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Connection Spirits – Strengthening Roots

Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation is proud to introduce you to a fantastic line up of facilitators!

Rick McLean, Keynote Speaker


Rick is Anishinaabe, Odawa Wolf Clan with family roots in Wikwemikong Manitoulin Island.  His Teachers/Elders are many including Max Assinewai, Gord Waindubence, Eddie King, Jackie Laforme, Tom Porter, Jim Wellheiser, Ronald Bunston and James Shawana.  Rick is a traditional knowledge keeper, sweat lodge conductor and pipe carrier who graduated from Brock University.  His facilitation and counselling work has been ongoing for 35 years and he has been privileged to teach at Trent University, Niagara College and Mohawk College.

Rick spends much of his time supporting Indigenous agencies with internal capacity development, and that experience comes from a decade with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, his work as Executive Director at Boys and Girls Club and his service as President of the Board for two Indigenous agencies and several mainstream corporations.  Rick brings over two decades of teaching experience and certifications in MBTI, Emotional Quotient Inventory and Personality Dimensions as well as Indigenous counselling practices to the classroom.


Joseph Pitawanakwat is Ojibway from Wiikwemkoong, married with one daughter. The Founder & Director of Creators Garden, an Indigenous outdoor, and now online, education-based business, focused on plant identification, beyond-sustainable harvesting, and teaching every one of their linguistic, historical, cultural, edible, ecological and medicinal significance through experiences. His lectures and intensive programming is easily adaptable to make appropriate and successfully delivered to a variety of organizations. Including over 150 First Nations communities and Hundreds of institutions throughout Anishinaabe territory and beyond. He has learned from hundreds of traditional knowledge holders and uniquely blends this knowledge with and reinforces it with and array of western sciences.

Onkwehonwe Games with Dallas Squire aims to build relationships and inspire respect for all indigenous peoples by sharing baseline history and culture of the Six Nations people through traditional games. We understand that everything is interconnected and use games to teach and discuss geography and land, our creation story, language and traditional understandings of health, lifestyle and connection to nature.

All of our programs begin with basic history where participants learn about who the Six Nations are, traditional territories, migrations, about the Law of Peace and the beginning of a meaningful partnership between the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora in the formation of the Six Nations Confederacy. Participants will also learn about family and social structure, as well as some traditional teachings and stories

She:kon, I am Shelley Squire, Mohawk, Turtle Clan. On my journey of self healing and growth I found a passion in creating jewelry pieces using resin and the four sacred medicines – tobacco, sage, cedar and sweetgrass. As well as other medicines, semi-precious gemstones and pieces. My hope is that all who acquire a ‘peace’ of my jewelry/pieces will find comfort in the spiritual properties of the medicines while on their own journey. It is an honour to share the medicines from Mother Earth as it is for all of us to benefit from and to honour her gifts.

Nikki Shawana is Odawa and Potawotomi from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory. She is a mother, learner and teacher of Anishinaabemowin, craftsperson and powwow singer/dancer. Nikki is passionate about sharing her knowledge with others in a way that is respectful, fun, inclusive and informative. She loves to travel to different communities to share and meet new people.

“Aanii! Haiandegwas n’dizhnikaaz. Mkwa doodem. Michi Saagiig Mesinige n’doonjibaa, Michi Saagiig Anishinaabe miinwaa Naadwe n’daaw. Greetings! My name is Haiandegwas (which means Gathering Wood in the Cayuga language), my government name is Tyrell King. I am bear clan from Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and I am Mississauga Anishinaabe as well as Haudenosaunee from the Mohawk, Cayuga, and Onondaga nations. I am the Cultural Coordinator for the department of Lifelong Learning, and I mainly work at Lloyd S. King elementary school. I enjoy working with our youth to inspire, guide, and empower them as they grow and find their way in this world, and I am grateful for the opportunities my role within our school has provided me with. Nahaaw, chi-miigwetch/nia:wen kowa”