About the AACC
Aboriginal Arts Collective of Canada
A Canada Incorporated Not-for-profit Organization
Founded 2013. Corporation Number: 9469869
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.
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.
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 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.
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
This program provides Indigenous artists with....
- Employment: Dozens of on-reserve artists and craftspeople have been employed with the AACC.
- Cultural Integration: Indigenous art was sold in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous settings.
- Networking: Artists are often present for the sale of their artwork.
- Cultural Education: Each hand made article is accompanied by a cultural explanation of its use or history.
- Publicity: Artist contact information is attached to each article sold.
- Income: Funds raised are returned to the AACC to buy more art supplies and create work for more artists.
- Venue: Dozens of artists have registered and have published their work on our website.
Your Board of Directors
Mary Francis Whiteman
Founder & President
Dawn is onkwehonwe | haudenosaunee | kanien'kehá ka. She 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 & president of the Aboriginal Arts Collective of Canada and owner at Pass The Feather.
work | academics
Dawn has dedicated 4 years to the National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network | Sixties Scoop Network committee as the creator of their logo and graphic designs for posters, social media and more. Other 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, Millside Ceramics and 15 years serving the veterinary industry.
Dawn is a member of the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Educators Association of Ontario, 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. She is a facilitator of one-of-a-kind Feather Bundle Workshops.
Dawn attended Niagara College, Brock University (Major - Visual Arts, Minor - Aboriginal Studies), George Eastman House (analog photography) and Dundas Valley School of Art. .
Dawn spent many years living in Central America studying Indigenous cultures, their language and arts.
professional artist | cultural carrier
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 Indigenous culture by apprehending young children and placing them in non-Indigenous homes. She explores sharing circle customs, restorative justice, bird medicines 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, 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. Her husband Derek drives all of Eastern and Southern Ontario picking up the birds and Dawn cleans them at home. 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!
Tewatahawitha Dawn Antone
Tewatahawiht Dawn Antone, Oneida Nation, Turtle Clan.
musician | language teacher
I am a musician, artist, mother, wife, sister, auntie, daughter and friend.
My music encompasses the knowledge of piano, trumpet, Iroquois water drum and rattle songs, Women’s hand drum songs, composing Iroquois Women’s seed songs, and singing Oneida language hymns.
My artistic abilities include photography, videography, digital graphic design and layout, design of Iroquois traditional clothing, beadwork, cornhusk braiding, black ash splint basketry.
My career start in mainstream was with journalism at the Program in Journalism for Native people at the University of Western Ontario. I worked at CFWE The Native Perspective and CJRZ Osakdo Radio in Alberta. I was training Native people to work all aspects of Native community radio.
My career direction continued to teaching. I coordinated Native Literacy in Toronto. I was involved with the Ontario Native Literacy Coalition and the National Aboriginal Literacy Design committee that formed the National Indigenous Literacy Association. This continued my learning and I took the opportunity to learn my Native Indigenous language. I attended the Onkwawenna Kentyohkwa Mohawk language adult immersion program and continued to learn my Oneida language. This gave me the opportunity to teach the Oneida language at the University of Toronto.
Currently I am the coordinator of the Twatati Oneida language adult immersion program. I teach the Oneida language at the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto. I still perform with the Oneida Indian Marching and Concert Band, the Oneida Gospel Singers and the Wahahiyo Singing Society.
JP Longboat is a Storyteller, Multi-disciplinary Artist and Performer. He is Mohawk, Turtle Clan from Six Nations of the Grand River, Ontario, Canada. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree through combined education at the University of Michigan and the Ontario College of Art and Design. He has extensive professional training and practice in traditional and contemporary forms of visual art and performance.
JP has trained, collaborated, and performed with many professional theatre and dance companies across Canada. His work emanates from the cultural traditions of his people: language, land base, teachings, and stories shared within Longhouses and lodges, gatherings and rituals. His creative process is grounded in First Nations artistic experience, practice, and legacy. He is the founder and Artistic Director of Circadia Indigena - Indigenous Arts Collective based in Ottawa.
employees | liasón
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.
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. She is one of the visionaries behind Blue Skies.
Jenny is 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.
Jenny is excited to coordinate our program where she can bring different healing modalities together to offer a service that can uniquely resonate with everyone. She also comes in weekly to assist the Algonquin Medicine Man with energy healing and Indigenous ceremonies. Creating a program led by the Algonquin Medicine Man was an important part of Jenny's vision. His tracking ceremonies help to identify and heal the root cause of client addictions, and make the programming at Blue Skies a first of its kind - a hybrid of both western medicine/counseling with energy work/Shamanism.
Owner & Operator at Blue Skies Recovery, Addiction Treatment Wellness Centre, Owner & Operator at Misiwe Ni Relations Healing Lodge and Indigenous Treatment Program Coordinator at Connor Homes (Treatment Foster Homes)
West Coast Liasón
Artist, Morricetown First Nation
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.
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.
Timothy is Ojibwe; a member of Alderville First Nation.
Hanna is assistant to the president of the AACC and a member of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte | Tyendinaga