Elders & Traditional Teachers

We would like to thank our Elders and Traditional Teachers for helping support our association. They have graciously offered to allow us to publish their information and contact.

isaacIsaac Murdoch Anishinaabe, Traditional Teacher, Fish Clan, Serpent River First Nation
Isaac Murdoch, whose Ojibway name is Sacred Rawhide, grew up in the traditional setting of hunting, fishing and trapping. During his many years living off the land, Isaac has learned many of the stories and legends that accompany many of the Sacred Sites and Values placed on Mother Earth and has become a wonderful narrator and advocate for these precious treasures. His many years of experience of conducting ceremonies have helped him maintain a special balance between man and nature and he is known for his advocacy for getting the younger generation in-touch with the land and these Sacred Sites. Through his company Ojibway Connections, Isaac spends most of his time teaching young people the traditional skills of living off the land and has facilitated dozens of Cultural Camps over the years. Isaac has travelled internationally as an advocate and spokesperson and has had the opportunity to meet with people such as Pope John Paul II, Queen Elizabeth & Prince Charles as well as many Canadian dignitaries including Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Isaac Day Healer & Ojibway Ceremonial Leader, Fish Clan, Serpent River First Nation
Isaac is a Medicine Man born on the Serpent River Reserve in Ontario. He was raised by his Grandfather in the Traditional Way. After many years of his teachings being suppressed through Residential School, Isaac began regaining the teachings through other well known and respected traditionalists such as Dan Pine and Joe Eagle Elk. He is a seer and uses ceremonies to help interpret the Spirit World. He also works as a Traditional Counsellor. Today, Isaac, inspires many people to regain and retain their spiritual inner being. He uses his spiritual insights and gift of seeing to heal the mind, body and spirit. Of the many ceremonies that Isaac is capable of doing, he prizes the one that helps others to be able to find themselves so they can help themselves.
Janice Longboat Traditional Teacher & Herbalist, Turtle Clan, Mohawk Nation
Janice Longboat is recognized internationally as an herbalist, Elder, traditional healer and teacher. Her vision is to promote and support healthy and safe First Nations families through the teachings and practice of First Nations culture. Jan has practiced as a healer and teacher for over forty years, both independently and within health and educational institutions and has been acknowledged with an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Guelph. Nurturing her way of life with medicines and healing, she was given the teachings by many Elders and Medicine people. Jan shares many of those teachings about Traditional Medicine, Healing, Dreams, Ceremony, Fastings, and Earth changes.
Dan Smoke  Traditional Teacher, Killdeer Clan, Seneca Nation
MaryLou Smoke Anishinaabe Traditional Teacher, Bear Clan, Batchewana Bay
Originally from the Six Nations Reserve, Grand River Territory, Dan Smoke has been gifted with extensive traditional knowledge and teachings from various nations including Cree, Lakota, Ojibway, Cayuga, Seneca, Oneida and Mohawk Nations of the Haudenosaunee. Mary Lou is Ojibway from Blind River Ontario and is a gifted writer, singer, guitarist and traditional drummer.Mary Lou was recently recognized in London, Ont. as a 2013 YMCA Woman of Excellence for her work in education. In addition to their vast traditional knowledge and cultural experience Dan, along with his partner Mary Lou Smoke, are successful television and radio broadcasters, co-producers of Smoke Signals at CHRW Radio 94.9 FM, chrwradio.ca and CTV London. Since 2006, the Smokes have been teaching at Western University for the First Nations Studies Department and the Faculty of Information and Media Studies as well as at Brescia University College since 2009. In 2008, they were awarded the University Students Council of UWO’s Teachers of Excellence Award for their teaching methods, which include ceremonial protocols. Dan and Mary Lou often work together conducting opening and closing ceremonies for events such as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, UN Human Rights Day, National Aboriginal Day International Women’s Day and continue to be Cultural Counselors for a number Colleges, Universities, Agencies, and Service Providers throughout Ontario.
Nancy Rowe Mississauga, Ojibway, Anishinaabek, New Credit First Nation
Giidaakunadaad (The Spirit Who Lives in High Places) n’dizhinikaaz (is my name): Nancy Rowe is a Mississauga, Ojibwe of the Aanishinaabek Nation located at New Credit First Nation, ON. Nancy holds an honors BA in Indigenous Studies and Political Science. She is an educator, consultant and a Traditional Practitioner of Aanishinaabek lifeway’s, views and customary practices and is currently completing a Master’s degree of Environmental Resource Studies at the University of Waterloo. She is an avid volunteer who co-ordinates Akinomaagaye Gaamik, a grass roots initiative to provide educational opportunities for all peoples interested in Indigenous perspectives of life, health, education, history and the environment. “Education is the doorway through which we all can create a common ground and understanding of not only Indigenous Peoples but also, and more importantly, our environment.”
Marcel Labelle Traditional Birch Bark Canoe Builder, Métis, Algonquin
Marcel Labelle is a proud Algonquin and Metis husband, father and grandfather. He grew up in Mattawa, a small town in Northern Ontario and spent most of his childhood on the trap line where he learned how to live with and from the forest.  Marcel shares Anishinaabe knowledge through birch bark canoe building. He is recognized as a senior artist by the Ontario Arts Council since 2008 and received OAC Aboriginal Arts Projects Grants every year since. Today he is an Aboriginal Awareness speaker, an author and offers special canoe building projects at Universities, Colleges and English and French School Boards in Northern and Southern Ontario. His work has received International recognition. He and his wife Joanne have recently moved back home to live in a log cabin they built themselves where they plan to share for many years to come.
Maria Brazeau Inuit Elder, Labrador
Maria was born and raised in Nain, Labrador in a predominantly Inuit community in times when they traveled by dog teams, and mail came once a year by boat. Maria is married (42 years) with 2 children, and 6 grandchildren. Maria is perfectly bilingual in English and Inuktitut and has been a Labrador Inuttut translator for many organizations, the government as well as Inuit Tapiriit Kanatame since 1972. As an Inuit elder, she has taught Inuit Cultural Awareness and spiritual presentations at various government departments, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Odawa Native Friendship Centre’s Youth meetings. She has performed numerous opening, closing and lighting of the qulliq ceremonies including The Aboriginal Summit; The Departments of Justice, and DIAND and has stood in for Jose Kusugak, past president of ITK to give presentations. Maria worked at Canada Post Corporation (CPC) Head Office as Inuit Liaison Officer for Northern Services Division for 11 years where she started the Aboriginal Centre at CPC. While there, she was instrumental in convincing The CPC and Bank of Mtl to provide a first ever, full banking services to a small isolated community in the Arctic, Nain, and received a Business Growth award for it. She was then appointed as Inuit Liaison Officer for the Corporation. Maria’s many achievements include: editor for the Department of Indian Affairs, contributed research for The Royal Commission on Labrador, Inuit language curriculum, receiving line for the Queen and Prince Philip, Prime Minister and Margaret Trudeau at the filming of “Dances With Wolves” and has been Vice-President of her own school in Nain, Labrador.
Anthony Templer Ojibway, Elk Clan, Garden River First Nation
Karen Gellman Métis, Cree, Martin Clan
Raised by a traditional medicine woman, Anthony is Elk clan, and performs certain ceremonies and works with various organizations throughout Turtle Island for the restoration of body, mind and spirit. Karen is Métis of Cree decent of the Martin Clan, and has spent the majority of her life living in Ojibwa country, where she has received many of her teachings.  She is Drum Carrier and has shared this gift willingly for many years.  Together, they share their gifts of the Drum, Song and Flute to help bring balance and insight to others. At this juncture Anthony and his partner Karen are sharing, aboriginal teachings with children, families and organizations, to bring awareness, insight and joy through various workshops and hands on teachings.
Garry Sault Ojibway Elder, Storyteller, Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation
Garry Sault is an Ojibway elder from Mississauga’s New Credit Nation. His people signed over 20 pre-confederation treaties with the Crown which cover most of the Golden Horseshoe. He is a veteran and served in the United States Navy. He resides on the New Credit First Nation with his wife of 40 years and enjoys spending quality time with his grandchildren. Garry is a storyteller and has welcomed chiefs, premiers, environmentalists, and many more to the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit.
Annie Smith-St.Georges Algonquin Elder, Kitigan-Zibi First Nation 
Annie (Kishkwanakwad) Smith St-Georges is a well-recognized Algonquin Elder, born and raised on the Kitigan-Zibi reserve near Maniwaki, Quebec. She was the founder of Kumik, the Elders Lodge (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada) established in the early 1990s following the Oka crisis. Elders came from across Canada to share their teachings and knowledge and to help Annie who, at the time, was recovering from the loss of her son. Subsequently, she founded WAGE, a health center for the integration of Aboriginal knowledge with medical science. Annie was a member of the planning committee for the 5th National Conference on Diabetes and Aboriginal Peoples: Restoring Balance was held in Ottawa, Ontario from March 16-18, 2009. Annie has participated in national and international conferences such as the National Forestry Association, Stephen Lewis Foundation and The Canadian Centre for International Justice. Annie and her husband, André-Robert St-Georges, have been featured in the National film Board (NFB) film Kwekanamad/The Winds are Changing/Les Vents Tournent.
Maurice Switzer Anishinabek, Haudenosaunee, Skunk & Martin Clan, Mississaugas of Alderville First Nation
Maurice Switzer is a citizen of the Mississaugas of Alderville First Nation, where his grandfather Moses Marsden was Chief from 1905-1909. He is Zhgaag (Skunk) Dodem Anishinabek, and Okwaho (Wolf) Clan Haudenosaunee, passed down from his great-grandmother Esther Hill from Tyendinaga. He also is proud of his Jewish ancestry. He currently serves as director of communications for the Union of Ontario Indians, a position he previously held with the Assembly of First Nations. He was a member of the inaugural class at Trent University, where he was the first Indigenous student, and has been a faculty member at First Nations Technical Institute, Huntington University, Canadore College and the Banff Centre’s Aboriginal Leadership program. Maurice was also the first Indigenous publisher of a daily newspaper in Canada. His public education activities include presentations on Treaties and Wampum Belts for students, educators, and government employees. Maurice was inducted into the Nipissing District Human Rights Hall of Fame in 2003 and in 2010 named a recipient of an Anishinabek Nation Lifetime Achievement Award.
Ray John Jr. Oneida Nation

Ray John Jr. has been in the education field for almost 20 years and works as a child and youth worker with high-risk students. A proud father of two boys, Ray uses a value system based on family as the foundation of his speaking engagements in order to help guide people to this beautiful way of life. Through the creation of a personal medicine shield, his message, based on aboriginal culture and teachings, focuses on the importance of establishing balance in all things by demonstrating respect for others, modeling positive leadership qualities amongst peers, being a good role model for younger students as well as looking after each other and our surroundings. His message is expressed in music, dance and classroom discussions to bring an entertaining and meaningful opportunity to reflect on how we treat each other, and how others might be affected by our actions and words.
Jerry Otowadjiwan Anishinaabe Traditional Teacher, 3rd Degree Mide
Jerry Otowadjiwan is a third degree Mide, Anishinaabe knowledge holder, teacher, storyteller, singer and Anishinaabemowin language specialist. Embracing a multi-generational, cultural revitalization focus, Jerry’s practice is rooted in his positioning as a Mishomis and chi Mishomis to 7 grandchildren. Jerry’s process also reflects a unique ability to ‘sing worlds into being’ through creatively engaging with protocol, practice and a song’s lineage to protect, support and assist those transitioning. Jerry’s involvement with community rooted organizations has enhanced and re-conceptualized ‘support services’ to include physical, mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions. Laurentian University, University of Sudbury and the Wabnode Centre for Aboriginal Services are just a few of the spaces where Jerry has assisted in cultural revitalization and knowledge sharing. Jerry carries the collective knowledge and memory of place embedded in the singing traditions and protocols of Anishinaabe intelligence. His unique process evokes songs as vehicles to create frequencies of kinship and relationality. This urban methodology assists those who may have experiences dislocation to homeland. Jerry also embodies a strong capacity of translating complex thoughts disseminating from Anishinaabe principles and philosophies.
Pauline Shirt Elder, Plains Cree, Red-Tail Hawk Clan
Pauline Shirt was born and raised in Saddle Lake Reserve, Alberta. Pauline is greatly recognized for her commitment to the Toronto Native community and for her dedication as a teacher and lecturer since the late sixties. She is a member of the Three Fires Society and the Buffalo Dance Society. Today, Pauline serves as a mentor to many Aboriginal youth and young families as an experienced and trusted Grandmother. She also works in all levels of government conducting Opening Prayers and attending meetings, making sure the Aboriginal community is positively recognized as she offers a voice for her people.
Clayton Shirt Knowledge Keeper, Three Fires Midewewin Lodge
Clayton Shirt (TRP) is a counsellor and Traditional native healer. He is a first-degree member of the Three Fires Midewewin Lodge. Clayton is a pipe carrier, sweat lodge keeper and is skilled in the Usui system of Reiki – 2nd degree. Clayton performs healing ceremonies and has been traditional for most of his life.
Elaine Kicknosway Swampy Cree of Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, Wolf Clan

Elaine Kicknosway is Wolf Clan, originally from Northern Saskatchewan, and a member of Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation. She is a singer, women’s traditional dancer, participant in ceremonies and ongoing learner. Elaine supports and helps within drumming circles, ceremonies, talking circles, discussion related to intergenerational impacts of residential school and how child welfare has impacted the family today.
Vince KicknoswayPottawatomi, a Healing and Wellness Coordinator, Loon Clan, and from Walpole Island First Nations
Vince Kicknosway is from Walpole Island First Nations. He is of Pottawatomi ancestry and from the Loon Clan. Vince is a father of four and a grandfather of ten. He is proud to follow the Traditional Ways, and continues learning on his healing journey which he began twenty seven years ago. He has been a Healing and Wellness Coordinator, since the program began in 1995. This program focuses on the life cycle from the conception stage, infancy and on through to senior or Elder.

In 1983-84, he completed and received a certificate of participation at the School for Addiction Studies in Toronto, Ontario. In 1998, he successfully completed the requirements of the course training standard and is qualified as a Community Justice Forum Facilitator. Vince completed two training sessions in suicide intervention in 1999 and 2001. He has received numerous certificates for volunteerism with many Aboriginal organizations, organizations with the City of Ottawa and other agencies. He presently promotes the Kizhaay Anishinaabe Niin. In June 2003, Vince received a Bachelor of Social Work Degree with honours. He has received several Meritorious Service awards, including the Ministry of the Solicitor General and Correctional Services, and a twenty year service award from the ministry of Community and Social Services. He is presently in his twenty ninth year working with the Incarcerated Aboriginal People at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre, providing prayer and support. Lastly, he is in his thirty eighth year with the Odawa native Friendship Centre.

Theland Kicknosway Potawatami/Cree, Loon Clan
Theland Kicknosway is Wolf Clan, is Potawatami and Cree, and is a member of Walpole Island in Southern Ontario. He is 12 years old, a singer, a grass & hoop dancer, and helps in ceremonies in many places. He is in Grade 7 and enjoys going to school in the Ottawa region where he is a part of sports teams. He enjoys offering his gifts of song/dance/voice for all. Please see recent articles on Theland –

‘Times have changed,’ says boy who drummed Justin Trudeau into Rideau Hall

Indigenous Youth Walking for Justice: A Leveller Exclusive Interview

Thomas Louttit Ohiskwabawis (helper to the people), Moose Cree, Moose Clan
Thomas is originally from Moose Factory, on James Bay. He is a graduate of the Ontario Native Education Counsellor Program. Thomas carries the teachings of a traditional fire keeper and maintains a Sacred Sweat Lodge. For the past twenty years he has been facilitating Traditional Healing Circles. Thomas is very active in the Ottawa community and is often found providing teachings and healing to both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations. Thomas is frequently invited to openings and to provide traditional teachings at schools, universities and community groups. Thomas has 16 grandchildren and currently lives in Ottawa with his wife Pennie.
Gaetan Lefebvre Algonquin, Bear Clan, Kitigan Zibi First Nation
Gaetan Lefebvre of the Bear Clan, is a father, Medicine man, Sacred Pipe Carrier, Sacred Fire Keeper, and Traditional Dancer for the last 16 years who also loves to do crafts in his spare time. His spirit name, Two Bears Stands Alone comes from the Shaking Tent Ceremony, which he attended in 1995. He was an adopted child during the Sixties scoop era and he grew up in a French Canadian family. He met his biological siblings in 1994 and he found his answers in the culture.  As a fire keeper, taking care of the fire is to allow people to have a safe place so they can pray and reflect on the things they need. It is a responsibility laden with love, honour and respect.
Stanley Peltier Ojibway Language Teacher & Elder
Stanley Peltier is currently a Native Language Teacher and Elder with the Rainbow District School Board. He has over twenty years as a classroom teacher in Aboriginal communities and has traveled nationally and internationally advocating the Anishinaabe Culture and Native Language. He presented at the World Indigenous Conference on Education (WIPCE) on three occasions: New Zealand 2005, Australia in 2008 and Hawaii in 2014. He participated in the World HIV/AIDS Conference 2010 and Washington DC 2012. Stan is currently involved with the Ministry of Education revision process for the next Ontario Curriculum in First Nations, Métis & Inuit Studies and Native Languages. He speaks Ojibway fluently and is currently working on methodology to enhance the Anishinaabemowin teaching methods. He is a trained facilitator and an elder in the aboriginal community. Stanley and his family practice a traditional ecological lifestyle. Currently enrolled at Nipissing University in the M.Ed. program, his dissertation will be the use of Anishinaabe epistemology methodology for teaching Native Languages.