My name is Tobias Clarke - Niish Miigwanag, I am a verified citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario. I was born in North Western Ontario in a small town called Dryden. My knowledge of my ancestors were deeply hidden for many years in my beginnings - It wasn't until I was just entering my late teenage years that our culture became an open subject at the family kitchen table.
When my family became open about our roots it really came to no surprise to me as I knew I was guided in the beginning by my ancestors. Our lives before the openness of our family ancestry was in a seamless alignment with our Métis culture - Harvesting and trapping was a part of our lives which included our music and art. I have been very fortunate to have been afforded the privilege to be openly proud and to be gifted with traditional knowledge and teachings from my ancestors, family and community. Some of my art has been a journey of self teachings and discoveries while others have been a wonderful gift of community teachers within and outside of my Métis community. I first learned how to harvest through my family in knowing that all things from the creator are sacred and deserve honour. I took this teaching beyond what some would feel is a typical harvest practice as I became active in harvesting along roadsides. Creating jewelry and various objects that honour the life that had been taken. My history of moccasin making came from an old friend from Six Nations of the Grand River - Sara Doolittle, The Manitobah Mukluks Workshop and the Beaverhouse First Nation - Kirkland Lake - Health Services. My beading history comes from being self taught as well as learning Haudenosaunee Raised Beadwork techniques from Naomi Smith and Stevie Jonathan. In 2011 I committed to writing down a traditional story of "The Story Of The Tamarack" where in 2019 it was co-published as a children's illustration book with Jeffery Wilson. For over two decades I have shared my stories and teachings with my children and others to ensure words such as "Forgotten" are stricken from our voices so our seven generations will know and carry our traditions openly.