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Speaker Bios for Mino- Bimaadiziwin- Living the Good Life in 2Spirit Communities

Candy Palmater

Candy Palmater is an orator, writer, humorist and actor.

She created and hosted The Candy Show, an award- winning national television variety series for APTN. She also hosted The Candy Palmater Show on CBC Radio One. She is a regular contributor to The Next Chapter and Because News on CBC Radio. Candy is a recurring guest host on CTV’s afternoon talk show, The Social.

She has acted in numerous televisions series including The Trailer Park Boys, Call Me Fitz and Sex and Violence. She received a Screen Nova Scotia nomination for her role in Forgive Me. You can hear Candy’s voice as the Narrator of the CBC TV series True North Calling, as well as Skindigenous on APTN and PBS. Candy was a Panelist on CBC Canada Reads in 2017.

Candy has written and appeared in many special television broadcasts including Ab Day Live, the Indspire Awards, and the imagineNATIVE Film Fest Awards Show. Candy’s first book, a memoir, will be published by Harper-Collins in the spring of 2022.

In 2020 Margaret Atwood named Candy Palmater as one of the 14 International women who are shaping our future.

Candy was valedictorian of her class at Dalhousie Law School and went on to practice Labour and Aboriginal law in a large corporate firm before transitioning to entertainment. She was also the director of Mi’kmaq Education with the Nova Scotia Department of Education for a decade. Candy was an instructor in the Tradition Year program at Dalhousie University and has an ongoing role as a guest lecturer at Seneca College.

For more than two decades Candy has travelled the world speaking about the power of kindness, love and self- acceptance. She speaks to audiences of all ages and walks of life on topics such as inclusion and diversity. Her talks draw on lived experience and touch audiences in a very personal way.

Candy believes we are stronger together and that you can never have too much CANDY!

Denise Cole

Denise Cole (she/they) is a Two Spirit mixed blood Inuk Labradorian. Living in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Denise coordinates a youth sexual health project at the Labrador Friendship Centre that creates safe spaces for intergenerational mentoring.

Denise is a board member on the Wabanaki Two Spirit Alliance, Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network, Grand Riverkeepers Labrador, and AIDS Committee Newfoundland & Labrador. Denise sits on various advisories and collectives, they are also a co-founder of Safe Alliance, a Labrador group that promotes respect, inclusion, diversity and equality for the 2SLGBTQ+ community.

Denise is a land and water protector for Mother Earth, found guilty of civil court charges for their resistance to the Muskrat Falls hydro project along with fellow Labrador Land Protectors. Gifted the name “Spotted Elk”, they are mentored by Elders and Guides to perform sacred ceremonies and walk a spiritual path as an eagle whistle carrier.

Believing there is no reconciliation without truth, Denise holds responsibilities to her ancestors and the next generations while travelling the red road of healing. They come to this event with clean hands and straight eyes with goals to further build a common circle of solidarity. 

Fyre Jean Graveline

I am a Two Spirited Resilient Survivor of Sacred Heart Mission School in Northern Manitoba, and a descendent of my Mother who was in Residential School at Duck Lake, whose mother was in Boarding School in Wisconsin. I served as a support worker during the unfolding of the IRS Settlement process, and was on the National Counselling Team for the TRC events.

I am keenly interested in healing the deep wounds of Intergenerational and Collective Trauma. I remain continuously curious about how our trauma and our resiliency can become more visible within our Personal Stories when we name, acknowledge and resist painful historical and current and still evolving structures of colonial patriarchal domination.

As a Metis Grandmother, therapist, artist, activist, and educator I work and play on a daily basis to Challenge Domination in all forms by ReWeaving Connections between Spirituality, Healing, Arts, Mother Earth, and Social Change. I am committed to: ReEstablishing our Sacred Powers as Two Spirited, and as Women; Inspiring Reconcili-Actions between Indigenous and Settler Nations; Enhancing a Sustainable Relationship our with Mother Earth; and Insisting on the Rights of All Our Relations to Be, Believe, Belong and Become.

I am an author of several books, Circle Works: Transforming Eurocentric Consciousness (1998, 2012), and Healing Wounded Hearts (2004), as well as many articles and poems, including a piece I wrote in response to the IRS and TRC processes: “So I. We are Still The Problem. What’s new? What’s known?”  Canadian Social Work Review. Vol. 31. #2. 2014.

I am currently completing another book on the powers of Healing Arts, potentially entitled LIFE as Medicine, which brings together radical transformative theories and practices in Lived, Indigenous, Feminist, and Ecological frameworks. I am a prolific artist, a social justice and environmental activist.

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NCTR’s spirit name – bezhig miigwan, meaning “one feather”.

Bezhig miigwan calls upon us to see each Survivor coming to the NCTR as a single eagle feather and to show those Survivors the same respect and attention an eagle feather deserves. It also teaches we are all in this together — we are all one, connected, and it is vital to work together to achieve reconciliation.