FIRST NATIONS

FIRST NATIONS esse Wente | Anishinaabe Writer & Broadcaster, and Chair of the Canada Council for the Arts

A self-described ‘Ojibwe dude’ with a national and international lens, Jesse encourages audiences to consider diversity and inclusion into the future view of their organization, industry, and community. Best known for his 24 years as a columnist for CBC Radio’s Metro Morning, Jesse is currently the Executive Director of the Indigenous Screen Office and Chair of the Board Of Directors for the Canada Council for the Arts, the only First Nations person to ever hold that position. As an outspoken advocate for Indigenous rights, Jesse offers up key strategies for breaking down barriers and building for diversity & inclusion. | view profile

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Phil Fontaine | Former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations

Bold, tenacious, solution-oriented and forward-looking, Phil Fontaine is an articulate advocate for the future of Canada and for our indigenous peoples. As the former three-term National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, he is a shining example of how strong leadership can work. Phil traveled to Rome on March 30, 2022, to meet privately with the Pope to address the Catholic Church’s role in operating residential schools. While in Rome, he hopes his meeting leads to a papal apology on Indigenous territory during an anticipated Canadian visit, along with a better understanding of the trauma caused by the residential school system, and the release of church records to help identify students who died at the institutions. | view profile

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Sarain Fox | Indigenous Advocate & Storyteller 

Sarain is an activist, artist, and a passionate ambassador for her community and culture. A storyteller at heart, she combines various mediums to amplify the voices of her people in hopes of creating meaningful dialogue between Indigenous and settler communities. From landing endorsement deals with major brands like Harley Davidson and Canada Goose, to hosting Viceland’s RISE at the frontlines of Indigenous communities – Sarain has built her career at the cross-section of activism and media. In all of her activism work, Sarain keeps the focus on what we are fighting for – not against. This positive perspective brings ease to conversations around polarizing topics like climate change, colonialism, and human rights. | view profile

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Roberta Jamieson | Lawyer & Indigenous Advocate

Roberta Jamieson is a Mohawk woman from the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, the first Indigenous woman in Canada to earn a law degree. After that, she became Commissioner of the Indian Commission of Ontario, and then served ten years as Ontario’s first female Ombudsman. Roberta has carved out a notable career as an advisor, leader, advocate, and consensus builder — always with a keen eye to social justice, problem-solving, and, above all, the rights and interests of First Nations people. It is not easy to speak or hear about the wrongs that have been committed against Indigenous Peoples, but Roberta Jamieson does that with mastery and authenticity. She tells a difficult and painful story while putting forward a cathartic vision that Canadians can work together to make a difference for future generations. | view profile

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Ryan McMahon | Digital Media Maker & Community Activator

Ryan McMahon is an Anishinaabe comedian, writer, media maker and community activator from Couchiching First Nation in Treaty 3 Territory. As the founder & CEO of Makoons Media Group, Ryan brings indigenous stories to light through conversations, research & investigation. He provides audiences with an in-depth, challenging analysis of the indigenous experience & the reconciliation movement. Ryan inspires audiences to play their part in building a more equitable country. | view profile

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Kendal Netmaker | Entrepreneur and Founder & CEO of Neechie Gear®

Kendal speaks professionally to thousands of people worldwide on resilience, leadership, and the power of telling your story. He is a leading entrepreneur, the founder of Neechie Gear®, the author of Driven To Succeed, and has received over 25 business awards. Kendal is DRIVEN to share his story and help motivate and build resilient leaders and organizations. | view profile