Our three advisors, Andre Bear, Gabrielle Fayant, and Maatalli Okalik have been supported in their leadership roles as Indigenous Youth by their communities and other Indigenous leaders. Their expertise, knowledge and leadership has been sought out by the Ministry of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and Minister Carolyn Bennett to lead the Indigenous Youth Voices initiative.
Andre is a Cree, Two-Spirited young man from the Nehîyawak peoples in Treaty 6 Territory. He is the youngest of his siblings at 22 years old, both him and his two older sisters were raised by their single mother, both on reserve and within the inner city of Saskatoon. Formerly the Male Co-Chair of the Assembly of First Nations National Youth Council, he now stands as an Executive member on the AFN National Youth Council. Andre is also proud to be the Male Youth Representative of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, which is better known as the FSIN Indian Government of Saskatchewan. His greatest passion is within Cree- spirituality, his traditional history and language, where he consistently participates in ceremonies under the direction of both Cree and Dakota Elders. Andre is currently in his third year in the Indian Teacher Education Program at the University of Saskatchewan, where he hopes to become a high school teacher for Indigenous students.
Gabrielle Fayant originates from Fishing Lake Metis Settlement, Alberta and identifies as a proud Metis woman, a woman of Lii Michif Otipemisiwak. Currently living in Ottawa, ON, the traditional territory of the Algonquin peoples, Gabrielle has worked with a number of national, provincial and local Indigenous and youth serving organizations, groups and councils. She has worked in various capacities for organizations such as the Aboriginal Healing Foundation (AHF), Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC), Metis Nation of Ontario’s (MNO) Infinite Reach Program, KAIROS Canada, and the Circle’s Ontario Indigenous Youth Partnership Program (OYIPP).
Inspired by the Idle No More Movement in 2012, Gabrielle along with a team of Indigenous youth began an initiative called Assembly of Seven Generations (A7G) that supported youth through cultural events and celebrations and developed an empowerment program called ReachUp! North. For her commitment and work over the years, Gabrielle was honoured with the 2015 Indspire Metis Youth Award and the 2016 JS Woodsworth Individual Leadership Award. Gabrielle is also the co-host and producer of the Michif Hour on CKCU-FM, a radio how that talks about Metis history and contemporary realities while spotlighting Metis artists, past and present.
Maatalii Aneraq Okalik
Maatalii Aneraq Okalik is a very proud Inuk from Nunavut. Maatalii promotes Inuit languages, culture and practices, suicide prevention, education, empowerment, and reconciliation. In her role as President of the National Inuit Youth Council from 2015-2017 she represented Inuit youth in Canada from the Inuvialuit, Nunavut, Nunavik, and Nunatsiavut regions, building awareness and understanding of the circumstances of Inuit youth locally, nationally, and internationally. Maatalii has been recognized for her youth advocacy by being awarded a 2017 Indspire Award, a 2016 Qulliit Status of Women Award, and the inaugural United Nations First Generation Award.
Maatalii is a public servant for the Government of Nunavut and is currently the Chief of Protocol with the Department of Executive and Intergovernmental Affairs and formerly worked at the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut.
Maatalii is hopeful that within her lifetime, she will see more Indigenous Peoples speaking their languages and continuing to celebrate their cultures as well as have the same level and quality of essential services as other Canadians. This, she believes, will be achieved due to the leadership of government and due to the passion and capacity of Indigenous youth across the country.
IYV Administration Team
Our team continues to grow in order to better support the mandate of the Advisors - the following team members are also youth of First Nations, Inuit and Métis descent encouraging broad perspectives of youth research and engagement.
Lindsay DuPré is a Métis social worker and educator with Métis and Swampy Cree ancestry from along the Red River and Fort Severn. She was born and raised in Mississauga and has lived in Southern Ontario for most of her life, but attributes much of her knowledge and growth to time spent learning with a range of Indigenous individuals and communities across Northern Turtle Island. Lindsay has worked on a number of initiatives across the country advancing areas such as Indigenous education, youth empowerment, mental health and reconciliation. She holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Psychology from the University of Guelph and a Master of Social Work specializing in Social Justice & Diversity from the University of Toronto. Her work is grounded in a deep respect for storytelling and commitment to strengthening the growing network of First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth fighting for social and environmental justice.
Waabishkigaabo (Will Landon) is a citizen of Wauzhushk Onigum Nation which is on the northern shores of Lake of the Woods in Ontario, he is of the Lynx Clan, and is Seventh Generation from the signing of Treaty #3. He is the proud father of a 6 year old daughter. Waabishkigaabo studied Political Studies at the University of Manitoba. While at the University of Manitoba, Waabishkigaabo represented the Indigenous Student voice as the Aboriginal Representative on the Student Union. Waabishkigaabo pushed and unanimously passed a position statement for the Student Union on the Relationship with First Nation, Inuit, and Metis and on Reconciliation; with the Union Respecting the Spirit and Intent of Treaty #1 as the paramount position. Waabishkigaabo was selected as the first First Nation person to be a part of the Young Diplomats of Canada to the G7 Youth Gathering in Italy in May of 2017. Currently, Waabishkigaabo sits on the Treaty #3 Youth Executive Council, Ontario First Nations' Young Peoples' Council as the Male Treaty #3 Representative.
Administration & Communications
Marissa Mills is part of the Raven Clan and a member of the Kluane First Nation. Her home territory is on the shores of Lù’àn Män (Kluane Lake) in the Yukon Territory. She is an Indigenous woman who identifies with 3 nations; her mother is both Southern Tutchone and Tlingit and her father is Métis from Alberta. Growing up in a small community, Marissa has always had a strong connection with her people and the land. After graduating high school in Whitehorse, YT, she sat on the Kluane First Nation Council as the Youth Councillor for three years. This is where she had the opportunity to motivate the youth in her community, as well as make connections with Youth in many other communities (including Yukon, British Columbia, Alaska and others). She is currently completing her Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Indigenous Studies at the University of Ottawa and is the Indigenous Students’ Representative on the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa. Marissa is also a co-founder of the Assembly of Seven Generations, an Indigenous youth led organization in Ottawa. Lastly and most importantly, she is a mother to her child, Kona Lewis.
Thea is Ojibwe/Maliseet member of the Nipissing First Nation in Ontario who comes from a family of creatives, artists and activists. She studied film and design and worked in the Film industry in Vancouver. She has since been working in the Philanthropic sector for over 9 years and does her best to blend creativity with action.
Community Outreach Coordinator
Charlotte Qamaniq was born and raised in Nunavut, proudly originating from Iglulik and now resides in Ottawa, Ontario with her two young children. Charlotte is passionate about spreading awareness about her Inuit heritage and encourages reconciliation through presentations and workshops across Canada. A recognized Inuit throat singer, her latest album called "Silla and Rise - Debut" was nominated for Best Indigenous Album of the Year by the 2017 Juno Awards.
Charlotte served on the National Indigenous Young Women’s Council and was also nominated as a National Aboriginal Role Model by the National Aboriginal Health Organization for her contribution to the Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention Walk. Charlotte walked alongside other youth from Duncan, British Columbia to Ottawa, Ontario, to raise awareness on the issue of suicide among Indigenous communities in Canada.
Charlotte continues to work in her musical career as well as encourage Canada to recognize the state of affairs of Indigenous people and work towards reconciliation for the betterment of all Canadians.