Gabriel Dumont Institue

40th Anniversary – Presenters

Following are brief biographies on the presenters. Click on the name for more Details

John Arcand is internationally known as the “Master of the Metis Fiddle” – and has spent his lifetime promoting and preserving the tradition.  He has 17 recordings to his credit, composed over 400 original tunes, and still plays tunes his Father and Grandfather taught him as a youngster. He and his wife Vicki live on acreage just southwest of Saskatoon, and each August they open up their property and host the John Arcand Fiddle Fest – now approaching its 23rd year.  The Festival is a celebration of all music, dance and the arts – but is the format created by John to disseminate the culture and traditions of his Metis Heritage.   Now retired, John still teaches private students and is focusing on his luthier talents, having now made over 55 fiddles.

Wilfred grew up near Midnight Lake, Saskatchewan and taught in La Loche, Regina and Saskatoon for over thirty years. He’s currently retired and spends time writing, crafting, doing contract work, and volunteering.He is the author of the Fiddle Dancer series, Roogaroo Mickey, Road Allowance Kitten, The Big Tease and the Taanishi Books.  He also co-authored Master of the Métis Fiddle, as well as Jeanne Pelletier: Let Me See Your Fancy Steps. His love of storytelling, fiddle music and dance was a gift from his mother, Georgina Nolin, a gift he loves to share with others through his presentations and writing.

Dr. Melanie Brice is Michif from Saskatchewan, Canada.  Her greatest accomplishment is raising three amazing daughters. She enjoys spending time at the lake with her husband, Trevor, and their children and grandchildren.

Dr. Brice is proud to be a graduate of the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP) in Saskatoon, where she learned how to become a Métis educator.

Her areas of research include Michif/Métis ways of knowing and learning, Language and Literacy learning and teaching, and Indigenous language revitalization. She is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina.

Maria Campbell Metis author, playwright, filmmaker, activist, Elder and mentor, was born on a trapline in northern Saskatchewan. She is the daughter of the late John (Dan) Campbell and Irene Dubuque. Maria grew up on a road allowance in Park Valley, Saskatchewan. Her father and his extended family were trappers and hunters. Her mother died when she was 12 years old leaving her to help her father mother her seven siblings. She left Saskatchewan at the age of seventeen when they were scooped by Social Services, moving to Vancouver where her life became a nightmare of drugs, alcohol and street life.  Maria pulled herself together with the help of other recovered addicts, something she says, she would not have been able to do without their support and help. She moved to Edmonton in 1963 and began rebuilding her life.

 

As a young single mother, she began speaking out against the oppression of Aboriginal people and in particular women and children. Organizing other Aboriginal women like herself, they began petitioning government for emergency shelters and halfway houses for women. They created a street patrol and safe houses for Aboriginal women in crisis, and for youth arriving in the city with no place to go. By pooling their money, they organized  food  and clothing co-ops,  and set up  consciousness raising groups in the city and with the help and support of the provincial government, Social Credit at the time, they founded MacDougall House in downtown Edmonton which was taken over by the YWCA, at which point,  Maria says they had a good lesson in politics. Maria also became active in the growing urban aboriginal community in Edmonton, meeting kind and generous people who became family and with whom she built community.

 

In 1964 she was one of the many people involved in the re-organizing of  the Metis Association of Alberta, serving for three years as the elected Secretary -Treasurer. She was mentored by many of the old people in both First Nations and Metis communities and it was at their urging that She began working and writing for radio and newspapers.  In 1973 she published her first book Halfbreed, which became a national best seller.

 

During her distinguished writing career, Maria Campbell has informed the country of not only her people’s oppression, but also about their rich history and culture. By focusing on a woman’s experiences with racism, discrimination, poverty and the trauma that comes from a history of displacement and the shattering of family structures by governments. Her book Halfbreed, challenged existing stereotypes of aboriginal people and in particular aboriginal women. In the year 2000, the National Post chose Halfbreed for its list of the twenty essential Canadian books of the 20th century.

 

Maria has published seven other books, among them Stories of the Road Allowance People, The Book of Jessica and most recently Keetsahnak our Missing and Murdered Indigenous Sisters, co-edited with Kim Anderson and Christi Belcourt.  Maria has produced and written for Radio, Television and film. She has also written for theatre and her plays have been produced in Canada, Scotland, Denmark and Sicily. She has won numerous awards, among them, the coveted Dora Mavor Award for Playwriting and the Chalmers National Award for Best New Play. The Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prize. The Vanier Award. The Gabriel Dumont Order of Merit and the Chief Crowfoot Award from the University of Calgary.  She has been inducted into the Saskatchewan Theatre Hall of Fame and is an Officer of the Order of Canada.

 

Maria taught Creative Writing at the Banff School of Arts for four years and was both a sessional lecturer and later a professor at the University of Saskatchewan, teaching Metis history, Native literature and Creative writing for the departments of English and Native Studies. She has also served six Writer-in-Residencies in Universities and libraries across Canada and was a Stanley Knowles Visiting Scholar at the University of Brandon, Manitoba. She has six Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Regina, York, Ottawa, Ryerson, Winnipeg and Athabasca University.

 

She was appointed a Mentor for the Trudeau Foundation in 2012 and in 2013 she received a three-year Trudeau Fellowship, doing her research at the University of Ottawa on the history of Violence against Indigenous Women in Canada. Maria is currently working on a book based on this research. She has mentored and continues to mentor young academics, activists and artists, passing on traditional and cultural knowledge. She has hosted cultural and creative gathering at her home at Gabriel’s Crossing bringing Elders, Knowledge Keepers and young people together since 1985. She has advocated all her adult life for the Cree, Metis concept of wahkotowin, which stresses the need to look after families, community, the earth and its resources.

 

She is the Elder and advisor  on Traditional Protocol for Walking With Our Sisters, an installation art project of 1,871 pairs of moccasin tops or “vamps” commemorating and representing  Aboriginal women who have been murdered or have gone missing in Canada. The large collaborative art piece is the vision of Christi Belcourt and will be on tour until 2019.

 

Maria is currently the Cultural Advisor at the College of Law, University of Saskatchewan. The Gwenna Moss Learning Centre, University of Saskatchewan and at Athabasca University.

 

She is a Mom, grandmother and great-grandmother.

I am an Indigenous adventure guide from Big Eddy Lodge, 60 km from the northern village of Cumberland House, SK. I am actively learning the traditional medicine of my people as I pursue the path of a Cree herbalist. I star in the television series Merchants of the wild on APTN. I operate two businesses, Aski Holistic Adventures and Delta Beadworks. I guide people from all over the world on wilderness canoe and camping trips, teaching my culture, the history of the land and herbal medicine. Visit www.askiholisticadventures.com . During the off-season of guiding, I create Metis inspired jewelry, moccasins and more. www.instagram.com/deltabeadworks

Warren Cariou has devoted much of his career to studying the storytelling traditions and the environmental politics of Métis and Cree communities in Canada. He was inspired to study Indigenous stories by the example of his late father Ray Cariou, a gifted Métis raconteur.  He has published works of fiction and memoir as well as critical writing about Indigenous storytelling, literature and environmental philosophy.  He has also created photography and video projects about Indigenous communities in western Canada’s tar sands region. He is a Professor and Director of the Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture at the University of Manitoba.

  • Dr. Cook currently serves as the Minister of Education, Metis Nation-Saskatchewan. He is also the Chair of the GDI Board of Governors.
  • Earl Cook’s selfless service to Saskatchewan, his passion and commitment to Indigenous education and wellbeing, and love for the North have continuously demonstrated a level of altruistic dedication that is outstanding.
  • As an educator, Earl holds a Bachelor of Education degree and Post Graduate Diploma from the University of Saskatchewan.
  • As a student at the University of Saskatchewan, Earl was among the individuals who lobbied for a Native Studies Department, which came to fruition in the early 80s.
  • Throughout his career, Earl has held positions of service to the public starting in the early 1970s when he served as a community development worker for the Métis Society of Saskatchewan in his home town of Cumberland House. He has taught elementary grades and university courses and has served as a faculty member, Director, and Special Advisor to the President/CEO of the Northern Teacher Education Program (NORTEP), Instructor at the Northern Professional Access College, and Coordinator of the Northern Health Strategy.
  • Earl has also held positions in the Saskatchewan public service including as Director of Post-Secondary Education, Northern Region; Director of Health, Northern Region; and Director of Can-Sask Career and Employment Services, Northern Region, among others.
  • Earl has a history with Gabriel Dumont Institute having served previously as a member of the board of governors and co-chair.
  • Earl is a founding member of the Saskatchewan Métis Veterans Association. He has served on a number of committees including the Indian and Métis Curriculum Advisory Committee, the Saskatchewan Indian Languages committee, the Northern Labour Market Committee; and on the board of the Kikinahk Friendship Centre board in La Ronge.
  • Earl is a fluent Swampy Cree speaker.
  • He holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Saskatchewan

Morris Cook is the Program Head at our Northern Saskatchewan Indigenous Teachers Education Program in La Ronge. Morris comes to the Gabriel Dumont Institute having gained significant, progressive educational, and leadership proficiencies from his 14 years as a classroom teacher, school administrator and director of education with the Lac La Ronge Indian Band; and more recently VP of Academic, of the now defunct, NORTEP/NORPAC Program. He is a life-long learner, a passionate educator and a high academic achiever who is proud of his strong Cree heritage. The son of Stanley E. and Amelia Cook, Morris is the eldest of five siblings. He was raised on the trap-line until he was seven, and up until that time he never spoke a word of English. For the next six years of elementary school, he only attended two months of the school year having spent the remainder out on the land. Morris grew up in Stanley Mission where he also completed his formal high school education. He obtained his B.A. at the University of Regina and then enrolled in law school at the University of Windsor, Ont. However, he felt being a lawyer wasn’t his calling. After some time working in the political field as a legal advisor, Morris went back to school (NORTEP) where he received his B.Ed. with Distinction. Morris attained his Master’s of Educational Administration at the University of Saskatchewan while working full-time. Morris credits his NORTEP experience for furthering his education.  Morris is also a doctoral candidate at University of Blue Quills.

Tahnis Cunningham is a Métis fiddler and school teacher from Regina, Saskatchewan. Tahnis started playing and performing music at a young age with her family. Now, she plays music with her partner Ray Bell and teaches at music camps and workshops across western Canada. In 2012 she and her family created “The Métis Music Project” in which they teamed up with John Arcand to record and transcribe several Métis tunes. Tahnis has a continuing interest in collecting, preserving, and sharing tunes, dances, and stories that capture the history and spirit of Canadian Métis Fiddle.

Leah Marie Dorion is a Metis person with cultural roots to the historic community of Cumberland House, Saskatchewan.   She is a passionate interdisciplinary artist and educator committed to sharing Metis culture and history.

Scott Duffee is originally from Saskatoon, where he has enjoyed teaching sash weaving and Red River Jigging for many years.   Scott hopes to see as many people as possible learn the Red River Jig so that we all can express pride and connectedness in a shared heritage on this territory.  Scott has woven a few traditional, full size Metis / fur trade era sashes over the years and hopes to see the traditional sash patterns revitalized in our cultural clothing.  Scott is a husband, father, and grandfather and hopes that endeavors of cultural sharing and revitalization can help to shape the future for coming generations in a good way.

Donna Lee – Elder Donna Lee Dumont is a proud descendent of the Red River Settlers. Donna Lee has been interested in art since her childhood in northern Ontario where she first sketched her environment. A retired high school English and art teacher, Donna continues to paint and show her work. She is the author and illustrator of Peter Fidler and the Métis, and illustrator of Manny’s Memories, two children’s books published by the Gabriel Dumont Institute.  Her creativity extends to handwork and she is adept at embroidery, beadwork, quilting, and knitting much to the delight of those

Sherry Farrell Racette (Algonquin/Metis/Irish) is a curator, painter and textile artist. She has done extensive research in archives and museum collections in North America and beyond. Her principle areas of work are Indigenous visual culture and history, issues of representation in museums and public history, photography, and traditional media in contemporary art. Her curatorial practice seeks to create dialogue between historic and contemporary artists with an emphasis on retrieving women’s voices and recovering aesthetic knowledge. She is currently teaching in Art History/Cultures of Display in the Visual Arts Department, Faculty of Media, Art and Performance at the University of Regina.

George is a proud Metis man born and raised in southern Saskatchewan near the Qu’Appelle Valley.  George comes from a family of construction workers and carpenters and has been involved in the industry for over thirty years.  He started working for his father’s company when he was14 years old.  They sided, shingled and painted all the Pioneer grain elevators throughout the three Prairie Provinces.

George went on to attain his degree in business administration from the First Nations University of Canada/University of Regina in 1998 and spent several years in various governmental and non-governmental organizations working in the administration field.

George has been building Red River Carts since 1998.  He builds them in various scales and gives presentations and workshops on the history of the carts and how they were built using antique tools.

Russell Fayant is Michif from li vallee qu’appelle, Saskatchewan, Canada. He is an instructor for the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program and resides in oskana ka-asasteki, otherwise known as Regina, Saskatchewan.

Russell has spent the majority of his career working with and for Indigenous communities. He has a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Regina. He instructs courses in Michif history, culture and language and is working on reclaiming his traditional Michif language.

His areas of research include Indigenous language revitalization, Michif history and Michif identity formation. He enjoys fishing, nature, music and learning through visiting.

Irma Klyne was born in Indian Head, SK in the first part of the last century when her family lived in the Qu’Appelle Valley past Katepwa.   She went to school in Fort Qu’Appelle and moved to Regina in late 60s to work at the Department of Education.  She married and had a daughter in 1969.

 

Irma has worked the majority of her adult life either with or for Aboriginal organizations.  This was the ideal forum for her as she has always been a proud Métis woman and every opportunity to share that pride and culture with the rest of the world could not be missed.

 

One of Irma’s passions is the preservation of her Métis language and speaks at every opportunity to reclaim her first language.  She is listed in The Michif Resource Guide, published by Gabriel Dumont Institute and has attended several national conferences on Michif language preservation.

 

Irma has done quite a bit of public speaking over the years.   She has taken classes at the University of Regina, SUNTEP program which she used to develop/co-develop Aboriginal/Metis Awareness Workshops.

 

Irma worked as an independent consultant and conference/event planner for several years as well as working with the Gabriel Dumont Institute of Native Studies and Applied Research for over 25 years between 1982 and the present.

 

Some positions and projects Irma has worked on include:

 

  • Program Assistant, GDI – SUNTEP Regina from 2001 – present
  • Trainer/Facilitator, Aboriginal & Metis Awareness
  • Education Equity Program Assistant, SIAST, Wascana Campus
  • Cultural Events Facilitator, SIAST, Wascana Campus
  • Conference Coordinator, Gabriel Dumont Institute; Aboriginal Government Employees Network; Regina Aboriginal Human Service Cooperative
  • Day Care Project Coordinator; Youth Program Fundraising Coordinator Carry the Kettle First Nation
  • Mistress of Ceremonies at several weddings, anniversaries, Special Birthdays and conferences
  • Program Evaluator/Interviewer, SocioTech Consulting
  • Acting Executive Director to the Board of Directors, Namerind Housing Corporation
  • Account Executive for Prairie Advertising Distributors Inc.
  • Administration, Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, World Assembly of First Nations

 

Over her lifetime, Irma took part as a volunteer on several committees and boards.  Some of these include:

 

  • RQ Health District Eagle Moon Centre – Métis Health Advisory Committee
  • Regina Public School Board Elder’s Advisory Committee – current
  • Order in Council appointment to The Premier’s Voluntary Sector Initiative
  • Riel Métis Pavilion Manager, MOSAIC
  • Regina Police Service Race Relations Community Committee
  • Community Connections Network – GDI Training & Employment – current
  • Order in Council appointment to Saskatchewan Citizen’s Council on Anniversaries – Centenary and Millennium Committee
  • Member, Namerind Housing Corporation
  • Founding Member, Regina Aboriginal Family Service Centre
  • Member, Circle Project Inc
  • City of Regina Grants Committee

 

Some of the Awards and Recognition that Erma has accumulated over the years include:

 

  • Saskatchewan Centennial Medal
  • Community Involvement Recognition, Aboriginal Family Service Centre
  • Honorary Sash from the BEd Graduating Class of the U OF R, SUNTEP
  • Community Service Award, Métis Women of Saskatchewan
  • Aboriginal Achievement Community Service Award, Women of the Dawn
  • Volunteer Award, Back to Batoche Planning
  • Appreciation Award, Regina Metis Sport & Culture
  • Tournament Organizer Award, Katepwa Golf & Country Club
  • Saskatchewan Citizen’s Council on Anniversaries Award

 

Irma’s dreams are that all races get along, kids learn and earn respect and everyone dies happy.  Her philosophy of life is “Pahpi to lee zhoor…ekwa kya waneehka tanday ka oohtoohtayen”  Laugh every day….and never forget where you came from!!!

David Garneau (Métis) is Professor of Visual Arts at the University of Regina. His practice includes painting, curation, and critical writing. He recently co-curated, with Kathleen Ash Milby, Transformer: Native Art in Light and Sound, National Museum of the American Indian, New York; With Secrecy and Despatch, with Tess Allas, an international exhibition about massacres of Indigenous people, and memorialization, for the Campbelltown Art Centre, Sydney, Australia, and Moving Forward, Never Forgetting, with Michelle LaVallee, an exhibition concerning the legacies of Indian Residential Schools, other forms of aggressive assimilation, and (re)conciliation, at the Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina. Garneau has recently given keynote talks in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and throughout Canada. He is part of a five-year, SSHRC funded, curatorial research project, “Creative Conciliation;” is working on a public art project in Edmonton; and is curating the Biennial of Contemporary Indigenous art in Montreal, 2020. Garneau recently designed the Riel Commemorative Silver Dollar for the Canadian Mint. His paintings are in numerous public and private collections.

Paul Gareau is Métis and French-Canadian from Bellevue near Batoche. He is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Native Studies and a Research Fellow for the Rupertsland Centre for Métis Research at the University of Alberta. His research, publications, and teaching explores the Métis experiences of religion, the legacy of colonial discourses on Indigenous and ethno-cultural minorities, and the multiplicity of experience in rural spaces. Grounded in Métis Studies and Indigenous Studies as well as Religious Studies, Gareau’s work centres on theory and methodology around relationality, gender, Indigenous epistemologies, land and place, and sovereignty/peoplehood.

Cindy is the youngest daughter of Norma (Morrison) and Sylvio (Gaudet). She grew up in the farming community of Bellevue, SK with her five older siblings. Norma is the daughter of Auxille Lepine  and Norman Morrison. Auxille was the daughter of Margaret Boucher and Maxime Lepine (Jr.). Some of the first families that made their homes in St. Louis were Maxime Lepine (Sr.) and Josephette Lavallee and Jean-Baptiste Boucher and Caroline Lesperance.

Cindy was and continues to be compelled to learn more of the Metis women’s kinship system from Elders. She is a professor at the University of Alberta, Edmonton. She is committed to better understand and grow awareness of the richness of Metis women’s stories, their knowledge and their living experiences. This project has helped her learn more about Metis history, to work with other Metis women, and to give kitchen tables new but old meaning.

Adam Gaudry, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor and Associate Dean (Graduate Studies) in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. He is Métis and his family is from the Lake-of-the-Woods in Northwestern Ontario and he grew up near Hamilton.

Adam received his Ph.D. from the Indigenous Governance Program at the University of Victoria and completed his MA in Sociology and BAH in Political Studies from Queen’s University. He is a past Henry Roe Cloud Fellow at Yale University.

Adam has diverse research interests and he is currently working on several different projects. He is writing a book on nineteenth-century Métis political thought and the Métis-Canada  “Manitoba Treaty”  of 1870, currently under contract with the University of Manitoba Press. He is leading a large collaborative and community-driven research partnership to build a Teetł’it Gwich’in bush school in Teetł’it Zheh, NWT.

Geordy McCaffery is from the North Battleford area of Saskatchewan. He is a graduate of the Gabriel Dumont Institute’s Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP). He places a high value on the positive experience he received at SUNTEP and is committed to providing similar opportunities for other Métis students across Saskatchewan.

In the year 2000, Geordy completed his MBA from the University of Saskatchewan.

Geordy has worked at GDI for about 27 years, and has held his current position as Executive Director for almost 17 years.

Geordy is an active member of the Métis and broader Saskatchewan communities and has served on several boards and committees including the Clarence Campeau Development Fund, Saskatchewan Labour Market Commission, and both the University of Regina and University of Saskatchewan senates.

Geordy is a married father of three.

Dr. Carmen Gillies is a faculty member with the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program in Saskatoon where she teaches anti-oppressive and anti-racist education. She also serves as an Adjunct Professor with Educational Foundations at the University of Saskatchewan. Her research interests include critical race theory and education, Métis experiential knowledge and anti-racist education, and K-12 anti-oppressive/anti-colonial practice.

George – Is an Imaginative Realism artist, Illustrator, Photographer and Video Creator with a high interest in Visual Culture. He achieved Graphic Design certificate, was part of the second graduation class from University of Saskatchewan of Arts and Design Certificate program. George then went on to complete his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree with distinction followed by a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts both at the University of Saskatchewan. With his most recent certificate from the Fantasy art and Illustration/Intensive workshop held annually in Milwaukee Wisconsin.  George’s studies in art and art history had created work opportunity in the cultural sector as an historic interpreter at Wanuskewin, Batoche National Historic Site. This still continues today in his career as a Research Officer and museum/gallery practices within the Gabriel Dumont Institute Métis Culture and Heritage Department. George as well has a home based business called Studio Lore where he keeps up with his artistic practices.

Tate McDougall was born and raised in Saskatchewan, with ancestral ties to the St. Boniface (MB) and St. Laurent (SK) areas. He is a future teacher candidate in the SUNTEP Saskatoon program, studying Indigenous Studies and French in the secondary stream. He is currently in his third year of studies.  He has worked as an administrative assistant with the Gabriel Dumont Institute Heritage and Culture department since 2017. At GDI, he works on developing resources for teachers, aiding with and facilitating museum tours, participating in and facilitating cultural events and corresponding with local French associations, among many other tasks.

Margaret – Elder Margaret Harrison was born and raised on the road allowance at Katepwa Lake in the Qu’Appelle Valley.  She is proud of her Métis heritage and her roots to the Red River.  She spent many hours helping her mother, Adeline Pelletier dit Racette, prepare and make hooked rugs and adorning clothing and household items with embroidery.  Her work in both these traditional forms is highly praised and is on display at the Batoche National Historic Site and the Gabriel Dumont Institute.  Margaret pays tribute to her mother and her heritage by preserving and sharing what she has learned.

Bonny Johnson is the proud of mother of four and grandparent of 6. She is a graduate of the SUNTEP Program, Prince Albert Campus. She has been teaching in elementary classrooms for 24 years. Bonny spends much of her time outside the classroom sewing, beading, knitting and creating cultural items. Bonny has worked with traditional elders and has incorporated their teachings into her work.  It is very important to Bonny that these practices and their teachings be passed on to future generations of women and their families.

John Lagimodiere is the President of ACS Aboriginal Consulting Services and is the Publisher/Editor of Eagle Feather News. ACS provides Aboriginal awareness seminars to clients including Nutrien, the Saskatoon Police Service, the City of Saskatoon, the City of Regina, and the Province of Saskatchewan. The company also offers communication services. Eagle Feather News is Saskatchewan’s largest independent Indigenous media outlet with a monthly newspaper and daily news website. John is a recipient of the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal, the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, and was honoured with a Living in Harmony Award from the City of Saskatoon in 2006. ACS also received the ABEX award for Aboriginal Business in 2009.

A proud Métis, Jess Lee has been making music all his life.  Decades of sharing his gifts as a musician, singer, and songwriter demonstrate the sharpened skills, and the maturity and depth of this seasoned professional.

Whether he is singing about his experiences as a Métis man, sharing his celebrations and losses, or reminding us of our deep connection to the land and the universe, we come away with a deeper understanding of the human condition, and we are left satisfied with a rarely paralleled listening experience.

The Gabriel Dumont Institute is proud to have worked with Jess on his latest recording in which he shares much of our story through his songs.

The history, the reflections, the experiences, and the memories shared in his heartfelt, poignant songs are gifts to us all.

Geordy McCaffrey, Executive Director, Gabriel Dumont Institute.
• Geordy is from the North Battleford area of Saskatchewan.
• He is a graduate of the Gabriel Dumont Institute’s Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP).
• He places a high value on the positive experience he received at SUNTEP and is committed to providing similar opportunities for other Métis students across Saskatchewan.
• Geordy has worked at GDI for about 25 years, and has held his current position as Executive Director for the past 16 years.
• Geordy is an active member of the Métis and broader Saskatchewan communities and has served on several boards and committees including the Clarence Campeau Development Fund, Saskatchewan Labour Market Commission, and both the University of Regina and University of Saskatchewan senates.
• Geordy is a married father of three.

Doris McDougall was born in the St. Louis area on October 29th of 1935. She was the second of seven children to Mederic McDougall (who’s Great-great grandfather was Peter Fiddler, married to a Cree lady by the name of Mary Muskegeon) and Marie Anne Lepine, granddaughter of Maxime Lepine and Josephette Lavallee.

Doris spent the first five years of her life living in a region called Lepine Flats which is approximately seven miles West of St. Louis. The families that lived in this region were all of Métis descent and the language spoken by everyone was what is now known as Michif. In 1941 the family moved to St. Louis where Doris started school. The children were encouraged to speak in what was considered to be ‘proper’ English and French. Nevertheless, the Métis way of life was always very important to the McDougall family.  They faithfully attended the Local #28 monthly meetings, provincial meetings and rallies. Doris was also close to her first cousin Howard Adams (a Métis activist).  They often met and discussed the plight of the Métis people!

Doris feels that there has been a resurgence of interest in the Métis culture and Michif language in recent years.  She sees great opportunity for us now as individuals and nations to promote this renewed interest in our culture and language!

Margaret Sophie McDougall (born Boyer) was born to Robert James Boyer and Mary Leona McDougall on December 22, 1928 in St. Louis, Saskatchewan, a small community situated on the south banks of the beautiful South Saskatchewan River. This area was settled in 1882 by five families who moved from the Red River Settlement in Manitoba. They were the families of Isadore Boyer, John Baptiste Boucher, William Bremner, Alexander McDougall and Maxime Lepine (Jr.). Sophie is a proud great granddaughter of Isadore Boyer and Alexander McDougall. Sophie is a passionate educator and taught in the Saskatchewan Education from 1945 to 1966. She raised 13 children, and she considers herself lucky and blessed to enjoy her 34 grandchildren and 36 great grandchildren. She remains passionate and committed to encourage and to support the continuity of Michif language for the many generations of today and tomorrow.

David Morin has been a curriculum developer with the Gabriel Dumont Institute (GDI) for over sixteen years. He holds a Bachelor of Education from the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program at the U of S and a Masters of Educational Technology and Design (U of S). In his role at GDI, he has been able to work extensively on resources involving Michif with elders such as Norman Fleury, Harriet St. Pierre, and Vince Ahenakew. He enjoys spending time with his wife Kelly, and dog Murphy, reading comics, and watching the Winnipeg Jets and Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Brenna Pacholko (LaPlante) is a Metis woman with Indigenous ancestral lines extending to the Michif communities of Lebret and Lestock as well as Sakimay and Kawacatoose First Nations. Brenna is a faculty member at the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program in Regina. She enjoys exploring Metis culture & Indigenous perspectives through an educational lens in a number of curricular areas with students in the SUNTEP program. She teaches courses in Arts Education studies, Educational Professional studies and Cross-cultural education studies.  Brenna is currently writing an auto-ethnographic Master’s thesis on Metis Identity which she looks forward to completing in the fall of 2020.

Sheila Pocha is currently the Program Head of the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP) at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S). She is also a proud graduate of SUNTEP.   She has taught in northern and urban settings and as a sessional lecturer for the College of Education at the U of S.  Her experience as a teacher, administrator and community volunteer help her to be an advocate for Anti-Racist and Anti-Oppressive education.  Sheila has served on a number of committees and Boards, including the Awasis Special Subject Council with the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation, the Ministry of Education, and Saskatoon Public Schools.  Sheila has had the honour and privilege of serving as a volunteer on the boards of the Saskatoon Pre-School Foundation, the Gabriel Dumont Institute, Station 20 West, Quint Development, the Batoche Shared Management Board, SaskCulture and the University of Saskatchewan Senate. Her work and experiences have helped her interact with a diverse range of individuals and groups in her quest to give those she serves hope, strength, and courage.

Darren R. Préfontaine is an editor, researcher, and author employed in the Gabriel Dumont Institute’s Métis Culture and Heritage Department.  Since 1997 he has helped develop dozens of Métis-specific resources—many of which have won numerous book awards.  He has also worked on many innovative cultural projects that have a national and international profile, including: The Virtual Museum of Métis History and Culture (www.metismuseum.ca). His book, Gabriel Dumont: Li Chef Michif in Images and In Words won Book of the Year at the 2011 Saskatchewan Book Awards.  The Institute also received Publisher of the Year for this book as well.

Angela Rancourt is a Métis Educator in St. Louis, SK.  She was the first of three children born to Leslie Rancourt and Betty Morrison on August 4th, 1987.  Her maternal grandfather, Duncan Morrison, is son of Auxille Lépine and Norman Morrison who resided near Hoey, just miles south-west of St. Louis. She is mother to six year old, Kade, who shares her joy and passion for learning and teaching the traditional ways of their Métis ancestors.

Angela completed her Bachelor’s degree through the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teachers Education Program (2009) and her Master’s Degree (2019) in a community based program offered by Gabriel Dumont Institute and University of Regina.  She has taught every grade from 2-12 and is grateful for the opportunities education has provided her to connect with the youth.  This work has ignited her to learn more about our traditions, language and methodologies in hopes of weaving them into her classroom, home and community.

I am an Employment Counsellor with Gabriel Dumont Institute Training & Employment in the Saskatoon office. I grew up near Saskatoon on a ranch and I still live there today. I enjoy reading, listening, asking too many questions, laughing, being in the kitchen, dogs and bead work. My passion resides within the artistic side of our culture and I infuse that into anything I create from food to beadwork to storytelling. I opened my own spa in 2014 and drove heavy equipment before I graduated from SUNTEP Saskatoon –which brought me here- and I am very proud to be Metis and excited for the future!

Co-author of two top selling GDI publications, wâpikwaniy: A Beginner’s Guide to Métis Floral Beadwork and maskisina: A Guide to Northern-Style Métis Moccasins, Amy Briley was taught the traditional style of Métis beading and hand-sewing clothing by co-author and mentor, Gregory Scofield. A descendant of the Dumont Clan, Amy is Métis from Saskatoon and has been an employee of GDI since 2008; at present she is the Program Coordinator of the Gabriel Dumont Scholarship Foundation and the GDI Culture and Heritage Department. Amy graduated from SUNTEP in 2008 and is currently pursuing her Master’s of Public Administration at the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy through the University of Saskatchewan.

Gregory Scofield is a Red River Metis of Cree, Scottish and European descent whose ancestry can be traced to the fur trade and to Metis community of Kinosota, Manitoba. He has taught Creative Writing and First Nations and Metis Literature at Brandon University, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, the Alberta University of the Arts and was most recently an associate professor in the Department of English at Laurentian University. He has served as writer-in residence at the University of Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg and Memorial University of Newfoundland. Further to writing and teaching, Scofield is also a skilled bead-worker, and he creates in the medium of traditional Metis arts. He continues to assemble a collection of mid to late 19thcentury Cree-Metis artifacts, which are used as learning and teaching pieces.

Taanishi, my name is David Werner, I’m a Michif from Fort McMurray, AB but I’ve lived in Saskatoon for the past 15 years.  I’m a Morrissette (maternal side) and a single thread, single needle, tiny bead loving kind of beadworker. I learned beadwork at a workshop hosted by Amy and Greg and now I create medallions, cases and occasionally I make moccasins. I’ve hosted beadwork sessions at Dumont Technical Institute and with other community organizations. Maarsii

Karon Shmon feels extremely fortunate to have grown up listening to her mother share her stories of growing up in a one-room log cabin at Chitek Lake where her family often stayed during her childhood.  Karon’s job at the Gabriel Dumont Institute provides her with the good fortune to work with Elders, storytellers, knowledge keepers, artists, artisans, poets, and authors.  They have all demonstrated Métis ways of knowing, sharing this by word of mouth.

Dr. Allyson Stevenson is a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples and Global Social Justice and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Regina.  She has a PhD from the University of Saskatchewan in History.  She is a wife and mother to four amazing kids, who make their home near Kinistino, SK.  Allyson is an adoptee who was born in Saskatoon but raised in Regina. Allyson is proudly Métis and works diligently to research and write the histories of Métis peoples on the Prairies through the experiences of children and families.

Jesse Thistle is Métis-Cree and an Assistant Professor at York University in Toronto. He is a PhD candidate in the History program at York University where he is working on theories of intergenerational and historic trauma of the Métis people. Jesse has won the P.E. Trudeau and Vanier doctoral scholarships, and he is a governor general medalist.  Jesse is the author of the Definition of Indigenous Homelessness in Canada published through the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness. His bestselling memoir, From the Ashes, chronicles his life on the streets and how he overcame trauma and addiction to discover the truth about who he is.

Dr. Cheryl Troupe is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Saskatchewan.  Her research centres on twentieth century Métis communities in Western Canada, merging Indigenous research methodologies with Historical Geographic Information Systems to focus on the intersections of land, gender, kinship and stories. Much of her research focuses on the multi-faceted roles of Métis women in their families and communities and the significance of female kinship relationships in structuring these communities. She has worked within her community for over twenty years in the areas of historical and community-based research, curriculum development, community engagement, advocacy and health policy and program planning. She is a past employee of the Gabriel Dumont Institute and was one of the co-leads on the final installation of Walking With Our Sisters held at Batoche in August 2019. She is currently co-creating a play with Maria Campbell, Marilyn Poitras and Yvette Nolan called Tapweywin: Her Inquiry a play examining the historical roots and impacts of violence against Indigenous Women. She is Métis, originally from north-central Saskatchewan and a member of Gabriel Dumont Local #11.

Born and raised near Blaine Lake, SK, Lucas Welsh began his musical journey as a classical violin student. As his talent grew so did his desire to explore other styles of music as well as other instruments. With nominations at the Saskatchewan country music awards for fiddle, guitar, and instrumentalist of the year, Lucas has been described as an “amazing man with a graceful, humble talent”. Lucas has performed with some of the country’s most distinguished and accomplished traditional musicians, and has added his musical gifts to more than 30 recordings for artists from across Canada.

Gabriel Dumont Institue

GDI is a Saskatchewan-based educational, employment and cultural institute serving Métis across the province

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