Youth Summit Speakers and Presenters - 2023
Michelle Nieviadomy - Master of Ceremonies
Michelle Nieviadomy is Nehiyaw Iskwew (Cree woman) with a passion for wellness, social justice & community development.
She is a member of Kawacatoose First Nation and while her roots are in Saskatchewan, she has called Edmonton home for the past 20 years.
She is the Assistant Director at the Edmonton Native Healing Centre.
She is an entrepreneur with her own business called Iskwew Health promoting health & wellness in various capacities! (Zumba, meditation, bootcamp, fitness kickboxing, wellness retreats) She believes movement is medicine & connection is everything!
Counselling Services offered to Youth throughout the Summit
Lacy Runner is a proud member of the Tsuut’ina and Secwepemc Nations. Lacy has an undergraduate degree from Mount Royal University in a Bachelor of Arts-Criminal Justice with a minor in Indigenous Studies. Lacy has completed her Masters of Counseling program at Gonzaga University. She plans to utilize her degree specializing in trauma work when supporting Indigenous peoples in their healing journeys. Lacy likes to incorporate Indigenous teachings into her counselling practice, especially horses. She also plans to facilitate group equine therapy sessions for Indigenous youth who have experienced some form of trauma. Lacy currently is the Mental Health Lead for her community with the Tsuut’ina Healthy Living program and oversees all mental health promotion, awareness, education and prevention of substance use.
EDYS Gala Keynote Speaker: Ashley Callingbull
Ashley Callingbull is an actress, model, host and First Nation’s activist from the Enoch Cree Nation. She is an actress on Blackstone, Tribal, The Great Salish Heist and was a contestant on the Amazing Race Canada. She was also the first Indigenous First Nations woman to win the Mrs Universe title.
Ashley is also an international motivational speaker and has been a keynote speaker at Harvard University, TED Talks and WE Day.
Ashley’s hard work and charity work was recognized as she received the Top 20 Under 30 Award in Canada and was named one of Canada’s Top 10 Power Women. Ashley received the Youth First Nations Award from Indspire and was inducted into the Circle of Honour at the Esquao Awards, which recognizes Indigenous female Leaders and Activists. Ashley also received a role model award from the United Nations on Global Dignity Day.
Last year Ashley was announced as the first Indigenous First Nations woman to become a Sports Illustrated Model. Ashley is currently an In Game Host for the Canadian Football League, the National Lacrosse League and the National Hockey League. She also recently signed her first book deal with Harper Collins publishing and will be a published author in 2024.
Motivator, Business Storyteller, Entrepreneur, and Author
Kendal Netmaker is an award-winning entrepreneur, author, and gifted keynote speaker who is on a mission to empower and motivate people worldwide by sharing his story that regardless of where you come from and what challenges you face, you have the power to enact change.
From Sweetgrass First Nation, Kendal and his siblings were raised by their single mother. Life wasn’t easy for them, growing up on the reserve surrounded by poverty and few chances for opportunities, but one moment would change their life forever.
Kendal has a natural gift; he’s a master storyteller who weaves his real-life experiences into motivating lessons that everyone can use in their own lives. His heartfelt stories are impactful, and he speaks professionally to thousands of people each year on resilience, leadership, and the power of telling your story.
He is a leading entrepreneur whose passion to succeed is contagious. Kendal is the founder of Neechie Gear - a lifestyle apparel brand that gives back a percentage of their profits to go toward funding underprivileged youth to empower them to take part in sports. He is the author of Driven To Succeed and won over 25 business awards, including being named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 and runner-up at the YBI Global Entrepreneur of the Year.
Kendal lives with his wife and two children in Saskatoon, SK, where he continues to run his company. He delivers virtual and in-person keynotes, as well as Indigenous Consulting to brands and organizations.
Aubrey-Anne Laliberte-Pewapisconias (she/her) is a nêhiyâskwew from Canoe Lake Cree First Nation and Little Pine First Nation. Aubrey is a recent graduate from the University of Saskatchewan with her Bachelor of Commerce in Finance, a Global Business Certificate, and an Indigenous Governance and Politics Certificate. Continuing her studies in her home territory, she is now pursuing her Master of Sustainability in Energy Security.
Aubrey is an Indigenous Youth Advocate and Environmentalist following her ancestral teachings of protecting Mother Earth for our future generations. Furthering this and promoting collaboration with Indigenous Peoples in a clean energy future, she attended the UNFCCC COP27 with Indigenous Clean Energy's delegation. Her passions have also led her to be in the first cohort of Generation Power, a previous National Ambassador of Hope with We Matter, and the previous National Student Director for Cando.
Her work extends through her time involved with numerous Indigenous organizations such as SIGA, Tatâga Inc., Canadian Roots Exchange, and more. Now, Aubrey is proud to be Canada's Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction negotiator in the G20 Youth Advisory space.
Tanya Tourangeau, Tanya T Consulting
Tanya Tourangeau is a proud Dene First Nation from the Northwest Territories, currently living on Treaty 6 territory in Alberta. Strongly believing we can build this nation together, Tanya’s work focuses on bridging partnerships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous governments, organizations, and communities. Her background is in leading Reconciliation through joint economic development, policy development, strategic planning, stakeholder relations, and organizational change. Tanya has worked for many Indigenous and non-Indigenous government, non-profit and for-profit organizations to create meaningful, large-scale systemic impact.
Tanya’s Vision for her Indigenous-led consulting business, Tanya T Consulting: Through Reconciliation and Collaboration, Indigenous People and Canada Thrive Together.
Nathan Crow is a proud Blackfoot male and a member of the Kainai First Nation, also known as the Blood Tribe. He grew up off-reserve his entire life and believes that this lived experience has enabled him to walk in two worlds and see the world through a two-eyed seeing lens. Crow returned to school as a mature student in September of 2019, after taking nine years off from his educational journey to enter the work force. Since returning to school, Crow has fully dedicated himself towards succeeding and reaching his full potential. Upon enrolling in the Indigenous Governance and Business Management program, he has made the Dean's Honor list in the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters, while also working two part time jobs with the University of Lethbridge: in the library as a student assistant, and with enrolment services as a student mentor. He is also the Indigenous student representative on the Students’ Union council at his university, as well as a member of the Community Futures Treaty Seven Student Advisory committee, and the National Student Director for the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers. Crow is very passionate about giving back to his community through the various advocacy and volunteer positions that he holds and is very excited and honored to participate in the 2022 Cando Economic Development Youth Summit.
Finance Session-Leveraging and Budgeting
on Tuesday, August 15th at 9:45am-10:30am
Shawna Morning Bull, Manager Business Development
Shawna Morning Bull whose traditional name is Ikannaisapiistikomi (Low Owl Hoot Woman) is a member of the Piikani First Nation which is apart of the Blackfoot Confederacy, She is presently employed as the Manager Business Development at Community Futures Treaty Seven (CFT7) in Calgary, Alberta for the past 13 years. Prior, she was a Business Loans Manager with Alberta Indian Investment Corporation and a Business Support Officer with Indian Business Corporation, but her career in business began with Peace Hills Trust in 1997. She has attended Lethbridge College for Business Management and Criminal Justice. In June 2022, attended Harvard Business School and completed a one week Leadership Program.
Shawna was on the Piikani Resource Development Limited Board of Directors from August 2011 to January 2020, an entity operating on her homelands of the Piikani Nation to develop, design and implement projects, programs and services for the benefit of her First Nation economy. Shawna, was also on the Board of Directors with CANDO as the Alberta Representative from 2013 to 2022. Shawna is the 2018 recipient of the Chief David Crowchild Award, she was presented this award by Mayor Nenshi in June 2018 for her efforts to build bridges in and around Calgary between indigenous and non-indigenous people and entities.
Shawna is married to Wade and together they have 5 children and 7 grandchildren. She enjoys attending her children’s activities such as college basketball, hockey, mixed martial arts, wrestling and they all enjoy hitting the powwow trail, where Shawna is a traditional dancer.
Natasha Youngchief, Resource Planning Coordinator,
Beaver Lake Cree Nation
Natasha Youngchief is Wapasu (White Swan), a Nehiyaw iskwew from Beaver Lake Cree Nation in Treaty Six Territory. Natasha completed the Kanawayihetaytan Askiy Program from the University of Saskatchewan, and is a Certified Aboriginal Lands Manager with The National Aboriginal Lands Managers Association. She also holds a Beef Production Certificate from Olds College as well as an Occupational Health & Safety Diploma from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. Currently the Resource Planning Coordinator for her Nation, Natasha was instrumental in the revitalization of the BLCN Woodland Bison herd within her community.
Being raised on a mixed farm operation in Eastern Alberta, Natasha gained a love for animals and agriculture which continues to be a focus in her life. She owns and operates Waniska Ranch with her husband and four children. Natasha has lived both on and off reserve and experienced domestic violence, intergenerational trauma, and racism. With her lived experiences as an Indigenous woman, she has proven that with resiliency and hard work, anything is possible.
Graham Sakaki - Regional Research Institute Manager
Vancouver Island University
Graham Sakaki is the Regional Research Institute Manager for Vancouver Island University’s Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute.
His educational background includes a Graduate degree in Community Planning, a Bachelor degree in Natural Resources Geography and a Diploma in Forest Resource Technology.
Graham’s work focuses on sustainability of all forms (economic, social and cultural, and environmental) through applied research and community engagement.
Kathleen BlueSky (She/Her), M.B.A., Wawatay Muskwa Iskwew
Sr. Vice-President, Corporate Strategy,
Treaty One Development Corporation
Kathleen BlueSky is a Cree and Anishinabe Ikwe, mother of 3, and entrepreneur. She comes from the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation and Minegoziibe Anishinabe First Nation. Kathleen has devoted her career as an executive leader to advancing the best interests of First Nations, with a commitment to opportunities that will restore wholistic well-being, independence, and self-governance.
Kathleen is the owner and CEO of Seven Feathers Consulting which is focused on empowering First Nation self-determination and strategic business development. For over 10 years, she led work on the social determinants of health for First Nations in Manitoba through intergovernmental collaboration initiatives and First Nation’s engagement. She served as CEO for her Nation, working with NCN government in advancing their Aski Pumenikewin (Land Code) and NCN Othasowewin (Constitution). She is co-founder of Wiijii’idiwag Ikwewag (Women Helping Each Other) which secured the first Social Impact Bond in Manitoba. Kathleen is the appointed Vice-Chair of the First Nation Market Housing Fund. She currently serves as the Senior VP, Corporate Strategy for the Treaty One Development Corporation.
On-Reserve Lands Manager, Woodland Cree First Nation
Elvis is the On-Reserve Lands Manager for the Woodland Cree First Nation and is a certified and recognized Lands Manager in Canada. Graduated from the University of Saskatchewan in 2014 as part of the National Lands Management Certification Program and has been the lands manager for the Woodland Cree First Nation since 2009. Born and raised in Treaty 8 territory in Northern Alberta most my life in the Peace Country and the Woodland Cree First Nation Traditional Lands.
William Vu, Moderator Entrepreneurship Panel
Title: Indigenous Tourism: Sharing our Stories
Join Director of Industry Development Mackenzie Brown to learn about one of Canada's fastest-growing industries: Indigenous Tourism. Learn about Indigenous Tourism, how ITA supports the industry, and how partnerships pave the way for Alberta to become a leader in the Indigenous tourism industry!
Mackenzie Brown, Director of Industry Development,
Indigenous Tourism Alberta
Mackenzie Brown is a First Nations Cree Woman from the Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation and currently resides in Mohkinstsis, Calgary. Brown has a background as a performer, drummer, tourism entrepreneur, philanthropist and advocate for at-risk youth in the Edmonton area in addition to her past roles in Indigenous Tourism Development with both the Government of Alberta and Edmonton Tourism. Mackenzie is well known across Alberta for performing with her mom as “Warrior Women.” Together they drum and teach around Alberta for the Northern Alberta Teachers Conference, the annual Jasper Dark Skies Festival, Youth Dream Catchers Conference, Canada Day, Aboriginal Day festivities and more.
In addition to drumming, Brown is also an avid acrylic artist and traditional First Nations crafts artisan. Her art has been featured in the Pump House Gallery, the Edson Gallery Museum, the Gray Gallery Grant MacEwan, recognized for the Alberta Indian Arts and Crafts Award of 2017, featured for the Alberta Business Competition 2017 and sold to people travelling worldwide at Jasper Park Lodge. Mackenzie has also been awarded the 2019 Esquao Award for Children’s Future, the 2019 Indigenous Woman of the year award from the Alberta Assembly of First Nations and the Top 30 under 30 from the Alberta Corporation for Global Cooperation 2020.
Bryce Starlight, Vice President, Taza Development Corp.
Bryce Starlight represents the Tsuut’ina Nation as VP Development with Canderel MDC Development Management Inc., the entity responsible for the planning and development of Tsuut’ina Developments, a comprehensive 1,200 acre development project in partnership with Canderel that is located adjacent to the southwest border of the City of Calgary. This comprehensive development encompasses three major precincts that will be developed over the next 20 years providing for a wide range of retail, office, entertainment, hospitality and institutional uses. Mr. Starlight has an active role in managing the planning and development activities at Taza including the Shops at Buffalo Run and the Costco development and is currently leading development at Taza Crossing which includes innovative concepts such as a Living Lab and an innovation accelerator business park. He is directly involved in coordinating Legislative, Land Code and Property Tax development, as well as advising on the Nation’s strategic Public Works expansion and growth. Mr. Starlight has an extensive background working with many Aboriginal communities, and has been widely involved in both political and technical working groups relating to First Nations land management, water policy, and resource management. Bryce previously spent over 5 years in the private sector, working closely with Aboriginal communities to develop their pipeline and transmission line applications throughout Alberta and BC. Bryce earned a BA (Political Science) degree from the University of Calgary as well as a Diploma from Mount Royal University.
Steph Eagletail, Stephanie Eagletail Designs
Steph Eagletail had been featured in Cowboys & Indians Magazine, she is known for being a “Multi-talented Indigenous woman” by the Toronto Star. She has had interviews with The Global and Mail, CTV National and CBC Indigenous News. As an up and coming Indigenous designer, steph portrays her work through her unique, custom made pieces.
Quote by Steph:
“Each piece is a piece of me, sewing is my form of intergenerational healing. My grandparents and parents attended Blue Quills residential school making me a 3rd generation residential school survivor. I am breaking barriers, reclaiming back my identity and languages as a Dine and Cree woman. I love to draw my inspiration from my ancestors, such as my great-grandparents and grandparents going back as far as 7 generations. Each piece that I create celebrates my culture and tradition. The modern-day designs pay tribute to the styles worn by my grandparents and are often created as statement piece against colonialism.” – Steph
Stephanie now teaches sewing lessons across Canada and soon in the US, she shares her knowledge with others and guides them to make their own custom coats, since April of 2022 to present day Steph has taught over 200+ people how to make their own coats. She loves to help others and she continues to do it because she loves seeing the pride and confidence in them when they have completed their own unique coat.
Steph will be making her second debut at this Septembers New York Fashion Week at Sony Hall, showcasing a 20-piece collection.
Heather Black is an entrepreneur, creative strategist, community champion and skills builder. These are some of the many hats Heather Black has worn as an Indigenous professional. Committed to building inclusion in the Indigenous community, Heather carries great passion for traditional and contemporary values, and is always willing to share cross-cultural knowledge with individuals, teams and organizations.
Heather not only owns one but two businesses. Creative Spirit Solutions an Educational/Business consultant and facilitator business as well as Buffalo Stone Woman is an Indigenous Tour Guide company located in the Treaty Seven Territory!
Shannon Pestun, Co-founder of The Finance Cafe, the CEO of Pestun Consulting
Shannon Pestun is a proud Cree Métis woman entrepreneur and courageous leader who is breaking barriers to advance an inclusive and sustainable economy. Recognized for creating innovative funding models and solutions that challenge the status quo, Shannon is one of Canada’s most sought-after finance consultants and a trusted voice on women’s entrepreneurship for educators, government, industry and the media. She was one of the first women in the country to lead a women’s banking strategy and one of seven women appointed to serve on Canada’s women entrepreneurship expert panel. Shannon is the Co-founder of The Finance Cafe, the CEO of Pestun Consulting and the Senior Advisor for Business and Finance for Canada’s Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub. Shannon is committed to bolstering Indigenous economic prosperity and wellness by driving regional economic growth and bringing an Indigenous-centred approach to her work. In 2020, she created the Gifting Circle Bursary for Indigenous women entrepreneurs, the first community-funded bursary that supports Indigenous women who pursue entrepreneurship and has raised over $120,000.
Marissa Lawrence, Senior Program Officer for the First Nation – Municipal Community Economic Development Initiative (CEDI) - Cando
Marissa has worked for Cando as the Senior Program Officer for the First Nation – Municipal Community Economic Development Initiative (CEDI) since July 2017. As a member of the CEDI team, Marissa supports First Nation – municipal partnerships across the country to establish respectful and equitable partnerships and to build capacity to engage in joint planning for community economic development and land-use.
Marissa has a rich background of designing and convening community-bridging intercultural dialogue and engagement programming. Marissa holds a BA in Communications, Minor in Dialogue from Simon Fraser University (SFU), Dialogue and Civic Engagement Certificate from SFU, is a Cando-certified Technician Aboriginal Economic Developer (TAED), and recently completed the Professional Indigenous Lands Management Certificate through Vancouver Island University.
2023 EDYS Planning Committee
Yakotshanuni (Kathleen Doxtator)
Yakotshanuni (Kathleen Doxtator) is a driven young woman from the Oneida Nation of the Thames. She actively participates in language revitalization, community well-being, First Nations politics, and lifelong learning. "Yakotshanuni" means "she is happy” in the Oneida language, reflecting Kathleen's work to maximize her potential. She serves as an Indigenous Education Teacher on Special Assignment for the Thames Valley District School Board. Previously, she taught the Oneida language and served as an Elected Councillor from 2016 to July 2022. Kathleen has diverse interests, including creating beaded jewelry, makeup artistry, and Indigenous activism. In June 2021, she started her business Guided by Our Gifts. Kathleen actively supports Indigenous youth, challenging the systems that disadvantage them and advocating for their rights at regional, provincial, and national levels. She is involved in First Nations youth councils such as AIAI, OFNYPC, and AFN NYC Assembly. Recognizing the gaps in various sectors affecting Indigenous youth, Kathleen dedicates herself personally and professionally to their support. She hosts the Divine Rezolutions podcast, sharing her experiences as a young Indigenous professional and discussing topics that bring her joy.
SPECIALITIES: Education, Governance, Collaboration, Technology,
Hannah S. Beaulieu
Hannah S. Beaulieu (she/they) is a Trinidadian and Métis graffiti artist raised in Tkaranto (Toronto, ON). She currently resides in K'jipuk'tuk (Halifax, NS), where she completed her undergrad at Dalhousie University in a combined Honours in History and Political Science, minoring in Indigenous Studies. She is a proud Franco-Ontarian, activist and most importantly, a cat-mom. In her free time, Hannah loves to spend time in nature, staying active and making art.
Hannah has been involved in many community-based projects which address topics such as reclamation, systemic racism, reconciliation, disability advocacy and decolonization. Her main philosophy is to constantly learn, re-learn, and unlearn as a path forward, emphasizing the importance of land-connection in this process. They currently work at Environment and Climate Change Canada within the Indigenous and Intergovernmental Affairs Directorate as a Junior Policy Analyst; her strengths include public speaking and lobbying. Hannah will be continuing her studies in the fall at Dalhousie, pursuing a M.A in History.
Brayden Omeasoo-Steinhauer, a member of Ermineskin Cree Nation in Alberta, recently completed his third year of Bachelor of Education studies from the University of Alberta.
He’s expected to complete his degree requirements in the spring of 2024.
Omeasoo-Steinhauer, is also in his second year of serving as the youth advisory board member for the Neyaskweyahk Group of Companies Inc., the economic arm of his First Nation.
Bianca Buffalo is a 28-year-old Cree woman born and raised in Samson Cree Nation, Treaty Six Territory.
She is a proud mother and surrogate mother and has dedicated her life as a funeral director, embalmer, death doula, and Indigenous funerary advocate serving Edmonton and the surrounding First Nation communities; as well as remote First Nation communities in NWT and Nunavut.
Bianca is immensely passionate about the work that she does and believes there is a space for Indigenous people in the death care profession.
For more information, please contact:
Toll free: 1-800-463-9300 ext 229
Phone Number: 780-990-0303 ext 229
Fax Number: 780-429-7487