Six Years Hence
Saturday 11 September 2pm // Virtual Livestream
Moderated by Celebration of Nations Artistic Producer Tim Johnson, with guests: The Right Honourable Paul Martin, Prime Minister of Canada (2003-6); Ava Hill, the Elected Chief of the 56th and 57th Six Nations Elected Council; and Dr. Lynn Wells, Provost and Vice-President Academic at Brock University.
This fifth anniversary year of Celebration of Nations is also the sixth anniversary of the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. This signature 2021 session will feature a panel of high-profile persons of stature who bring to the table significant experience in Indigenous governance, federal governance, and education, to provide their assessments and perspectives on the status of Truth and Reconciliation, some six years into the process.
How far have we, as a society, come since those recommendations were first proffered? How much further do we have to go until we can declare that progress, made against centuries of disrespect and neglect, is understood to be in a clear state of advance? Is truth and reconciliation working? Are there definitive examples of success that can be identified? If so, in what forms are these arriving? What impediments are preventing, limiting, or stalling progress? How long will it take? What will truth and reconciliation look like and will we be able to recognize it?
Ava Hill, whose traditional name is Iohahatie, was born on the Six Nations Reserve and is a Wolf Clan Mohawk. Ava was the Elected Chief of the 56th and 57th Six Nations Elected Council. Prior to holding the office of the Elected Chief, Ava was a councillor for District Two for three terms, a total of nine years. After fifteen years of service sitting with the Six Nations Elected Council, working to shape and implement policy at the most populous First Nation within Canada, Ava did not seek re-election in 2019. During her tenure as Chief, Ava represented the Chiefs of Ontario on the Ontario Provincial Cabinet Committee on Poverty Reduction and Social Inclusion up until June 2018.
Ava is a former member of the Board of Governors at the University of Waterloo. She is currently a member of the National Consortium for Indigenous Economic Development at the University of Victoria and a member of the Advisory Council for the Victoria Forum 2020. She is also co-chair, along with the president of the International Commonwealth Games Federation, for a Working Group that is working on a Declaration on Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples Through Sports.
She was appointed by the Minister of Natural Resources Canada to the position of Indigenous Advisor to the Geographical Names Board of Canada and also appointed as a Board Director for Commonwealth Sport Canada. In addition, she is a member of the Canadian Advisory Board for Right to Play.
In 2020, Ava was awarded with the YMCA Peacemaker Medal, which was presented by the YMCA of Hamilton, Burlington, and Brantford.
Dr. Lynn Wells is a Canadian scholar, teacher, and university leader with over fifteen years of experience in senior academic leadership positions. In 2020, Dr. Wells was appointed as provost and vice-president academic at Brock University. On July 1, 2021, Dr. Wells also became interim president at Brock. Prior to 2021, she served as associate vice-president, Students and Teaching at MacEwan University in Edmonton and held a number of senior positions at the University of Regina, including acting dean of the Faculty of Arts and associate vice-president academic. For seven years, Dr. Wells supported the work of national reconciliation with Indigenous people through her service as vice-president academic and special advisor to the president at First Nations University of Canada. Dr. Wells is a respected scholar in her field of Contemporary British Fiction, having published two books and numerous articles. Her fields of scholarly interest include urban representations, literary ethics, and surveillance studies. She has served on the Executive Committee of the International Association for Philosophy and Literature and as a board member for the Canadian Federation for Humanities and Social Sciences. Dr. Wells holds a Master’s in English and a B.A. Honours (summa cum laude) in English and French Studies, along with a PhD in English from Western University.
The Right Honourable Paul Martin was Prime Minister of Canada from 2003 to 2006.
As Prime Minister, he set in place a ten year plan to improve health care and reduce wait times. He also signed agreements with the provinces and territories to establish the first national early learning and child care program. Under Mr. Martin’s leadership, following an 18 month consultation process involving Canada’s provinces, territories, First Nations, the Metis Nation, and Inuit leaders, the Federal government reached a historic consensus with the 2005 Kelowna Accord to eliminate funding gaps in health, education, housing, and clean water for Indigenous people.
He was Minister of Finance from 1993 to 2002, where he erased Canada’s deficit and recorded five consecutive budget surpluses while paying down the national debt and setting Canada’s debt-to-GDP ratio on a steady downward track. He was a Member of Parliament for the riding of Lasalle-Émard from 1988 to 2008.
In 1999, as co-founder of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, he served as its inaugural chair and continued in that position for 3 years.
After leaving public life, Mr. Martin advised the African Development Bank and worked closely with the Advisory Council of the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa. He was also a founding co-chair of the Congo Basin Forest Fund and a Commissioner of the Global Ocean Commission.
In 2008, along with his family he founded the Martin Family Initiative (MFI) a charitable organization committed to improving education, health, and the overall well-being of Indigenous People in Canada. Since its inception MFI has sought to walk the path with Indigenous People as they define their priorities and goals, bridging the gap between needs and available resources. To this end, MFI gathers the most relevant expertise coupled with Indigenous -based knowledge to co-develop, support, and implement innovative programming and networks.
Before entering politics, Mr. Martin had a long career in the private sector. He graduated from the University of Toronto’s St. Michael’s College and from the University’s law school. He was called to the Ontario Bar in 1966.
In 2012, he was appointed Companion to the Order of Canada.
He is married to Sheila Ann Cowan and they have three sons and five grandchildren.
Tim Johnson is director of Landscape of Nations 360° Indigenous Education Initiative, artistic director of The Great Niagara Escarpment Indigenous Cultural Map, artistic producer of Celebration of Nations, creator and producer of the Indigenous Niagara Living Museum Tour, and executive producer of the multiple award-winning documentary RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked The World.
As an experienced education, museum, and arts executive Tim was instrumental in the recent development of four masterworks of public art in the Niagara Region during the past six years. Two of these consist of public memorials of national significance that recognize and honour Indigenous peoples’ contributions to Canada. The first, Landscape of Nations: The Six Nations and Native Allies Commemorative Memorial, was unveiled in Queenston Heights Park in 2016. The second, First Nations Peace Monument, designed by world-renowned architect Douglas Cardinal, who Tim recruited to the project, was established in DeCew House Heritage Park in Thorold in 2017. Tim also served on the committee and sub-committee for design and construction for Voices of Freedom Park, a public art installation dedicated in 2018 in Niagara-on-the-Lake to African Canadians whose contributions to the Niagara Region and Canada have been significant, but largely underrepresented. In addition, he was instrumental in defining the criteria and guiding the curatorial selection of the contemporary art masterpiece by Lilly Otasevic entitled Curtain Call, newly installed in 2019 on the Carlisle Street side of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre as a legacy project of Celebration of Nations and the City of St. Catharines.
As the former Associate Director for Museum Programs at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, Tim managed the museum’s largest organizational group across its facilities in Washington and New York. A long list of critically acclaimed exhibits and programs were produced during his tenure, creating an era that significantly advanced the institution’s museology and reputation. Over the course of his work at the Smithsonian Tim edited, conceptualized, and strategically initiated several Smithsonian books showcasing Native arts and history. He also established the museum’s Indigenous Community Services department and was co-founder and publisher of the museum’s flagship quarterly membership magazine American Indian, now in its third decade of publication.