About the Project

About the AACC


Aboriginal 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 Aboriginal 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, she 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.

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 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.
This program...

establishes a direct connection from FNMI artists to venues, employment and a large network of Indigenous artists; disabling logistics and finances as barriers. We connect and [re]connect Indigenous Peoples to endangered traditional and contemporary art forms.

The project preserves and revitalizes Indigenous art forms 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
  • Workshops, conferences and gatherings


Your Board of Directors


Dawn Setford

Iehstóseranon:ha (She Keeps the Feathers)

Mary Francis Whiteman

Founder & President

Dawn is the founder & president of the Aboriginal 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, is the founder, president and full time volunteer of the Aboriginal Arts Collective of Canada (a Canada Not-for-profit Corporation) and owner at Pass The Feather. Dawn has dedicated herself full time to protecting endangered Indigenous art forms and their makers and empowering the next generations of traditional Indigenous artists.

Dawn is a community-engaged visual and media artist who advocates for equality and facilitates the creation of informed opinions of Indigenous cultures. Dawn's background is in the arts, business marketing and management.

Pass The Feather is a company born from the Aboriginal Arts Collective of Canada programming and offers custom feather bundling, feather bundling and smudge workshops, graphic and website design.

Indigenous Arts Conference, Willis College, Aboriginal Arts Collective of Canada, vendors, ribbon skirt workshop, frankie pasap
Indigenous Arts Conference, Willis College, Aboriginal Arts Collective of Canada, vendors, porcupine quilling workshop
professional artist | cultural carrier

Dawn is the organizer of the Indigenous Women's Arts and Entrepreneurship Conference. This event is held at Canadian Museum of History and Willis College in the St. Laurent Shopping Centre, Ottawa. The conference offers free traditional Indigenous arts workshops to hundreds of Indigenous women. The conference also boasts a diverse vendor membership; dozens of artists sell their products in the shopping centre during the IAC.

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 (1994-1998), 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, 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 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.

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 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, 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.


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


Photo of Jenny Sutherland

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.

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 the Mohawk Nation of Six Nations Ontario.

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.


chandra labelle, director

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

corn husk faceless doll, buy, sale, pass the feather, first nations art directory, aboriginal arts collective of canada, scholarships, grants, workshops, classroom art exchange,

Nikki Taipale-Guerard

Website Designer

Taykwa Tagamou First Nation

artist, student

Currently working towards her Bachelor's of Design at OCAD University, Nikki's work with the organization is to create simple web pages for Indigenous artists.

corn husk faceless doll, buy, sale, pass the feather, first nations art directory, aboriginal arts collective of canada, scholarships, grants, workshops, classroom art exchange,

Carly Brascoupe

Website Designer

Kitigan Zibi Anishinaabe

artist, student

Carly's work with the organization is to create simple web pages 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 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.