About the Grandparents
Laureen (Blu) Waters Istchii Nikamoon (they/them) is from Big River Saskatchewan, Star Blanket Reserve and Bra’dor Lake, Eskasoni First Nations, Cape Breton Nova Scotia, and the Red River. Blu is Two Spirit, a Mother to five, a Grandmother to three, an Advisor, a Sun Dancer, and a Pipe Carrier who brings skills and gifts to others in ceremony. Blu is the Elder on Campus at Seneca College, they also work with the National Inquiry for Murdered and Missing Women, the Thunder Women Healing Lodge, and Two Spirits in Motion Board. Blu was the National Caucus Representative for the Toronto Urban Aboriginal strategies working group.
Albert McLeod is from Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation and the Metis communities of Cross Lake and Norway House in northern Manitoba. He has over thirty years of experience as a human rights activist and is a consultant specializing in Two Spirit history and identity, cultural reclamation, and cross-cultural training. As one of the founders of the Two-Spirited People of Manitoba, Albert began his Two Spirit advocacy in Winnipeg and quickly became an HIV/AIDS activist. He has been the director of the Manitoba Aboriginal AIDS Task Force and a member of the working group that produced the MMIWG - 2SLGBTQQIA+ National Action Plan Report. He was also on the team that designed ‘Thunderhead’ and won the international competition to design a LGBTQ2+ National Monument in Ottawa. In 2018, Albert received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Winnipeg.
William (Bill) White is a member of Snuneymuxw First Nation carrying two ancestral names Xelimulh and Kasalid. After his father died Xelimulth was raised with strength and teachings from his grandparents, aunts and uncles. When children are born an uncle automatically becomes a grandfather to make sure that that children understand our values. As such, Xelimulth has 11 grandchildren. He is interested in the application of values called Snawayalth including ritual, ceremony and talk to maintain balance, healing and order. He is currently a member of Chief Michael Wyses’ Elders Advisory Committee, a titumels/teacher for the Nanaimo Museum and an Advisor for the St. Michael’s University School in Victoria. Recently, he has been a sulalewh/Elder for many organizations (about 10). He has extensive cross cultural experience from 10 years with the Nanaimo School District as the Coordinator of Indian Education and 10 years as the Aboriginal Liaison Officer, University of Victoria. Bill has been a student of many Elders and his hope is that the young of our Nations receive consistent teachings to enable healthy living and to eventually fill their roles as Elders.