The National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC)
The National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) is a network of 118 Friendship Centres and seven Provincial and Territorial Associations (PTAs) from coast-to-coast-to-coast. Friendship Centres are Canada’s most significant off-reserve Indigenous service delivery infrastructure and are the primary providers of culturally enhanced programs and services to urban Indigenous residents. For over half-a-century, Friendship Centres have been facilitating the transition of Indigenous people from rural, remote and reserve life to an urban environment. For many Indigenous people, Friendship Centres are the first point of contact to obtain referrals to cultural based socio-economic programs and services. As the national body of the Friendship Centre Movement, the NAFC is democratically governed, status blind and accountable to its membership. www.nafc.ca
Mel Maracle is a Mohawk and First Nation member of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte from the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in Ontario. Mel has lived in Ottawa for over forty years and is the Office Manager for the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC). She is the longest serving member of the Committee and is proud to have the NAFC as the official host for 2017 Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival (SSIF). Mel is the proud mother of two children who have blessed her with 4 grandchildren.
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK)
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) are the national voice of Canada’s 60,000 Inuit. Most Inuit live in 53 communities spread across the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (Northwest Territories), Nunavut, Nunavik (Northern Quebec), and Nunatsiavut (Northern Labrador). This vast region is called Inuit Nunangat. It encompasses roughly 35 percent of Canada’s landmass and 50 percent of its coastline. ITK contribute to a shared sense of political and cultural identity among Inuit across Canada through the work they do. They unify their population through political advocacy, public outreach and education about the common issues facing ITK people. ITK’s ability to foster a shared sense of identity among their small population spread across a vast space continues to be the cornerstone of their success. www.itk.ca
A beneficiary of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement, Mitchell White is a Communications Officer, Editor with Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the national voice of Canada’s 60,000 Inuit. His main role is Editor of Inuktitut Magazine, a publication devoted to chronicling the Inuit experience in Canada for over 40 years.
His other volunteer experience includes serving as a councillor for the Nain Inuit Community Government (the youngest to do so in the municipal government’s history); and as a board member for the Aboriginal People’s Television Network’s board of directors.
Assembly of First Nations (AFN)
The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is the national representative organization of the First Nations in Canada. There are over 630 First Nation communities in Canada whose interests are represented by the AFN. They are determined to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of the First Nations communities large and small. AFN promotes social progress and better standards of life among the First Nations people. By virtue of their rich heritage, historical experience and contemporary circumstances, First Nations possess common interests and aspirations to exercise their political will in common and to develop a collective struggle or cause based upon their values of trust, confidence and toleration. www.afn.ca
Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC)
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) works to advance the well-being of Indigenous women and girls, as well as their families and communities through activism, policy analysis and advocacy. NWAC was incorporated in 1974 as an aggregate of 13 Indiginous women’s groups from coast to coast to coast, with the goals of preserving Indiginous culture, achieving equal opportunity for Indigenous women, and having a role in shaping legislation relevant to Indigenous women. NWAC is one of the five officially recognized National Aboriginal Organizations (NAOs) whose purpose is to represent and speak, at the national level, on behalf of Indigenous women in Canada. www.nwac.ca
Marilyn Davignon from the Native Women’s Association of Canada.
Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP)
Today, over 70% of Indigenous people live off-reserve and the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) represents off-reserve First Nation and Métis people, urban, rural and remote. Founded in 1971 as the Native Council of Canada (NCC), the organization was originally established to represent the interests of Métis and non-status Indians. Reorganized and renamed in 1993, CAP has extended its constituency to include all off-reserve status and non-status Indians, Métis and Southern Inuit Aboriginal Peoples, and serves as the national voice for its provincial and territorial affiliate organizations. CAP also holds consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which facilitates its participation on international issues of importance to Indigenous Peoples. www.abo-peoples.org
Randy Martin has represented the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples on the National Aboriginal Day committee since 2001. He is the Senior Manager of the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training (ASETS) program at the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples.
Randy has participated in many projects, programs and policy development initiatives, and represented CAP on numerous committees with federal departments and agencies over the last 20 years.
Randy is Mi’gmaq connected to the Listuguj First Nation. In January 2014 Randy was, for the first time, recognized as an Aboriginal person in Canada when he obtained status under Bill C-3. Randy has a son Ocean, 23, and a daughter, Thée, 16.
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC)
INAC is one of 34 federal government departments responsible for meeting the Government of Canada’s obligations and commitments to First Nations, Inuit and Métis, and for fulfilling the federal government’s constitutional responsibilities in the North. INAC‘s responsibilities are largely determined by numerous statutes, negotiated agreements and relevant legal decisions. Most of INAC‘s programs and spending are delivered through partnerships with Indigenous communities and federal-provincial or federal-territorial agreements. INAC also works with urban Indigenous peoples, Métis and Non-Status Indians (many of whom live in rural areas). www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca
Julian is a Communications Advisor for Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and has participated as an ex-officio member for the National Capital Region National Aboriginal Day Committee since 2004.
Julian has been with the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada for 28 years and is a Saulteaux First Nation from Rolling River First Nation, Treaty Four situated in South Western Manitoba.