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Presenter Biographies

Growing through Asemaa: Michif & Wiisaakode Relations, Anishinaabe Akiing

Sheri Osden Nault is an artist, community worker, and Assistant Professor in Visual Arts at the University of Western Ontario. Their work spans mediums including sculpture, performance, installation, and more, integrating cultural and experimental creative processes. They are a member of the Indigenous tattoo revival movement and run the annual community project, Gifts for Two-Spirit Youth. Their art considers embodied connections between human and non-human beings, land-based relationships, and kinship sensibilities as an Indigenous Futurist framework. Methodologically, they prioritize tactile ways of knowing and sharing knowledge, the wisdom of lived experience, and learning from more than human kin. Sheri currently lives and creates as a guest on the lands of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Lunaapéwak, and Chonnonton Nations, often referred to as ‘London, Ontario.’ They are colonially displaced Michif and nêhiyaw of the Nault, Charette, and Bélanger families with connections to the Red River, Batoche, and numerous Northern Saskatchewan and Alberta areas.

Rebecca Beaulne-Stuebing is Métis through her late mother, with roots in Sault Ste. Marie and Manitoba (through Belanger, McGregor, and Riel families, registered with the Métis Nation of Ontario). Through her father’s family she is also of Austrian settler ancestry. Rebecca recently completed a PhD in Social Justice Education at the University of Toronto, and teaches in the Faculty of Education at York University.

Research-in-Reverse: An Indigenous Community-led Initiative of the Maamwizing Indigenous Research Institute 

Julia Pegahmagabow is Anishinaabe from Atikameksheng Anishnawbek and is the Founder, Executive Director, and Teacher of Akinoomoshin, Inc. Her expertise as a teacher and MEd candidate positions her as an expert in curriculum delivery and learning. Her life as an Anishinaabe kwe and continuous learning and practice of her language, culture, and ceremonies adds strength to our team. 

Elizabeth Carlson-Manathara (she/her) is an aunty, partner, and settler scholar of Swedish, German, Sámi, Scots-Irish, and English ancestry. She is a Treaty relative of the Robinson-Huron Treaty of 1850 and lives with Anishinaabe lands (N’Swakamok, Sudbury, Ontario). She is an Assistant Professor in social work at Laurentian University whose scholarship focuses on ways settlers can engage with and support Indigenous sovereignty, land return, land sharing, and Indigenous land reclamation initiatives.
Bizaanaagimisin nibi kwe indizhinikaaz. Wewebijiwong indoonjiba. Alicia Williamson is an Irish and Anishinaabekwe. She is a member of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory. She is the project coordinator with the project team at Maamwizing Indigenous Research Institute. Alicia is a recent graduate from Indigenous social work at Laurentian University, where she also completed a minor in women and gender studies. Alicia also works as a Land Based Counsellor with Gwekwaadziwin Miikan.

Indigenous Women’s Experiences Accessing Healthcare: An Indigenous Methodological Approach

Ophelia O’Donnell was raised in a small town in Ontario. Her reserve is Henvey Inlet First Nation. Ophelia graduated from Laurentian University's psychology program with minors in both Indigenous health and wellness and biology. Ophelia is dedicated to centering her research around Indigenous health. Currently, she is enrolled in Laurentian University's Master of Clinical Psychology. Afterwards, she hopes to go to medical school. Ophelia looks forward to a future in which Indigenous people can access equitable, culturally safe healthcare.

Youth Panel: Land and Language, Baby!

Riley Agowissa is an Anishnawbe Kwezens from Atikameksheng Anishnawbek, and with English and Irish Roots. She is Amik Dodem (Beaver Clan) and is an avid hockey player, swimmer and has a great adventurous spirit. At seven years old, Riley has a keen interest in science and projects. You can always find her planning and thinking about the next thing she wants to create. This past year she sang the Biindigen song by Sara Gonawabi at the Wolves game all by herself.

Amikohns Petahtegoose is elk clan and lives with their family in adikamegshiing. They are learning about their spiritual gifts and they teach their family about healthy relationships and healthy boundaries. They are learning anishinaabemowin daily and they enjoy gaming. They also love everything about beavers.

Keeshig Spade is a member of Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation in North Western Ontario. Keeshig is interested in anishinaabemowin, archery, and Indigenous history. 

Kiniw Spade is a member of Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation in North Western Ontario. At eight years old he loves creating and learning about Indigenous art. 

Wakinyan Spade is seven years old and is a member of Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation in North Western Ontario. He loves sharks!

Stories from the Bush

Eugenia Eshkawkogan is an Anishinaabekwe from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory located on Mnidoo Mnising (Manitoulin Island). A recent graduate from the Indigenous Social Work program at Laurentian University. She is currently a Child and Youth Mental Health and Addictions worker at Naandwechige-Gamig Wikwemikong Health Centre. Eugenia enjoys the learning opportunities that come her way, like learning about her culture, traditions, the Anishinaabemowin language, and also working on her academics. She has a passion for dancing traditional style at pow wows, spending time with family, and close friends.
Alicia Williamson - Aanii! Bizaanaagimisin nibi kwe indizhinikaaz. Wewebijiwong indoonjiba. My name is Calm Water Woman. I was raised in Little Current, Ontario. I am a member of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory and the Anishinaabek Nation. A recent graduate from Indigenous social work at Laurentian University, where I also completed a minor in women and gender studies. I also work as a Land Based Counsellor with Gwekwaadziwin Miikan alongside working as a project coordinator with Maamwizing Indigenous Research Institute. I love learning and creating/crafting. My grandmother was an artist; she worked with quills, birch bark and many natural materials. Over the past couple of years I have been working to reclaim these practices. I’ve learned how to harvest birch bark and sweetgrass, how to bead and quill (dying, cleaning, sorting), how to sew sweetgrass turtles, mitts, moccasins and most recently finished my first ribbon skirt. I love being on the land and nurturing my natural relationships. I enjoy fishing, hiking, snow-shoeing, camping, canoeing and swimming.

Dish with One Spoon: Fostering Relations Through the Revitalization of Minoomin as a Haudenosaunee Woman living in Anishinawbek Territory

Michelle Kennedy is Haudenosaunee and a member of the Oneida nation of the Thames, Bear Clan, currently living as an uninvited guest on Anishinabek Territory. Michelle is a graduate student at Queen's University and her Ph.D. work involves Anishinaabe art curriculum development. She currently is a Lecturer at Laurentian University in the School of Indigenous Relations. Michelle embraces many roles, including being an aunt, partner, researcher, teacher, and coach.

Julia Pegahmagabow is Anishinaabe from Atikameksheng Anishnawbek and is the Founder, Executive Director, and Teacher of Akinoomoshin, Inc. Her expertise as a teacher and MEd candidate positions her as an expert in curriculum delivery and learning. Her life as an Anishinaabe kwe and continuous learning and practice of her language, culture, and ceremonies adds strength to our team.

Reclamation of Land, Strengthening Youth's Spirits

Melissa Robinson-King is a Cree Anishinaabe Kwe from Wolf Lake First Nation. Her mother is Algonquin, and her father is Cree so she also has roots in the Mushkegowuk Cree Territory. Growing up she spent a lot of time with her grandparents in the bush, she spent her summers in Hunters Point, QC with her family as well as the fall for trapping season. The time spent in the bush instilled a connection to the land, and a respect for the bush that she prides herself on sharing today with the youth she works with. She is currently the Healing and Wellness Worker, and Jordan’s Principle Coordinator for Wolf Lake First Nation. Growing up she faced similar challenges and struggles to those experienced by youth today, and always appreciated and remembered those who helped her along her journey- they made her feel appreciated and valued, and she tries her best to instill those same teachings in the youth she works with today.

Aki - Occupation & Ongoing Use

Annaleigh Males is a Canadian & Algonquin kwe from the Timiskaming region who recently graduated from the Life Sciences program with a minor in Indigenous studies at Queen’s University. Annaleigh is a curiosity driven individual who loves to learn, always taking up new hobbies such as jewelry making, pottery, and most recently mycology! Annaleigh recently joined the Wild Basket initiative as the coordinator and is based out of Timiskaming First Nation, allowing her to participate in a wide variety of community and culturally  based activities surrounding our local food systems. Annaleigh is able to be here because of the work done by Individuals like Tara, whose passion for community and bettering the land for the next generation, created the job that allowed her to stay in their home community. 

Tara Dantouze is a Denesuline (Den-eh-soo-lin-eee) and Anishnaabe woman who graduated from the Indigenous Studies program at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario. Tara is an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys fishing, cycling, hiking and camping. Tara has been a part of the development of the project initiative called The Wild Basket in Timiskaming First Nation. Her passion and vision for The Wild Basket project is to connect the traditional knowledge of our ancestors to the next generation by harvesting edible forest foods. Tara believes that a project like The Wild Basket can be a great tool for communities who want to pursue environmental, economic, and cultural projects to strengthen their community.

Anishinaabe Niin

Jacinta Manitowabi is Anishinaabe primary teacher currently teaching in a Junior Kindergarten and Senior Kindergarten immersion classroom for Wikwemikong Board of Education. She was raised in Wikwemikong, where Anishinaabemowin was primarily spoken in her home; Jacinta has a passion for teaching in Anishinaabemowin. Her interest and participation in NOW-Play allows Jacinta to actively participate in action research on the stages of writing in Anishinaabemowin and as a way of continuing with educating herself. 

Yvette Manitowabi is from the Three Fire Confederacy, Odawa, Ojibway, Potawatomi Nation, of Wikwemikong ON. Canada, land of the Robinson Huron Treaty Territory. She is a Anishinaabe Kwe, Nokomis (Grandmother) and Teacher who is approaching her next stage of life as Elder, Knowledge Keeper, giving back to her community. She was instrumental in bringing Local Developed courses to their High School. She has taught in a Section 19 classroom, Primary, Jr Level and currently teaches Play Base Kindergarten class. Her journey continues with her focus on giving students a strong sense of identity, revitalize their ancestral language and connection to Creator.

Maureen Peltier, a proud member of Wikwemikong Unceded Territory, has been a part of its education program as Teacher and Principal since 2013. As a former student of Wikwemikong's schools, she sees the importance of language and play and how these two firmly connect in development of young minds.

Sandra Peltier, of Wikwemikong Unceded Territory, is the program lead for the Wikwemikong Board of Education as Wiikwemkoong Anishinaabemowin Kinoomaagewin manager.

Shelley Stagg Peterson, a former rural primary teacher who grew up on a farm near Maskwacis, Alberta, is now a professor in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at OISE/University of Toronto. She teaches and conducts research on ways to support children’s language and literacy. Her SSHRC-funded NOW Play partnership project is focused on the experiential and play-based teaching and learning of Indigenous languages and culture, as well as children’s writing.

Dr. Jeffrey Wood is from Métis and settler ancestry and lives on the traditional lands of the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek under the Robinson-Huron Treaty. He is an associate professor in the School of Education and the School of Indigenous Relations at Laurentian University and is the Early Learning Lead for the Moosonee and Moose Factory District School Area Boards. Jeffrey has been researching and working with young children for the past 25 years. His research interests include: early childhood education, early literacies, inquiry learning and Indigenous education.

Resistance, Resilience, and Connection to Land, Language, and Culture through Digital Story Telling

Erin Davis is a Licensed Practical Nurse and Master of Science candidate in Health Sciences. She is Research Manager for Dr. Jennifer Leason’s research lab at the University of Calgary. Ms. Davis has 10 years of experience working in acute care, specifically Maternal/Child, Gynaecology, and Post-Surgical care. She holds a Diploma of Nursing and an Honours BASc in Psychology and Religious Studies, and has been conducting research with marginalized populations since 2016. Her research goals focus on health care culture change, health care quality and access specific to marginalized populations, and community lead and focused research practices. Erin is trained and has practice in quantitative, qualitative, mixed, and community/participatory action research methods. 

Mélanie Smits has worked in the field of Indigenous education for a over a decade. She is currently the Indigenous Education Consultant for a Franco-Ontarian school board. Mélanie started her own Indigenous education consulting company and has done work in collaboration with Scholastics Education, Pearson Education, Collège Boréal, University of Sudbury, NVision Insight Group, Nelson Education, BellFibe and more great partners. She is experienced in developing and facilitating workshops, doing research and performing of the arts. Mélanie has undergraduate degrees in Indigenous Studies and Education from Laurentian University as well as a Masters of Indigenous Education from Western University. She is a lifelong learner and enrols in various courses on a regular basis to keep up with the ever changing field of education. Mélanie is a proud Franco-Métis and resides in West Nipissing where she is raising her two daughters with her partner.    

Symbia Barnaby is an Indigenous woman of Haida and Mi’kmaq descent. She currently lives on the traditional unceded territory of the Coast Ts’msyen People, specifically the Nine Allied Tribes of Lax Kw’alaams. Her traditional Haida name is Guu Gaa Jung and her spirit name is Warrior Woman. She is a single mother of 6 children (5 of which have disabilities). She is trained as a Practical Nurse, a Birth/Postpartum Doula and a Reiki Level 3 Practitioner. She is also a storyteller, a filmmaker, and a Wisdom Translator. She has consulted on, developed and run many workshops on anti-racism, disability, inclusive education, intersectionality, and health equity through an Indigenous lens. She has learned firsthand about the inequity that exists between Indigenous Peoples and non-indigenous people in the health care, the education, the social justice and social welfare systems and has a passion for sharing her insights, knowledge and wisdom with others.

Beadwork as Resurgence

Sheri Cecchetto is Anishinaabe-kwe from Wabigoon Ojibway Lake Nation. Sheri started beading in 2016 and has learned from numerous beading artists. Her MMIWG beadwork has been featured on various social media platforms. She is an Indigenous Social Work graduate and is currently working on a master's in Social Work. Sheri weaves language, culture, land, and pop culture into her beadwork.

Ribbon Skirts Tie us to the Land and Language

Nicole MacDonald is Anishinaabekwe from Sheshegwaning First Nation on Manito M'nising living in the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek territory with neighbouring Wahnapitae First Nation. She is mother to two children and Nokomis to two grandchildren. Growing up and living in Hanmer, Ontario, she has spent close to 30 years researching her Odawa ancestry and roots.  She was fortunate to be able to hear first hand some stories from her grandmother who attended the Shingwauk Indian Residential School as well as her great grandmother Marceline Causley who was one of the first students of the Wawanosh Indian Residential School for Girls. These stories are what sparked her interest in reconnecting with her culture, the land and the language to honor the seven generations that came before her and to honor them during her lifetime.

Binoojihns and the Land

Nicole Wemigwans is an Indigenous Social Worker from Serpent River First Nation and Wikwemikong Unceded Territory. She is the mother to one son and moved to Sudbury with her family for schooling purposes and to be closer to community. Nicole is currently a third-year PhD student in the Cultural Studies at Queen's University. Her thesis focuses on "Anishinaabe Motherhood and Cultural Revitalization through Visual Arts" and will specifically focus on tikinagans/cradle boards. Nicole is the Co-Director of Maamwizing and a Faculty member with the Indigenous Social Work program at Laurentian University.

Osawamick G’Tigaaning Immersion Language Ranch

Beverly (Bine Kwe) is of the Ansihinaabe and Odawa Nation and is from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory in Manitoulin Island. She is of the Beaver Clan. Bev is well known on the Pow Wow trail for her award-winning scone and tacos. She has catered many cultural community events including music festivals, Three Fires Confederacy Gathering and fall fairs. She conducts medicine walks, traditional craft making instruction, and provides language translation. Bev is also a language mentor at Nawewin-Gamik, a language house in Wikwemikong. Anishinaabemowin is Bev’s first language. Bev is the founder of Osawamick G’Tigaaning, a language, land-based ranch providing 4-day retreats offering an immersion language setting. Bev was inspired by her time working as a mentor at Mary Murray Cultural Centre in Sugar Island, Michigan. Osawamick G’Tigaaning aims to connect us to the language and traditional culture and to create and provide a safe space to speak the language in an immersion setting.

Nicole Van Stone is a member of Attawapiskat First Nation. Noswin, Warrior Woman with the Grandmothers Behind Her. Nicole works with Bev Naokwegijig at Osawamick G'Tigaaning an immersion language ranch in Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory. A place where people can come and learn Ojibwemowin and reconnect to traditional teachings and land based learning.

Reclaiming the Language

Jason Nakogee is from Mushkegowuk Territory (Swampy Cree) and from Attawapiskat First Nation under Treaty 9B. He has completed an Honours Bachelor of Indigenous Social Work (HBISW) degree from Laurentian University. Currently he works and lives in Robinson Huron Treaty Territory in Sudbury, Ontario.

Welcome to the Horror Show: Storytelling, Monstrosity, and Resisting Settler Colonialism

Dr. Laura Hall was raised in N'Swakamok, as a grateful visitor. Laura is part of a big family of Rices from Kahnawake, who moved to Northern Ontario because of Residential Schooling. Dr. Hall's doctorate from York, and current work, focuses on storying, Creation'ing, land-based learning, and the nature of human and environmental rights conversations.

Anishinaabemowin: Successes of Building Language and Culture

Dominic Beaudry is Odawa/ Ojibwe from Wikwemikong First Nation on Manitoulin Island. He is bear clan and has been involved in education for 2 decades- as teacher, principal, education director and now AVP of Academic and Indigenous Programs at Laurentian University.

Stories of Decolonization: (De)Colonial Relations Film Screening and Filmmaker Conversation

Dr. Gladys Rowe (she/her) is a Swampy Cree scholar and a member of Fox Lake Cree Nation in Northern Manitoba. She is a part of the filmmaking team for the Stories of Decolonization Film Project. Gladys has expertise in Indigenist research, arts-based and participatory methodologies, and Indigenous innovation and evaluation. Gladys is passionate about fostering meaningful connection and deep understanding through the sharing of stories. 

Dr. Elizabeth Carlson-Manathara (she/her) is an aunty, partner, and settler scholar of Swedish, German, Sámi, Scots-Irish, and English ancestry. She is a Treaty relative of the Robinson-Huron Treaty of 1850 and lives with Anishinaabe lands (N’Swakamok, Sudbury, Ontario). She is an Assistant Professor at Laurentian University whose scholarship focuses on ways settlers can engage with and support Indigenous sovereignty, land return, land sharing, and Indigenous land reclamation initiatives.

Workshop: Making Dentalium Earrings

Robert Spade - Boozhoo! Keeshigoonininii ndishnikaz. Name nindodem. Namaygoosiszaagigan nindoonjii. I have introduced myself to you in Anishinabemowin. My Ojibwe/spirit name is 'Heaven Man'. I am from the sturgeon clan and I am from northern Anishinabe territory. I am a practicing multi-disciplinary artist who enjoys painting, beadwork and song-writing.  I feel honoured to share what I have learned with people from all walks of life. I currently live in Montreal with my partner, Celeste, and our four children.

Collective Resistance: Exploring Indigenous and Black Injustices and Solidarity Efforts on Turtle Island

Isak Vaillancourt is an award-winning producer and multidisciplinary artist whose practice includes photography, filmmaking, arts-based programming, and digital communications. As a creative, he relies on dynamic and vibrant imagery to explore the entanglement of beauty and aesthetics from a lens of Black healing and decolonization. Through the unapologetic use of creativity, he recognizes that we can construct our own liberation through cultural creation. Isak graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours, Cum laude) in Communication Studies from Laurentian University. Recently, he completed his Masters of Arts in Media Production at Toronto Metropolitan University where he explored race relations, advanced production, immersive technology, and visual culture within a social-justice framework. Isak is also a Co-Founder and Director of Black Lives Matter - Sudbury, a non-profit organization committed to dismantling systemic racism and uplifting racialized communities in Northern Ontario.

Innate Indigenous Geographies: Language and Sense of Place

Dr. Deondre Smiles - I am Black/Ojibwe/settler, and am a citizen of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. My research interests are multifaceted, including Indigenous geographies/epistemologies, human-environmental interaction, political ecology, and tribal cultural resource preservation/protection. I am an Assistant Professor at the University of Victoria in the Department of Geography. 

Marissa Weaselboy is a PhD Student at the University of Victoria in the Department of Geography.