I’m from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and I’m Ojibwe. Through my business, Thunderbird Rock, I give guided on-foot tours along the boardwalk of my city, and give people a space to feel comfortable asking about First Nations. I give a lot of stories and interpretation behind the Aboriginal people who live in this area. There’s a huge gap between First Nations and non-First Nations in my area. It’s hard for people to cross the line, feeling the are overstepping their boundaries or afraid of being wrong. I let people who are interested know about why we do things the way we do. I think that it’s very important that these kind of conversations happen. To be able to get more community work like that means the most to me. It’s worth more than money or anything. It’s about the feeling I get engaging these kind of conversations. It’s also a way to start working together across the divisions of history. I can stand up and use my voice for my ancestors that had a lot of hardship. I get to share their story. Chii-Miigwetch
I am a multidisciplinary artist and educator who cannot help but explore life through art – I feel they are inseparable. I view art as an honest, spiritual act that stems from one’s soul. When fully engaged in the creative process, no mistakes are made and there are no limitations. I aim to inspire others to follow their hearts and wilder aspirations through creativity. Since 2010, I have been involved with various arts-related organizations within Thunder Bay, including the Community Arts and Heritage in Education Project, Willow Springs Creative Centre and Satellite Studio Artist Collective.
I hope to share the universal message from my Finnish heritage: that the state of our self, city and world lies in each of our hands. It relies greatly on the land and waters that led us here and made us who we are. We control our future, each individual brings strength to the community, and we are all inevitably connected.
I am a Bahá'í, queer, spoken word artist with hearing loss. Although I have a ton of different experiences, I recognize that I can’t speak for everyone -- nor should I try. I believe that a community leader strengthens and amplifies the voices and strengths of others rather than trying to showcase their own. I have started to do this by unifying diverse groups through artistic expression and by helping to develop common language for how we teach, learn from and honour each other. It’s important to recognize that people coming from very different contexts can sometimes have conflicting viewpoints. A leader needs to find the common ground between them so that both are valued.
I have been inspired by the fundamental belief in my faith that we are all inherently noble. That means we all contain the capacity for excellence in mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being. We are all capable of great things if we work towards them. I pass on that knowledge and wisdom to other people as often as I can, because I recognize that the more we know ourselves and the more that we grow in ourselves, the more we are able to understand other people and help them to grow.
Jermaine is Social ARTrepreneur who is passionate about connecting and inspiring people to self-actualize. Through drama, emceein, facilitation and spoken word he aims to co-create meaningful moments rooted in compassion and kindness. Jermaine has had the privilege to perform and facilitate arts-based for community programs, events and initiatives with various schools boards, community agencies and arts companies including Youth Social Infrustructure Collaborative, Children’s Mental Health of Ontario, Children Peace Theatre, 360°kids, and Sketch Working Arts. His mission is to use his artistry and facilitation skills to curate brave spaces for people to be their full-selves and connect with our humanity.