Indigenous

Advisory Circle

The Indigenous Advisory Circle is about creating space to develop a deeper understanding of the historical and cultural context and ongoing impacts of colonization.

The Circle

The New Desired Approach

The circle is a desired new approach that will influence how Waterlution can co-exist in the world, and deepen understanding that all living things are connected. The Indigenous Advisory Circle is about creating space to develop a deeper understanding of the historical and cultural context and ongoing impacts of colonization. This process will ensure that Indigenous teachings and shared knowledge are integrated into the tools and resources used in the programming and projects of the organization, and to ensure staff, volunteers and board members have the tools and understanding of traditional knowledge in order that we may all work towards reconciliation.

Co-development

Waterlution has been learning alongside the Indigenous Advisory Circle members to initiate and co-develop Indigenous engagement protocols, communication plans, and an action plan.

Our Goal

Our goal is to continuously deepen community relationships with Indigenous Peopled through by actioning the Indigenous engagement protocols, communication plans, and planning that the Circle members have guided and co-developed and will be continually included across all aspects of Waterlution projects and programs.

Indigenous Circle Advisors

Angela DeMontigny

Angela DeMontigny is an award winning, fashion designer, artist, entrepreneur and mentor of Cree/Métis heritage. DeMontigny was born and raised on the west coast of B.C. although her family roots are the Red River Settlement in Treaty 1 territory in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and North Dakota. 

Angela has been a trailblazer of Indigenous Luxury fashion for over 2 decades under her label ‘DeMontigny’. Through the creation of her beautiful, authentic fashion, accessories, lifestyle & wellness products (LODGE Soy Candles), she has helped to carve a path for Indigenous fashion nationally and internationally. She is reclaiming her identity as an indigenous woman and honouring her ancestors by incorporating her culture into her designs and art while utilizing her gifts as a designer and entrepreneur. 

Also an accomplished artist, Angela was awarded a major public art commission in 2020 for her groundbreaking ‘All Our Relations’ sculpture that was installed on Hamilton’s waterfront on Sept. 30, 2023 – the National day for Truth and Reconciliation. This beautiful ceremony brought together the Indigenous and Hamilton community to honour residential school survivors, the children who never made it home and to celebrate reconciliation in action. She is ecstatic to have been able to co-create a much needed, public art legacy for the City which will also be a designated space for the urban Indigenous community to gather. Future plans are to further develop an education component with programming for youth and tourism. 

https://hamiltoncitymagazine.ca/waterfront-art-is-a-soaring-thoughtful-ode-to-indigenous-ways-of-thinking/

Jay Havens

Mohawk Bear Clan, Six Nations

Jay Havens is a multi-media 2Spirit artist, educator, and collaborator of Kanien’keha:ka (Haudenosaunee) and Scottish Canadian ancestry. Havens was born on lands known as the Haldimand Tract and raised on Unceded Sto:lo and Musqueam lands close to Vancouver, Canada.

They are a scenographer with experience in site-specific performance and installation, murals, projection and mixed media artworks for galleries, museums, and public spaces. Havens’ practice embraces re-learning the ways of Onkwehon:we (original peoples) and their research has focused on Indigenous Methods of Knowledge-building applied to creative and logistical processes of scenography. Jay has a BFA from the University of British Columbia, Department of Theatre, Film and Creative Writing and MFA from Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Over their 19-year career project highlights include projection mapping a Haudenosaunee longhouse on Stratford City Hall, a floating artwork in the Toronto harbour called The Peacemaker’s Canoe and a mural on the windows of the Vancouver Opera house. Several of Jay’s sculptural weavings can be found in the collections at the New York State Museum and he is currently designing public artworks for sites throughout Southern Ontario. Jay can also be found collaborating to design sets and costumes for professional stage companies such as Caravan Farm, Centaur or Axis Theatre and is excited to be joining the University of Waterloo, Department of Communication Arts in January 2023 as Assistant Professor teaching scenography and design thinking courses. Havens is a member of The Associated Designers of Canada (IATSE 659) and CARFAC. He is a proud citizen of the Mohawk, Bear Clan from Six Nations of the Grand River.

Kawennakon Bonnie Whitlow M.A.

Wakskare:wake, Bear Clan
Kanyen’kehaka niwakonhwentsyo:ten,
Mohawk Nation
Ohswe:ken Nitewake:non, Six Nations of the Grand River
Ka’nihstenhsera, Mother
Rawennahatyes ronwa:yats ne riyen:’a, of Rawennahatyes

Kawennakon has been revitalizing cultural practices and connecting to ancestral spiritual ceremonies, traditional dances and songs since her early 20s.  She is a Second Language speaker of Kanyen’keha and has been learning, teaching and advocating for ancestral language revitalization since her early 30s.  She is a scholar, an author, a lecturer, a community organizer, a unity rider, a unity runner, a journeyer, an activist, an artist and an actress (amongst other things). She is also the daughter of Arlene “Jiggy” Hill, Rastawenserenhtha Bear Clan.

Ellie Joseph

I am of the Mohawk Nation, Turtle Clan, born, raised, and still living on the Six Nations Reserve along the banks of the Grand River. I retired from a thirty-seven year tenure as a classroom teacher of the Elementary schools in our public school system many years ago, but remain an active volunteer in the education field.

After participating on the sixteen-day Two Row Renewal Campaign from Albany to Manhattan, NY, on the Hudson River in 2013, I was one of four participants who established what is now known as “Two Row on the Grand.” This ten-day paddle excursion, from Cambridge to Part Maitland, brings our Six Nations community together with ally participants. Cultural teachings are presented along the way, encouraging healthy relationships and connections to Mother Earth.

Functioning as a grassroots volunteer committee, we have watched this project’s participation more than double in size in its eight years of existence. Plans are already underway for the next Two Row on the Grand. For more information, www.tworowonthegrand.com