About the Project

Mission Statement

In the name of reconciliation and cultural equality, Aboriginal Arts Collective of Canada will protect endangered Indigenous art forms and their makers, employ logistically and economically vulnerable artists and empower the next generation of artistic leaders. 

Purpose Statement

Through education and the arts, we are defiantly motivated to facilitate healing and reconciliation within our Indigenous communities and create informed opinions of our culture in Canadian society as a whole.

As recognized by the federal government by request of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, there is significant inter-generational trauma within our First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities because of the legacy of the residential school system and mass removal of children from their homes (coined ‘60’s Scoop’).

This trauma impedes our children's performance in formal educational settings, has instilled a deep fear of structured systems and has resulted in a response of resistance to authority figures and educators outside of their own community.

For decades, many of our communities and their children have been living in a cycle of failing health and economic issues. We recognize that this is not a permanent infirmity of our First Nations and commit ourselves to healing and empowerment.

pass the feather, first nations art directory, aboriginal arts collective of canada, scholarships, grants, workshops, classroom art exchange

Vision Statement

From within and outside of our communities, we will create the spaces, provide the resources and facilitate communal approaches to cultural knowledge in order to achieve a mutually respectful, co-operative and informed opinion of Indigenous cultures in Canada.

  • Spaces and Resources • We believe that access to quality programming, appropriate spaces and art resources will facilitate experiential education and compliment formal educational institutes. We also feel in that making these spaces available to non-Indigenous visitors, we are creating an educational environment that  speaks to inter-cultural respect and co-admiration.
  • Pedagogy • Place-based education employs the entire community and allows youth to be grounded in their own culture with hands-on, project-based learning. This facilitates a sense of ‘belonging’ that will accompany and liberate our children when integrating into non-Indigenous culture.
  • Reconciliation • This organization is committed to the reparation of inter-generational trauma and the empowerment of our children. It is imperative that we teach them not only to be confident in their history and heritage but also to create co-operative and respectful interrelations with their Canadian neighbours.

Protecting Endangered Indigenous Art Forms and Promoting the Creators

 This program establishes a direct connection from FNMI artists to venues; disabling logistics and finances as barriers. We connect and re-connect Indigenous Peoples to endangered traditional and contemporary art forms.

The project preserves Indigenous art and empowers artists in the following ways:

  • Increased economic stability through employment
  • Increased physical activity
  • Access to art supplies
  • Access to instructors/mentors/elders
  • Publicity opportunity
  • Marketing opportunity
  • Exhibition and sale venues in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous settings

Within the first three months of establishing the AACC, our organization accomplished:

  • Employment: Dozens of on-reserve artists and craftspeople were employed.
  • Cultural Integration: Their art was sold in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous settings.
  • Networking: Some artists were present for the sale of their artwork.
  • Cultural Education: Each hand made article was accompanied by a cultural explanation of its use or history.
  • Publicity: Artist contact information was attached to each article sold.
  • Income: Funds raised were returned to the AACC to buy more art supplies and create work for more artists.
  • Venue: 29 artists have registered and have published their work on our website.
  • Opportunity: Marginalized youth from an alternative school learned about and created traditional Indigenous art for our organization.

“Pass The Feather To Me!” | A Classroom Art Exchange Program 

*We are sorry. Due to lack of funding, this program will not continue in the 2017 school year.

Our Introduction to Indigenous Culture Workshop is an invaluable resource for teachers. Click here for more information.

is creating exciting friendships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth, teachers and artists using visual culture to transcend logistic and financial barriers. We are creating co-operative and respectful interrelations for future generations.

 Your Board of Directors

We are the Aboriginal Arts Collective of Canada. We adhere to the regulations of the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act.

Pass The Feather was formerly student programming under the AACC and is now an independent Indigenous art project spearheaded by Dawn Setford.

OUR MANDATE: We are for the advancement of Aboriginal arts, culture and community.

Your AACC Directors are Dawn Setford, Beverly Anger-Nelson and Jocelyn Coté.

Volunteers: Rachel Sandy

Our western liasón is Charrine Naziel-Lace

pass the feather, first nations art directory, aboriginal arts collective of canada, scholarships, grants, workshops, classroom art exchange,Dawn Setford (Mary Francis Whiteman)

is Mohawk, Bear Clan whose familial territory is St.Regis/Akwesasne. She is a community-engaged visual and media artist who advocates for equality and facilitates the creation of informed opinions of Indigenous Cultures.

Dawn is the founder and executive director of the Aboriginal Arts Collective of Canada and owner at Pass The Feather.

work and education

Dawn actively volunteers for the National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network | Sixties Scoop Network committee as the creator of their logo, websites and graphic designs. Past web and graphic design work includes Century 21 Central America,  All Image Promotions, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (Walking In Her Moccasins), the Grey Bruce Aboriginal Qimmiq Team and 15 years serving the veterinary industry.

Dawn is a member of the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Educators Association of Ontario and follows closely their movement and progress in incorporating Indigenous knowledge in the curriculum. She is a regular contributor to Aboriginal Women’s Economic Quarterly Indigenous, Spirit Magazine (Indigenous & Northern Affairs Canada) and works retail spaces and the powwow trail to market, educate and promote the hand made works of fine Indigenous artisans.

Dawn majored in visual arts and minored in Aboriginal studies. She attended Niagara College, Brock University, George Eastman House (analog photography) and Dundas Valley School of Art.

Dawn spent several years in Central America studying Indigenous cultures, their language and arts.

feathers and workshops

Dawn is a Feather-Keeper and artist. Her extensive collection of feathers is utilized in workshops where participants create talking feather bundles, personal smudge feathers and regalia fans.

Dawn is an Indigenous adoptee and infuses her workshops with important perspectives regarding intergenerational trauma and the 60's scoop - a program aimed at removing young children from their communities and placing them in non-Indigenous homes. She explores sharing circle customs, bird medicine and intergenerational trauma in each workshop.

Dawn’s workshops are held in safe spaces within public and private school systems, summer camps, workplaces, community groups, federal buildings and on-reserve educational facilities.

Clients include private and public school boards across Ontario, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa School of Art, Residential School Survivors Adjudication Secretariat, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada among others.

Dawn spearheads a program that helps Ontario hunters recycle the wings and tails of their harvest and works closely with wildlife rehabilitation centres, zoos and aviaries. Her husband Derek drives all of Eastern and Southern Ontario picking up the birds and Dawn cleans them at home with the help of her friend Timothy Smoke of Alderville First Nation. The feathers are then used in our workshops to teach equality, indigenous bird medicines, sharing circles and restorative justice practices.

For more information on our feather recycling program, click here FEATHERS FOR KIDS!


beverly anger-nelson, artist, pass the feather, about usBeverly Anger-Nelson

is of mixed race and Onandaga. She has been learning and making traditional crafts for 20 years and more. A long time resident of the National Capital Region Beverly has facilitated a variety of workshops for students with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board as part of the required Aboriginal curriculum component.

Beverly is currently one of two teachers at Zelikovitz Leathers in Ottawa and has facilitated workshops for all ages making moccasins, mittens drums, beadwork - loomed and free hand, rattles, spirit dolls, medicine bags, and dream catchers. Beverly has worked with Ottawa School Boards, federal government departments, Wintergreen Studios, Minwaasin Lodge, in her home and with 'Pass The Feather' at the Ottawa School of Art. Notably she also facilitated the workshop for the making of the drums used in the Aboriginal King Lear production at the National Arts Centre.

Originally from Dunnville, Ontario. Beverly comes from a long line of hunters, trappers and fishermen and has been making and creating native crafts and native themed art all of her life. She loves woodworking, gardening and is open to learning new skills and receiving teachings from Elders and others in the First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.

Teachers include: Skip Rosss (Algonquin), Catherine Cheezo, Raymond and Madonna Ballentyne, Jan Longboat, Chuck Commanda, Simon Brascoupe, Kim Muskratt, Barbara Brant, William Commanda, Vernon Harper,

Find Feathers, Leathers and Ink on Facebook.

beverly anger-nelson, metis, first nations,artist, pass the feather, about us

Jocelyn Coté

Jocelyne Côté identifies as Métis/Mi’kmaq from the Gaspé Peninsula on her mother’s side and from Acadia on her father’s side. Originally from Longueil, Quebec, Jocelyne comes from a lineage of fishermen, hunters, trappers, singers, artists, and medicine women and men. During her college years in Quebec City, Jocelyne organized several groups of students volunteering their time working with physically and mentally challenged children, adults and the aged.

Jocelyne is an innovative bilingual leader with a capacity to execute and deliver under pressure. Throughout her career, her organizational and managerial skills as well as a great ability to easily adapt to any and all situations stem from past experiences and expertise acquired in high technology, cinema and film production and post-production. Jocelyne’s proven tenacity and ability to carry through from initial strategy to market resulted in her inventing, developing, creating “dubStudio”, a ground breaking technology that allowed her to win the 2003 “Octas Award for Technological Innovation”. Jocelyne’s desire for excellence, her passion as well as her understanding and respect for others have, over the years, contributed to the development of strong relationships with co-workers, employees and clients such as the NFB (National Film Board), the CBC, the BBC (London), Gaumont (France), Antenne 2 (France), RAI (Italie), Disney, Discovery Channel, History Channel, Golden Harvest (Hong Kong), First Choice, Family Channel, British Family Channel, Dic Los Angeles, Saban International, Turner Broadcasting, Viacom, Nickleodeon, ABC, CBS, NBC…

Jocelyne grew up in a family of artists and has been surrounded by music, singing, and crafts all her life. She started at sewing, drawing, painting, sculpting (wood, soap stone and clay) at a very young age.

Charrine Naziel-Lace, board of directors, pass the feather, aboriginal arts collective of canada

Charrine Naziel-Lace is a Northwest Coast Indian Arts and Crafts Professional, carver,  and illustrator and the Aboriginal Arts Collective of Canada is excited to welcome her as  our west coast liasón.

A member of the Moricetown First Nation in the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako, Charrine has 20 years of experience in the First Nations Art Industry. A graduate of the Ksan Carving School, BC and Gitanmaax (Kitanmax) School of Northwest Coast Indian Art, Charrine has built on old art traditions while studying in the styles and techniques of master carvers and artists. She is also a graduate of Cowansville Vocational Education Training Centre, Cowansville, QC where she became proficient in design and layout.

Works to her credit include the design of the Moricetown First Nations Flag and illustrations for the Wet’suwet’en Children’s First Language book series, which included “The Pink and Sockeye Salmon”, a story about bullying.

She is passionate about working in the Northwest Coast Indian style and is very excited to promote west coast art with our 'Pass the Feather' programs.

Charrine Naziel-Lace, board of directors, pass the feather, aboriginal arts collective of canada

 Aboriginal Arts Collective of Canada

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