BRENDA LEE (she/her)
Maskwacis Cree Nation
BRENDA LEE (she/her/hers/auntie/kohkom) is a Plains Cree First Nations woman from the Treaty Six Territory, born and raised in Maskwacis Alberta. Brenda was fortunate enough to have spent her formative years with her grandmother: Nancy Oldpan Nee-Roasting, who taught her how to sew, bead, harvest and learn the cultural teachings. Brenda developed the interest and knowledge in these art forms exploring her culture through art.
Brenda went back to school to enhance her creative skills as an artist , she enrolled in Lac La Biche College, Alberta in the fall of 2005-2007 the programs were: Artisan and Native Cultural Arts Instructor a 2 year program, one of the courses offered was the 13 step traditional hide tanning by Elder Elsie Quintel and Instructor Ruby Sweetman. There she learned the traditional way of harvesting a home tanned hide. Through her 16 years as a hide tanner Brenda has learned several ways of processing hides and continues on that journey.
Brenda has worked in different areas over the years in Cultural Camps, Universities, High Schools, Health and Wellness Organizations, Friendship Centers and Museums, she’s taught beading techniques, Tanning hides, tipi making, moccasin making, harvesting porcupine quills and techniques, regalia making , ceremonial articles and producing items for private collections.
Brenda’s focus is on restoring our cultural heritage through the arts, specializing and working primarily within the cultural arts programs. She is able to deliver a step by step instructional workshop to develop a superior quality product, to expand and enhancing creativity in reclaiming our pride as First Nations peoples. It is important for Brenda to teach individuals who are willing to learn about the creation of the product and what it takes to construct it.
Brenda resides in the beautiful Nipissing First Nation located in Ontario and continues to instruct with natural and contemporary materials and is becoming a sought after Artisan.
Georgian Bay Métis
HUNTER CASCAGNETTE (they/them/theirs) is a Queer, Non-Binary / Trans interdisciplinary artist and earthworker of Mixed French/Scottish/English Settler and Georgian Bay Métis ancestry from the Southern Georgian Bay/ Lake Huron region.
Hunter’s visual art practice is centered around naturally dyed deer rawhides, traditional brain tanning of deer and moose hides and antler work. Their Métis family’s relationships to hunting deer and moose got Hunter involved in hide tanning. They are learning foundations of bark tanning as a way of connecting to ancestral Scottish hide tanning practices. Hunter is a co-founder and hide tanning mentor with Niizh Manidook Hide Camp. They've become known as one of the "hide dads" at NMHC.
Attending hide camps has been life changing for Hunter. They’ve had the opportunity to learn with Indigenous knowledge carriers; Stephanie Poole (Dene), Hovak Johnson (Inuit/Dene), Hanna Catholique (German), Hannah Deserlais (Dene), Brenda Lee (Plains Cree), Melaw Nakehk’o (Dene), Mandee MacDonald (Swampy Cree), Brian and Paulette Bird (Cree), Amber Sandy (Anishinaabe) and Jodi-Lynn Maracle (Kanien’kehá:ka), which has greatly influenced and inspired Hunter's hide tanning journey and practice.
BEZE GRAY (they/ them/ theirs) is a Two-Spirit, trans, non binary Anishnaabe/Oneida/Munsee/Lunaape from Aamjiwnaang First Nation. Beze’s main focuses in life are Language, Cultural revitalization and being a Two Spirit youth advocate for environmental racism and injustices their community Aamjiwnaang faces. They are a land and water protector speaking out about Canada's petrochemical (oil) industry and it's impacts on the waters, lands and people in the Great Lakes. Beze graduated from Georgian College in Anishnaabemowin & Program Development and continues to study language.
Beze started out learning hunting and making rawhide in their Lunaape community in Moraviantown. They learned from Uncles how to harvest from the deer and process a raw hide. Since then, Beze was one of the youth apprentices from the 2020 Niizh Manidook Hide Camp and learned to fully soften and complete a hide to smoked Buckskin. They have also finishing a moose hide and have helped on several other deer and moose hides. They learned from different nations and received guidance on hide tanning from Metis, Lunaape, Dene, and Cree teachings. Beze has been a treasurer /co-facilitator with Niizh Manidook Hide Camp since 2020 and volunteered at the first NMHC in 2019. Beze is a founding member of Niizh Manidook Hide Camp, The Toxic Tour; an awareness raising tour through Canada's Chemical Valley and ASAP (Aamjiwnaang and Sarnia Against Pipelines).
Amber Hein (She/Her)
Amber Hein (She/Her) is Algonquin Anishnabe and German from the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation. Amber grew up on the land and has been harvesting since the age of 12. In 2019 amber harvested her first moose with her family on the territory. At that time she wanted to honour the moose and decided to keep the hide with hopes of turning it into leather. traditional hide tanning has been lost in ambers family for 5 generations. Her grandmother has memories of her grandfather soaking hides in the lake but due to colonization and the creation of reserves, this knowledge was no longer passed on through the generations. reclaiming this knowledge without any first hand support, through trial and error, has been extremely challenging. Amber credits her virtual mentor Garry McDonald, Aseniwuche Winewak Nation for his constant support and encouragement. Since 2019 Amber has worked on many moose Hides and deer hides. She has also facilitated work shops in her community as well as in Ottawa. To share what she has learned in hopes in inspire other youth and families to learn the traditional teachings of tanning hides.
Jodi Lynn Maracle (They/She)
Jodi Lynn Maracle (They/She) is a queer mixed Kanien’keha:ka parent, maker, do-er, artist and language teacher who first learned hide-tanning in a backyard in Toronto in 2015 and fell instantly in love, as though all over again, with the rhythms, the feels, heck, even the smells. Jodi describes their technique as DIY on the fly working with what’s at hand with the space and tools available. As an artist, Jodi utilizes Haudenosaunee material language and techniques, such as hand tanning deer hides and corn husk twining, in conversation with performance, soundscapes, video and projection to interrogate questions of power, erasure, story making and responsibility to the land. They’re most proud to hear their children speak their Mohawk language everyday.
Terra Ray (she/her)
Beausoleil First Nation
Mnaan Mad Kwe (Eng: Gentle Breeze Woman) is a member of Beausoleil First Nation and, was raised in Nipissing First Nation. Having been raised equal parts in community on-reserves and in the city of Barrie they consider themselves somewhat of a modern nomad. Terra belongs to the wolf clan with a deep connection to their mother’s clan of, the bear.
After a few years involved in local politics and serving as the first female youth chief of BFN, she currently serves as the female-youth rep for the South-East region on the Eshekenjig Anishinabek Nation Youth Council.
She is a multi-disciplinary artist with a current focus in Hide Tanning as she completes her apprenticeship with Niizh Manidook Hide Camp (NMHC).
Terra was introduced to hide work in the new year of 2019, having attended the first NMHC in Tiny and participated in the first round of apprenticeship. Terra has been working towards revitalizing and sharing as much as she can by hosting learning opportunities in other spaces across the Nipissing-Simcoe, Georgian Bay Area.
This year, they’ll be participating at NMHC in a mentoring capacity putting to use her few years of experience.
Terra was introduced to hide work in the new year of 2019, has been working towards revitalizing and sharing as much as she can. This year, they’ll be participating at NMHC in a mentoring capacity putting to use her few years of experience.
Terra has turned her focus to land based knowledge, practicing and, sharing her Anishinaabe culture.
Niiohontéhsha (they/them/theirs) is Indigiqueer/ non-binary/celestial being who is Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk)/ Scottish/British from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory.
Niiohontéhsha is a community birthworker, health worker, and harm reduction worker for Call Auntie in Toronto. Working with Aunties to reimagine a different way of taking care of each other and our health has inspired Niio to center kinship models of care in all aspects of their life!
Niio's hide tanning mentors include Brenda Lee (Plains Cree), Melaw Nakehk’o (Dene), Mandee MacDonald (Swampy Cree), Amber Sandy (Anishinaabe) and Jodi-Lynn Maracle (Kanien’kehá:ka), and of course Hunter and Beze! Niio has been attending camp since 2019 as a participant and is joining the core team as an organizer this year. Niio is beyond excited to be hosting camp at home by the Grand River.
What keeps their fire lit is community organizing, community care, land-based teaching and learning. They are learning their language one mispronounced word at a time. They continue to practice radical reproductive justice and birth keeping practices.
Niiohontéhsha (they/them) Kanien'keh:ka
Six Nations of the Grand River
Zephyr Mckenna (They/Them)
Alderville First Nation
Zephyr McKenna is a Two-Spirit wolf clan multidisciplinary artist living in Tkaronto, with relatives from Munsee Delaware First Nation, Alderville First Nation, and Ireland. Through a variety of mediums including film, game design, illustration, beadwork, hide tanning, and drag, Zephyrexplores cultural revitalization and language reclamation through an Indigiqueer lens.
Zephyr began hide tanning at the first ever Niizh Manidook Hide Camp in Hunter and Beze's backyard, and has attended every camp since. This year Zephyr will be attending as a mentor for the first time, and is excited to start sharing these skills with you!
Chelsey Bouchard (Shey/They)
Chelsey Celine is a Six Nations community member. She grew up between Six Nations and her maternal grandfathers community of Gull Bay on Lake Nipigon.
Chelsey is a sous chef at Yawekon under Chef Tawnya Brant and an apprentice of the arts including hide tanning with an emphasis on fish skins. Chelsey is raising two young boys. They inspire her to walk her own path and pick up her responsibilities as Tyonnhehkwen Ohkwáho niwaki'taró:ten / Wolf Clan.