Aylan Couchie, On Leave


aylan-couchieAylan Couchie is an interdisciplinary Anishinaabe artist and writer hailing from Nipissing (Nbisiing) First Nation in Northern Ontario. Though now based in Toronto, she received her BFA with a major in sculpture from NSCAD University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is currently an MFA Candidate in the Interdisciplinary Art, Media and Design program at OCAD University where she is pursuing her graduate studies with a focus on Indigenous monument and public art. Her work explores ideas of colonialism, land and First Nation realities and histories from her Two­-Spirit, feminist perspective. While serving as director of marketing for The Front Room Gallery, she initiated and lead Barrie’s “Who New?!” Downtown Art Crawls as well as several other events in partnership with local organizations. She’s community­ driven and asserts an Indigenous presence on arts advisory committees and juries. She’s been the recipient of several awards including “Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture” through the International Sculpture Center and the Inaugural Barbara Laronde Award from Native Women in the Arts. Most recently, Aylan won a Premier’s Award through Ontario Colleges which allowed her to create and establish a 5 year scholarship in support of single Indigenous mothers excelling in a post­-secondary program at Georgian College.

Thirza Cuthand


Thirza Jean Cuthand was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1978, and grew up in Saskatoon. Since 1995 she has been making short experimental narrative videos and films about sexuality, madness, Queer identity and love, and Indigeneity, which have screened in festivals internationally, including the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, Mix Brasil Festival of Sexual Diversity in Sao Paolo, ImagineNATIVE in Toronto, Frameline in San Francisco, Outfest in Los Angeles, and Oberhausen International Short Film Festival. Her work has also exhibited at galleries including the Mendel in Saskatoon, The National Gallery in Ottawa, and The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. She completed her BFA majoring in Film and Video at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2005, and her Masters of Arts in Media Production at Ryerson University in 2015.She is of Plains Cree and Scots descent, a member of Little Pine First Nation, and currently resides in Toronto, Canada.

Quill Christie-Peters, On Leave


Quill Christie-Peters is an Anishinaabe arts programmer and self-taught visual artist currently residing in Northwestern Ontario. She currently works as the Director of Education and Training for the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective where she is coordinating the Emerging Curatorial Training Program. She is the creator of the Indigenous Youth Residency Program, an artist residency for Indigenous youth that engages land-based creative practices through Anishinaabe artistic methodologies. She holds a Masters degree in Indigenous Governance on Anishinaabe art-making as a process of falling in love. Her written work can be found in GUTS Magazine and Tea N’ Bannock and her visual work can be found at @raunchykwe.

 

Ange Loft, Treasurer


Ange Loft is an interdisciplinary performing artist and initiator from Kahnawá:ke Kanien’kehá:ka Territory, working in Toronto. She is an ardent collaborator, consultant, facilitator and mentor working in storyweaving, arts based research, wearable sculpture and Haudenosaunee history. Ange is also a vocalist with the Juno and Polaris nominated band YAMANTAKA//SONIC TITAN.

Mandy Mack


Mandy Mack is Cree and a member of the Attawapiskat First Nation. Having lived in Toronto for twenty years, she and her partner Ryan are raising six beautiful children.

Mandy has worked and volunteered in various community-based organizations. More recently she has been engaged in Community Participatory research, mainly as a Research Assistant coordinating various Indigenous Women’s Health investigations led by the University of Toronto and Women’s College Research Institute.

Jenny Blackbird, Chair


Jenny Blackbird (Nehiyaw and Finnish-Canadian) is a hand drummer/singer, masters student at York and a multi-disciplinary artist with a background in fashion design. She works at University of Toronto as interim Indigenous Student Life Coordinator at First Nations House Indigenous Student Services.

Jenny has been volunteering at Aboriginal Legal Services (ALS) since 2008 as a community Auntie for the Giiwedin Anang council, which supports Indigenous families who are navigating through the child welfare system. Jenny also sits on the ALS community council diversion program, as advisory committee and council member.

Jenny is producer and co-host of the “Indigenous Waves” Radio show, on CIUT 89.5 FM at 6 PM Mondays.

Jenny has facilitated arts workshops in TDSB Schools, and has guest lectured at Ryerson school of social work, OISE, Indigenous studies and Faculty of Music at University of Toronto. She also worked at The Royal Ontario Museum as an Indigenous Knowledge Resource Teacher, conducting tours for student groups, as well as on-site outreach in the First People’s Gallery.

Jenny is the recipient of the 2016 “Culture Keeper Award” Minaake Award from Native Women’s Resource Center and a 2019 recipient of an IDERD award for the International Day for the Elimination of Racism at University of Toronto.