Summer Solstice Festivals are produced by Indigenous Experiences on behalf of the National Indigenous Peoples Day Committee (NIPD) comprising the following organizations representing Indigenous communities across Canada: Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Council of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP), National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC), Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC). Each year one of these partner organziations takes a lead role in presenting the festival and correspondingly, programming shines a brighter spotlight on their community and culture. The National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) has assumed hosting duties.this year. The NAFC is a network of over 100 Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations (PTAs) across the country which manage off-reserve Indigenous service delivery infrastructure, and are the primary providers of culturally enhanced programs and services to urban Indigenous residents.


The National Association of Friendship Centres

The National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) is a network of 118 Friendship Centres and seven Provincial and Territorial Associations (PTAs) from coast – to – coast – to – coast. Friendship Centres are Canada’s most significant off-reserve Indigenous service delivery infrastructure and are the primary providers of culturally enhanced programs and services to urban Indigenous residents. For over half – a – century, Friendship Centres have been facilitating the transition of Indigenous people from rural, remote and reserve life to an urban environment. For many Indigenous people, Friendship Centres are the first point of contact to obtain referrals to cultural based socio-economic programs and services. As the national body of the Friendship Centre Movement, the NAFC is democratically governed, status blind and accountable to its membership.

Mel Maracle

Mel Maracle

Mel Maracle is a Mohawk and First Nation member of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte from the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in Ontario. Mel has lived in Ottawa for over forty years and is the Office Manager for the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC). She is the longest serving member of the Committee and is proud to have the NAFC as the official host for 2017 Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival (SSIF). Mel is the proud mother of two children who have blessed her with 4 grandchildren.


Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) is the national voice of Canada’s 60,000 Inuit. Most Inuit live in 53 communities spread across the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (Northwest Territories), Nunavut, Nunavik (Northern Quebec), and Nunatsiavut (Northern Labrador). This vast region is called Inuit Nunangat. It encompasses roughly 35 percent of Canada’s landmass and 50 percent of its coastline. ITK contributes to a shared sense of political and cultural identity among Inuit across Canada through our work. We unify our population through political advocacy, public outreach and education about the common issues facing Inuit people. ITK’s ability to foster a shared sense of identity among our small population spread across a vast space continues to be the cornerstone of our success.

Mitchell White

A beneficiary of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement, Mitchell White is a Communications Officer, Editor with Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the national voice of Canada’s 60,000 Inuit. His main role is Editor of Inuktitut Magazine, a publication devoted to chronicling the Inuit experience in Canada for over 40 years. His other volunteer experience includes serving as a councillor for the Nain Inuit Community Government (the youngest to do so in the municipal government’s history); and as a board member for the Aboriginal People’s Television Network’s board of directors.


Assembly of First Nations

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is the national representative organization of the First Nations in Canada. There are over 630 First Nation communities in Canada whose interests are represented by the AFN. They are determined to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of the First Nations communities large and small. AFN promotes social progress and better standards of life among the First Nations people. By virtue of their rich heritage, historical experience and contemporary circumstances, First Nations possess common interests and aspirations to exercise their political will in common and to develop a collective struggle or cause based upon their values of trust, confidence and toleration.

Dale Matasawagon

Dale Matasawagon works at the Assembly of First Nations (AFN). He has represented AFN on the National Indigenous Peoples Day (NIPD) Committee since 2011. Dale is an Ojibway from Aroland First Nation. The community is rich in cultural diversity and oral history. As such, Dale is fluent in the Ojibway language, speaking and writing in the western dialect, one of Canada’s predominant Indigenous language groups. Dale is a dancer who competes at various competition pow wows throughout North America. He is the Pow Wow Coordinator for the Summer Solstice Competition Pow Wow.


Native Women’s Association of Canada

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) works to advance the well-being of Indigenous women and girls, as well as their families and communities through activism, policy analysis and advocacy. NWAC was incorporated in 1974 as an aggregate of 13 Indiginous women’s groups from coast to coast to coast, with the goals of preserving Indiginous culture, achieving equal opportunity for Indigenous women, and having a role in shaping legislation relevant to Indigenous women. NWAC is one of the five officially recognized National Aboriginal Organizations (NAOs) whose purpose is to represent and speak, at the national level, on behalf of Indigenous women in Canada.

Marilyn Davignon

Marilyn Davignon

Marilyn Davignon from the Native Women’s Association of Canada.


Congress of Aboriginal Peoples

The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) is one of five National Aboriginal Representative Organizations recognized by the Government of Canada. Founded in 1971 as the Native Council of Canada (NCC), the organization was originally established to represent the interests of Métis and non-status Indians. Reorganized and renamed in 1993, CAP has extended its constituency to include off-reserve status and non-status Indians, Métis and Southern Inuit Aboriginal Peoples, and serves as the national voice for its provincial and territorial affiliate organizations. CAP also holds consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which facilitates its participation on international issues of importance to Indigenous Peoples.

Sarah Mitchell

Sarah Mitchell is the Project Coordinator of the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS) program at CAP. Through her position at CAP, Sarah connects constituents with meaningful, skilled work through projects managed under the ASETS program. Prior to CAP, Sarah worked as a senior research consultant for 10 years, conducting litigation research under Canada’s Settlement Agreement for Indian Residential Schools. Sarah has also worked on numerous projects under the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. She lives in Chelsea, QC with her partner and two children, and spends her free time exploring Gatineau Park with friends and family.


Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada

INAC is one of 34 federal government departments responsible for meeting the Government of Canada’s obligations and commitments to First Nations, Inuit and Métis, and for fulfilling the federal government’s constitutional responsibilities in the North. INAC‘s responsibilities are largely determined by numerous statutes, negotiated agreements and relevant legal decisions. Most of INAC‘s programs and spending are delivered through partnerships with Indigenous communities and federal-provincial or federal-territorial agreements. INAC also works with urban Indigenous peoples, Métis and Non-Status Indians (many of whom live in rural areas).

Tim Kenny

Tim Kenny was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta. Of mixed Cree and European ancestry, he is a proud descendant of the John Baptiste Gambler #183 First Nation in Calling Lake, Alberta. Currently finishing up a degree in Communications/Public Relations from Mount Royal University, Tim works in Ottawa for the Government of Canada in Public Outreach. He is a part of the team responsible for communication efforts for National Indigenous Peoples Day. Proactive collaborator, creative catalyst, conversation generator.

Indigenous Experiences

Indigenous Experiences’ expertise ranges from booking entertainment to providing catering (for up to 4,000 guests), to planning and managing all aspects of multi-day events for 10 to 50,000 people. Additionally, Trina and her team regularly work with national and provincial governments and agencies to develop and deliver educational programs that prepare Indigenous youth and entrepreneurs for careers in tourism. In 2016 Trina received the National Tourism HR award from Tourism HR Canada.

The organization also operates the award-winning, seasonal Indigenous Experiences attraction in Ottawa-Gatineau – one of Canada’s most established and successful Indigenous cultural tourism products – recognized as a Destination Canada Signature Experience.

Trina Mather – Simard

Trina is the founder and leader of INDIGENOUS EXPERIENCES, producers of the Summer Solstice Festival on behalf of the NIPD Committee. For over 25 years, INDIGENOUS EXPERIENCES (formerly Aboriginal Experiences Arts & Culture) has been creating authentic experiences that showcase culture, history, food, music, art, fashion, dance and even entrepreneurship that is reflective and respectful of Canada’s diverse Indigenous heritage. Indigenous Experiences – Event Producer