Governing Circle

Victoria Boucher is an Aboriginal person of Ojibwa/Cree Heritage from Fort William First Nation in northwestern Ontario. She has been a freelance consultant/speaker/elder since retirement from the Federal Government in 2013.

Victoria is a Residential School Participant and is a skilled persuasive speaker on promoting reconciliation within the education system and churches in Ottawa. She uses traditional songs and her drum to model the healing of the child within and also to bring awareness of the cultural practises of Aboriginal People. She also acts as the Elder for Kairos in Ottawa and is the female Elder for the Justice Circle at the Odawa Friendship Center. Since retirement Victoria creates Aboriginal traditional garments to encourage participation in Aboriginal life and to engage and increase cultural awareness.


Wil Campbell is our male Elder on the team; a position of spiritual and intellectual leadership. A Pipekeeper for the Healing Our Spirit Worldwide Conference and Sundance Chief for the World Council of Elders, Wil maintains his own lodge in Edmonton that supports approximately 120 people who come at various times for ceremonies, counseling and other supports. Wil works with many other organizations in his local community and is an Elder with Native Counselling Services of Alberta. His experience working with Indigenous men’s healing programs provides community-based grounding and direction for the project. Wil is part of an informal network of Elders and community organizations across Canada who work with Indigenous men.



Moe Clark

Métis multidisciplinary artist Moe Clark is a nomadic songbird with wings woven from circle singing, vocal improvisation and spoken word. A sought after performer, educator and producer; she gave her commissioned performance for the Canadian Olympic Team at the 2012 Olympic Summer Games in London, U.K., the 2014-2015 Making Treaty 7 theatre performances in Calgary and the 2013 Maelström ReÉvolution Poétique festival in Belgium. She is also a sought-after public speaker including 2012 TedX Montreal talk. She has two albums of words and music, a bilingual book of poetry and numerous video poems. In 2014 she was awarded Poet of Honour at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word


Highlight feature performances and productions include Transcestral: Gathering of Indigenous + Sufi Musical Traditions (Place des Arts, 2015-2016), the Queensland Poetry Festival (2016) and IDEA World Congress: Art for Social Change in Brazil (2010). Her Plains Cree language music video, “nitahkôtân”, won best music video at the ImagiNative Film Festival in Toronto (2015).


As an educator, Clark uses spoken word and the looping pedal as tools for decolonizing the voice and empowering youth. Often she gives workshops based on Rita Joe’s poem, I Lost My Talk to indigenous and non-indigenous youth.



Lisa Howell


Lisa Howell is an activist, ally, teacher, bicyclist, artist, environmentalist, student, traveller and sole parent. Lisa is nearly finished her MA thesis on the Movement for Reconciliation and social justice in education. She teaches for social justice, and has engaged many students of all ages in learning the truth in our collective history. Lisa is learning to speak Cree and is lucky to have the best teachers ever- her own students who are from Cree communities along the Quebec side of James Bay!


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Laurie Joe

Laurie Joe currently works at a community-based legal clinic in Ottawa.  She has been privileged to have met diverse peoples through her work, many of whom have survived trauma, are refugees or have barriers to accessing justice due to their age, gender or low-income status.  In recognition of her work promoting the rights of francophone clients, Laurie was awarded the “Award of Merit” from the Association des juristes de l’expression française de l’Ontario (AJEFO) in 2015. Laurie and her spouse have four children. One of their best volunteer family activities was supporting Project of Heart (PoH) and now, they work with Justice for Indigenous Women (J4IW).  Laurie is a member of Kitchissippi United Church (KUC) in Ottawa. KUC is also a proud supporter of PoH and J4IW.


Aanii! My name is Jennifer King. I am an Anishnabe woman of mixed descent. My family comes from the Wasauksing First Nation near Parry Sound, Ontario. I have been working in areas of research, policy, and public engagement in support of Indigenous women and children for 10 years. The issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is particularly close to my heart. I am also passionate about decolonizing the child welfare system and ensuring equity for First Nations children. I recently completed a Master of Social Work degree through the University of Victoria. The rest of my time is spent with my daughter Hazel, who was born in 2014. Miigwetch – thank you for the opportunity to work with you on this important initiative!



Sylvia Smith


Sylvia Smith is a recently retired teacher of 34 years. She believes that transformative education takes place from the heart. Through art, through activism, and through the understanding that all ‘two leggeds’ are all more alike than they are different, she believes we can change hearts and minds through education. She is very close to completing a Masters Degree in Education from the University of Regina; her thesis looks at educators’ experiences of teaching Project of Heart, which Sylvia won a Governor General’s History Award for 2011. In 2015 she was inducted as an Honourary Witness to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.



Gail Stromquist

Gail Stromquist is currently the assistant director for Aboriginal Education at the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation. Previous to this she worked for 20 years in the Langley School District,  several years as a district teacher for the Aboriginal program. She taught Kindergarten for many years and helped to develop the EAGLE Program, an Aboriginal Kindergarten program built on cultural teachings of Elders and cultural presenters. Gail is a Member of Spuzzum First Nation and is passionate about education for reconciliation.




Bruce Tate

Bruce Tate: I find joy in life each day.  In my early adult years I was active in social justice organizations from solidarity to anti-apartheid, from labour to youth. Then, in my middle adult years, I held paid senior positions in the anti-poverty, union, political sectors and beyond.  My biggest learning experience was coordinating the engagement of poverty and development organizations across the country on unemployment, poverty and marginalization issues for the United Nations World Summit on Social Development. Heading into my senior years, I thrive on mentoring and helping make a difference, such as with Justice for Indigenous Women, where to be honest, I learn much more than I am able to contribute.  My passion and motivation come from my son Will, daughter Marika, my wise wife and partner-in-life Kim, and the rich fabric of friends and other loved ones with whom I am so fortunate to share my adventures.



Evan Thornton


Evan Thornton has been partnering on projects with Sylvia Smith since 1983. He co-authors educational materials and magazine articles with Sylvia and was the web and social media content creator for Project of Heart. Their joint projects include two daughters, Petra and Evana. Evan also works in data services for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.