Knowledge Keeper - Gerard Sagassige
Boozhoo, Aanii, Sekolie, Taansi, and just plain Greetings
I am Ojibwe from Curve Lake First Nation and Serpent River First Nation.
It is with First Indigenous Aboriginal ancestry pride and respect, I greet you all with a blanket ceremony of warm respect holding a tobacco tie.
I joined the White Owl Native Ancestry Association family as the" knowledge keeper" braided with the Mental Health team and Board Of Directors.
I offer cultural knowledge for support and creating Mental Health Circle of care for the community White Owl Native Ancestry Association supports.
Miiigwech on the road we braid
Wholistic Practitioner (Level I) - Shannon Pride
Aaniin and hello!
I am a level one Wholistic Practitioner at White Owl Native Ancestry Association. I have my diploma in Social Service Work and graduated with honours from Humber College. I am currently working towards obtaining my Bachelor of Social Work in Indigenous Studies. Before coming to work at White Owl I worked at Hospice as a Bereavement Coordinator.
A little about me…… I was born and raised in Toronto and currently reside in Simcoe County, I am the proud mother of an amazingly beautiful and kind eight-year-old boy, my family background is Ojibway and Newfoundlander, and my favourite food is cheese cake. I look forward to my many adventures working on the White Owl Team!!
Executive Director - Michelle Sutherland
Aanii, my name is Michelle Sutherland (Bagami-aaya-abi-kwe). I come from salt-water people, Mi’kmaq on my mother’s side, Welsh on my father’s. I recently completed my MSW degree at Laurier University in the Aboriginal Field of Study program. During that time, I had the privilege of doing my clinical placement under Elder, Scholar, Artist and Traditional Practitioner, Banakonda Kennedy Kish (Bell) (Awnjibinayseekwe), with a focus on Art as Medicine. My undergraduate degree is in Law from Carleton University. My deep/abiding passion for practicing and lifting up Aboriginal Wholistic Healing, led me to White Owl. I believe this type of healing is about historical recovery – about re-membering who we are – in a place we never left. As one beautiful Elder recently reminded “they couldn’t take away what they couldn’t see”.
I feel incredibly indebted to all my predecessors (staff and Board) who have helped this organization grow for over 40 years. I am deeply honoured to have this opportunity as Executive Director of White Owl – to join the vision and good work – collaboratively participating in the growing of wholistic Indigenous services and programs in our community.
Wholistic Practitioner (Level II) - Sasha Sky
Boozhoo! My name is Sasha and I'm originally from Eagle Lake First Nation in Northwestern Ontario. My education originally brought me down to Guelph to attend university (first for my Bachelor's of Applied Science in Child, Youth and Family and then my Master's of Science in Couple and Family Therapy). My style of work includes training in Narrative, Solution-focused, Dialogic, and Emotion-focused therapies as well as sitting in traditional circles with elders since I was small.
I originally started on this path wanting to heal and help my family and community from the effects of residential schools, assimilation and colonization. I stumbled across White Owl and found it to be just what I was looking for - an organization that is focused on building up Indigenous ways of knowing and helping Indigenous peoples heal through connection to spirit and community.