Christina Ruddy

As a proud Algonquin woman of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation, Christina has spent the majority of her career working to empower Indigenous youth through education, language and capacity-building. She has worked in grass roots movements such as Friendship Centres, in post-secondary institutions such as Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario and with Lakehead University in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Education. Christina is a successful alumnus of the first graduating class of the Native Community and Social Development program from Georgian College and in 2012 received the Board of Governor’s award of Excellence – Distinguished Alumni for her work with Indigenous people. Christina’s invaluable work in the promotion of Anishnaabemowin has added to efforts to preserve this endangered language both within her own community and provincially. She has worked to bring about change in Indigenous education and to make schooling more inclusive and Indigenous-focused through the Indigenous mathematics research study with Ontario teachers to incorporate Indigenous ways of teaching into the Ontario mathematics curriculum. She has collaborated with educators and administrators from the Renfrew County District School Board, and has worked as a mentor with Indigenous artists in other communities who have been part of this work. Christina has shared her experiences as an Algonquin artist researcher at a number of conferences, included four presentations at the Ontario Association of Mathematics Education annual conference. In 2018 Christina, along with Dr. Ruth Beatty, was awarded the Indigenous Partnership Research Award during Lakehead University’s Research and Innovation awards ceremony as a testament to her leadership in this project. Christina’s dedication to the celebration of Indigenous culture has resulted in many successful events and projects. Through empowering Indigenous youth to celebrate their identity, language and culture made visible in their daily lives, she embodies the tradition of passing on culture and the skills needed to preserve it to the younger generations.

Colinda Clyne is Anishinaabe kwe, a member of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, and Coordinating Principal for Indigenous Education at Upper Grand District School Board. An educator for 30 years, Colinda has been leading and facilitating professional development within her board and across the country for over 20 years. In her current role, Colinda leads the system-wide action plan for First Nations, Métis and Inuit education in her board, building capacity in staff, connecting Elders and knowledge keepers with educators and students, and implementing strategies to improve Indigenous student well being and success. This work is grounded in relationships; she works hard every day to build and strengthen relationships within her local community, school communities and beyond. Colinda also works as a writer and Indigenous content consultant for a number of Canadian publishers. She is founder and host of the podcast Anti-Racist Educator Reads.

Colinda Clyne

Anika Guthrie

Anika is Anishinaabe kwe living in Thunder Bay, ON, she remains connected to the beautiful shores of Lake Simcoe (Barrie, ON) where she was raised. Her father is Ojibway/Odawa from Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve and her mother is Settler-Canadian. She has many roles she values including daughter, auntie, wife, mother, and educator. She has a Master of Education with a specialization in Indigenous Education and 14 years of experience teaching in remote First Nations communities and provincial schools. She currently works as the Principal of Indigenous Education at Lakehead DSB and is an instructor for other university level Indigenous Education and FNMI Studies AQ courses. Anika has collaborated on many writing projects to develop resources that support educators with Indigenous content, pedagogy, histories, and perspectives. Anika is honoured to be part of this work which aligns with her goals of planting seeds, building relationships, and promoting ongoing reciprocity in learning within Indigenous Education.

Jody Kohoko, a First Nation Algonquin, is from the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan. She is currently the system Vice Principal of Indigenous Education with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. Prior to this she had 13 years of teaching experience in the Renfrew County District School Board where she was a classroom teacher, Indigenous Education Resource teacher and lead for Indigenous Education. Jody is committed to ensuring Indigenous Education, through history, perspectives and knowledge, is infused in all classrooms and in all subjects across the province.

Some of her most impactful teaching came from working with Dr. Ruth Beatty, Danielle Blair, the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation, and the staff of Eganville District Public School where they investigated, and implemented Indigenous Ways of Knowing in Mathematics.

Jody believes all students benefit from learning Indigenous knowledge and that it is through this new knowledge we will create a better Canada for generations to come.

Jody Kohoko

Leslie Anne Muma

Leslie’s Métis ancestry is from the west in Manitoba and Pembina ND. She was born in Halifax, NS but raised for a little time in Fort Frances, ON. It was here that her grandfather, without uttering a word about their heritage, taught Leslie and her siblings. As time goes by her grandfather’s teachings have started to make sense, as Leslie has learned more about her Métis culture and roots. Searching for her heritage and history she has discovered that her relatives include Uncle Cuthbert Grant Jr., Uncle Gabriel Dumont, and cousin Louis Riel. Leslie was raised mainly in Nunavut on Baffin Island and the Northwest Territories where she attended residential school in Fort Smith & Inuvik. Leslie enjoys going into schools all over the Grand River Council area. Grand River Council citizens are teaching Métis history, music, dance & culture to all ages. Leslie is firm in her belief of the importance that we, as a community, learn what we can of our own history and culture and share it with our youth.

Jennifer was born in Ottawa and raised in Ottawa, Toronto & Guelph. She is married with three adult children and four grandchildren. Exploring her Métis heritage has been very exciting. She has found many extended family and a few historical figures along the way. Her traditional homelands include Pembina, North Dakota and Red River, Manitoba. Says Jennifer, “My hope is to continue learning more about my Métis heritage and to contribute by getting involved in my community.” Jennifer sought to learn more about her Métis roots so she started attending local Indigenous community events. She became very active and, since 2010, Jennifer has expanded and shared her knowledge with thousands of children each year by going into schools, colleges and universities. Today, Jennifer is very active politically, meeting with various proponents, government officials and government ministries, all in the pursuit of solidifying Métis citizens’ rights in Canada. Jennifer continues to enjoy her journey.

Jennifer Parkinson

Naomi Smith

Naomi is an Indigenous Artist, Maker and Educator from Neyaashiinigmiing (Chippewas of Nawash). She has for over 20 years shared traditional teachings with various communities and groups. Her work focuses on the ways of the Indigenous people of the Great Lakes region from a historical and contemporary perspective often through the story of beads. Naomi’s artwork embraces ancestral designs using quillwork, beadwork and other indigenous methods and materials. She has exhibited her work across Canada and internationally.

Artist statement:

“Honouring our traditions is my voice within and beyond my Culture and Community. Traditionally there is no word for “art” in Native languages yet artistry and visual expression are critical in defining who we are as Indigenous people. It is this path I wish to exemplify through my teachings and my work.”

Laurie is an Indigenous Artist born in Renfrew Ontario. She has lived in Nipigon, Nolalu, Ottawa, Kirkland Lake, Kingston, before finally settling in Eganville Ontario on Algonquin unceded territory near her home reserve of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation. Laurie was taught by Elders to make moccasins, mukluks and mitts, and during community gatherings she learned beading and quill work. She has also taught herself acrylic art. For the past several years, Laurie has been partnering with elementary teachers to teach math through beading. She also works with secondary students and community members in Pikwakanagan to share teachings of beading, moccasin, mukluk, and mitt making. Passing on knowledge to the next generation is Laurie’s passion.

Laurie Bennett

Elliott Cromarty

Elliott Cromarty is the Indigenous Heritage Program Coordinator at Fort William Historical Park. He began his journey learning about Anishinaabe culture and history as a student working at the Fort and has had the good fortune of developing skills in birch craft, drum and rattle making, snowshoe weaving, among others, over the years. Elliott works with school boards, community groups, and agencies to develop and host Indigenous education programs, special events, and workshops. He teaches the interpretive staff about Anishinaabe life during the fur trade and how to interact with visitors, encouraging them to share the culture to people from many walks of life.

Dr. Ruth Beatty is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at Lakehead University in Orillia. As a mathematics education researcher, Ruth’s focus has been how children learn complex math concepts, and the alignment of instruction with developmental trajectories of understanding. She is also interested in multiple representations of mathematical concepts, particularly visual representations. Since 2012 she has collaborated with members of Anishinaabe and Métis communities, and educators from Ontario school boards, to research the connections between Anishinaabe and Métis ways of knowing mathematics and the Western mathematics found in provincial curricula. The goal of this research, funded by a number of grants including a SSHRC Insight Development Grant, two SSHRC Connection Grants, a SSHRC Indigenous Research Capacity and Reconciliation Connection Grant and an Indigenous Research Capacity Development Grant, is to collaboratively design culturally responsive mathematics instruction and to learn from and incorporate Indigenous pedagogical perspectives in inclusive classroom settings. This work resulted in the Ontario Premier’s Award for Safe and Accepting Schools in 2017, the 2018 Lakehead University Indigenous Partnership Research Award, and the 2020 Lakehead University Community Engaged Research Award. In 2021 Ruth was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists.

Ruth Beatty

Heather Lett

Heather Lett is a recently retired classroom teacher with over 30 years experience in the Renfrew County District School Board. She continues to work collaboratively with RCDSB teachers and local Indigenous community artists, building relationships and making connections between the lives, culture and traditions of Indigenous students and the subjects and events taught in classrooms. She has been a collaborator in the Indigenous mathematics research project for over ten years and has presented work from  this journey at several conferences. Heather is excited to share and learn with others who are interested in more inclusive, holistic approaches to teaching because she has seen first hand the gains all students make when they extend their “ways of knowing” mathematics as they experience a meaningful connection between their learning and their culture.

Mike is a Technology Enabled Learning and Teaching-Contact(TELT-C) in the Renfrew County District School Board. A TELT-C supports the delivery of technology-integrated teaching and learning and experiential learning.  Mike helps to facilitate the Traditional Ways of Knowing Mathematics project within the school board. In addition, Mike strives to incorporate technology and culturally responsive education to create inspired learning opportunities for students.

Previously, Mike was a classroom teacher at Eganville District Public School and continues to be a collaborator in the Indigenous Ways of Knowing Mathematics research project. As a classroom teacher at the Eganville public school, he has had an opportunity to build relationships with elders, artisans, and community members from the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation. He is grateful for the impact community members and Indigenous pedagogies have had on him personally, professionally, and in the school community.

Mike Fitzmaurice

Bonnie Sears

Bonnie is a Special Education teacher with the Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB) supporting teachers and students in the area of math instruction.  She has over 20 years experience teaching at a variety of grade levels and specialties from K-8, including 6 years in remote First Nations communities. Bonnie’s most important work was inspired by First Nations Math Voices, bringing Indigenous Knowledge and Math together in a collaborative project with local Indigenous community artists, consultants, teachers and students. Through a focus on building relationships and reciprocity, students are engaged in important cultural and mathematics teachings. She enjoys sharing her own learning journey about the importance of allyship and how to do this work in “a good way” at conferences both inside and outside the UGDSB.

Kris works for the Lakehead District School Board, teaching grade 5/6 at McKellar Park school.  Go Thunderhawk’s! As a teacher for over 20 years Kris has welcomed all the opportunities that can help students learn in the classroom.  When asked to be a part of Indigenous Ways to Know, he embraced the opportunity to bring Birch Bark Basket making into his classroom in partnership with Fort William Historical Parks Indigenous team of educators.  Working with students that come from a variety of remote communities in Northern Ontario, and having the opportunity for cultural learning that they can all connect to, is a great way for students to build positive relationships with other students and staff.   

When Kris is not weaving baskets, you can find him playing and learning with kids through Minecraft Education.  Known as the “Minecraft Guy” Kris blends many technologies into his classroom to engage students in their learning.

Kris Sandburg

Peter Skillen

Peter Skillen, M.Ed., is Curriculum & Project Leader for—a federally funded Taking IT Global project that introduces computational thinking and coding to educators and students Canada-wide. Peter ‘draws’ students into ‘being mathematicians’ through the use of turtle graphics—an artistic aspect of the coding platform he has helped develop ( He supports the Lakehead University project focusing on Indigenous ways of knowing mathematics through loom beading and finger weaving. Students code their creations in LYNX (currently available in four Indigenous languages). 

Peter has been involved in technology-supported learning since the 1970s and has developed learning opportunities for both TeachOntario and the Ontario Teachers’ Federation. He was Global Ambassador for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and received two ISTE awards—including the Making IT Happen award that honours educators who demonstrate extraordinary commitment in improving digital learning opportunities for students.

Peter recently co-authored the (YVIP) curriculum. Students learn about Indigenous issues in Canada. They use computational thinking, math, and music skills to express their message by coding a remix of Canadian Indigenous musicians’ sound clips in EarSketch. YVIP is a collaboration of Amazon Future Engineer,,, and

Blog –

Twitter – @peterskillen

Brenda Sherry is currently an Educational Consultant with Taking IT Global and Advanced Learning Partnerships, working with transformative technologies that empower learners in programs such as Connected North, Code To Learn, and Girls Who Game. Brenda feels grateful everyday to be spending most of her time serving communities of youth in the Yukon. She has 32+ years of experience in Ontario public education in a variety of roles, mostly in Guelph, Ontario; classroom teacher, instructional coach, vice-principal, and as an Education Officer with the Ontario Ministry of Education in the 21st Century Learning Unit. She holds a Master of Education in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education with an emphasis on educational technology, and loves to support and empower educators and school leaders in their professional learning in the service of students.

Brenda Sherry


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