Wayne is a well-respected Traditional artist from the Northern Territory. He is a Kaytej traditional owner and his art expresses his connection with his family, history and traditional lands. He is also a specialist in Indigenous community engagement accumulating over 25 years experience in developing Community Development Action Plans, Land and Sea Management Plans and Enterprise Development Plans. He has demonstrated leadership as a natural resource manager in relation to land, water, soil, plants and animals, focusing on how management affects the quality of life for both present and future generations (stewardship and ecotourism).
A message from our Chairperson: “We believe that we each can learn from the other in many ways least of which are the opportunities for economic development and cultural exchange… A major purpose of the foundation is to guide and mentor Indigenous people to further enhance, improve and strengthen our people’s capacity to prepare for the future. We welcome the opportunity to further expand our networks to all Indigenous peoples, wherever they may be.”
John Hunter belongs to the Gamilaraay and Wiradjuri people of north western NSW. He has extensive professional experience and academic training in the field of environmental management and has a PhD in Biology. He has worked with his own community to record, restore and maintain the traditional knowledge of his elders. He has also played key roles in in coordinating previous cross cultural exchange initiatives between Indigenous people across the world.
Brad has extensive executive and senior level experience having worked with Governments, Private sector and Community not-for-profit sectors. He has extensive experience in the fields of community development, cross-cultural facilitation, conflict management, planning, governance, partnerships and community engagement. Brad is also a professionally accredited mediator both in Australia and Papua New Guinea and regularly performs specialist facilitation, conflict resolution and training roles. Brad has played key roles in supporting and coordinating previous cross cultural exchange initiatives between Aboriginal community representatives and Native American communities.
Don Lyons is a citizen of the Anishinabek nation. An enrolled citizen of Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe located in Northern Minnesota and Haudenosaunee located in Six Nations Ontario. The Ojibwe, Ojibwa, or Chippewa are an Anishinaabeg group of indigenous peoples in North America. They live in Canada and the United States and are one of the largest Indigenous ethnic groups north of the Rio Grande. In Canada, they are the second-largest First Nations population, surpassed only by the Cree. In the United States, they have the fourth-largest population among Native American tribes, surpassed only by the Navajo, Cherokee, and Lakota-Dakota-Nakota peoples.
Don is bear clan on his father’s side and turtle clan on his mother side. Don is a well-respected and sought after international trainer, facilitator and presenter. Raised in Detroit MI, Don holds a BA in Business and MSW degree from Michigan State University. Don has over 15 years of international, domestic, state and tribal experience related to youth engagement, community engagement, community/individual wellness, historical trauma/resilience, cultural sensitivity, trauma informed practices, prevention, treatment, program evaluation and community development. Don is a skilled facilitator/trainer/coach/presenter and is a master Gathering of Native American (GONA) trainer. The GONA is a First Nation based wellness and planning process.
“Laugh together, we can work together, we can make change together”
Michele Wellman-Teeple has been seriously studying the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe/Odawa) language for 16 years. She graduated with a 6 year diploma from the Nishinaabemwin Pane Immersion Program or “Pane” (pronounced pun–ay) at Bay Mills Community College in 2010. She also taught Anishinaabe Language and Culture to Kindergarten through Fifth Grade students at a Charter school in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan for 8 ½ years. She has also presented workshops at Language camps and other culturally related events; and she was a founding member of a group called “Protectors of the Earth” (POE). The main purpose of POE has been to educate Middle School and High School students about Environmental issues and careers with tribal and/or federal entities that are related to the environment.
Michele has been a Traditional Dancer for about 9 years, before that she was a Fancy Shawl Dancer for 30+ years. She is currently working with first speakers to develop a proficiency test using the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages’ Proficiency Scale. And plans to begin working towards a Master’s Degree in Foreign Language Instruction.
Polly O. Walker is of Cherokee descent and a member of the Cherokee Southwest Township, a satellite community of the Cherokee Nation. Her practice, teaching and research focus on Indigenous knowledge systems, conflict transformation and peacebuilding performance. She has facilitated workshops on a range of mediation and conflict resolution issues. One of her interests is computer assisted dialogue, a complex decision making processes that has been demonstrated to be both effective and culturally appropriate for Native American nations and Aboriginal Australian communities. Polly is a citizen both of Australia and the United States, and has facilitated training that draws on local conflict resolution knowledge, in both of these countries, as well as in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Currently she is the director of the Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies at Juniata College in Pennsylvania.
Maria is an international speaker and has worked in the human services field over forty years. She is a Certified Psychiatric Technician and Certified Substance Abuse Counselor II. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from The Evergreen State Collage. Maria is a traditional singer and facilitator in the wellness field. She helps youth and adults to rediscover their own inner joy and beauty. As a facilitator, Maria coaches’ individuals, communities and tribes in recognizing the resilience and strength gained from working as a healthy team.
Maria works collaboratively with many North American tribes of the United States, Canada and Mexico. Maria has served as a consultant to agencies and institutions such as The Department of Health and Human Services, The Center for Disease Control, and numerous colleges and universities. Maria’s favorite work is the work she does with youth, women and the Two-Spirit Community. Maria believes that by reclaiming our traditions and ceremonies, healing is restored.
An independent film producer, Roberto produces videos and documentaries for Government, nonprofit and for-profit organisations. Not only does he work behind the camera, but he also edits, directs, and produces the finished video. His soup-to-nuts skills enables him to streamline the process and to understand and share the story from start to finish. A greater sense of purpose empowers him to produce authentic and entertaining video stories that create meaningful and emotional connections. He combines the information, education, and motivation to tell stories, imbuing their messages with the authenticity and passion of real people and real events. He is deeply passionate about Indigenous cultures and is on a journey to better understand and learn about the shared Indigenous experience of alienation, dispossession & trauma through ongoing effects of appropriation of Indigenous lands through colonisation.