Dr. Cecil King
B.Ed, M.Ed. PhD, an Odawa, from Wikwemikong, has spent fifty years in education as a teacher, professor, researcher, consultant and teacher of teachers. Dr. King founded the Indian Teacher Education Program, University of Saskatchewan and was the first Director of the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program, Queen’s University. He served as Head of the Indian and Northern Education Program, University of Saskatchewan and the Dean of the Saskatchewan Campus of the First Nations University of Canada. His language is his first love. He has taught Ojibwe at the University of Saskatchewan, Stanford University and the University of Alberta. He has developed Ojibwe Language Programs in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Minnesota, Chicago and California and has produced an 8,000 word Ojibwe dictionary.
Dr. King is Professor Emeritus, Queen’s University. He is the recipient of Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee Medal, the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal and the 2009 National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Education.
Crystal Shawanda - Country Recording Artist
My name is Crystal Shawanda, and I grew up on Wikwemikong reservation, and it was hard for me to leave, and I feel blessed everyday that I grew up on that reservation. I feel like I actually grew up in a paradise really, a beautiful Island. A community rich in culture and history, and famous for their perseverance and sense of humour. A hockey town overflowing with a competitive streak and plenty of pride.
Since then I've been nominated for a Juno, joined partnership with Cressman-Sakamoto agency and was voted Canadian Country music association's female artist of the year. I've also discovered, I can fly my way through life, the heavy winds, the rains, the storms, the grey skies, and I'm no longer afraid, because I know it's just a matter of time before another beautiful day comes along. I know I'm supposed to sing, it's just a matter of whether it's for a crowd of people or not. I guess that's up to radio.
Daphne Odjig – Internally recognized Canadian painter
Daphne is internationally known and renowned painter, from Wikwemikong. She has captured her culture in many of her art works, which have caught the attention of many around the world. She has made a huge impact on the art world, and all across Canada with her artistic style. Daphne has received several awards for her artwork. Some awards included are The National Aboriginal Achievement Award, Expression Award, granted seven honorary degrees, and The Governor General Laureate, Visual, and Media Arts (highest honor achievement for visual arts in Canada). Other honorable mentions are: an Order of Canada, C.M. recipient, the Order of British Columbia, and an elected member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Art (R.C.A). Daphne is also only First Nation Woman to have a solo exhibit at the National Gallery of Canada.
Leland Bell – Painter
Leland is from the community of Wikwemikong. He has been a painter for 31 years, aswell as an art instructor. He has also been a workshop facilitator and has given many presentations across North America. He draws his creativity from his anishnahbe cultural being. He established the Bebaminojmat Leland Bell Art Gallery located in Wikwemikong to display his art work.
Odjig has received an Achievement Award, an eagle feather, and The Wikwemikong Wrestling Championship's Title. Though he made his acting debut as a child alongside his friend Crystal Shawanda in the 1991 play ThunderBird Children, Odjig's acting career began in earnest a decade later with the award winning production BloodRiver (1999). He's first leading role in a major film was in Hotel Babylon (2002). He starred in the critically acclaimed Television series and Exibit A: Secrets of Forensic Science (2000), and The Seventh Generation (2001). Odjig achieved international fame as a result of his portrayal of Cree politician Hero Elijah Harper in Elijah (2006), and since then has established himself as one of the best-known actors. He has had his biggest commercial successes with the action Drama series The Border (2008), Warehouse 13(2009) and is currently on the television series Cashing In. (2010) Catch Odjig this month in his new movie The Wild Girl. (2010). Odjig is currently a drummer and currently on Tour with the rock group Pyrrah.
Lisa Odjig is a proud Nation member from beautiful Wikwemikong, Manitoulin Island, Ont. Lisa won the final Hoop Dance Championship at the 2008 Schemitzun Hoop Dance Championships in Mashantucket, Connecticut, USA. She has a total of eight Hoop Dance Championships from across Canada and USA. Lisa graduated from Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology in the Tourism and Travel two year program in Toronto in the spring of 2009. She is a Program Associate at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto and enjoys working with a renowned arts organization.
Josh Peltier is a well know established visual artist from Wikwemikong First Nation. He graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 2003 and is currently working for Debajehmujig Theatre Group as a full time instructor providing direction and mentorship in Debaj’s Art Studio Program. Josh knew from an early age that he was drawn to the medium of visual arts. Josh has had solo exhibitions in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Sudbury and has been curator of several group exhibitions. He is also an established mural painter having works in The Department of Indian Affairs in Toronto and Sudbury, U of T, Laurentian University, Cambrian College and several businesses’, Community Halls, store’s and residences throughout Ontario.
James Simon Mishibinijima – Internationally known artist
A self taught international painter from Wikwemikong. James Simon’s work has caught the eyes of a collector at a young age. Currently residing in Wikwemikong Jim continues his artwork inspired by his culture. James has set up an art gallery in Wikwemikong called Mishibinijima Studios where he displays his art work to the community. James has also established art galleries internationally.
As a result of her marriage in 1970 to David Lavell, a non-Indian, Ms. Corbiere-Lavell lost her Indian Status and all of the associated treaty rights, but most importantly the right to live in her own community among her own people. She felt this action was discriminatory since First Nations men who similarly married non-Aboriginals did not suffer the same loss of status. Ms Corbiere Lavell challenged this act originally in the County Court where they lost initially, but subsequently won her case in the Federal Court. With the support of the National Indian Brotherhood, the Federal government appealed this decision to the Supreme Court of Canada, wherein Ms Corbiere-Lavell lost by one vote. The case became known as the Lavell case. Years later, this case was brought to the United Nations International Human Rights Commission. They determined that this was indeed a clear case of gender discrimination which was contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom. The Canadian government was therefore forced to amend the Indian Act. Due to her courage, many Aboriginal women and their children were reinstated as status band members in First Nation’s communities all across Canada. Currently Jeanette continues advocating on behalf of Aboriginal women and children in her role as the President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada.
Upon witnessing an event in another First Nation Reserve, Rosemary organized a traditional song and dance, in order to revive and preserve native culture. To this day it is known as the Annual Wikwemikong Cultural Festival. In the summer of 2010 Wikwemikong will be hosting its 50th Festival. This event has made a very positive impact on our community culturally. This was all made possible by the hard work of Rosemary.