About the Project

About the AACC

Aboriginal Arts Collective of Canada, Indigenous Arts Collective of CAnada, pass the feather, board of directors

Indigenous Arts Collective of Canada


A Canada Incorporated Not-for-profit Organization

Founded 2013. Corporation Number: 9469869

mission statement

In taking inspiration from the Haudenosaunee Seventh Generation Principle, Iehstóseranon:ha Dawn Setford, founded the Indigenous Arts Collective of Canada in 2012 to preserve and revitalize endangered Indigenous art forms and enrich lives through Indigenous arts and culture. 


In safe and inclusive spaces, through community based learning, the organization engages, [re]connects and empowers Indigenous women by promoting the transfer and conservation of cultural knowledge; securing the capacity for the next seven generations to retain and cultivate intrinsic cultural connections.

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, mass apprehension of children from their parents and communities (coined \'60\'s Scoop\') and many other means of cultural assimilation.

This trauma affects affects our spiritual, physical, mental and emotional well being. This organization recognizes that in order to walk a good and productive path, we must be healthy in all four quadrants of the medicine wheel teachings.

For Indigenous people, art is the very soul of our spirituality. It's our every movement, dance and song - it is in every stroke of paint, every bead sewn, every feather placed.

We must continue to teach and protect this way of being. We have a responsibility to educate ourselves so that our children may be able to carry on our work.

Aboriginal Arts Collective of Canada, Pass The Feather, Ontario Arts Council, Indigenous Culture Fund, Indigenous Arts Conference, Indigenous Women's Arts Conference

Indigenous Arts Conference, Willis College, Aboriginal Arts Collective of Canada, vendors, porcupine quilling workshop

vision statement

From within and outside of our communities, we will create the spaces, provide the resources and facilitate communal approaches to the retention of cultural knowledge.

    • 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.


    • Reconciliation  •  This organization is committed to the reparation of inter-generational trauma and the empowerment of the next seven generations. It is imperative that we teach not only confidence in history and culture but also co-operative and respectful interrelations with our Canadian neighbours.


    • Protection and Safety for Women  •  Our board of directors is built by strong Indigenous women. We are aware that we are more likely to go missing, be murdered or be victims of violence. We are also aware that we are not as likely to be investigated as non-Indigenous victims of violence; crimes against us often go unnoticed or are not valued as worthy of investigation. There is often no justice. This organization reaches at risk women both on and off reserve and provides accessible, safe cultural activities.


This organization...

preserves and revitalizes Indigenous art forms and empowers artists in the following ways:

  • Increased economic stability through employment
  • Increased physical activity
  • Access to material resources
  • Access to community networking, connections to instructors/mentors/elders
  • Free marketing, advertising and publicity (artist directory, business branding, web and graphic design
  • Exhibition and sale venues in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous settings
  • Workshops, conferences (Indigenous Women's Arts Conference) and gatherings


Your Board of Directors

Dawn Setford, featherwork, graphic arts and design, multidisciplinary, paper making, paper arts, photographer, photography, workshops, facilitator, Indigenous Artist, First Nations, Indigenous Arts Collective of Canada, Pass The Feather

Dawn Setford

Iehstóseranon:ha (She Keeps the Feathers)


Mary Francis Whiteman


Founder & President

Dawn is the founder & president of the Indigenous Arts Collective of Canada and owner at Pass The Feather.

work | academics

Dawn Setford (Mary Francis Whiteman) Iehstóseranon:ha (She Keeps the Feathers) is Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk), Wakhskare:wake (Bear Clan) and a Feather Keeper whose familial territory is St.Regis/Akwesasne. Her family was one of several Akwesasne families that settled on the banks of Moira Lake, Madoc, Ontario.

Dawn's background is in the arts and focuses on traditional feather keeping and bird medicine workshops, business branding (graphic and web design), business marketing and human resources management.

Pass The Feather is now a sole proprietorship born from the Aboriginal Arts Collective of Canada original children's programming and offers custom feather bundling, bird medicine and smudge feather workshops, graphic and website design.

Indigenous Arts Conference, Willis College, Aboriginal Arts Collective of Canada, vendors, ribbon skirt workshop, frankie pasap

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

Clients and partnerships 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, Correctional Service of 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.

professional artist | cultural carrier

Dawn is the organizer of the Indigenous Women's Arts and Entrepreneurship Conference. In partnership with Canadian Museum of History, Willis College and St. Laurent Shopping Centre, the conference offers free traditional Indigenous arts workshops to hundreds of Indigenous women. The conference also boasts a diverse vendor membership and extraordinary marketplace.

Dawn dedicated many years of volunteer work for the Sixties Scoop Network / National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network committee as the creator of their logo and graphic designs for social media, print and web. Other web and graphic design work includes owner at All Image Promotions (1991-1998), Century 21 Central America (1999), Pass The Feather, AACC, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (Walking In Her Moccasins), Millside Ceramics, Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na 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, she is part of an advisory group and is collaborating with the roundtable for the Indigenous Arts Economic Study by AANDC, a regular contributor to Aboriginal Women\'s Economic Quarterly Indigenous and Spirit Magazine (Indigenous & Northern Affairs Canada).

Dawn attended Niagara College, Brock University, George Eastman House (analog photography) and Dundas Valley School of Art. Major - visual arts, Minor - Aboriginal Studies.

Dawn spent 3 years living in Central America studying Indigenous cultures, their language and arts.

Jenny Sutherland, Misiwe Ni Relations Healing Lodge, Educator, Healer, Visionary, Caretaker, Indigenous Artist, First Nations, Indigenous Arts Collective of Canada, Pass The Feather

Jenny Sutherland

Executive Director

Mihko-Asiniy-Kinepik-Iskwew (Cree for Red Stone Snake Woman) and I come from the Muskegowuk territory of the Moose Cree First Nation, the Mosoniw-ililiwak. I live in the unceded territory of the Alonquins, in Manotick, and it is an honour to serve here.

mother | psychotherapist | artist

Jenny Sutherland is a proud member of Moose Cree First Nation, the Mosoniy-Illilew, and was born and raised in Moosonee, Ontario, Mushkegowuk territory. She is honoured to reside on the beautiful unceded territory of the Algonquins, where she created Misiwe Ni Relations Healing Lodge.

Jenny holds an Honours BA in Psychology and Masters in Social Work graduate. She spent the beginning of her career as a registered psychotherapist servicing the foster youth of Connor Homes. During this time, she developed and continues to coordinate the Indigenous Treatment Program that aims to ensure Indigenous youth in care receive access to their culture and traditions, elders and traditional healers, and that the people caring for them are culturally competent. During this time, Jenny began her own reconnection with traditional ceremonies and medicine men with whom guide much of the work she does. She currently apprentices under Pete Bernard, the Algonquin Medicine Man.

Jenny is a Healer, Artist and a Visionary. She loves developing programming and creating the needed platforms for healers to help serve. As a Truth and Reconciliation Specialist she also works hard to create the needed bridges to mend relationships and unite one another. She also loves helping to reconnect people to the land and All Our Relations, and thus ensures clients are earthing/grounding and participating in medicine walks so they are receiving the needed connection and healing from the Earth. Her approach to well-being is Holistic and Land based, and helps clients to understand their interconnection to All things. Jenny also provides healing through heArt workshops, where clients can connect within and tap into their creative outlets.

Owner & Operator at Misiwe Ni Relations Healing Lodge and Indigenous Treatment Program Coordinator at Connor Homes (Treatment Foster Homes)

Studied Masters in Social Work - Children and their Families at University of Toronto - Faculty of Social Work

Graduated in 2007

Talena Atfield, pass the feather, aboriginal arts collective of canada

Talena Atfield


curator | artist

Ionkiats Talena Atfield, Kanien'keha'ka niwakonwentsio:ten. Ohswe:ken nitewake:non. Talena is a member of Six Nations of the Grand River Mohawks.

Talena holds her Ph.D. in Anthropology and is the Curator of Eastern Ethnology at the Canadian Museum of History.

Talena is a talented artist and in her spare time she creates ribbon skirts, moccasins, beadwork, and earrings. Her work can be viewed on Instagram at Ohskennonton_Beads.


Lindsey Kirby McGregor, Indigenous Artists, First Nations, Indigenous Arts Collective of Canada, Pass The Feather, Native Art, Native American Art, Indigenous Art

Lindsey Kirby McGregor


mother | educator

Lindsey is a member of Whitefish River First Nation. She holds a Bachelor of Social Work (Indigenous Specialization) from the UVictoria, a Master of Education from UOttawa, and is beginning her MA studies with Professor Ruth Kane in January 2019.

Lindsey has been teaching and managing Indigenous programs at Willis College since 2015 where she has developed and taught an Indigenous Community Service Work Program that became accredited by the Indigenous Certification Board of Canada, as well as a three-week course in Indigenous Knowledge for the Helping Professions for Indigenous Personal Support Worker students.

Lindsey developed and coordinated two programs for Indigenous women through Minwaashin Lodge, including a program that trained 8 Indigenous women as literacy and basic skills tutors to work with clients at Oshki Kizis Lodge, a domestic violence shelter.

She has assisted with Circle of Care facilitation for families involved with the Children’s Aid Society through Wabano Center. She has lived and worked in Kuujjuaraapik, Kuujjuaq, and Kangirsujuaq, Nunavik in various community roles and has supported many Inuit students from Nunavut and Nunavik, to upgrade their skills as well as successfully complete college-level studies in the city of Ottawa. Most recently, she has been assisting in the evaluation of the Nunavik Teacher Education Programs offered by Kativik Ilisarniliriniq.


Chandra Labelle, Ama Beads, beadwork, dreamcatchers, jewelry, leatherwork, workshops, Indigenous Artist, First Nations, Indigenous Arts Collective of Canada, Pass The Feather

Chandra Labelle


mother | artist | advocate

Chandra is the proud mother of two Inuit children, Raven and Lucy and the daughter of Algonquin women. She is a strong advocate for children's mental health issues, FASD and a relentless fighter for the rights and wellbeing of Indigenous children under the care of the child welfare system.

Chandra is an artist, a learner, a teacher and producer of traditional Indigenous art forms.

employees | liasón

Nikki Taipale Guerard, photographer, designer, marketing, Indigenous Artists, First Nations, Indigenous Arts Collective of Canada, Pass The Feather, Native Art, Native American Art, Indigenous Art

Nikki Taipale-Guerard

Website Designer

Taykwa Tagamou First Nation

artist, student

Currently working towards her Bachelor's of Design at OCAD University, Nikki's outstanding work with the organization has created numerous websites for Indigenous artists.

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

Charrine Lace

West Coast Liasón

Artist, Morricetown First Nation


Charrine Naziel-Lace is a Northwest Coast Indian Arts and Crafts Professional, carver, and illustrator.

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.

Charrine is owner of Wet'suwet'en Native Arts in Morricetown, B.C.  She is passionate about working in the Northwest Coast Indian style and is very excited to promote west coast art with our AACC programs.