Governing Circle


 Grandmother Barbara Dumont-Hill is Algonquin Anishinabeg from the Kitigan Zibi community in Quebec. She is a drum keeper, a community volunteer, and a spiritual advisor. 

Barbara also works with many organizations and postsecondary institutions in the region.

She travelled across Canada as an advisor with the Canadian Department of Justice to witness the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls National Inquiry. 

Barbara’s work has inspired her path to honour and empower Indigenous women and youth.

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 (she/her) is a Canadian of Northern European Descent, living on the unceded ancestral lands of the Algonquin Nation. She is a partner, mother, aunt, sister, teacher, and a part-time professor, researcher, and PhD Candidate at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Education. Lisa taught at Pierre Elliott Trudeau School in Gatineau, Quebec for 13 years, and learned so much from her Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. She is honoured to be a recipient of an Indspire Award for Partner in Indigenous Education, a Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching, and a Western Quebec School Board Teaching Excellence Award. Lisa is deeply honoured to be part of the governing circle of Justice for Indigenous women.


Laurie Joe Through her work at a community-based legal clinic in Ottawa, Laurie has been privileged to have met diverse individuals and families, many of whom have survived trauma, are refugees or face societal barriers due to their age, gender identity or low-income status.  In recognition of her work on Acess to Justice issues, Laurie was recognized by the Law Society of Ontario in 2021.  She also received the “Award of Merit” from the Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario (AJEFO) in 2015. Currently residing on the unceded territories of the Algonquin-Anishinaabe peoples, Laurie and her family seek to become more aware of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recommendations recognizing that this quest may, indeed, take seven generations of learning and un-learning. They continue their multi-generational volunteer committments to Project of Heart (PoH)  and more recently, with Justice for Indigenous Women (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 is a retired teacher of 34 years. Her students taught her that transformation can happen through a pedagogy of love. 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. Sylvia holds a Masters degree in Education and in 2015 was inducted as an Honorary Witness to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. She lives on unceded Algonquin Territory in Ottawa with her partner, two daughters and one very precious grandson.






Bruce Tate: Honoured to help J4IW, I learn much more than I could contribute. Over the years I have used my privilege to advance international solidarity, anti-apartheid, poverty, gender and youth issues. As I age and listen and reflect more, I feel I am relearning about life all over again, deeply informed through mentoring which I thrive on. My passion, joy and curiosity are fueled by our extraordinary children, Will and Marika, my oh-so-wise partner-in-life Kim, and the ridiculously rich and textured fabric of friends and other loved ones with whom I am so fortunate to share my journeys and adventures.


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 membership services for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.