The Speakers

Chief Phil Lane Jr

Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr. is an enrolled member of the Yankton Dakota and Chickasaw First Nations and is an internationally recognized leader in human and community development. He was born at the Haskell Indian Residential School in Lawrence, Kansas in 1944. He is a citizen of both Canada and the USA and was on the IILG agenda in both 2009 and 2010.

Mona Polacca

Participation of Elder Mona Polacca, one of the 13 Grandmothers Some words fromMonaPolacca: Indigenous people have come through a time of great struggle, a time of darkness. The way I look at it is like the nature of a butterfly. In the cocoon, a place of darkness, the creature breaks down into a fluid and then a change, a transformation, takes place. When it is ready and in its own time, it begins to move and develop a form that stretches and breaks away from this cocoon and emerges into this world, into life, as a beautiful creature. We grandmothers, we have emerged from that darkness, see this beauty, see each other and reach out to the world with open arms, with love, hope, compassion, faith and charity.

Mona Polacca: Mona, a Hopi/Havasupai /Tewa elder, has a Master of Social Work degree. She serves on several United Nations committees on indigenous people's issues and is a featured author, speaker, and educator on indigenous people's human.

Paula Horne-Mullen

Paula Horne-Mullen is an accomplished traditional Dakota singer and artist. Her musical credits include opening for the Indigo Girls, touring Europe with Keith Secola and other notable native artists, and composing and producing her own cd, Songs of a Black Hills Woman. She has been involved in Indian rights for over 20 years, organizing the Run to Pipestone and Thanksgiving Feast and is one of the original graduates of Red Schoolhouse in Minnesota and a subsequent board member. She brought her organizational skills to World Peace and Prayer Day in 1996 and has been a moving force in creating the events ever since. She is also the mother of eight children.

Chief Arvol Looking Horse

Words spoken by Chief Arvol Looking Horse at the Gathering 2009: (re-printed form theSt'at'imc Runner May 09) While some people think they can control the environment, we believe our ceremonies bring balance and harmony back to Mother Earth. It's sad, what happened to our people. The historical trauma, then the drugs and alcohol, and now we are having suicides. In our sacred language, there is no word for "suicide." No matter how hard things get, we can't lay down, we always have to face the wind.
Arvol Looking Horse was born on the Cheynne River Reservation in South Dakota in 1954. He was raised by hi Grandparents Lucy and Thomas Looking Horse. He learned cultural and spiritual ways of the Lakota. He speaks both Lakota and English.

Dr. Lee Brown

Dr. Lee Brown: Dr. Lee Brown is the Coordinator of the Indigenous Doctoral Program inthe Department of Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia where he wrote his thesis entitled: Making the Classroom a Healthy Place: The Develop of Affective Competency in Aboriginal Pedagogy. He is the Co-author of the The Sacred Tree, an educational curriculum based in Aboriginal values and epistemology.
He has been the keynote speaker at many Aboriginal conferences including the Awassis Education Conference held each year in Saskatoon. He has been invited to share his knowledge of culture and healing in over five hundred Indigenous communities in North America. Lee is a member of the Cherokee Nation and the Wolf Clan.

Dave Courchene

Dave Courchene: (website A leader descended from a long line ofIndigenous Chiefs of Turtle Island (America), Neeghani Aki Innini has taken on the ancient Indigenous role as a Messenger of Peace. His greatest focus has been to inspire young people of all nations to find their own visions, holding many Youth Gatherings throughout Canada and the USA. Neeghani Aki Innini has been an invited speaker on wide ranging issues related to the Indigenous communities, including education, Indigenous traditions; the environment; health and Indigenous medicine; peace; spirituality, governance and decision-making. He has been invited to serve as Indigenous and Spiritual Advisor in television and film documentaries. He has been invited to speak at world gatherings in Brazil, Japan, Israel, the Philippines, the US and Canada. In August 2000, he was an invited speaker at the 2000 Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders, hosted by the United Nations in New York, USA. )

Geshe YongDong

Geshe YongDong was born in the village of Nagpa,
Amdo, Tibet in 1969. His childhood years were spent much like that of any other Tibetan boy at that time. He had a large extended family of many aunts and uncles who took on the job of parenting. He attended the Chinese school however; an uncle secretly taught him some of the Tibetan language by using their fingers to trace out the alphabet in the snow. Geshe YongDong decided to become a monk when he was only seven years old. His mother had died and he vividly remembers seeing monks in his home chanting and praying. One young monk made a strong and lasting impression on him. At first, YongDong's family objected to his desire to become a monk, wanting him to join them in the family business. It was not until the death of his grandmother, six years later, that his family finally gave him the blessing to enter a Tibetan monastery. He was 13 years old.

Rene Franco Salas

René Franco Salas is the elder brother of Wiñay Taki Ayllu, a "heart family” living in the Andes.  Wiñay Taki shares ancestral Andean values and wisdom through our music and lives with humility, respect and gratitude.  René is the Director of Kusi Kawsay, a school in his community of Pisac, near Cusco, sharing all aspects of traditional culture and language with their children.  Ceremony is an essential means by which we seek to bring balance into our lives, an opportunity to share the love and wisdom that come from deep roots in our culture.  We feel that the future has great possibilities for bringing us back into right relation with one another and with Pachamana, the great Mother that nourishes us all, knowing that each of us is part of the great and beautiful human family on this planet.   Ayllu Masikunapaq!.
Malihatkwa Gwen Therrien  
Malihatkwa Gwen Therrien is an Elder Mother from Samahquam, BC. She is a traditional healer and sacred pipe carrier, following the traditions of her ancestors in a modern world.

Malihatkwa has been involved with issues arising from the injustices faced by Aboriginal women for many decades. She was the Elder for the NWAC "Sisters In Spirit" campaign and launch in Ottawa. She is a founding board member of the BC Aboriginal Women's Leadership Association

As an  active member in the urban and her First Nation community:
               *She helped form the Mission Friendship Centre and served as its President, and was a key supporter and contributor to the first Mission Pow wow in 1975.
               * Actively celebrate her culture and traditions throughout her life  she has encouraged countless youth to embrace their lineage.
                *She assists organisations such as the Fraser Valley Health Authority to integrate First Nations perspectives in their outreach work.
                * A textile artist- she shares her talent in the form of wearable/functional art, from traditional star blankets and ribbon shirts to rain capes and high fashion hats.

 Dalton Baptiste: hide tanning
My name is Dalton Baptiste, I am 21years of age and was born and raised in Chilcotin at Xeni Gwet'in(Nemiah Valley). I have learned how to tan hides in my grade 11 year of high school in 2006. My teacher for the class was Tina Setah, who is also a chilcotin from Yunesit'in(Stone Reserve). I have been tanning hides every summer since i have learned. I only work on deer hides right now, but i am looking to try out some other hides in the future. I look forward too teaching you how to tan hides at this years gathering. I am also looking forward to meeting many new people at this gathering.

Thank you to Havey and Helen McLoed for the sponsership of our elder:

Tom Crane Bear is an Elder, Teacher and Spiritual Leader, heralding from the Siksika Nation. He is a Pipeholder and remains steadily involved in the traditional Blackfoot Societies. The Indigenous Peoples of the World in New Zealand have bestowed upon Tom, the title of Honorable Elder.

At 53 years of age, Elder Tom returned to school and graduated Grade 11. Through Elder Tom’s extensive life experience, he has become an accomplished teacher and life-leader in diverse areas spanning cross-cultural boundaries. Tom received Nechi Institute training, then taught Wellness at Oklahoma State University in Continuing Education and Health. He has travelled extensively through the United States and Canada teaching these concepts and programs. Elder Tom continued his education by taking Life Skills Coaching Training in Edmonton and again increased his contributions to his community by teaching the same program in Calgary. Elder Tom has worked for Corrections Canada as Spiritual Advisor at Alberta prisons and has worked for Native Counselling Services by directly applying his experience and education for the benefit of indigenous youth. From 1990-1995, he worked as the Police Commissioner for Siksika Police Services and currently is Elder Advisor for the Siksika Land Claims, Siksika Justice and Aboriginal Justice Learning Networks in Ottawa.

Since the 1990’s, Tom has continued his work as Elder and Spiritual Advisor for most of The Banff Centre’s Aboriginal Leadership and Management Programs, bringing his wisdom, experience and insight to our many participants.





Thank you to Matilda Brown for the sponsership of:
Asma Maryam Ali
Asma is a master’s student at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto, pursuing a degree in Adult Education and Community Development. Her master's thesis focuses on using Indigenous principles and teachings to teach Muslim students about environmental stewardship, specifically through the practice of Seventh Generation Stewardship, Circle and the principles of Relationship, Respect, Reciprocity and Responsibility. In 2010, Asma worked with Turtle Lodge and Muslim leaders in Toronto to forge An Agreement of Kii-Zhay-Otti-Zi-Win and Ukhuwwa, the first agreement of its kind between Indigenous peoples and Muslims. Asma continues to work on building bridges between these communities. She has participated in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd International Roundtables Supporting Ancient Indigenous Knowledge held by Elder Dave Courchene Jr. Asma is a member of the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) and a former President of the Muslim Students' Association at the University of Toronto, St. George. She is an elementary school teacher by profession.
Wixarika People
Rodolfo Cosio Candelario is a jicarero, a person who has been commissioned by his community to care for the ceremonial center of Las Latas, Santa Catarina, and conduct the necessary pilgrimages to the sacred sites.
Juventino Carrillo de la Cruz of the community of San Sebastian is a member of the Wixarika Regional Council in Defense of Wirikuta.
Jaime Carrillo Carrillo is the former traditional governor of Santa Catarina and a longtime leader of his community.
Jesus Lara Chivarra is an artist, a community leader in San Sebastian and a leader of the Wirikuta Defense Front.
They have come to Canada to spread the word about the threat to their most sacred site, Wirikuta, the place where the sun was born, and where they make their annual pilgrimages to collect the sacred plant they call hikuri, or peyote, and to conduct the ceremonies that bring balance to all life on earth. A Canadian mining company, First Majestic Silver Corp., is planning to open a silver mine in this sacred site, which the Wixarika people believe would mean cultural death for them.