneek was involved in the Oka Crisis standoff between her Mohawk people and the Canadian armed forces. The crisis changed the face of native and non-native relations in Canada and Waneek’s life after she was stabbed by a solder at the end of the crisis. She took this traumatic experience and used it to motivate her towards her goal of the Olympics. Through her work as a sports commentator for CBC and APTN, Waneek has become a community advocate for sport, fitness, and wellness. She also has travelled extensively throughout North America as a motivational speaker. As one of Canada’s few Aboriginal Olympians, Waneek has used her passion and experiences in sport to influence Aboriginal and non- aboriginal leadership.
SkyBlue Morin is a creative writer of short stories and poetry. Her work has been published in several different anthology collections that vary from the Anthology of Canadian Native Writers (1989-2001) to Medicine Wheel Writing (2007). Morin’s unique spoken word presentations combine traditional singing with contemporary poetry. These creative works have been celebrated by the Calgary Aboriginal Awareness Society, Amnesty International Art Exhibits, and the International Women’s Day in Ottawa, Ontario.
Cara Mumford is a Métis filmmaker and screenwriter from Alberta, currently living in Peterborough, whose short films have screened regularly at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival in Toronto, and toured throughout Australia and internationally with the World of Women Film Festival. Her short screenplay, “Ask Alice,” won Best Short Script at the Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival and her poetry dance film, “December 6,” is screened every year at Montreal Massacre memorials across Canada. In 2012, Cara was commissioned by imagineNATIVE to create “When It Rains,” a one-minute film for their Stolen Sisters Digital Initiative. She is currently developing two projects: a TV series “Animal Instincts,” and a feature film “Endangered Hero,” in addition to working on a new short film of Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s spoken-word piece “Leaks.”
Wanda Nanibush is the 2013 Dame Nita Barrow visitor at the University of Toronto and curator in residence at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery. Wanda is an Anishinabe-kwe image and word warrior, curator, community animator, arts consultant and Idle No More organizer. She has co-organized Toronto’s major round dances, teach-ins, candle light marches, concerts, water ceremonies, and vigils. She co-organized the “Nation to Nation Now” symposia and “Building Unity To Action” meeting. She has published in This is an Honour Song by Arbeiter Ring, DAG Vol 1, FUSE, Literary Magazine of Canada, C Magazine, and a number of art catalogues.
Dory Nason (Anishinaabe/Chicana) is an assistant professor of English and First Nations Studies at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Coast Salish territory. Her areas of research include contemporary Indigenous feminisms and related Native women’s activism, intellectual history, and literature. At UBC she teaches students about theory and methods in Critical Indigenous Studies and the activist foundations of Native literature. She is the recipient of the 2013 Killam Teaching Prize for excellence in teaching.
Derek Nepinak is Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. His Anishinaabe name is Niibin Makwa (Summer Bear) and he was born in Winnipeg. He spent his first few years living in the home of his grandparents on the Pine Creek First Nation. During this time, Derek observed his great-grandparents living the ways of his people: hunting, fishing, gardening, smoking fish, tanning moose hides and other traditional activities. Derek completed a First Class Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Native studies at the University of Alberta and travelled to the North to work with two Dene communities near Fort Smith, NWT. There, Derek assisted in the development and revision of the Band’s Constitution, bylaw development, community planning, and economic development initiatives. He then completed a law degree from the University of Saskatchewan. Continuing his education, Derek received the Duff Roblin Fellowship and enrolled in the Aboriginal Governance Master’s Program at the University of Winnipeg. Prior to completing his Master’s degree, Derek was called home to become the Chief of the Pine Creek First Nation. During his tenure, he took his community from third party management into a self-sustaining position. As Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Derek seeks to make Manitoba First Nations sustainable entities while fighting for treaty rights and recognitions.
Tannis Nielsen is a Metis of Cree and Danish descent. As a practising professional Indigenous artist and academic, Tannis has focused her research interests upon the examinations of an anti-colonial, Fourth World Indigenous paradigm, as well as the Western Euro-centric paradigm. Tannis has exhibited her works at such galleries as the Glenbow Museum in Calgary and has co-curated exhibitions such as the Enacting Emancipation show at A-Space Gallery, with Vicky Moufawad Paul. Tannis has written a number of articles on arts and culture, including “Re-materializing the Matriarchy” for Spirit Magazine.
Pamela D. Palmater is a Mi’kmaw citizen and member of the Eel River Bar First Nation in northern New Brunswick. She has been a practising lawyer for 15 years and she is an Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration and holds the Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University. She has four university degrees, including a Doctorate in Law from Dalhousie University Law School. Pam has been working and volunteering on First Nation issues for over 25 years on a wide range of social and legal issues, like poverty, housing, child and family services, treaty rights, education, and legislation impacting First Nations. She came in second place in the Assembly of First Nations election for National Chief in 2012 and was one of the spokespeople for Idle No More in 2012-13. She has numerous publications including her book, Beyond Blood: Rethinking Indigenous Identity and most recently, the report Our Children, Our Future, Our Vision: First Nation Jurisdiction over First Nation Education for the Chiefs of Ontario in response to the National Panel on Education.
Shiri Pasternak is a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia University in New York. She holds a PhD from the Department of Geography at the University of Toronto, where she wrote a dissertation on the Algonquins of Barriere Lake and the land claims process in Canada from the perspective of Indigenous law and jurisdiction. She is a founding member of Barriere Lake Solidarity, a member of the Indigenous Sovereignty and Solidarity Network in Toronto, and an ally in the Defenders of the Land network. Her work is published in a number of academic journals and online magazines.
Plex (D. Bedard) is an award-winning hip hop artist based in Toronto. With over 15 years experience Plex has raised the bar amongst his Aboriginal peers while building a strong and relevant presence in mainstream Canadian hip hop. Since releasing his debut solo album in 2009, Plex has toured across North America and has also appeared on several televised events including Arbor Live, The National Aboriginal Achievement Awards, APTN Aboriginal Day Live, Cineplex’s Front Row Concert Series and The Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Awards.
Judy Rebick is an author, activist, teacher, and journalist. Her latest book is Occupy This!—a Penguin special eBook.
Shane Rhodes is the author of five books of poetry including his most recent X (2013), and Err (2011 and a finalist for the City of Ottawa book award) both with Nightwood Editions. Shane’s poetry has won an Alberta Book Award, the Lampman-Scott Award (which made national news when he refused to accept prize money from the Duncan Campbell Scott foundation), the P. K. Page Founder’s Award for Poetry and a National Magazine Gold Award. Shane is the poetry editor for Arc, Canada’s national poetry magazine, and was the 2013 Queensland Poet in Residence in Brisbane, Australia.
Waubgeshig Rice is an author and journalist originally from Wasauksing, Ontario. He developed a strong passion for storytelling as a child while learning about being Anishinaabe. The stories his elders shared and his unique experiences growing up on a First Nation inspired him to write creatively. Some of the stories he wrote as a teenager eventually became Midnight Sweatlodge, his first collection of fiction published by Theytus Books in 2011. His journalism career began when he was a 17-year-old exchange student in northern Germany, writing about being Anishinaabe in Europe for newspapers back in Canada. He graduated from Ryerson University’s journalism program in 2002, and has worked in a variety of media across Canada since. He started working for CBC in Winnipeg in 2006, and has produced television and radio documentaries and features for the public broadcaster, along with reporting on the news. He currently works as a video journalist for CBC News Ottawa.
Chickadee Richard is a mother, grandmother, and clan mother from Treaty 1 territory. As a member of the bear clan, Chickadee has spent most of her adult life fighting for the protection of women, children, families, lands, waters, and Indigenous rights. This has included her involvement in national and international environmental groups such as the Indigenous Environmental Network and First Nation Environmental Network. Chickadee has sat on several boards including the Elizabeth Fry Societies of Canada and the Thunder Eagle Society which co-founded Children of the Earth High School and Niiji Mukwa School in Winnipeg. Chickadee is well respected for the essential role she has played mobilizing local Indigenous women. She is the co-founder Mother of Red Nations, an advocacy group designed to support Indigenous women within the city of Winnipeg.
Eric Ritskes is a PhD student in Sociology and Equity Studies at the University of Toronto, working at the intersections of decolonization, Indigenous knowledge, and technologies of knowing. He is the founder and editor of the Open Access journal, Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society. Toby Rollo is a PhD candidate in the department of Political Science at the University of Toronto where he specializes in the history of political thought, democratic theory, and Canadian politics. During the Idle No More demonstrations of 2012–13, Toby wrote a series of editorial pieces intended to provide Canadians with a context for understanding Indigenous rights and claims. He is also author of “Mandates of the State: Sovereignty and the Internal Exclusion of Indigenous Peoples” published in the Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence.
Paul Seesequasis is editor-in-chief at Theytus Books LTD. He is the author of Tobacco Wars (Quattro Books).
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a Mississauga Nishnaabeg writer, academic and organizer. She is the editor of Lighting the Eighth Fire (ARP Books) and This is an Honour Song (with Kiera Lander, ARP Books). She is the author of Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back (ARP Books) The Gift Is in the Making, (Highwater Press), and a collection of short stories with an accompanying full-length spoken word album, Islands of Decolonial Love (ARP Books).
Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair is Anishinaabe and originally from St. Peter’s (Little Peguis) Indian Settlement near Selkirk, Manitoba. He is a regular commentator on Indigenous issues for CTV, CBC, and APTN and his critical and creative work can be found in books such as The Exile Edition of Native Canadian Fiction and Drama, newspapers like The Guardian, and online with CBC Books: Canada Writes. He is also the co-editor of the award-winning Manitowapow: Aboriginal Writings from the Land of Water (Highwater Press, 2011) and Centering Anishinaabeg Studies: Understanding the World Through Stories (Michigan State University Press, 2013). Currently at the University of Manitoba, Niigaan teaches courses in Indigenous literatures, cultures, histories, and politics and is proud to be a part of the Kino-nda-niimi Collective, who edited, assembled, and—along with hundreds of other activists, artists, and writers—created The Winter We Danced.
Theresa Spence is chief of the Attawapiskat First Nation and has spent a lifetime working in the interests of her people and her community. In addition to her work as chief she has held positions as deputy chief, councillor, a member of the local development corporation, and manager of a daycare. Clayton Thomas-Muller is a member of the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation also known as Pukatawagan in Northern Manitoba. Based out of Ottawa, Clayton is a campaigner for the Defenders of the Land/Idle No More, joint national campaign and is also the co-director of the Indigenous Tar Sands (ITS) Campaign of the Polaris Institute. He is an organizer, facilitator, public speaker and writer on environmental and economic justice who has been published in books, newspapers, and magazines and appeared on local, regional, national, and international television and radio as an expert advocate on Indigenous rights, and environmental and economic justice. For the last 11 years he has campaigned across North America, organizing in hundreds of First Nations, Alaska Native and Native American communities in support of grassroots Indigenous Peoples to defend against the encroachment of the fossil fuel industry.
Daniel Tseghay is a Vancouver writer. His work has appeared in the Georgia Straight, The Toronto Star, and Truthout, among others. He’s an editor for Vancouver’s progressive online publication, The Mainlander, and he also co-hosts a radio show by that name for Vancouver Co-operative Radio. Matt Tunnacliffe is a writer, producer and broadcaster. Over the years he’s worked on a number of programs for CBC Radio, including DNTO and Radio 3. He was one of the founding producers of the CBC arts and culture program Q. He lives in Sackville, New Brunswick.
Dale Turner is a citizen of the Temagami First Nation and teaches political philosophy in the Native American Studies Program at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. His recent work focuses on the relationship between Indigenous knowledge and the Western European philosophical tradition. He is also interested in how photography has been, and remains, a powerful tool of colonialism. He is married to Stephanie Carson, and they live in Sharon, Vermont, with their two teenaged sons.
Richard Van Camp is a proud member of the Dogrib (Tlicho) Nation from Fort Smith, Northwest Territories. He is the author of two children’s books with the Cree artist George Littlechild: A Man Called Raven and What’s the Most Beautiful Thing You Know About Horses? He has published a novel, The Lesser Blessed, which is now a feature film with First Generation Films; his collections of short fiction include Angel Wing Splash Pattern, The Moon of Letting Go and Other Stories, and Godless but Loyal to Heaven. He is the author of three baby books and has two comicbooks out with the Healthy Aboriginal Network.
Chelsea Vowel is Métis from the Plains Cree and Michif-speaking community of Lac Ste. Anne, Alberta. She and her partner have four girls. Chelsea has a BEd and an LLB and moved to Montreal in 2009. She has taught in the Northwest Territories, Alberta, and Quebec. She also writes articles as âpihtawikosisân (ah-pih-du-wi-GO-si-sahn), which are cross-published on HuffPo Canada and rabble.ca. Passionate about law, culture, and language, she tries to deconstruct harmful myths with the hope that there can be a restructuring and renewal of the relationship between Canadians and indigenous peoples.
Harsha Walia is a South Asian writer and activist based in Vancouver, unceded Musqueam, Skwxwú7mesh, and Tsleil Waututh territories. She is involved in anti-racist, migrant justice, feminist, anti-capitalist, and anti-colonial movements and has been active in Indigenous solidarity efforts for over a decade. She is a co-founder of No One Is Illegal and Radical Desis, is an organizer in the annual February 14 Women’s Memorial March Committee and a number of DTES housing justice coalitions. She is honoured to be collaborating with others for the past eight years to bring together diverse directly affected communities for three powerful annual events: the Annual Community March Against Racism, the Annual Women’s Housing March, and the Annual Women’s Memorial March for Missing and Murdered Women. Harsha’s first book, Undoing Border Imperialism, with a preface by Andrea Smith, was released by AK Press in 2013.
Michael Wesley is a registered band member of Constance Lake First Nation in northern Ontario. Constance Lake First Nation has members of Ojibway and Cree ancestry living on and off reserve. Michael’s medium is acrylics on stretched canvas. His artistic credits include a group exhibit at the Fall Down Gallery in Ottawa, Ontario sponsored by Sakahàn—National Gallery of Canada; Community Art Wall exhibit at the Elephant Room Gallery in Chicago, IL; solo and group exhibits at the Trickster Gallery in Schaumburg, IL; and two group exhibits in Toronto with the Association for the Native Development in the Performing and Visual Arts (ANDPVA). He also does photography based on his interaction and connection with the environment around him. Michael lives and works in Chicago, Illinois.
Alo White (Gaagaagiibit/Mide Kiwenzie/Bizhew Dodem /Nanaan Mide) is respected for the knowledge he carries of Anishinaabe language, culture, songs, and spiritual ceremonies from his community of Naotkamegwanning First Nation (Treaty 3) in Northwestern Ontario. He is currently working on a series of recordings under his label Alo White Recording Studios, recording Elders from the Treaty 3 area under the project titled “Preserving Anishinaabe Music.” He is a regular contributor to the blog dividednomore.ca.
Tara Williamson is an Anishinaabekwe/Nehayowak who was raised in Gaabishkigamaag, Swan Lake, Manitoba and is a member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. She has degrees in social work, law, and Indigenous governance and is currently a Professor at Fleming College in Nogojiwanong (Peterborough, Ontario). She is a musician, aunty, sister, daughter, and poet.
Alex Wilson is Neynoway Inniniw from the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. She is an Associate Professor of Education and Director of the Aboriginal Education Research Centre and at the University of Saskatchewan. Her academic and community work and passion focus on Indigenous land-based education and social ecological justice. As an organizer, Alex uses education and Cree philosophy to intervene in ongoing practices of colonialism, oppression, and the destruction of land and water.
Nina Wilson is from the Crooked Lake Agency, Kahkewistahaw First Nation in Southeastern Saskatchewan. She is of the Three Pole People, the Nakota, Dakota, Lakota, and the Nehiyo and is a direct descendant of Chief White Bear and of the Cut Mouth and Red Blanket Societies. She is also a mother of five, a grandmother of five, and very respectful of the children all over the world. Nina is currently a Master’s student at the University of Manitoba in the Native Studies Department. She has also worked with Indigenous inmates, children, family, and community in child protective services, First Nation administration, and in education and addictions services.
Jenna Wirch is a young community activist and youth worker from the North End of Winnipeg, an area often stigmatized for high crime and poverty rates. Jenna received her Child and Youth certificate from Red River College in 2013 and has spent most of her recent professional life working and programs and services designed to improve the quality of life for North End Winnipeggers, focusing most of her attention on youth empowerment and engagement. Jenna works closely with the North End Community Renewal Corporation and is currently a Youth Engagement Coordinator for Aboriginal Youth Opportunities (AYO) and a trainer for ARROWS Youth Engagement, a youth leadership program facilitated by AYO. Jenna has become known as the “girl with the megaphone” at rallies in Winnipeg where she is often heard sharing educational messages promoting hope and change.
Rita Wong has written three books of poetry: monkeypuzzle (Press Gang, 1998), forage (which won Canada Reads Poetry 2011 and the Dorothy Livesay Prize) and sybil unrest (co-authored with Larissa Lai, New Star Books). Her work has also appeared in anthologies like Prismatic Publics: Innovative Canadian Women’s Poetry and Poetics, Regreen: New Canadian Ecological Poetry, and Making a Difference: Canadian Multicultural Literature. A water lover, she teaches at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where she has developed a humanities course on water, for which she received a fellowship from the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.
Jana-Rae Yerxa is Anishinaabe from Little Eagle and Couchiching First Nation and belongs to the Sturgeon clan. She is an activist, writer, social worker, former professor, and current student. She is committed to furthering her understanding of Anishinaabe identity and resurgence as well as deconstructing Indigenous-settler relations in the contexts of colonization and decolonization. Jana-Rae is enrolled in the Indigenous Governance Program at University of Victoria.
Laura Zahody is a writer, public relations professional, and blogger with a passion for social affairs and food. During Idle No More, she was living and working in Ottawa, but has since moved to Toronto.