Isaac Murdoch – Serpent River First Nation
Isaac Murdoch is from Serpent River First Nation and his Ojibway name is Sacred Rawhide and is from the Fish Clan. He grew up in the traditional setting of hunting, fishing and trapping. During his many years living off the land, Isaac has learned many of the stories and legends that accompany many of the Sacred Sites and Values placed on Mother Earth and has become a wonderful narrator and advocate for these precious treasures. His many years of experience of conducting ceremonies have helped him maintain a special balance between man and nature and he is known for his advocacy for getting the younger generation in-touch with the land and these Sacred Sites. Isaac spends most of his time teaching young people the traditional skills of living off the land and has facilitated dozens of Cultural Camps over the years. Isaac’s background includes trapping, hunting and fishing in the Traditional Territory of the Anishinabek. In 2010, he was appointed by the ‘Council of Elders’ to carry the Community Eagle Staff for his community and was directed to help promote land-based education to their First Nation student body. Isaac has dedicated his life to facilitating aboriginal based programming for native and non- native educational bodies, in hopes of promoting this message for the benefit of all people.
Maurice Switzer – Mississaugas of Alderville First Nation
(also Media Relations Liaison)
Maurice Switzer, Bnesi, is a citizen of the Mississaugas of Alderville First Nation, where his grandfather Moses Marsden was Chief from 1905-1909. He is Zhgaag (Skunk) Dodem Anishinabek, and Okwaho (Wolf) Clan Haudenosaunee, passed down from his great-grandmother Esther Hill from Tyendinaga. He is also proud of his Jewish ancestry. He was the first Indigenous student at Trent University, and the first Indigenous publisher of a daily newspaper in Canada.
He served as director of communications for the Union of Ontario Indians and the Assembly of First Nations, and has been a faculty member at First Nations Technical Institute, Huntington University, Canadore College, the Banff Centre’s Aboriginal Leadership program, and, most recently, the University of Sudbury’s Indigenous Studies program.
Currently living in North Bay, Maurice volunteers for several arts and literacy organizations and the North Bay Indian Friendship Centre, and operates Nimkii Communications — a public education practice that features presentations on the Treaty relationship for students, educators, and government employees, using Wampum Belts as visual aids. In 2003 his public education work for the Union of Ontario Indians received an Award of Honour from the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and he was inducted into the Nipissing District Human Rights Hall of Fame. In 2010 he was a recipient of an Anishinabek Nation Lifetime Achievement Award.
His 2011 graphic novel “We are All Treaty People” has sold over 8,000 copies, and related elementary and secondary teachers’ resource kits are being used in schools across Ontario.
His favourite saying is a Bob Dylan lyric: — “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now –and he appreciates the wisdom in the Midewiwin teaching that all Creation stories are true, for the ones that hold them.
His son, Adin, is a Captain in the Canadian Armed Forces; grandson Jacob graduated from Royal Military College as a civil engineer, with the rank of Second Lieutenant, and granddaughter Olivia is a marketing specialist for one of Canada’s largest investment companies.
Nancy Rowe – Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation
Giidaakunadaad (The Spirit Who Lives in High Places) n’dizhinikaaz (is my name): Nancy Rowe is a Mississauga, Ojibwe of the Aanishinaabek Nation located at New Credit First Nation, ON. Nancy holds an honors BA in Indigenous Studies and Political Science. She is an educator, consultant and a Traditional Practitioner of Aanishinaabek lifeway’s, views and customary practices and is currently completing a Master’s degree of Environmental Resource Studies at the University of Waterloo. She is an avid volunteer who co-ordinates Akinomaagaye Gaamik, a grass roots initiative to provide educational opportunities for all peoples interested in Indigenous perspectives of life, health, education, history and the environment. “Education is the doorway through which we all can create a common ground and understanding of not only Indigenous Peoples but also, and more importantly, our environment.”