Canadian Participant Bios


Jamie Bourque – Lead Canadian Participant
Jamie Bourque is an Executive Producer and owner of the media production company Multipel Inc. – all our current projects are in development and production with APTN, Rogers, CMF, iThentic Canada, PBS, ARTE and Transit Films, Belgium. We have been producing content since 2011 and our projects – such as, The Heir, a docudrama digital series which explored the stories of Residential School survivors and the intergenerational effects, was showcased at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2013, have been cutting edge.

Over the years we have done private sector and commercial projects, our clients are diverse and have ranged from Ever Active Schools Alberta, to the United Nations. Our projects have received funding from Bell Media, Rogers, Canada Media Fund, Alberta Media Fund, National Indian Brotherhood, APTN, Super Channel, National Council of Research, CBC, Canadian Media Production Association, and Bundesstiftung our Aufarbeitung Der SED-Diktatur. Jamie Bourque is a recipient of grants from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2017 and Canada Council for the Arts in 2010, 2012, and 2016.

In addition to our commercial projects we are beginning to develop a interactive memory work platform with a Canadian/German team of artists, psychologists, music therapists, and interactive developers. Aboriginal Healing Foundation of Canada, 2009-2014 Aboriginal Healing Foundation Audit Finance Committee, 2012-2014 National Aboriginal Role Model Award, 2010 Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Senior Artist, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2017 Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Juror, 2010, 2013 East-West European Memory Seminar Panel, Poland, 2016 Bundesstiftung our Aufarbeitung Der SED-Diktatur, 2016 ECS Film Festival Juror, 2011-2017 Nelson Mandela Dialogue Participant, 2013-2017 Alliance of Aboriginal Media Professionals 2011-2017 Jamie resides in Edmonton, Alberta – but maintains a home on the Buffalo Lake Métis Settlement, where his family has been since the 1960’s. Near the lake where he was raised, Jamie connects to his heritage and nature, every chance he gets.


Dr. Lisa Bearskin Bourque
Dr. Bourque Bearskin is a member of Treaty 6 Beaver Lake Cree Nation, in northern Alberta, Associate Professor and new investigator with Thompson River University, School of Nursing. Over the years she has worked in many capacities as a Licensed Practical Nurse and then a Registered Nurse. She began her teaching career working with Maskwacis Community in partnership with NorQuest College in Alberta, Canada before heading north to Iqaluit, Nunavut where she taught in the first Arctic Nursing program.

Over the next decade, she worked at the University of Alberta, Faculty of Nursing where she developed and delivered Indigenous-nursing initiatives. Lisa recognizes the rights of First Nation, Inuit, and Métis people’s health and to that end works towards enhancing people’s understanding of Indigenous health. Under the guidance of Indigenous nursing knowledge holders, leaders, and healers her research interest lie within Indigenous research methodologies aimed at improving Indigenous nursing led practice and promoting equitable access to health care services for Indigenous people.

Her expertise and research program is focused on creating sustainable Indigenous nurse-led programs that support a network of professionals to create, exchange and mobilize Indigenous knowledge in their local settings. As the Past President of the Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association, she provided leadership that enhanced understanding of Indigenous nursing knowledge based on Indigenous social determinants of health. Lisa’s focus on Indigenous wellness includes maintaining cultural integrity of both clients and nurses in support of Indigenous sovereignty as outlined by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


Joni Brodziak
Joni is the Executive Director of the Policy, Practice and Program Development for child intervention (protection) in the Ministry of Children’s Services. This branch is responsible for overall program and operational policy related to Child Intervention Service Delivery, which includes Alberta’s Child Intervention Practice Framework and other policy, program and practice development targeted at improving how services are delivered to vulnerable children and their families. Joni has been in the field of child protection for 24 years, working in various roles in the field, starting out in direct service delivery as a front line child welfare investigator and caseworker in 1993 and then leading a variety of large scale initiatives before taking on her current role in 2012.

Justice Beverley Browne
Beverly Browne is a member of Bissell Centre Board of Governors: an inner city organization attempting to relieve poverty. Since moving to Edmonton, she established and co-chaired the Alberta Gladue Committee. We have worked on the quality of Gladue reports and the selection and training of Gladue writers. That committee continues to sit and is always willing to hear compliments or concerns. While working in Nunavut, she was involved in establishing Inuit Elders who participate in the sentencing process in court, hiring Inuit to work in the court system and working with Justice Committees to divert cases. She is also an advocate for local organ donation.


Dr. James Daschuk
Originally from Timmins, Ontario, James Daschuk has a PhD in history from the University of Manitoba. His book, Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation and the Loss of Aboriginal Life has won numerous awards including the Governor General’s Medal for scholarly research in history in 2014. The Literary Review of Canada recently named it to its list of the twenty-five most influential Canadian books of the last twenty-five years. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and health Studies at the University of Regina.


Cindy Gaudet
Janice Cindy Gaudet is a Métis researcher and educator from Saskatchewan. She recently joined the University of Alberta as an associate professor at Campus Saint-Jean. She is committed to a de-colonial approach in research, wellbeing and pedagogy by centering Indigenous knowledge. She completed her PhD at the University of Ottawa, Faculty Health Sciences. Her research with Moose Cree First Nation in Moose Factory, Ontario, focused on Indigenous research methodology and land-based initiatives for Omushkego youth wellbeing and its correlation to milo pimatisiwin.


Susan Haines
Susan Haines is an enthusiastic professional who is dedicated to human rights and meaningful justice. She has been the Executive Director of the National Associations Active in Criminal Justice (NAACJ) for almost 11 years, a membership-based not-for-profit association connecting currently 21 national member organizations, including the Native Counselling Services of Alberta (NCSA). She volunteers with community-based agencies that value the inherent worth of all people, such as the Millhaven Lifers Liaison Group (MLLG), the Criminalization and Punishment Education Project (CPEP) and Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA)-Ottawa. Quite simply, Susan seeks to contribute to healthy communities and reduce our reliance on punishment and incarceration.


Maggie Hodgson
Dr. Maggie Hodgson is a member of the Nadleh Whuten Carrier First Nation who has worked locally, nationally and internationally on Justice and Healing initiatives. Maggie worked in the Justice and Health Promotions area for 18 years, and in education and healing for 22 years. She worked for 13 yrs. On residential schools healing and settlement issues with Assembly of First Nations, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada & the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. She was the founder and host for the first “Healing Our Spirit World Wide Gathering” 1992 held in Edmonton, Alberta with 3200 people. This conference has been hosted by Canada, Australia, New Zealand and USA.

Maggie spearheaded in 1988 a National Health Promotions initiative “Celebrating Success” campaign called “Keep the Circle Strong, National Addictions Awareness Week”. This initiative started with 25 communities and has enjoyed the participation of 1500 communities across Canada with 700,000 people involved. She has presented at many conferences across Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany and Norway on community healing. She has been a community developer, church and government policy lobbyist, co-author of four books, and has managed an Aboriginal education research and health promotions institute for 16 years. 38 colleges and universities utilize.One of the books, “Nation to Nation” which she co-authored. She co authored “Our Spirit Weeps,” on Aboriginal Sexual Abuse. A tree was planted in her name in the Peace Park in Israel for her peace work. She is the co-founder of National Day of Healing and Reconciliation 2002. It was part of an international movement that started in Australia. She has served as a founding board member for foundations, non-profit, regional, national and international. She has served as an advisor to the world health organization on addictions prevention. She was an advisor to four Deputy Ministers on inter-generational trauma/RS.

She has received many awards for her work in community development from various organizations such as the National Aboriginal Achievement Award, the United Nations Community Development Award, the Canadian Public Health Community Development Award, the Alberta Aboriginal Role Model Award, the Alberta Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Commission Award of Excellence, “Healing Our Spirit World Wide” International Award for Leadership in International Development from Health Canada in New Zealand. She is the Vision Keeper to the HOSWW International Board, which will co-host the next HOSWW gathering in 2019 in Australia. Further, she received the Canadian Centre of Substance Abuse Award of Excellence. Moreover, she was acknowledged by two universities with honorary doctorates: the University of Alberta and St. Paul’s University in Ottawa.

Maggie is currently working in civic engagement and inter-generational trauma. She received the honour of being appointed to the position of Officer of the Order of Canada in 2006. Maggie is one of the 1000 women selected for the 2000 women nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize project and she was selected from 1000 nominees from across the world. She is the recipient of the Champion of Mental Health Award from the Canadian Mental Health Association. She has sat on the Niwano peace foundations/Japan) selection committee, to select their annual peace prize winner from across the world She is a wife, a mother and an auntie who has helped raise other children. Maggie values building relationships in families of communities within the limits of our humanity and with the Creator’s guiding hand.


Beverly Jacobs
LL.B., LL.M., PhD Candidate (ABD), Mohawk Nation of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy, Bear Clan

Beverly lives and practices law at her home community of Six Nations of the Grand River Territory in Southern Ontario. She is currently in the last stages of completing an interdisciplinary PhD at the University of Calgary that includes Law (Human Rights and Indigenous Legal Traditions), Indigenous Wholistic Health and Indigenous Research Methodologies. Bev obtained a Bachelor of Law Degree from the University of Windsor in 1994 and a Masters of Law Degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 2000. She recently accepted an Assistant Professor position at the University of Windsor, Faculty of Law and will begin July 1, 2017.
Beverly is also a consultant/researcher/writer/public speaker/lecturer and she is a former President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (elected 2004 to 2009). Bev’s passion is about peacefulness and safety of Indigenous peoples. For the past 20 or so years, much of her work has focussed on anti-violence work and restoring Indigenous traditions, values, beliefs and laws. She continues to advocate for families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and to educate the public about the history and impacts of colonization, which has resulted in the historic traumas that are occurring to Indigenous peoples, specifically Indigenous women and girls today. Most recently, on December 1, 2016, Beverly received a Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law from the Governments of France and Germany for her human rights fight for the issues relating to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada.
She is mother of Ashley and grandmother of Nicholas (15), Tessa (13), Bryson (8) and Kenna (7). She is partner to Patrick Sandy, Mohawk Nation, Turtle Clan.


Kim Lavoie
Kimberly Lavoie is the Director, Crime Prevention and Aboriginal Community Safety Division in the Crime Prevention, Corrections and Criminal Justice Directorate of Public Safety Canada, a mother to a ten year old boy and a member of the Qualipu First Nation. Over the past 20years, Kimberly’s work has focused on improving the lives of Aboriginal people and she has worked with Aboriginal communities and organizations across the country. Working within the Federal government, Kimberly has undertaken a number of positions from policy development and managing funding to evaluation. One of Kimberly’s greatest gifts is her ability to bridge the divide between community and government. Kimberly has also been a university guest lecturer for classes in Law, Psychology and Sociology.


Sarah MacLachlan
Sarah MacLachlan has worked in publishing for 30 years. She began her career in 1986 running the publicity department for Oxford University Press in Toronto. Subsequently she worked for Little, Brown Canada as VP Publicity and Marketing, and in 1998 was hired by the American distributor, Publishers Group West, to run their Toronto operation as President. In December 2003 she was hired to become the President of the literary publisher, House of Anansi Press. In 2005 Anansi acquired the children’s publisher, Groundwood Books and Sarah oversees both companies, and in 2010 Publisher of Anansi was added to her title.

Anansi was the original publisher of Margaret Atwood’s, Survival and her award winning poetry collection, The Circle Game. We pride ourselves in publishing quality fiction, non-fiction, poetry. Anansi is also a partner with the CBC in the annual CBC Massey Lectures and are very proud to publish the bestselling The Truth About Stories by Thomas King, which he delivered as a Massey Lecture in 2003. In 2015 Anansi published The Outside Circle the award winning graphic novel by Patti Laboucane Benson with illustrations by Kelly Mellings, in 2016 we published Katherena Vermette’s award winning novel, The Break and in 2017 we published Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s collection of stories and poems This Accident of Being Lost and in September of this year we will be publishing Tanya Telaga’s heartbreaking investigation into the deaths of seven teenagers from indigenous communities in Northern Ontario in her book Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City. Anansi and Groundwood Books are committed to publishing the diverse voices that make up this country. Photo Credit: Ian Patterson


Sylvia McAdam
Sylvia McAdam (Saysewahum) is from Treaty 6 land. She is a direct descendant of Treaty peoples and is from the nēhīyaw Nation. Sylvia has her Juris Doctorate from the University of Saskatchewan and a Bachelor’s degree in Human Justice from the University of Regina. Sylvia is co-founder of a global grassroots Indigenous led movement called ‘Idle No More’. Idle No More has changed the political and social landscape of Canada as well as reached the global community to defend and protect all lands, water and animals from devastation and climate change.

Sylvia is also co-founder of “One House Many Nations” Campaign that designs off the grid sustainable mini-homes to address and raise awareness about the epidemic unacceptable proportions of homelessness in a wealthy state as “Canada” especially amongst Indigenous and LGBQT people. Through the work of protecting land and water, Idle No More has been selected for several awards namely; Carole Gellar Human Rights Award, Foreign Policy Top 100 Global Thinkers 2014 Award, Social Justice Award, and 2014 Global Citizen Award. More recently Sylvia was selected for the Margolese National Design for Living Prize.


Aideen Nabigon
Aideen Nabigon graduated from Algoma University with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science and has and completed coursework towards a Masters in Public Administration at Carleton. Prior to leaving the public service in December, 2014, Aideen Nabigon was involved in efforts to resolve the legacy of Indian residential schools for several years and in different capacities. She was the Director General of Settlement Agreement Policy and Partnerships at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada where she also oversaw preparations for the Prime Minister’s Apology to survivors of residential schools.

She was Director of Mental Health and Addictions in the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of Health Canada; Director General with the Aboriginal Peoples Directorate of Service Canada; and Director General of the Policy, Partnerships, Communications and Common Experience Payment sector of the Office of Indian Residential Schools Resolution Canada. She served as Executive Director and Deputy Head of the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission in its first year. Prior to her work on Indian residential schools, Aideen held various posts within Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, including Manager, Northwest Territories Implementation, and Director, Implementation Management.

After leaving the public service, Aideen set up a management consulting business and is currently working on Indigenous prison reform and advising Canada School of Public Service on its Indigenous Learning Series. Aideen served on the Board of Governors of Algoma University and the board of directors of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation and is currently a volunteer with the Ottawa Coalition to End Human Trafficking.


Lori St. Onge
Lori graduated from the University of Prince Edward Island with a Masters in Business Administration, Bachelor of Arts Degree, and Diplomas in Public Administration and in Human Resource Management. Lori has been the Director of the Aboriginal Justice Program since 2007 and is a strong believer in restorative justice. She is a Circle Keeper and an advocate for positive approaches to behavior where the goal is to repair harm rather than assign blame. Her boundless energy, wealth of experience, and her ability to forge partnerships, enable her to do the work that she does.

She is a proud Mi’kmaq woman and a member of the Lennox Island First Nation Band. Lori sits on numerous committees and boards including the PEI Partners for Safer Communities, Atlantic Community Safety Association, RCMP Commanding Officer’s Aboriginal Advisory Committee, PEI Justice Policy and Planning Forum and the RCMP Commanding Officer’s Cultural Diversity Committee. In 2007, Lori was the recipient of the Joan Taavon Award, and international award for her commitment to missing and exploited children.


Marlene Orr
Marlene Orr is a member of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation, in the Treaty 6 area in the province of Alberta. Growing up as the 11th of 13 children, a traditional way of life was what she experienced. Hunting, trapping, berry picking and the use of traditional medicines were a significant part of her upbringing. Ceremony and spirituality were discouraged due to the role the Church played in her parents’ lives. Intergenerational impacts of Indian Residential Schools were not discussed, or known so the lack of identity with ceremony was not understood.

In the 1980’s, Marlene was given an entry level position at Native Counselling Services of Alberta (NCSA). Her employment with NCSA gave her the opportunity to train in a number of areas, and Marlene worked for 9 nine years with NCSA in court, federal and provincial institutions. The time at NCSA introduced her to the teachings of elders, and to ceremony. This began the biggest transformation of her lifetime.

After NCSA, Marlene began working in Indigenous employment. Setting up a culturally relevant career and employment center with life skills programming, career planning and a job finders’ club; Marlene worked in this field for 12 years. Recognizing the need for more education, she attended Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, and Keyano College to pursue business management. Marriage brought her to live on her husband’s reserve, where she worked on capital projects; and later in oilsand exploration and construction. After a while, Marlene started up a welding company in northeastern Alberta. Her social conscience pushed her to ensure that her company provided employment and apprenticeship opportunities for Indigenous employees.

Trauma in her personal life, led Marlene to reassess her priorities and she realized that making a profit was not as satisfying as her earlier career working with Indigenous people. She relocated to Edmonton, Alberta and began working with Indigenous people marginalized in the inner city. Recognizing that trauma, and in particular intergenerational and historic trauma; has caused the many complex problems Indigenous people face. Focusing on healing work, Marlene used her relationships with the elders and ceremony to address complex issues like addictions, mental health and homelessness. Returning to NCSA in 2016, Marlene’s career has come full circle. She now works with Indigenous male federal offenders at Stan Daniels Healing Center, where NCSA’s resiliency model is being implemented.


Aaron Paquette
Aaron Paquette is one of Canada’s best-known First Nations Metis personalities. He is a bestselling, award-wining author, an artist, and a highly in demand Keynote Speaker and Facilitator. He is also a political commentator, illustrator, goldsmith and cathedral stained glass artist. He was a winner of the Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature in 2015 for his debut young adult fantasy novel Lightfinder.

As a painter, his most notable work is a public art mural at Edmonton’s Grandin LRT Station. He also created several iconic images used in the Idle No More movement. Paquette, a Métis of Cree, Cherokee and Norwegian descent, is also the president of Cree8 Success, a consulting firm. Active in his community, Aaron sits on various civic, provincial and National Boards and Advisory Councils.


Russ Pickford
Russ Pickford is the Northern Executive Director of Children’s Services. Prior to joining the government he worked for a community agency that provided services for children, youth and families under contract with Alberta Family and Social Services. He began his career with the Government of Alberta in 1990 as a front line Intake Worker/Investigator and went on to be a Neighbourhood Centre Manager and Acting CEO.

Prior to his current role, Russ has been the Edmonton’s Regional Director of Quality Assurance, Services and Supports for the Edmonton and Area Child and Family Services Authority. Russ was responsible for the Region’s Standards Monitoring, as well as special initiatives such as Outcomes Based Services Delivery (OBSD), Career Planning for Youth in Care, Intervention Services Information System (ISIS), and Health Initiatives such as Pediatrics for Kids in Care (PKIC) and the Alberta Vulnerable Infant Response Team (AVIRT).

From a Department perspective, Russ was the lead Manager responsible for the provincial implementation of the Alberta Response Model, the Provincial Casework Practice Model, and was the Director of the Community Partnerships Branch with the Ministry. Russ was very involved in the development and implementation of both the Family Support for Children with Disabilities Act and the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act.

In his spare time Russ enjoys restoring automobiles, working out and complaining about the Oilers.


Tanya Rashmi Muthusamipillai
Tanya was born in Canada to Tamil parents who immigrated from Sri Lanka. She obtained her Honours Bachelor of Arts with distinction in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of Toronto in 2008. Throughout her undergraduate career, she gained a passion for learning about Indigenous legal issues in Canada and was particularly drawn to parallels between the Tamils’ struggle in Sri Lanka to that of many Indigenous Nations in Canada. In particular with the struggle against colonialism and toward self-determination.

With a long-term plan of going to law school to learn more about Indigenous law, Tanya wanted to ensure that she was culturally competent and respectful of Indigenous ways. Thus, in 2009, Tanya moved to the Northwest Territories, living and working with the Yellowknives Dene First Nation on the Dettah Reserve.

After a life changing and eye-opening experience in the Northwest Territories, she returned to Toronto and accepted a position working for the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada where she served as an Aboriginal Project Coordinator for the Roots & Shoots program. In this role, she traveled across Canada encouraging Indigenous youth to engage in change-making projects that addressed people, animals, and the environment. After one year, she decided to pursue her Masters of Arts in Indigenous Governance at the University of Winnipeg to better understand Indigenous perspectives and knowledge. Here, Tanya learned under some of the most influential Indigenous leaders and gained a heightened understanding of the challenges Indigenous peoples face in Canada. In 2014, she graduated from the University of Winnipeg with the Graduate Student of Highest Distinction award and began working at the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto as a Research Consultant. There, Tanya conducted research in the areas of Cultural Competency, community engagement, and health for Toronto’s urban Indigenous peoples.

In September 2014, Tanya decided to attend Lakehead University’s Bora Laskin Faculty of Law in Thunder Bay. She deliberately chose Bora Laskin Faculty of Law as it has as its mandate a focus on Indigenous legal traditions and law. During law school, she served as Director of the Indigenous Law Students Association (ILSA) for one term where she and other members worked to find ways to assist with issues facing the local Indigenous population. She also worked as Research Assistant to her Indigenous Law Professor, Professor Karen Drake during two academic school years assisting with research related to Indigenous legal issues in Canada.

During the summers in between law school, Tanya worked at the Ministry of Attorney General as a summer law student. Tanya just completed law school and will be graduating in June 2017. Tanya will be articling with the Ministry of Attorney General, Crown Law Office-Civil, beginning in August 2017.


Noah Richler
Noah Richler is an author, journalist, cultural critic, occasional broadcaster and a failed political candidate. He is the winner of three gold National Magazine Awards. His first book, This Is My Country, What’s Yours? A Literary Atlas of Canada, won the 2007 British Columbia Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, was nominated for a Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction prize and named one of the Top Ten Books of the Decade by Maclean’s magazine. What We Talk About When We Talk About War was a finalist for the Shaughnessy Cohen Award for Political Writing and the Governor-General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction, and short and long-listed for other prizes.

His most recent book, The Candidate, was published in 2016 and nominated for the Writers Trust Shaughnessy Cohen Award for Political Writing. He divides his time between! the Digby Neck, in Nova Scotia, and Toronto, Ontario.


Howard Sapers
On January 1, 2017 Howard Sapers was appointed Independent Advisor on Corrections Reform for the province of Ontario. Between 2004 and 2016 Howard Sapers was the Correctional Investigator of Canada. Previously, Mr. Sapers has been the Executive Director of the John Howard Society of Alberta, an elected member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta representing Edmonton Glenora, Director of the National Crime Prevention Centre Investment Fund and Vice Chairperson (Prairie Region) of the Parole Board Canada.

Currently, Mr. Sapers serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Forum of Canadian Ombudsman and between 2012 and 2016 served as a North American Regional representative to the International Ombudsman Institute. Mr. Sapers represented the community of small federal departments and agencies on the Government of Canada Small Department Audit Committee and was Chairman of the Department of National Defence/Canadian Forces Ombudsman Advisory Committee. Mr. Sapers is an Adjunct Professor at Simon Fraser University’s School of Criminology, and has been awarded with a Honourary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Ottawa.


Sherryl Sewpagahan
Sherryl Sewepagham is a First Nations music therapist and educator from the Little Red River Cree Nation in northern Alberta, Canada. She has worked as a classroom teacher, music specialist, choir conductor, and teacher-consultant for over 14 years with various school districts in Alberta and British Columbia. In April 2017, Sherryl completed a Bachelor of Music Therapy from Capilano University in North Vancouver, BC adding therapeutic skills to her work with children. She is also an accomplished traditional hand drummer and singer-songwriter with 2006 Juno-nominated trio, Asani, for 20 years and as a solo performer.

Most recently, Sherryl worked with children facing issues of emotional trauma and abuse and with families facing poverty, homelessness, and addictions in Vancouver’s downtown east side. She plans to continue working with children and youth as a music therapist using the traditional drum with the voice as her tool for spiritual and emotional healing.


George Tuccaro
George Tuccaro is a member of the Mikisew Cree First Nation, Tuccaro began a career in broadcasting in 1971, when he became an Announcer-Operator with CBC North Radio in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. In 1979, Tuccaro joined the public service, becoming a communications officer with the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs. George Tuccaro was the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories. He served in that position from May 12, 2010 until May 10, 2016.

In 2002, Tuccaro retired from public broadcasting to start his own company, GLT Communications, through which he aimed to bring major events to the territory. Tuccaro has been awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal and a 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal.


Amber Ward
I am from the Enoch Cree Nation reserve located in Treaty 6 territory of Alberta Canada. I am a Nurse and I am the youngest of two sets of twins. I am a Survivor of Canada’s residential school legacy. First hand experience of intergeneration trauma provided me the impetus to pursue higher education. This is because I wanted to find answers for myself as to why my life course trajectory followed a path that was less traveled compared to the non-aboriginal population. Furthermore, I wanted to know why I was ashamed to self identify as being aboriginal. When I decided to look for my answers I knew I needed to seek formal education as well as walk the path to awaken the spirit that slept in me. In the process of self-discovery, I knew I would never be equal as an Aboriginal woman; however, I knew I would be equal in education.

At this point in my life, I know my training will include learning spirituality as well as justice from a global perspective as this will help me in practice such that I can help my clients achieve optimal health. I currently hold a Bachelor of Science Degree with a Specialization in Chemistry (2009) as well as a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (2016). My interests involve studying health and alternative healing modalities. I am an explorer, and I see myself crossing borders and exploring concepts unfamiliar or nonexistent. I am a change agent, I want to assist in solving today’s common day problems as well as inspire the next generation of leaders to find solutions for the next generations’ common day problems. “I never wanted to change the world, I wanted to displace it from it orbit!” This type of thinking inspires me and this is why my participation in the Nelson Mandela Dialogues is important.