2016 Ottawa Rally
Profiles of our Elders and Guest Speakers
Scroll to bottom for full agenda. Important people, times and places to be on April 29th!
Elder Claudette Commanda was born and raised on the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg Algonquin First Nation community located in one of the ancestral territories of the Algonquin people, the province of Quebec. Claudette is an alumni of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law and Faculty of Arts. In 2009, she was inducted into the Common Law Honour Society for her work in promoting First Nations education, language and culture. She lives and practices her Anishinabe traditional beliefs and upholds the sacred teachings with utmost respect and responsibility. She is the proud mother of four children in addition to raising a foster daughter; and has nine grandchildren.
Elaine Kicknosway is Wolf Clan, originally from Northern Saskatchewan, and a member of Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation. She is a 60’s scoop AIM survivor from Saskatchewan, a singer, women’s traditional dancer, participant in ceremonies and ongoing learner. Elaine supports and helps within drumming circles, ceremonies, talking circles, discussion related to intergenerational impacts of residential school and how child welfare has impacted the family today.
Theland Kicknosway is Wolf Clan, is Potawatami and Cree, and is a member of Walpole Island in Southern Ontario. He is 12 years old, a singer, a grass & hoop dancer, and helps in ceremonies in many places. He enjoys going to school in the Ottawa region where he is a part of sports teams. He enjoys offering his gifts of song/dance/voice for all.
Raven Sinclair (Ótiskewápít) is Nehiyaw and Anishinaabe. She is professor and author in the field of social work. She published Wícihitowin, the first Indigenous social work book written by First Nations, Inuit and Métis authors who are educators at schools of social work across Canada. Raven is the executive producer of an upcoming documentary film, There’s A Truth To Be Told, a documentary about the experience of the 60s scoop in Splatsin First Nation of BC.
Duane Morrisseau-Beck is a Métis adoptee from Manitoba and now lives in Ottawa, Ontario since 1999. Since 1994, Duane has been a strong advocate for Indigenous health and social issues at the community and national level. Duane’s bi-cultural background and focus on community collaboration has lead him to a number of volunteer and community leadership roles. Today, Duane is currently on a federal interchange program where he serves as the Senior Manager for the Indigenous Peoples’ Assembly of Canada (formerly the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples) on a community engagement and national awareness project focused on prevention of violence towards Indigenous women and girls. A project that will create a National Toolkit designed by and for Indigenous men and boys. Duane continues to volunteer his time to important causes, most notably, the issues related to the ‘60s scoop era and Missing and Murder Indigenous Women where he is involved in initiatives currently taking place across the country. Duane spends his free time enjoying the outdoors, participating in land-based ceremonies, engaging in his music abilities and spending time with his partner, family and friends.
Colleen Cardinal –Hele is a Nehiyaw from Treaty 6 territory, Saddle Lake Cree Nation, AB and currently resides on Algonquin Territory otherwise known as Ottawa. Colleen is an Indigenous adoptee of the 60’s scoop, daughter of a residential school survivor and has had two women murdered in her family. She speaks publicly and candidly all over Turtle Island about murdered and missing Indigenous women and the impacts of the 60’s Scoop drawing critical connections between genocidal colonial child welfare policies and her lived experiences and those of women in her family. She believes that sharing her story is an important part of her healing journey in addition to raising awareness and building solidarity and understanding within Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. Colleen volunteers with Families of Sisters in Spirit (FSIS) a grassroots initiative based in Ottawa and is a co-founder of the Indigenous Adoptee Gathering Committee and has successfully organized two national Indigenous Adoptee Gatherings in Ottawa 2014 & 2015. Colleen is currently in post-production on a documentary The Sixties Scoop: A Hidden Generation, which follows the intergenerational effects of colonial child welfare policies in the families and lives of Indigenous adoptees and is working towards publishing her memoir as an Indigenous adoptee surviving violence, loss, grief and loneliness to find a way back to happiness, wholeness and on-going healing.
Bev Jones is from Keeseekoowenin, a First Nations reserve in western Manitoba. Apprehended at two months of age and put into foster care with a non-native family, she was returned to the reserve when she was six. Dislocated from her family and without a native tongue, she suffered abuse; she was then uprooted again and returned to her foster home. She spent years in a state of dislocation between two cultures, without solid roots in either one. Today she is a social worker and riveting storyteller in her mid-forties, who coined the term “policy baby” to encapsulate her all-too-common story of dislocation and loss. She is featured in the documentary Policy Baby: The Journey of Rita/Bev which we will be screening at our April 29th 3:00 pm, St Pauls’s Church 3:00pm 473 Cumberland (basement).
Nakuset is Cree from Lac la Ronge, Saskatchewan. She was adopted by a Jewish family in Montréal and draws on her adoptee experience for insight on her work advocating for the Aboriginal children in care. She is the Executive Director of the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal and the co-chair of the Montreal Urban Aboriginal Community Strategy Network of Montreal in 2008. She has three beautiful boys, Kistin, Mahkisis and Mahihkan.. Her most recent accomplishment was creating, producing and hosting the television series “Indigenous Power”. She is dedicated to improving the lives of urban aboriginals.
Rod Wade Belanger is from the Ochapowace Cree Nation, Saskatchewan. Rod was a child when he was taken from his family and community during the 60’s Scoop, one of the darkest times in Canadian history. Rod’s strength throughout this horrific experience was his optimism and energy to create a better life for himself. Cree culture and traditions gave Rod’s young life a much needed focus to find his own identity as a First Nation person. The love for powwow opened doors to the world as Rod performed across Europe and the US with various dance troupes. Another passion for Rod is education and he has enjoys the faculty of Business Administration, and works in Economic Development and Post-Secondary education. Along with his passion for dance and career, Rod has also been very active creating a positive enhancing lifestyle with awareness to health . Rod is an activist concentrating on Treaty and 60’s scoop survivor issues at the provincial and United Nations level with UNDRIP.
Michael Desautels is the Indigenous Rights Program Officer for the Public Service Alliance of Canada. As part of a team that includes the women’s, GLBT, persons with disabilities and racialized programs, he is responsible for the development and maintenance of the Indigenous Program. Its goal is the full integration of Indigenous peoples’ rights into all areas of the union’s work. He previously worked in the education department of the Canadian Autoworker’s Union, in the International department for the Canadian Labour Congress and as their Alberta regional representative. He is Métis with Ojibway heritage and comes from Red River.
Lynda Kitchikeesic Juden is Anishinaabekwe from Whitesand First Nation. Lynda spent time in foster care before being adopted by a loving British immigrant family. Her parents brought Cree schoolgirls to live with them as they felt it was necessary to raise Lynda in her culture, or as close to it as they could find. Despite this kindness, Lynda was a runaway and left home at a young age for the United States. Her career has always been about traditional knowledge preservation, protection and promotion. She works with police services to bring FN, Metis and Inuit youth together for canoeing fun at the Flotilla for Friendship and works closely with ethnic communities and the Ottawa Police on racial issues.
Greg ‘Mista Wasis’ Dreaver originates from Treaty 6 Territory Saskatchewan, a proud father of two, he is Nehiyaw (Northern Plains Cree) and descended from strong leaders. He has been mentored all his life by many powerful knowledge keepers, it is in listening and learning from these Indigenous geniuses that he has been referred to as an expert of experts. A former foster child he has had the good fortune of being repatriated with his biological relations and with his nation. He proudly supports any initiative that is driven by others who want to assist the cause of adoptees and those who were and are placed in care. His Cree name originates from his great grandfather’s grandfather Chief Mista Wasis which translates quite appropriately to Big Child.
Elder Ernie Daniels is Ojibway and was born and raised on Long Plain First Nation. He is a 10 year residential survivor, Former Chief, former Vice Chief of AFN, former CEO of two tribal councils in Manitoba. As a Chief he stopped out of province and country adoptions of First Nation children by forcing the provincial government into declaring a moratorium and judicial inquiry of Aboriginal adoptions known as the Kimelman Report. He has been a part of creating the first child caring agency called Dakota Ojibway Child and Family Services. Ernie works as a consultant and elder for Long Plain First Nation.
Twin Flames is a captivating duo that combines two accomplished and very unique singer songwriters Chelsey June an Algonquin Cree Métis Woman from Ottawa and Jaaji an Inuk Mohawk man from Nunavik and Kahnawake. Twin Flames take the audience on a musical journey across Canada and the Arctic, they echo the voices of their ancestors and depict life on the land as they sing songs in English, French and Inuktitut. They leave audiences fascinated and intrigued. At this year’s 2015 Indigenous music Awards Jaaji’s album Nunaga won best Indigenous Language/Francophone Album of the year and Chelsey June’s Album Finding me was nominated best Folk Album.
Agenda for Rally, Feast and Gathering | Elders, Guest Speakers and Performers.
|12:00||Smudge/Prayer/Land Acknowledgement||Claudette Commanda||Parliament Hill|
|Theland Kicknosway and Elaine Kicknosway||Parliament Hill|
|12:10||Welcoming Comments||Duane Morrisseau-Beck, Colleen Cardinal-Hele and Lisa Abel||Parliament Hill|
|12:20||Speaker #1||Dr. Raven Sinclair||Parliament Hill|
|Mista Wasis||Parliament Hill|
|Bev Jones||Parliament Hill|
|Michael Desautels||Parliament Hill|
|Lynda Kitchigeesic||Parliament Hill|
|Rod Belanger||Parliament Hill|
|12:55 to 1:00||Closing||Duane Morrisseau-Beck, Colleen Cardinal-Hele and Lisa Abel||Parliament Hill|
|1:00 to 3:00||Indigenous Walks Tour (for registered participants only)||Registered guests only||Parliament Hill|
|3:00 to 4:00
|Film Screening of “Policy Baby”||Bev Jones
|St. Paul’s Church – 473 Cumberland Street
|4:00 to 5:30||Open Mic Sharing||Registered guests only||St. Paul’s Church – 473 Cumberland Street|
|5:30 to 6:00||Feast Plate Ceremony
|St. Paul’s Church – 473 Cumberland Street|
|6:00 to 7:00||Feast||Registered guests only
|St. Paul’s Church – 473 Cumberland Street|
|7:00 to 7:15||Guest Performance by Timothy Armstrong||Registered guests only
|St. Paul’s Church – 473 Cumberland Street|
|7:15 to 8:00||Guest Performance by Twin Flames||Registered guests only||St. Paul’s Church – 473 Cumberland Street|
|8:00||Socializing||Registered guests only||St. Paul’s Church – 473 Cumberland Street|
|9:00||Closing Comments||Duane Morrisseau-Beck, Colleen Cardinal-Hele||St. Paul’s Church – 473 Cumberland Street|
For more information or to register for the evening event go to: https://indigenousadoptee.com/2016-solidarity-rally-ottawa/