Charlene Burns I am Cree from Maskwacis, Alberta in Treaty Six Territory, and I live at Ponoka, Alberta.  I am the Community Capacity Development Coordinator for Western Canada.  In my role I provide support to 21 communities of Faith in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. I am excited to be your auctioneer at the 2019 NISG ‘Not-so Silent Auction’!!  Everyone has been asked to donate an item to the auction.  Well over $3000 was raised for Mission & Service Fund  at the Living Skies Region 4 inauguration meeting in Swift Current, SK!! I am looking forward to seeing all my friends and colleagues from across Turtle Island at the 2019 National Indigenous Spiritual Gathering! 

Maggie Dieter  I grew up in and around my homeland – Peepeekisis First Nation, Treaty 4 territory (Saskatchewan). Most of my adult years were lived in the Saugeen Ojibwa territory (Ontario), the traditional homeland of  my two daughters, Nancy and Natasha. As Executive Minister for Indigenous Ministries and Justice, I implement the decisions of the Indigenous Ministries Council and the Committee on Indigenous Justice and Residential Schools.  I provide coordination, direction and support to an incredible team of colleagues who play key roles in carrying out this work. I look forward to supporting the community at the 2019 National Indigenous Spiritual Gathering. It will be a privilege to witness Creator’s beloved community sharing story and determining a path forward that holds hope and vitality.

Springwater Hester-Measwassige is from Serpent River First Nation and has been working for the United Church of Canada as the Youth Leadership Coordinator.  Springwater is looking forward to working with the young people at the National Indigenous Spiritual Gathering and will be focussing her attention on the youth program.

Cheryl Jourdain  I belong to Couchiching FN on Treaty 3 Territory and now divide my time between Winnipeg and Arnes, MB. I have been Community Capacity Development Coordinator for Keewatin Communities of Faith (Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario) since January 2019. My work also includes transitional  items for communities of faith, administration, and support of the new Elders’ Council.  I am   also lending staff support to the Elders who have cared for the ANCC Bundle, and am honored to transport the Bundle from Winnipeg and to continue to accompany its caretakers as they prepare for the transition and engage in ceremony. As a long-time staff person,  I have always enjoyed being at the NISG – as a staff visitor!  This year however, I am a staff person within this body … which means I get to drive the van!  I am looking forward to seeing how the new national Indigenous body shapes and is shaped by the faithful, dedicated and passionate members of our Indigenous church. 

Will Kunder I am from North Bay, Ontario, and am attending the NISG to support the work of the Indigenous Candidacy Board. I serve as the ½ Office of Vocation Minister for the Indigenous Communities of Faith. We hope to be touching base with all student candidates who will be attending and expect that some interviews will likely be scheduled during the week. The Board will be considering possible adaptations of the “Candidacy Pathway Roadmap,” to best support students preparing for leadership in the Indigenous Church. I am looking forward to this important work and to further discussion about what it means for our communities to be in “dual relationship” as described in the Caretakers Report from the last General Council.

Joe McGill  is the Community Capacity Development Coordinator for our Ontario/Quebec communities of faith. He has been active in the transitioning of property issues from the oversight of the Council on Sharing (ANCC) and other conferences and presbyteries to the Real Property and Capital Plan Task Group. He hopes to continue working closely with his CCDC colleagues resourcing the new Working Groups as they set the course for Real Property and for Mission Support  guided by the new Indigenous Council. Supporting the ministry in community means understanding all of the needs of the community, all the strengths in a community, and seeing all of the potential in the people. Joe identifies as male, mixed race, Onondaga/Scottish/Irish connecting with the home of his maternal Grandmother at Six Nations Oshweken. He lives in Marathon, ON and worships at St. John’s United Church. Community involvement and outdoor sporting pursuits fill his recreational time.

Erin Parsons started in the role of Program Assistant for Indigenous Ministries and Justice in July 2017. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Carleton University, and a Graduate Diploma in International Development from Humber College’s Business School. She has a deep appreciation for diversity, and a passion for social justice. In her spare time she enjoys travelling, camping, playing sports, and cheering on her Toronto Blue Jays.

Lori Ransom I am a member of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan, and live in Toronto. I serve as one of two  Reconciliation and Indigenous Justice Animators at the United Church of Canada. At the NISG I will provide leadership at youth pre-event; lead an open space conversation on the Legacy of Christian Mission and Ministry on the practice of Indigenous spiritualities; support an open space conversation on  opportunities to host international United Church of Canada partners and participate in international visits to partners; and provide staff support to the voting process. I am very much looking forward to reconnecting with and meeting new members of the Indigenous church in a lovely lakeside setting.

Sara Stratton I am from Newfoundland, where my family settled beginning in the 1700s. I now live in Toronto with my partner and our 2, 14, and 16 year old … cats. I am an historian by training and a Reconciliation and Indigenous Justice Animator by calling, and have worked in communications and social justice in the churches for more than 20 years. At the NISG I’ll be leading an open space conversation about our new Being Good Relations reconciliation program; co-leading an open space conversation on the intersection of Indigenous justice and the climate crisis; and serving as communications (social media and news) lead for the event. I’m looking forward to talking with everyone and sharing your thoughts, concerns, and hopes with the whole church.