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Indigenous Futures

in Public Art Galleries & Museums


Jason Baerg

Assistant Professor of Indigenous Practices in Contemporary Painting and Media Art , OCAD University

Jason Baerg is a registered member of the Métis Nations of Ontario and serves his community as an Indigenous activist, curator, designer, educator, and visual artist.

Baerg teaches as the Assistant Professor in Indigenous Practices in Contemporary Painting and Media Art at OCAD University. As a visual artist, he pushes digital interventions in drawing, painting, and new media installation. Select international solo exhibitions include: Canada House in London, UK, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia, and the Digital Dome at the Institute of the American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.

Stephen Borys

Director and CEO of the Winnipeg Art Gallery and Qaumajuq

Dr. Stephen Borys has long been a fierce advocate for the power of art to change lives. He holds an Executive MBA, PhD in Art and Architectural History from McGill University, MA in Art History from the University of Toronto, BA Honours from the University of Winnipeg, and is an adjunct professor in the History and Business departments at the University of Winnipeg.

He has held curatorial posts at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida; Allen Art Museum, Oberlin College, Ohio; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; and the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal. Dr. Borys has organized numerous exhibitions, published extensively in both museum and scholarly contexts, and lectured across North America and Europe.

He is a graduate of the Getty Center’s Museum Leadership Institute, and is a fellow of the Royal Collections Studies Program. He has served on the boards of the Canadian Museums Association, Association of Art Museum Directors, and the Canadian Art Museum Directors Organization. He received the Peter Herrndorf Arts Leadership Award in 2023, the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum and Diamond Jubilee Medals in 2022 and 2012, and the Order of Manitoba in 2020. 

Dana Claxton

Artist, and Professor & Head of the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory, UBC

Dana Claxton is a critically acclaimed artist who works with film, video, photography, single/multi- channel video installation, and performance art. Her practice investigates indigenous beauty, the body, the socio-political and the spiritual.

Her work has been shown at Museum of Modern Art (NYC), Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC), Walker Art Centre (Minneapolis, MN), Sundance Film Festival, Salt Lake City (UT), Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indianapolis (IN), Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney, AU), Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Bentonville, AR), Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University (Durham, NC), Memphis Brooks Museum of Art (TN) and the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MN). She is Professor and Head of the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory with the University of British Columbia. She is a member of Wood Mountain Lakota First Nations located in SW Saskatchewan and she resides in Vancouver Canada.


Russ Diabo

First Nations Policy Consultant, Member of Mohawk Nation, Kahnawake

Russ Diabo is a member of the Mohawk Nation at Kahnawake, studied Museology at Navajo Community College (now Dine College) under Curator Harry Walters and for a time was the Museum Development Coordinator at the Kanien’keha:ka Onkwawen:na Raotitiohkwa Cultural Center (Kahnawake Cultural Centre). Russ is a First Nations Policy Analyst with decades of experience working with First Nation communities and Chiefs’ Organizations, including the Assembly of First Nations on analyzing government policy and legislation.


Rachelle Dickenson

Senior Curator, Ottawa Art Gallery

I am British, Irish and through my paternal Grandfather, Red River Métis and am guided by decolonial and Indigenous methodologies and the arts and academic communities of which I am part. I have a PhD from the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies at Carleton University and have taught courses in curatorial studies, Indigenous and white settler art histories.

I co-curated 83 Til Infinity: 40 Years of Hip-Hop in the Ottawa Gatineau Region. With the Ottawa Art Gallery, I continue to work in support of relevant, respectful, responsible, and reciprocal BIPOC and white settler arts collaborations.

Photo credit: André Rozon

Karen Duffek

Curator, Contemporary Visual Arts & Pacific Northwest, UBC Museum of Anthropology

Karen Duffek is the Curator of Contemporary Visual Arts+ Pacific Northwest, as well as Department Head. Curatorial + Design, al the UBC Museum of Anthropology (MOA). Committed to supporting the activation of Indigenous objects and belongings inside and outside the museum, her research, exhibitions, and publications focus on the relationships between historical and contemporary art practices, museums, communities, and art markets.

Her most recent book is the award-winning Where the Power Is: Indigenous Perspectives on Northwest Coast Art, co-authored with Jordan Wilson and the late Bill McLennan (2021), that features the voices of 81 First Nations participants. 

Rick Hill, Sr.

Indigenous Innovations Specialist, Mohawk College, Hamilton

Rich Hill has worked for and against museums, art galleries and historical societies since 1973 as he, along with a host of Indigenous educators, artists, and activists, to force such institutions to rethink their relationship and responsibilities to the communities from which their collections were drawn, or the exclusion of perspectives, scholarship and advice from Indigenous professionals.

In 1978-9, Hill became chairperson of the North American Indian Museums Association and held national conferences of such museums and cultural centres, as well as advocate for inclusion with various anthropological, art education and musicological associations. In 1980 Hill served as museum director for the Native American Centre for the Living Arts, Niagara Falls, NY; Museum Director for the Institute of American Indian Art, Santa Fe, NM in 1990; and Assistant Director for Public Programs at the National Museum of the American Indian of the Smithsonian Institution. A former Associate Professor in Native American Studies at SUNY Buffalo, he currently serves as Indigenous Innovations Specialist at Mohawk College, Hamilton, Ontario. 

Tara Hogue

Curator (Indigenous Art), Remai Modern, Saskatoon

Tarah Hogue is the Curator of Indigenous Art at Remai Modern. Her critical and curatorial practice attends to the complexities of place, being-in-motion, and Indigeneity, through collaborative and conciliatory approaches. Her recent exhibition, Storied Objects: Métis Art in Relation, curated with advisor Sherry Farrell Racette, received a 2023 Award for Excellence from the Association of Art Museum Curators. Raised on the border between Treaty 6 and 7 territories in Alberta, Hogue is of Métis and white settler descent, and is a citizen of the Métis

Heather Igloliorte

Professor, Visual Arts Department, University of Victoria

Dr. Heather Igloliorte, an Inuk-Newfoundlander, has recently joined the Visual Arts Department at the University of Victoria as a Full Professor; previously, she held the University Research Chair in Circumpolar Indigenous Arts (2019-) at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, where she was an Associate Professor in the Department of Art History (2012-) and Co-Directed the Indigenous Futures Research Centre (2020-2023). Heather directs the Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership Partnership Grant (2018-2025), which trains and mentors emerging Inuit talent to take up agential positions in the arts at institutions across the North and in southern Canada.

She has been a curator since 2005 and has worked on more than thirty curatorial projects including nationally and internationally touring exhibitions, permanent collection exhibits, festivals, and public art installations. Her curatorial work was recently recognized by The Hnatyshyn Foundation with the Award for Curatorial Excellence in Contemporary Art (2021). She was the lead guest curator of the inaugural exhibition INUA of the new Inuit art centre, Qaumajuq, which opened in March 2021 at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Currently the President of the Board of Directors of the Inuit Art Foundation (2019-), Igloliorte has served on numerous advisories, juries and councils. For her service to the arts, she was recently awarded a Royal Canadian Academy of Arts Medal (2021).

Photo: Lisa Graves for Concordia University 

A mixed race Inuk woman in her early 40s with shoulder length dark hair and highlights, wearing a black shirt against a grey background. She smiles at the camera, wearing a gold chain necklace, a narwhal-tusk shaped pendant, and large beaded polar bear earrings trimmed in gold beads.

Bryenton Innes

Artist, and Historian

Bryenton Innes is an Anishnaabe-Mi’kmaq Musician and Multi-Disciplinary Artist from Nova Scotia, currently residing in New Brunswick. Working with beadwork, handweaving, composition and soundspace, Bryenton works his artistry alongside his work as an emerging museum professional – working in museum and archives space with the focus on community integration and Indigenous histories.

Bryenton’s main area of study is on Indigenous sound histories, and the relationships that we have with songs and stories both in present time, and those ancestors kept in recording technologies. Bryenton also likes to work with the modernization of culture and the Indigenization of pop culture, working popular characters into beadwork.

Julia Lafreniere

Head of Indigenous Ways, Learnings and Equity, Winnipeg Art Gallery – Qaumajuq

Julia Lafreniere is the Head of Indigenous Ways, Learning & Equity at the Winnipeg Art Gallery – Qaumajuq. She has made presentations about her work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and across Turtle Island. Julia was the project lead on a Canadian Museum Association’s award-winning initiative in the category of Stewardship of Collections. WAG-Qaumajuq was the recipient of the Tourism Manitoba award for Business Excellence in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, largely in response to work that Julia initiated and led. Julia is also a 2023 recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal. Julia is Michif and Anishinaabe from Treaty 4 territory in Manitoba. 

Johnny Mack

Assistant Professor, Peter A. Allard School of Law and First Nations & Indigenous Studies, UBC

Johnny Mack (Nuu-chah-nulth name: Haynahmeek) is from the Toquaht Nation (Nuu-chah-nulth) and an Assistant Professor in the Peter A. Allard School of Law and First Nations and Indigenous Studies at UBC. Mack has an LLB and an LLM at the University of Victoria, where he is also a PhD candidate. He was selected as a Trudeau Foundation scholar in 2011.

His research investigates the legal relationship between Indigenous and settler peoples, with an interest in Indigenous legal traditions, Indigenous constitutionalism, modernity and critical Indigenous studies. He is grateful for the opportunity to reside and work on the ancestral, traditional and unceded lands of the Musqueam people.

Rebecca MacKenzie

Director of Communication, Canadian Museums Association

Rebecca MacKenzie is a communications and design professional of Metis, Scottish and Acadian descent. She has a human centered and collaborative leadership style, preferring peership over hierarchy. Currently, she works at the Canadian Museums Association as the Director of Communications through which she co-authored the Moved to Action report, CMA’s response to TRC Call to Action #67, with her colleague Stephanie Danyluk and under the advisement of the CMA Reconciliation Council.

Gerald McMaster

Curator, Artist, Author, and Professor Emeritus & Director of the Wapatah: Centre for Indigenous Visual Knowledge, OCAD University

Gerald McMaster is a curator, artist, author, and professor emeritus – is former Tier 1 Canada Research Chair and director of the Wapatah: Centre for Indigenous Visual Knowledge at OCAD University. McMaster has 40 years of international work and expertise in contemporary art, critical theory, museology, and indigenous aesthetics.

He was curator at the Venice Biennale (1995) and Venice Architecture Biennale (2018). In 2012, he was Artistic Director to the 18th Biennale of Sydney. Recently curated the Arctic Amazon, Power Plant (2022) and Postcommodity, Remai Modern (2021).

His book, Iljuwas Bill Reid (2020), was published by Art Canada Institute. 

Isabelle Mondou

Deputy Minister, Department of Canadian Heritage

Isabelle Mondou joined the Department of Canadian Heritage on October 22, 2018, as Associate Deputy Minister and, after being on assignment at the Privy Council Office as Deputy Minister for the COVID-19 Response (Communications) from April 2020 to April 2021, became Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage on May 3, 2021. On September 19, 2016, Isabelle was appointed Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet (Priorities and Planning) at the Privy Council Office. Prior to that, she was legal counsel to the Clerk of the Privy Council and Assistant Secretary (Democratic Reform). Isabelle joined Canada’s public service in 1994 as an employee of the Department of Revenue. She has held a wide range of positions, including in the Intergovernmental Affairs, Machinery of Government and Senior Personnel sections at the Privy Council Office.

Isabelle has a Bachelor of Law degree (1989) and a Master of Law degree (1994) from the Université de Montréal. She was called to the Barreau du Québec in 1990. She practised law in the private sector, with a focus on administrative, environmental and municipal law. Isabelle is originally from the Laurentian region and has lived in Ottawa since 1996. She is the mother of two children.

Janis Kahentóktha Monture

Executive Director & CEO, Canadian Museums Association

Janis Kahentóktha Monture is Mohawk Nation, Turtle Clan from Six Nations of the Grand River.  Janis recently has been appointed as Executive Director and CEO of the Canadian Museums Association. Prior to this Janis returned as the Executive Director of Woodland Cultural Centre, one of the largest First Nations- run cultural centres/museums in the country. Janis attended the University of Western Ontario where she attained a Bachelor of Arts in History and received a Museum Studies diploma from Algonquin College. Janis continues to volunteer in her community at Six Nations and in Brantford, and is a recipient of the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers designated by the Governor General of Canada.

Cecily Nicholson

Writer, and Assistant Professor, School of Creative Writing, UBC

Cecily Nicholson is the author of four books and past recipient of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry. She is an Assistant Professor at the School of Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia, and the incoming 2024/2025 Holloway Lecturer in Poetry and Poetics at the University of California, Berkeley. Nicholson’s work and collaborative writing practice spans municipal, artist-run centre, and community-based arts organizing, education, and advocacy. 

Lillian O’Brien Davis

Curator of Collections and Contemporary Art Engagement, Art Gallery of York University

Lillian O’Brien Davis is a curator and writer based in Toronto, ON. She has curated projects such as Nuit Blanche Etobicoke 2023 as well as independent exhibitions at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, Susan Hobbs Gallery, the School of Art Gallery at the University of Manitoba and the MacKenzie Art Gallery. Her writing has appeared in BlackFlash Magazine, Canadian Art, C Magazine, Insight Magazine and RACAR (revue d’art canadienne / Canadian Art Review). She is currently one of two inaugural Visiting Curators at the School of Art Gallery at the University of Manitoba.

Photo credit: Simon Fuh


Carmen Papalia

Social Practice Artist

Carmen Papalia is a non-visual social practice artist with a degenerative blood disease. He uses organizing strategies and improvisation to address access to public space, art institutions and
visual culture. As a convener, he establishes welcoming spaces where d/Deaf, Disabled and Mad people can build capacity for care that they lack on account of governmental failure and medical ableism. In 2022-23, Papalia produced commissions for the Migros Museum of Contemporary Art (Zurich, CH), Wellcome Collection (London, UK), and Vancouver Art Gallery. He is grateful to live as an uninvited guest on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) people.

Ruth B. Phillips

Professor Emerita of Art History, Carleton University, Ottawa

Ruth B. Phillips received her PhD in African art history from the University of London and has since focused her research and teaching on Indigenous North American arts and critical museology. Her books include Trading Identities: The Souvenir in Native North American Arts from the Northeast, 1700-1900 (1998), Native North American Art, with Janet Catherine Berlo (2014) : and Museum Pieces: Toward the Indigenization of Canadian Museums (2011). She served as director of the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Ryan Rice

Executive Director + Curator, Indigenous Art, Onsite Gallery, OCAD University

Ryan Rice, Kanien’kehá:ka of Kahnawake, is a curator, critic and creative consultant based in Toronto. His institutional and independent curatorial career spans 30 years in community, museums, artist run centres, public spaces and galleries. Rice focuses his extensive curatorial research and writing on contemporary and Onkwehón:we art.

In 2023, he co-curated the 2023 Bonavista Biennale (Newfoundland) and he was appointed to OCAD University’s Onsite Gallery as the Executive Director alongside his Curator, Indigenous Art post. He consistently contributes to multiple communities to advance leadership and organizational experiences in the arts and culture sector.

Headshot of a middle-aged woman outdoors, in front of a concrete wall. She has dark hair, dark eyes, and is smiling. She is wearing a bright blue shirt.

Ilana Shamoon

Deputy Director & Director of Programs, Toronto Biennial of Art

Ilana Shamoon (she/her) oversees all aspects of the Toronto Biennial of Art’s public and learning programs, as well as TBA publications. She joined the Biennial Curatorial Advisory Group in 2016 and subsequently led the Curatorial Framework research for the inaugural curatorial team. Prior to joining the Biennial, Ilana was curator at the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain in Paris (2006-15) where she curated numerous exhibitions including Native Land, Stop Eject, and regularly commissioned artworks, events, and performances. Upon her return to Canada, Ilana ran the public art program at Waterfront Toronto from 2016-17 and has worked as an independent curator for institutions including The Image Centre, Toronto.

Santee Smith

Artist, Ohswé:ken/Six Nations

Santee Smith / Tekaronhiáhkhwa is a multidisciplinary artist from the Kahnyen’kehàka Nation, Ohswé:ken/Six Nations. As the artistic director of Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, she leads the vision for embodied storytelling, Indigenous creative process, collaborative exchange and presentations. A 3rd generation resurgent Kahnyen’kehàka potter, her pieces are in private and public collections around the globe and museums such as the Woodland Cultural Centre. Her interdisciplinary work with clay was recently showcased at Gardiner Museum’s Indigenous Public Art for Talking Earth, 2022-23. The ceramic sculpture “Talking Earth” is part of the permanent collection at the Gardiner Museum and was activated through multimedia performances.

Photo Credit: Make Emarthle

2RO Media

Artist/curatorial collective

2RO Media is an artist/curatorial collective based in Ohswé:ken (Six Nations of the Grand River Territory); we have been active since 2015 producing events, experimental documentaries, art installations, media works, and performances. We are 100% Haudenosaunee-led, and have a mandate to support Indigenous projects, productions, cultural activities, and language revitalization through community engagement, programming and various creative initiatives.

Photo of January Rogers & Jackson 2bears