True reconciliation begins by acknowledging and understanding our history. As we celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day — a day that honours the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples — meet some of the speakers forging the path to a just future for all who call Canada home.
Through sharing their stories, experiences, and insights into Indigenous peoples’ worldview, they’re helping to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, and build a future where we can all work, succeed, and prosper together.
Chief Perry Bellegarde
Chief Perry Belegarde served two terms as the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. He played an instrumental role in the 2021 adoption of new federal legislation committing Canada to fully implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into national law and policy.
“The UN Declaration is about Indigenous peoples finally regaining control over own lives and the future of our communities,” Perry said. “It’s about combatting systemic racism and closing the gap in quality of life between Indigenous peoples and the rest of Canada. And it is about finding new ways to work together to share the wealth of this great country. Ultimately, I believe that this is a vision and framework that can inspire and guide all Canadians on the path of reconciliation.”
In recognition of Perry’s dedication to championing the rights and well-being of Indigenous people, he was honoured with the Nation Builder of the Year Award from the Empire Club of Canada in 2021.
Hear from Perry in the video below as he outlines the important distinction between “truth” and “reconciliation” and why truth must come first if true reconciliation is the goal.
From her time as a leader of British Columbia’s First Nations, a Member of Parliament, and the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, there is one question Canadians have asked the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould more than any other — what can I do to help advance reconciliation?
From her unique perspective as both a community and political leader, Jody provides audiences with a roadmap to advancing true reconciliation across Canada. Already a bestselling author, Jody’s forthcoming book, True Reconciliation, will help readers translate words into action and contribute to new patterns of just and harmonious relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples at all levels of society.
Watch Jody speak about her bestselling memoir, “Indian” in the Cabinet: Speaking Truth to Power, with Steve Paikin on TVO’s The Agenda.
Tanya Talaga is sharing the stories Canada needs to hear. An award-winning Anishinaabe journalist and author, Tanya is the author of the national bestselling book, Seven Fallen Feathers, which introduced us to seven Indigenous high school students who mysteriously died in Thunder Bay. She is currently working on her third book as part of a three-book deal with HarperCollins Canada, which will explore the legacy of Canada’s residential school system through the stories of its intergenerational survivors.
In addition to being a columnist at the Globe and Mail, Tanya heads up Makwa Creative, a production company that amplifies Indigenous voices through documentary films, TV, and podcasts. Her first film, Mashkawi-Manidoo Bimaadiziwin Spirit to Soar, explored what has changed in Thunder Bay since the deaths of the Seven Fallen Feathers. Watch the trailer below and the full documentary on CBC Gem.
From Sweetgrass First Nation, award-winning entrepreneur and Indigenous keynote speaker Kendal Netmaker seeks to share teachings passed on to him from his elders so that all Canadians can benefit from them and contribute to a national dialogue that leads to change.
Through his powerful keynotes “The Future of Indigenizing Work” and “Indigenous Diversity Awareness and Education”, Kendal takes audiences into Indigenous Peoples’ worldview and shows why it’s crucial to understand and accept everyone’s stories, beliefs, and way of life in order to build a prosperous future.
Kendal joined us as part of our Virtual Speaker Series, sharing his heartfelt story of living and thriving in two different worlds, and how we can all set forward on a new equitable path for our nation.
In her truly globe-spanning talks, Sheila Watt-Cloutier speaks with passion and urgency on the issues of today — the environment, the economy, foreign policy, global health, and sustainability — not as separate concerns, but as a deeply interconnected whole.
With a focus on solutions, Sheila brings the realities of the Arctic ― where Inuit today face profound challenges to their environment, their economy, their health, and their cultural well-being ― to light. Since Sheila’s Inuit culture faces the most extreme challenges of globalization, she speaks from firsthand experience, and couples that with her extensive experience as a global leader and Nobel Peace Prize nominee.
In recognition of her prolific career as an environmental, cultural, and human rights advocate, Sheila was honoured with the 2022 Top 25 Women of Influence Lifetime Achievement Award. Watch Sheila’s TEDx talk below to learn how trauma at the human level and trauma on the planetary level are one and the same.
Susan Aglukark is one of Canada’s most unique artists. An award-winning Inuk singer-songwriter, she blends the Inuktitut and English languages with contemporary pop music arrangements to tell the stories of her people, the Inuit of Arctic Canada. Susan’s memorable and compelling keynotes blend storytelling and original songs to address the importance of self-respect and respecting others in leading a much healthier and happier life.
This year, Susan was awarded the Humanitarian Award at the 2022 Juno Awards in recognition of her work as the founder of The Arctic Rose Foundation. This foundation supports Northern Inuit, First Nations, and Métis youth through arts-based programming that promotes emotional and mental wellness while connecting them with their culture. Watch her inspiring acceptance speech below:
Jennifer Ménard-Shand is a First Nations Ojibwe and French Canadian, and the founder and CEO of Staff Shop, an award-winning, certified-diverse staffing and essential resource firm. Staff Shop services hundreds of clients across North America while deploying thousands of employees across Canada with a focus on global expansion.
Drawing on her personal and professional experience of oppression, Jennifer uses her platform to help move truth and reconciliation forward. She speaks from a place of peace and forgiveness with a passion for creating truly equitable workplaces to better serve future generations and leave a legacy worth following for Indigenous youth.
Interested in learning more about our Indigenous keynote speakers? Email us at [email protected].