Our Circle

The Thunderbird Sisters Collective Youth Circle

Atlas Ruth

My name is Atlas (she/her) and I am thrilled to be joining the Thunderbird Sister’s Collective as a lead youth mentor. I have spent my twenty three years in life advocating loudly for youth mental health, indigenous rights, disability rights, and housing as a human right. I have dealt with all of these on a personal level, and use my experience to help make positive change. I am creative and believe my art has kept me going during my rock bottoms and many dark days, especially through creative writing. I’ve written many fiction novels, and recently started an advocacy book series called “Ask Me First” where I asked 100 people living with mental illness what they want the world to know, and what the world gets wrong about them and their struggles. I’m hoping to continue the series onto homelessness, addiction, and indigenous peoples. I am the creator and writer of the blog, “The World on Her Shoulders” which tackles similar social justice issues. Additionally, I’m studying social service work in Ottawa at Algonquin College, soon to be sitting on their Board of Directors. I have also studied as a Peer Supporter in the mental health field.

Kloey Cook

Kloey (she/her) is a strong young Mohawk artist. Her spirit name is Kawanáte. She is bear clan from Akwesasne. Kloey has lived experience with intergenerational trauma as her grandfather, aunts, and uncles were all survivors of residential schools. She is also a child of substance users. Kloey is determined to use her experiences to change the systems, she is already a vocal advocate on social media for safe supply, decriminalization, and for removing the stigma around substance use. Kloey aspires to learn more about her indigenous culture from her elders and community. Kloey sees a bright future ahead of her and so do the Thunderbird Sisters Collective – we welcome Kloey to the circle.

Christopher Paradis

Christopher is Bear clan, he is a young Cree man from Montreal Lake, Saskatchewan in Treaty 6 territory. He currently lives and goes to St.Paul’s high school on unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabe Nation in Ottawa. He is learning to be an Oshakbaywis (traditional helper) and a traditional dancer. He is also involved in Cadets and has a double blue belt in Taekwon-do. He has a great passion for learning how to play guitar, piano and many other musical interest.

Max Paradis

Max is a young trans, indigenous Cree man aspiring to become a chef. He is from Treaty 6, in Montreal Lake, Saskatchewan and was raised here in Ottawa with a mix of Ojibway and Mohawk teachings. He is a very creative and artistically inclined man who loves to show it through the art of cooking. Max is the co-creator, chef and star of The Thunderbird Sisters Collective ‘Cooking with Max’ series of webinars.

Ashelita Shellard

Ashelita is a talented multimedia artist and musician. She is indigenous of Peruvian ancestry. She is a strong supporter of The Thunderbird Sisters Collective.

Aki Metallic

Aki is an Algonquin artist from Kitigan Zibi, Quebec. She is a contemporary artist, rapper, musician and actor. She has participated in and assists her mother Doreen Stevens with many artistic projects.

Alice Neeacappo-Sousay

Alice is 15 years old. She is a young Indigenous woman from the Cree Nation. She is a dancer, artist, and musician. Learning and willing to share her knowledge.

Our Circle and Supporters

Patsea Griffin

Patsea is the founder and president of The Thunderbird Sisters Collective, co-directed the 2019/2021 No Borders Art Festivals, co-organized of the 2021 Women’s Art Festival and served on the board of The Multicultural Artists Coalition (MAC-CAM).

Born and raised on her ancestral land along the Kichi Sibi (Ottawa River) on unceded Algonquin territory, Patsea is special blend of many bloodlines including Ontario Métis. She is a proud Citizen of the Metis Nation of Ontario.

She also finds time to escape to the countryside and loves being a roadkill adventurer (always on the lookout for porcupines). She is the facilitator of the weekly beading group Beading with Patsea!  

Artist. Beadworker. Poet. Drummer. Singer. Dreamer.

‘My art keeps me connected to nature, my mother, and all my relations in the spirit world.’ 

Carmel Whittle

Carmel is an accomplished Irish, Mik’maq visual artist, musician and song writer, educator and Independent filmmaker hailing from Newfoundland – a province whose harsh beauty and strong people have moulded her into an artist with a deep understanding of the struggle that Indigenous people in this country are going through.

Her work as a cultural community artist and Indigenous liaison supports her striving and thriving in decolonized community arts, and she has animated discussion groups specific to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls To Action in the arts. She is founder of the Indigenous Artists Coalition and a strong supporter of the Thunderbird Sisters Collective and the Multicultural Artists Coalition. A recent community project includes the No Borders Art Festival, developed, co-directed and co-curated with the Indigenous and Multicultural Artists Coalitions in collaboration with community partners Saw Video, Artengine, G101, the Thunderbird Sisters Collective and the Eagle & Condor Collective.

Louise Garrow

Louise recently retired from working at First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Indigenous Services Canada,  now is working on Anishnaabemowin language (Ojibway) and culture projects. She is Anishnaabe kwe of Sagamok Anishnaabek First Nation. She speaks Anishnaabemowin and writes using the double vowel system. She studied at Trent University. She has her hons. BA in Indigenous Studies and Political Studies.
She worked for 19 years in the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch retiring in 2019 with 26 years of federal public service. Louise is interested in health issues including Mental Health and Wellness. Previously she worked at Trent University for 9 years as curriculum co-ordinator and also Native Student Counsellor. Louise is currently self employed working on Anishnaabemowin language projects in doing translation, teaching Anishnaabemowin and other cultural work. She recently taught an Introductory course at Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health.

Doreen Stevens

Doreen is an Algonquin artist from Kitigan Zibi, Quebec. Spirit name Anamitagize-Odaying” One who speaks with the heart. “Actress Singer-Songwriter, Spoken word multi-talented visual artist. Studied at the Indigenous Theater school in Toronto Ontario. Featured in various films and performance Art throughout Europe, Australia, USA and Canada. Her art exhibits include “The creation Story” -a Mosaic Turtle depicting the Algonquins of the great lakes region on Turtle Island, the Wampum belts, the elements and water the blood life of mother earth. Aki.

Doreen is an acress/singer – credits include:The sacred GiftRed Earth White EarthWindigoThe Blood of the Hunter, Black Robe, Sheaweh, Participated in Olympics 2000 Sydney Australia, opened up for Ian Tamblyn at the National Arts Centre in 2007, Ottawa Folk Festival for Natalie McMaster. Stage Venues: “Love me directed by Spider Woman Muiriel Miguel, Forgive those Who Trespass by Arturo Fresione. Healing Mother by Judith Thompson in the Leaves of Forever national Tour, White Buffalo Calf Woman play 2008 Narrator and Spirit Woman The Sacred Circles, A play on family violence Conference Saskatchewan directed by Bruce Sinclair, The Blood Remembers workshopped by Thompson Highway and Veronique St Pierres, The Rez Sisters in 2008 in Toronto.

Theo RedSky Paradis

Théo is Indigenous, she grew up in Cornwall and currently lives on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabe Nation in Ottawa. Her family came from along the Ottawa and St.Lawrence River in the territory of the Algonquin and Kanien’kehá:ka (“People of the Flint”). She is Agokwe nini (2 Spirit) and Oshakbaywis (traditional helper) with elders and knowledge keepers in the community. She is of the bear clan and parent to two amazing children.

In Théo’s role as a traditional helper of ceremony, drumming and singing provides her with a deep rooted connection of traditional and indigenous way of life

Jennifer Ferrante

Jennifer is a member of the Algonquin of Pikwakanagan First Nation. She is of Algonquin/Italian descent and has been working with Indigenous people, communities and organizations in the Ottawa area for over the past fifteen years. Jennifer holds a Masters in Indigenous Canadian Studies with a focus on Public Policy and is also a Certified Ontario Teacher. She is passionate about using her education and experience to empower youth as well well as educate the public and improve relations between Canadians and Indigenous peoples.

Isaac Murdoch

Isaac, whose Ojibway name is Manzinapkinegego’anaabe / Bombgiizhik is from the fish clan and is from Serpent River First Nation. Isaac is well respected as a storyteller and traditional knowledge holder. He has committed his life to the preservation of Anishinaabe cultural practices and has spent years learning directly from Elders. He is a strong supporter of The Thunderbird Sisters Collective and our advisor.

Albert Dumont

Albert, “South Wind”, is the Poet Laureate of the City of Ottawa, Storyteller, Speaker, and an Algonquin Traditional Teacher. He was born in traditional Algonquin Territory (Kitigan Zibi). He has been walking the “Red Road” since commencing his sobriety in 1988. He has published five books of poetry and short stories and two children’s books, written in three languages. Several organizations, both native and non-native, are currently featuring his poetry in their promotions, among them are the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health and the Native Veterans Association.

Albert is a strong supporter of The Thunderbird Sisters Collective and the No Borders Art Festival. Currently Albert Dumont is part of the Grandparents Counsel for Well Living House, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto (since September 2017). From October 2016 to February 2020 he served his community as one of 13 Elders on the Elders Advisory Committee of the Ministry of the Attorney General. He worked as Elder for the Parole Board of Canada at Elder Assisted Hearings from November 2013 to March 2017. He was the Spiritual Advisor for Aboriginal offenders of J Unit at Millhaven Institution from October 2010 to October 2013. He has served with the Ottawa Native Concerns Committee since 1993 and also served with the Ottawa and District Injured Workers Group for six years (he is a survivor of construction accident). He was awarded the Public Service Alliance of Canada – National Capital Region (PSAC NCR) 2010 Human Rights Recognition Award. In January 2017 he received the DreamKEEPERS Citation for outstanding leadership.

Albert has dedicated his life to promoting Indigenous spirituality and healing and to protecting the rights of Indigenous peoples, particularly the young. He is the father of three daughters (one died at childbirth) and grandfather of five grandchildren.

Louise Bird

Louise is a Citizen of the Metis Nation of Ontario and founding member of The Thunderbird Sisters Collective She is a fibre artist and community supporter. Louise recently retired from a 30 year nursing career.

Howard Adler

Howard is an Indigenous, 2Spirit, filmmaker, artist and Co-Director/Programmer of Asinabka Film festival. The Asinabka Film Festival aims to highlight works that examine Indigenous Issues and topics; to support media artists and filmmakers; to promote Indigenous cultures and languages; to educate people about First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Issues in Canada, and about Indigenous Issues internationally; to provide a space where Indigenous peoples can tell their own stories and see their own cultures reflected back at them; to entertain, to be innovative and to present the best in Indigenous film.

Ron Tenasco

Ron is an Indigenous community outreach worker, a land knowledge keeper and traditional artist.

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