Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs in the film The Sun at Midnight | Image source: Jill & Jackfish Productions Inc.
The Seventh Fire is an Anishinaabe prophecy that foretells a time when Indigenous Peoples will return to their traditional knowledge bundles with the help of Elders and teachers. The 7th Fire has arrived and it is the time for the next generation to choose the path that leads to the lighting of “the Eighth and final Fire, an eternal fire of peace, love brotherhood and sisterhood…”, quoted from The Mishomis Book: The Voice of the Ojibway by Edward Benton-Banai.
1. Teyotsihstokwáthe Dakota Brant, Mohawk
Brant is a Mohawk woman, an artist, entrepreneur, established international speaker and consultant on issues impacting Indigenous communities. Along with her sister Jesse, Brant co-owns and operates Twindian Designs, a company with strong ethical roots in Indigenous and Canadian small business partnerships and eco-friendly manufacturing processes that honours the environment while reclaiming Indigenous identity through her motifs. Brant’s company, Twindian Designs, was featured in MUSKRAT’s Virtual Pow Wow Vendor List!
2. Ashley Callingbull, Cree
Ashley Callingbull is Cree First Nations from the Enoch Cree Nation in the province of Alberta. Ashley won the Mrs Universe title in 2015 and is also a spokesperson and model for the Nike N7 organization. Ashley and her dad Joel were one of the final three teams in the Amazing Race Canada 2016. Callingbull is an inspiration to young people to be their very best and to take pride in their culture and dreams.
3. Gabrielle Fayant, Métis
Gabrielle is the co-founder of a youth-led organization called Assembly of Seven Generations (A7G), a youth program providing vulnerable populations with technology and business skills training. Fayant also sings with a female drum group called Spirit Flowers and as backup for a men’s drum group called O-Town Boyz. Fayant is the recipient of the 2015 Indspire Awards in the Youth – Métis category, and works as community leader, supporting youth to use culture and education to foster health and wellbeing.
4. Damen Bell Holter, Haida
Sport’s advocate Damen Bell-Holter grew up in the southeast Alaska village of Hydaburg in Alaska. Damen is a Nike N7 Ambassador and the founder of Blessed 2 Basketball, a basketball program that offers mentorship and skills training camps to young people. This year Damen will play in the Italian basketball league in center position for the Fortitudo Agrigento team.
5. Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs, Mohawk
Jacobs is a film and television actress, born and raised on the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake in Quebec. Known for her leading role as Aila in the award-winning feature film Rhymes for Young Ghouls, Devery and nominated for Best Actress at the 2014 Canadian Screen Awards.
Devery has recently explored the other side of the camera, where she wrote, directed and produced her first short film, STOLEN, about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Canada. It was successfully crowd funded.
6. James Jones, Cree
James Jones is a cultural hoop dance artist who has performed at the world ski cup championship in Italy, Vancouver Olympics, Juno Awards, Coachella Music Festival and Sydney Opera House in Australia. James has worked with artists, K-os, A Tribe Called Red and Snoop Dogg. James was a finalist on “So you think you can Dance Canada”.
James is the creator of PowwowFIT, a high intensity Indigenous dance exercise program and offers youth empowerment workshops.
7. Sam Mukwa Kloetstra, Anishinaabe
Sam Mukwa Kloetstra is a youth leader from Mattagami First Nation. Throughout his career he has worked with the Government of Ontario and the City of Toronto to tackle poverty and reduce systemic inequities faced by Indigenous people. Kloetstra has been active in Toronto’s Indigenous community working to develop health promotion, education, and place making. Some his accomplishments include his role as Youth Member of the Toronto Birth Centre’s Board of Directors, Coordinator for the Toronto Indigenous Health Advisory Circle and Member of the Premiers Council on Youth Opportunity. Check out Sam’s interview on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning here.
8. Trevor Mack, Tsilhqot’n
Trevor Mack is from the Tsilhqot’in (Chilcotin) First Nation and is an emerging multi media artist. Mack started experimenting with media, editing and film in elementary school and later studied at Capilano University in North Vancouver for two years before dropping out to work as a contract videographer. He has shot two short films, The Blanketing and Clouds of Autumn, both screened at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Mack was selected as one of the 12 writer-directors for the 2016 STUDIO programme, a year-round professional development industry programme delivered by TIFF.
9. Xiuhtezcatl Tonatiuh Martinez, Aztec
A 15-year-old Indigenous change agent, environmental activist, public speaker, eco hip-hop artist, and the Youth Director of Earth Guardians– Xiuhtezcatl is a powerful voice on the front lines of the youth-led climate movement. He and his brother, Itzcuauhtli ignite and inspire youth to step up as leaders and take action on behalf of the planet. In 2013, Xiuhtezcatl received the 2013 United States Community Service Award from President Obama, and was the youngest of 24 national change-makers chosen to serve on the President’s youth council.
10. Quinn Meawasige, Anishinaabe
Quinn’s Anishinaabe name is Stallion Standing In The North, he is bear clan and lives in Serpent River First Nation. He began to advocate for First Nations rights in 2009 on the issue of Harmonized Sales Tax and is currently the Anishinabek Nation male Youth Representative, a member of the Ontario First Nations Young Peoples Council and of the AFN National Youth Council. Advocating for First Nations rights and engaging young people in culture and identity is a passion of Quinn’s. In January 2012, Quinn was elected to the Serpent River First Nation Council, making him the youngest serving council member in his community’s history.
12. Kendal Netmaker, Cree
Kendal Netmaker is the CEO and founder of Neechie Gear Inc., a lifestyle apparel brand that empowers youth through sports. A portion of the profits help fund underprivileged youth play sports. Netmaker grew up on Sweetgrass First Nation in Saskatchewan and later built his brand from a 1 room apartment in Saskatoon to a mall kiosk and finally to a retail store in The Centre Mall in Saskatoon. Neechie Gear is now sold to consumers across North America through other retail shops and online.
13. Carey Price, Ulkatchot’en
Carey started playing hockey at 15 and played his first NHL game with the Montreal Canadians five years later. The combination of cultural pride and athletic prowess is almost inevitable: his mother is chief of the Ulkatcho First Nation, and the first woman Chief elected to of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs’ executive; his father is a goalie coach and a pilot. Carey is The Breakfast Club of Canada’s national ambassador for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit and opened two breakfast programs in Anahim Lake so kids can eat at school and focus on their studies.
14. Shoni Schimmel, Umatilla
Shoni Schimmel is a member of the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indians and is probably the most popular Native American basketball player. Her jersey the fifth-highest-selling of all current WNBA players and is the University of Louisville’s No. 2 all-time female scorer. Shoni was selected in the first round at the WNBA 2013 Draft by the Atlanta Dream and began her first season with New York Liberty this year.
15. Frank Waln, Sicangu Lakota
Frank Waln is Sicangu Lakota and praised hip hop artist, producer, and performer from the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. A recipient of the Gates Millennium Scholarship, Waln attended Columbia College in Chicago where he received a BA in Audio Arts and Acoustics.
Waln’s awards include three Native American Music Awards and the 2014 Chicago Mayor’s Award for Civic Engagement. He has been featured on Buzzfeed, USA Today, ESPN, and MTV’s Rebel Music Native America. Waln has written for The Guardian and brings a message of hope and inspiration through his performances and workshops that encourage people to follow their dreams.