JUNE 2-4, 2024

WESTIN OTTAWA

OTTAWA, ON

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) and the First Nations Confederacy of Cultural Education Centres (FNCCEC) are hosting the Indigenous History and Heritage Gathering (IHHG). This gathering, presented through the gracious support of Know History, is one of the many important events held during Indigenous History Month. It brings together diverse groups who are working to amplify the distinct stories of Indigenous Peoples across Turtle Island.

Who Should Attend

Community members developing history and heritage projects including commemorative histories, renaming projects, historical claims, and the search for missing children and unmarked burials associated with residential schools.

Professionals working with Indigenous communities including museum staff, historians, language experts, legal teams, scholars with a residential school focus, and government agencies.

Corporate representatives responsible for building and nurturing relationships with Indigenous communities.

Space is limited, please register in advance.

2024 Keynote Speakers

To access a speaker's bio, simply click or tap their photo or name.

Journalist, Host of Stolen: Surviving St. Michael's

Connie Walker is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and host of the acclaimed podcasts “Stolen” and “Missing & Murdered”. 

Maskwacîs, Alberta – Treaty No. 6
Grand Chief, Lawyer

For more than 40 years, Dr. Littlechild has worked to build bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples through athletics, and law.

Author, Journalist, President of Makwa Creative​

For more than 20 years, Tanya was a journalist at the Toronto Star and was part of teams that won two National Newspaper Awards for Project of the Year. She is now a columnist at The Globe and Mail.

2024 Speakers

To access a speaker's bio, simply click or tap their photo or name.

Kahnawà:ke Governance Project & Senior Advisor on Indigenous Initiatives, McGill University

Executive Director, Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre

President, Nish Media

CEO, First Nations Confederacy of Cultural Education Centres

Chapleau Cree First Nation

Co-Founder, Inhabit Media Inc

General Director of Technologies, National Film Board of Canada

Senior Director of Research and Head of Archives, National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

Liaison to the Blackfoot Digital Library

Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated President

Politician, Akwesasne Mohawk Nation

Partnership Representative, Mohawk Language Custodians Association

Researcher, Mount Saint Vincent University

Mi’kmaw lawyer and Chair in Indigenous Governance at Toronto Metropolitan University

Curator, Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre

Traditional Knowledge Keeper, Matriarch, and Clean Water Activist/Water Walker

Design Lead, Design de Plume

Author, Journalist

Award-winning author of They Called Me Number One and Price Paid

Author and Retired Indigenous Rights Lawyer

Founder & CEO Animikii

We are honoured by the participation of these confirmed speakers.
Please check back with us regularly as more are being added.

View our photo gallery from the 2023 Indigenous History & Heritage Gathering.

Connie Walker

Connie Walker

Journalist, Host of Stolen: Surviving St. Michael's

Connie Walker is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and host of the acclaimed podcasts “Stolen” and “Missing & Murdered”. Her work has exposed the crisis of violence in Indigenous communities and the devastating impacts of intergenerational trauma stemming from Indian Residential Schools. Walker’s podcast “Stolen: Surviving St. Michael’s” is one of the most comprehensive investigations into a single residential school in Canada. In 2023, “Stolen: Surviving St. Michael’s” was awarded a Pulitzer Prize, a Peabody Award, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award and an Edward R. Murrow Award. Prior to joining Gimlet Media, Walker spent nearly two decades as a reporter and host for the CBC. She co-created and led the public broadcaster’s Indigenous Unit in 2013 and was part of a team of reporters who built a database of unsolved cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women in 2016. Walker is a member of the Okanese First Nation in Saskatchewan.

Dr. Wilton Littlechild

Dr. Wilton Littlechild

Maskwacîs, Alberta – Treaty No. 6
Grand Chief, Lawyer

For more than 40 years, Dr. Littlechild has worked to build bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples through athletics, and law. An accomplished lawyer, he is the first Indigenous person appointed to Queen’s (now King’s) Counsel by the Alberta Law Society. He brought Indigenous issues to public attention while serving as the first Treaty Indian Member of Parliament. Dr. Littlechild has been active with a number of organizations both within Canada and internationally, including the Indigenous Parliament of the Americas, the United Nations, the National Indian Athletic Association, and the Canadian Council of International Law.  Dr. Littlechild served as a Commissioner on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, whose final report was released on December 15, 2015; Regional Chief to the Assembly of First Nations and Grand Chief of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations.  He served as the Commissioner of the Saskatchewan Justice System to report on over-representation of Indigenous Peoples and racism in the legal system.

In recognition for his service and dedication fighting for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples globally, the Treaty No. 6 Elders and Chiefs through a sacred traditional ceremony honoured Dr. Littlechild with the title of “International Chief”, a lifetime position supported by the Chiefs of Treaty No. 7 and Treaty No. 8 at a duly convened meeting. For his participation in Indigenous and athletic endeavours, Dr. Littlechild has been honoured with a number of awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award as an Aboriginal Role Model, the Order of Canada, the Queen’s Jubilee Award; he has been inducted into nine Sports Halls of Fame, including the Canada Sports Hall of Fame. A graduate of the University of Alberta with a Master’s Degree in Physical Education, a Bachelor of Law Degree, and five Honourary Doctorates at Law. A renowned expert on the Inherent and Treaty Rights, International laws and declarations pertaining to Indigenous Peoples, including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Organization of America States Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Instrumental in securing not only the International Year of Indigenous Languages but also the International Decade of Indigenous Languages.

Tanya Talaga

Tanya Talaga

Author, Journalist, President of Makwa Creative

Tanya Talaga is an Anishinaabe journalist and speaker. Talaga’s mother’s family is from Fort William First Nation and Treaty #9 territory. Her father was Polish-Canadian.

For more than 20 years, she was a journalist at the Toronto Star and was part of teams that won two National Newspaper Awards for Project of the Year. She is now a columnist at The Globe and Mail.

Her first book, Seven Fallen Feathers, is a national bestseller, winning the RBC Taylor Prize, the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing, and the First Nation Communities Read Award: Young Adult/Adult. The book was also a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Nonfiction Prize and the BC National Award for Nonfiction.

Her second book, All Our Relations: Finding The Path Forward, is also a national bestseller, finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Nonfiction Prize and a finalist for the British Academy’s Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding.

Last year, HarperCollins Canada acquired world rights, all languages, to three works of non-fiction by Talaga, with the first book, set to publish in 2023. The book will focus on the legacy of residential schools in Canada.

Talaga is the founder of Makwa Creative., a production company in Tkaronto focused on amplifying Indigenous voices through documentary films, TV, and podcasts such as AuntieUp! Makwa’s first film, Mashkawi-Manidoo Bimaadiziwin (Spirit to Soar) explores what has changed in Thunder Bay since the deaths of the Seven Fallen Feathers. At the same time, Tanya founded the Spirit to Soar Fund, which supports local Indigenous youth living in and around Thunder Bay with resources, cultural programming, and community connection and support. Talaga holds five honorary doctorates.

Taiaiake Alfred

Taiaiake Alfred

Director, Kahnawà:ke Governance Project & Senior Advisor on Indigenous Initiatives, McGill University

Advisor on Indigenous Initiatives at McGill University, and is a member of the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada’s Circle of Experts. He served as a United States Marine infantryman and has been a supporter and participant in First Nations’ resistance and political movements since 1987. Taiaiake has a degree in history from Concordia University and a doctorate in political science from Cornell University. He founded the University of Victoria’s Indigenous Governance Program and Concordia University’s Native Student Centre, is the author four acclaimed books, has held a Canada Research Chair, and is a National Aboriginal Achievement/Indspire laureate. He currently divides his time between Kahnawà:ke and Wsanec Nation Territory.

Tim Bernard

Tim Bernard

Executive Director, Mi'kmawey Debert Cultural Centre

Tim Bernard is well known beyond his own community of Millbrook as the Manager/Editor of the Mi’kmaq Maliseet Nations News and Eastern Woodland Print Communications. Employed by The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq (CMM) as a Land Claims Researcher from 1988 to 1994, he gained extensive historical knowledge under the direction of Dr. Donald Julien.

Tim is the Mi’kmaw co-chair of the Culture and History working committee of the Tripartite Forum as well as a member of the History Month. Through these and other avenues, Tim’s direction affects communities across Nova Scotia. He has set forth and achieved realistic and meaningful outcomes through these avenues, advancing knowledge and appreciation for place names, language growth and retention, cultural resources for educators and the importance of the stories of Elders and others in the communities.

He has served on the task force of the Nova Scotia Heritage Strategy and is regularly involved with overall heritage and tourism sector development. Tim Bernard is a member of the Board of Directors for the Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre.

Jason Brennan

Jason Brennan

President, Nish Media

Jason Brennan is a proud member of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinaabeg First-Nation and the producer and president of the award-winning production company Nish Media. The company has created more than a hundred hours of television and multiple feature films. Most recently, Jason Brennan produced the mini-series “For You Flora”, the first entirely created Indigenous drama series to be produced in Canada. The show received critical acclaim in Canada and around the world and won the 2022 MIPCOM Diversify TV Award as well as the Best Miniseries Award at the “C21 Content London – 2021 Drama Awards”.

Professor Claudette Commanda

Claudette Commanda

CEO, FNCCEC

Professor Claudette Commanda is an Algonquin Anishinabe from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation located in the province of Quebec. An alumni of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Common Law and Faculty of Arts, Claudette has dedicated the last 35 years promoting First Nations people, history, culture and rights in various capacities as a University of Ottawa student, professor, member and chair of the Aboriginal education council; and via public speaking events.

She is a professor for the University of Ottawa’s Institute of Women’s Studies; Faculty of Education; Faculty of Law; and the Aboriginal Studies Program, teaching courses on First Nations Women; Native Education; First Nations People and History; Indigenous Traditions; and Decolonization. In addition, she is the Chief Executive Officer of the First Nations Confederacy of Cultural Education Centres, a national organization which protects and promotes First Nations culture, languages and traditional knowledge. She is inducted into the Common Law Honour Society; served two terms on the Board of Governors for the First Nations University of Canada; and three terms on the Kitigan Zibi band council. In 2017, Claudette is the first First Nation appointed Elder in Residence for the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa; and the first person of a First Nation heritage to be appointed to the Board of Governors for the University of Ottawa. She is the Special Advisor on Reconciliation, for the Dean, Faculty of Law. Claudette is a proud mother of four and a grandmother to ten beautiful grandchildren. In March 2020, Claudette received the 2020 INDSPIRE Award for Culture, Heritage and Spirituality. On November 9, 2022, she became the Chancellor for the University of Ottawa.

Jennifer Swanson David

Jennifer Swanson David

Chapleau Cree First Nation

A member of Chapleau Cree First Nation, Jennifer is of mixed ancestry and was born and raised in Omushkego/Treaty 9 territory (Northeastern Ontario). Jennifer has degrees in Journalism and English literature from Carleton University. She is a shareholder, a Senior Consultant and Lead, Truth & Reconciliation service basket at NVision Insight Group, a majority Indigenous-owned consulting company in Ottawa, where she develops, and delivers Indigenous cultural awareness and competency courses and presentations.

The Chapleau Cree First Nation Community Trust issued a Request for Proposals for a band member to write a book about the history of the First Nation. Jennifer is leading this effort. Her great-grandmother is on the original Treaty 9 paylist, and she’s very interested in history and storytelling. Jennifer is a published author and a voracious reader of Indigenous literature and co-hosts a podcast called Storykeepers: Let’s Talk Indigenous Books. She is married with two kids in university, and makes her home on unceded, unsurrendered Anishinaabe Algonquin territory, in Ottawa.

Louise Flaherty

Louise Flaherty

Co-Founder, Inhabit Media Inc

Louise Flaherty grew up in Clyde River, Northwest Territories now known as Nunavut.

Early on, Louise was fortunate to be surrounded by great storytellers. Her grandparents instilled in her a passion for Inuktitut, and an understanding that speaking Inuktitut is a fundamental part of Inuit identity. Seeing Inuit who were far more literate in English than in Inuktitut sparked Louise’s passion for the promotion and preservation of Inuktitut literacy.

She graduated with a Bachelor of Education in 1993, and since then has been working hard to promote Inuktitut literacy. She was a teacher for eight years before joining the Nunavut Teacher Education Program as program manager training future generations of Inuit teachers, and eventually served as director of Inuit Language and Culture for Nunavut Arctic College. Louise was Deputy Minister for Culture and Heritage, and the Deputy Minister for Education within the Government of Nunavut from 2018-2019.

In 2006, Louise founded Inhabit Media, an independent publishing house dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Inuit knowledge and values and the Inuktitut language. Inhabit Media was incorporated in 2006 and has since published dozens of books and Inuktitut resources that are used in classrooms throughout Nunavuy.

Jimmy Fournier

Jimmy Fournier

General Director of Technologies, National Film Board of Canada

Most recently appointed as NFB’s Director General Technologies (CTO) Jimmy Fournier has been the R&D, Engineering and Digital Platforms Manager for eight years. He joined the NFB more than 18 years ago as an engineer. He has a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering and is a member of the OIQ (Ordre des Ingénieurs du Québec), as well as the ad hoc director of the SMPTE’s Montreal chapter. Jimmy has extensive experience in the audiovisual field, and he played a leading role in conceptualizing and operationalizing the digitization, restoration, accessibility and preservation processes for the NFB’s works. More recently, Jimmy was a key player in choosing and implementing the technology for the NFB’s new headquarters in downtown Montreal and for its conservation and digitization room in Ville St-Laurent.

Raymond Frogner

Jason Bennet

Senior Director of Research and Head of Archives, National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

Raymond Frogner graduated with an M.A. in history from the University of Victoria and an M.A.S. from the University of British Columbia. His mother had family relations with Duncans Reserve, a Cree community in Northern Alberta. She attended Shaftsbury Mission until she was expelled at the age of 16. Raymond was formerly an archivist for private records at the Royal BC Museum where his portfolio focused on Indigenous records. He is currently the Senior Director of Research and Head of Archives at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. He is also the co-chair of the International Council for Archives (ICA) Committee on Indigenous Matters. In 2019 he was the principal author of the ICAs Tandanya/Adelaide Declaration concerning the ICAs position on Indigenous self-determination and archives. Two of his articles in Archivaria on the topics of archives and Indigenous rights won the W. Kaye Lamb Award. He continues to publish and present on issues of Indigenous identity, rights, and social memory. In 2020 he was nominated a Fellow of the Association of Canadian Archivists.  In 2022 he was appointed to the National Administration Committee to support the investigation of unmarked burials sites of residential school children.

Danielle Heavy Head

Danielle Heavy Head

Liaison to the Blackfoot Digital Library

Danielle is a member of the Kainai tribe of Alberta. She has worked on repatriations for her tribe and for the Grande Ronde of Oregon. Danielle has been building the Blackfoot Digital Library since 1995. She is a Beaver woman and cares for a Beaver Bundle.

Aluki Kotierk

Aluki Kotierk

Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated President

Originally from Igloolik, now residing in Iqaluit with her family, Nunavut Tunngavik President Aluki Kotierk leads by example. Aluki is driven by her passion to empower and improve the lives of Inuit. After earning her master’s degree in Native and Canadian Studies at Trent University, Aluki worked for various Inuit organizations including Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada, Inuit Tapirisat of Canada (now known as Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami), and Nunavut Sivuniksavut. She has also held management and Deputy Minister roles within the Government of Nunavut, Office of the Languages Commissioner and Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated. In her current role as President, Aluki is keen in how Inuit language and culture can be better incorporated into the way in which programs and services are designed and delivered in Nunavut.

Michael Mitchell

Michael Kanentakeron Mitchell

Politician, Akwesasne Mohawk Nation

Michael Kanentakeron Mitchell is one of the most respected First Nations leaders in Canada. Born in Akwesasne and raised by a traditional family, Kanentakeron had the benefit of a strong cultural and spiritual upbringing. Fluent in the Mohawk language, Kanentakeron has successfully applied traditional diplomatic skills in solving today’s challenges to First Nations on local, regional and national levels in all areas of development and renewal.

For three decades, Kanentakeron served his people in a political capacity as Chief and Grant Chief in one of the most volatile, yet progressive First Nations communities in Canada. His vision to help restore the independence of the Mohawk people of Akwesasne is based on applying the best of both Hotinonshonni philosophy and modern democratic government systems.

Hilda Nicholas

Hilda Nicholas

Partnership Representative, Mohawk Language Custodians Association

A passion for Hilda Nicholas is the Kanien’kéha (Mohawk) language and her aim is to pass it on to her people, who have lost their language. Her mother tongue is Kanien’kéha, and she is fluent in the Kanehsatá:ke Kanien’kehá:ka dialect. She has over 40 years work experience in the Kanien’kéha language. She is a Bear Clan and lives in the Kanehsatá:ke Kanien’kehá:ka community.

Hilda Nicholas is the Director for the Cultural Center combing Language and Culture under one program. Her tenacity and spirit has allowed her to preserve these programs to operate in a climate of poor funding and lack of understanding. She is also the President of Kontinónhstats/Mohawk Language Custodian Association, not for profit, incorporated, for the preservation, promotion and teaching of the Kanien’keha language.

Under her guidance and tireless efforts organized the production of Language Day plays in Kanien’kéha for seven years in her community which included the participation of the Six Kanien’kehá:ka communities. Showcasing various talents in the Kanien’kéha language, which was very much enjoyed by all six Kanien’kehá:ka communities. Also, under her guidance she has put in place an immersion Kanien’kéha Adult Language program and is producing language speakers.

She has been a television host/narrator/consultant/translator for many documentaries aired on Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), as well as an interpreter at the House of Commons for the Minister Marc Miller.

Diane Obed

Diane Obed

Researcher, Mount Saint Vincent University

Diane Obed is an Inuk woman, mixed with white settler ancestry, and is originally from Hopedale, Nunatsiavut, Labrador. She currently lives in Waqmiaq – “where freshwater flows” in Mi’kma’ki, Nova Scotia.

Diane is currently studying in the Inter-University Educational Foundations PhD program at Mount Saint Vincent University. Her doctoral research project explores the intersection between Indigenous land education and contemplative studies to draw on ancient wisdom for modern day psycho-social issues such as cultivating courage to be able to face and engage in dialogue about the current climate crisis.

Pam Palmater

Pam Palmater

Mi’kmaw lawyer from Eel River Bar First Nation

Considered one of Canada’s Top 25 Movers and Shakers, Dr. Pam Palmater is an internationally renowned speaker, prolific author, award-winning Indigenous podcaster, Mi’kmaw lawyer, and activist driving reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, human rights, and social justice. With four degrees, including a doctorate in law focusing on Indigenous rights, Pam leads as Professor and Chair in Indigenous Governance at Toronto Metropolitan University. A Mi’kmaw Nation citizen and member of Eel River Bar First Nation, and practicing lawyer for over two decades, she is considered an expert in Indigenous law, and testifies before United Nations treaty bodies, Parliamentary and Senate committees, and public inquiries like the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) and the Nova Scotia Mass Casualty Commission. Pam’s 200+ publications for major outlets like Chatelaine, Maclean’s Magazine, The Lawyer’s Daily and a host of online news outlets like CTV, CBC, APTN, help inspire social change. Today, Pam continues to be a beacon of hope and catalyst for change, inspiring others to ignite their minds through education and drive positive social change for current and future generations. She envisions a future of empowered communities, leaving a lasting impact on Indigenous reconciliation and social progress.

Alison Pascal

Mixalhítsa7 Alison Pascal

Curator, Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre

Alison Pascal – Mixalhítsa7 is of the Lil’wat Nation, she is the Co-Director of Culture, Curator at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre (SLCC) in Whistler, BC. Alison’s work tells the history and cultural relevance of their belongings shown at the SLCC of the two founding nations the Sk̲wx̲ú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) and the Líl̓wat7ul (Lil̓wat Nation). Her passion is educating and inspiring visitors to learn more about the people, culture and history of the Squamish Nation and Lil’wat Nation, while drawing in shared experiences of other Indigenous People. In 2022 she curated and hosted the exhibition – Ancient Medicine: From Feast to Famine to Freedom, exploring the complex health journey of Indigenous People. In the fall of 2022 the SLCC hosted the Unceded Exhibition – A Photographic Journey into Belonging. Throughout 2023, and 2024 Alison has continued her work for the Fighting for Justice exhibition, and for the Storyboard Project connecting with Nation Members about updating content in storytelling throughout the Museum.

Stephanie Peltier

Stephanie Peltier

Traditional Knowledge Keeper, Matriarch, and Clean Water Activist/Water Walker

Stephanie Peltier is an Odawa Anishinaabe-kwe from the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Indian Reserve located on Manitoulin Island. She is a Traditional Knowledge Keeper, Matriarch, and Clean Water Activist/Water Walker for her people. Stephanie is the proud mother of three beautiful daughters: Naomi, Autumn, and Ciara, and one fur baby named Achilles. During her regular days, Stephanie works as a full-time Crisis and Trauma Counselor, specializing in Grief and Loss for the Indigenous population.

Stephanie grew up in her community and spent many years attending Midwein Ceremonies. She is also a second-degree Mideiwn. Stephanie helps young women who are pregnant teens, by serving as a birthing coach. She shares the Berry Fasting Ceremony, Full-Moon Ceremony, and mentors young girls with their roles and responsibilities. She also writes speeches for her daughter Autumn Peltier and takes on small contracts within the community that focus on cultural competency. Stephanie is skilled in sewing, beading, and making powwow, public speaking and ceremonial regalia.

Jennica Robinson

Jennica Robinson

Design Lead, Design de Plume

Jennica Robinson is a proud member of Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation on Manitoulin Island and is the Design Lead at Design de Plume, an Indigenous and women-owned creative agency that designs inclusive and accessible solutions that resonate. Driven by a passionate commitment to amplifying unheard voices, Jennica’s designs celebrate cultural narratives, raising awareness and expressing stories of resilience and richness. Her design bridges tradition with modern creativity, weaving together threads of Indigenous culture, history, and contemporary perspectives. Through Design de Plume’s work in gender and 2SLGBTQIA+ diversity, Indigenous cultures, and diverse needs, Jennica’s design journey embodies cultural preservation and innovation, inviting understanding and recognition.

Paul Seesequasis

Paul Seesequasis

Author, Journalist

Paul Seesequasis is Willow Cree, band member of Beardy’s and Okemasis Cree Nation, a curator, writer, editor, researcher and journalist residing in Saskatchewan. He is the author of the award-winning Blanket Toss Under Midnight Sun (Knopf) in 2019. He has several books upcoming, including Gaze (Knopf) in 2025. He has curated numerous exhibitions including ‘People of the Watershed: The Photography of John Macfie,‘ opening at The McMichael Canadian Art Collection, from May thru November, 2024. He is the founder of the online Indigenous Archival Photo Project, an online exploration of the Indigenous archival image through history. His writing has been published in The Globe and Mail, Brick Magazine, Granta, The Wall Street Journal, among others. He has done interviews with CBC Radio, APTN Face to Face, CTV, Yale University among others. He is currently the Chair of The Access Copyright Foundation. He has received numerous awards and accreditations including One Book, One Province (Saskatchewan), The Writers’ Trust Writer Canadian Residence (Dawson City) 2023, Canadian Writer in Residence at Literarisches Colloquium Berlin (2022) and Saskatchewan Council of Archives Community Use Award (2023) among others.

Bev Sellars

Bev Sellars

Award-winning author of They Called Me Number One and Price Paid

Bev Sellars is a former Chief and Councillor of the Xat’sull (Soda Creek) First Nation. First elected Chief of Xat’sull in 1987, she held the position until 1993 and then later held it from 2009-2015. She also served as a community advisor for the BC Treaty Commission. Ms. Sellars has spoken out on racism and residential schools and on the environmental and social threats of mineral resources exploitation in her region. She is the author of They Called Me Number One, a memoir of her childhood experience in the Indian residential school system and its effects on three generations of women in her family. The book won the 2014 George Ryga Prize for Social Awareness, was shortlisted for the 2014 Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize and was a finalist for the 2014 Burt Award for First Nations, Metis and Inuit literature. Her book, Price Paid: The Fight for First Nations Survival, looks at the history of Indigenous rights in Canada from an Indigenous perspective. Ms. Sellars has a degree in history from the University of Victoria and a law degree from the University of British Columbia. She is a former Chair of First Nations Women Advocating for Responsible Mining.

Jean Teillet

Jean Teillet

Author and Retired Indigenous Rights Lawyer

Ms. Teillet is an author, and as of January 2024 is a retired Indigenous rights lawyer. Ms. Teillet is the author of a 2022 report on Indigenous Identity Fraud. She has appeared at the Supreme Court of Canada twelve times in Indigenous rights cases. Ms. Teillet’s popular history, The North-West is Our Mother: The Story of Louis Riel’s People, the Métis Nation was one of the Globe & Mail’s top 100 books of 2019 and won the Carol Shield’s and Manitoba Day awards. She is the author of Métis Law in Canada and has written for academic journals, the Globe & Mail and Macleans. A frequent public speaker throughout Canada and internationally, Jean has been awarded the highest honour of her people, the Order of the Métis Nation. The Indigenous Bar Association has awarded Jean it’s highest honour, Indigenous Peoples Counsel. She has three honorary doctorates (University of Guelph, Windsor University and Law Society of Ontario). In recognition of decades of work with midwives, Jean has been made an honorary lifetime member of the Association of Ontario Midwives. She is a member of the Manitoba Métis Federation and is the great grandniece of Louis Riel.

Jeff Ward

Jeff Ward

Founder & CEO Animikii

Jeff founded Animikii in 2003 and has orchestrated and managed its growth ever since. Everything Jeff does in business is geared toward uplifting his family, communities and Indigenous Peoples. He is Ojibwe and Métis, originally from Manitoba, and now lives and works in Victoria, BC on Lekwungen territory. Jeff is a software developer, product designer, author, and speaker. He also serves as Vice Chair for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) board.

“It’s an exciting time for the Indigenous movement. We’ve begun a new era of Indigenous-settler relations and the long journey towards Reconciliation has just begun. Each and every one of us, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike, has been called upon to honour the past, to do better, and to rise up. Warriors everywhere are rising up in the fight for equitable outcomes for Indigenous people. We at Animikii believe that our call-to-action is to support all of these warriors in their journey by using the tools available to us. Our answer to that call, our weapon and tool of choice, is technology.”

Photo credit: Nadya Kwandibens

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