25 Awe Inspiring Indigenous People

25 Awe Inspiring Indigenous People

I’ve have been blessed to travel the world and through my travels, I have had the pleasure to meet many inspiring Indigenous people. I’ve compiled a list of 25 of the most fascinating Indigenous people or groups I have crossed paths with in my journey…and there are a lot of fascinating Indigenous people out there that I didn’t get to mention.

Andrea Good – Navajo/Apache/Zia Nation – Denver, Colorado. Television and Film Actress, Producer and Professional Photographer. Good has acted in Breaking Bad, Longmire, The Night shift, Better Call Saul, and film Woman Walks Ahead and many other films.   http://www.andreabgoodphotography.com/

Lorelei Williams -Skatin/Sts’Ailes – Vancouver, British Colombia – Missing and Murdered Women and Girls activist, model and dancer – founder of Butterflies in Spirit dance troupe in Vancouver British Columbia, they have performed across Canada, United States and Internationally as far away as Columbia.  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Butterflies-in-Spirit-Society/194231114082042

ShoShana Raven Batchewana First Nation – ShoShona Kish of the multi-award winning duo Digging Roots received the WOMEX Professional Excellence Award at a ceremony in Spain.  Digging Roots is a Canadian musical group along with her husband Raven.  Their musical style blends folk-rockpopblues, and hip hophttp://www.diggingrootsmusic.com

Jeremy Dutcher – Wolastog, Nova Scotia This classically trained operatic tenor takes every opportunity to blend his Wolastoq roots into the music he creates. He is most noted for his album Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa, which won the 2018 Polaris Music Prize. https://www.jeremydutcher.com/

Vince Fontaine – Ojibway – Sagkeeng First Nation Manitoba – Founder of multi award-winning band Eagle & Hawk, celebrated 20 years of being in the music industry. The band has more than 70 music nominations and 35 music awards, that include a JUNO award.  Eagle & Hawk have recorded 8 albums to date.  http://www.eagleandhawk.com/

James Favel – Ojibway – Peguis First Nation, Manitoba Executive Director of Bear Clan Patrol – It came about as a result of the ongoing need to assume our traditional responsibility to provide security to our Aboriginal community. Given that the Aboriginal population in Winnipeg is anywhere from 60,000 to 80,000, and is heavily concentrated in certain inner-city neighborhoods, it was felt that the community must organize to keep the peace and to assist community members. https://www.bearclanpatrolinc.com/

Edith Turner, Cree – Mistipawistik Cree Nation, Manitoba. Turner, a Sargeant for the Winnipeg Police Service won a Local, National and International Policing Award for Women in Policing.  She has been working with the Winnipeg Police Service for over 24 years.

Gabriel Ayala – Yaqui Tribe from Southern Arizona – Multi-Award winning Classical guitarist and the first indigenous person to have their masters in classical guitar. He has recently started painted musical sheets with beautiful images of Indigenous people.  http://www.ayalaguitarist.com/

Annette Head – Cree Opaskwayak Cree Nation – Red Seal Carpenter/Vocational Educational Teacher – First Indigenous female and Highest achiever in Manitoba to achieve Red Seal status in carpentry.

Kini Kahauolopua– Kalihi, Hawaii – a red seal chef that works at the prestigious 5-star St Regis Hotel in New York City on Fifth Avenue. Has prepared meals for VIPs from around the world. https://www.grandluxuryhotels.com/hotel/the-st-regis-new-york

Babara McAlister Cherokee, Muskogee Oklahoma – American dramatic mezzo-soprano began her operatic career as an apprentice with the Santa Fe Opera Company and Central City Opera Company. After Santa Fe and Central City, she has gone on to perform with The Washington Opera Company, Cherokee Heritage Center, Arizona Opera, San Diego Opera, Tulsa Opera, Florentine Opera, New York Grand Opera and Opera New England. http://www.barbaramcalister.com/

Lisa Meeches – Ojibway, Long Plain, Manitoba – Television and Film Producer Executive Director for Manito Ahbee Pow-wow. She is an award-winning Producer and is known for Taken, The Sharing Circle, and We Were Children. After suffering a stroke in 2016, she recovered and went back to produce the series Taken – a television show of stories of the missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada. https://www.takentheseries.com/host-spotlight-lisa-meeches/

Darrick Baxter Ojibway, Sandy Bay First Nation, Manitoba – President and CEO of Ogoki Learning App Developers – Ogoki Learning Systems Inc. is a 100% First Nations owned and operated a company with their head office located on the Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation in Manitoba, Canada. Our focus is on making meaningful tribal software and educational iPhone apps, client training, and business consulting. Ogoki provides digital media conversion services for books and existing software that helps to enhance digital learning technology inside the classroom. http://www.ogokilearning.com/

Tina Keeper Cree, Norway House Cree Nation actress-producer and former Liberal MP, She is the recipient of an Aboriginal Achievement Award, a Gemini Award, three American Indian Film Festival awards for acting and producing, and a 2014 Canadian Civil Liberties Association award for Public Engagement. She was named ACTRA's 2017 Woman of the Year. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tina_Keeper

Tantoo Cardinal Metis, Fort MacMurray, Alberta – Award-winning actress Tantoo Cardinal has been in many television and films, her work has garnered her many accolades and awards. She has worked on Spirit Bay, Dances with Wolves, WindRiver, Black Robe Legends of the Fall, Smoke Signals, and North of 60 to name a few. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tantoo_Cardinal

Isaac Murdock – Ojibway, Serpent River First Nation – Artist and environmentalist, creator of Thunderbird Women whose image has been used globally for environmental issues. Murdock has many years conducting ceremonies that have helped him maintain a balance with people and nature.   http://onamancollective.com/

Jennifer Podemski Mixed First Nations and Israeli decent from Toronto, ON. She is an award-winning Film and Television Producer and Actor. A storyteller behind and in front of the camera, Jennifer still makes time for training aboriginal youth in film and tv, mentoring and holding self-esteem workshops across the US and Canada.  http://www.jenniferpodemski.com/

Jeremiah Manitopyes AKA Drezus – Cree, Hobbena Cree Nation, Alberta –Drezus took home four Indigenous Music Awards in 2015 for his album Indian Summer and gained an international following after appearing on media outlets like Vice, Noisey, The Fader, Pitchfork, CNN and MIC. He is the first Indigenous musician to win an MTV music award for Stand Up / Stand N Rock (#NoDAPL) who he teamed up Taboo from the Black Eyed Peas. https://www.drezusmusic.com/

Northern Cree Drum Group founded by Steve Wood, and his brothers Randy and Earl Wood. The group originates from the Saddle Lake Cree Nation but is made up of members from the Treaty 6 area, most notably the Frog Lake Cree Nation, Onion Lake Cree Nation, Samson Cree Nation, Louis Bull Cree Nation, and the Poundmaker Cree Nation. They have been nominated for six Grammy Awards and nominated for two Juno Awardshttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Cree

Jade Turner – Cree, Mistipawistik Cree Nation Turner is a Canadian Country Artist and Red Seal Millwright from Misipawistik Cree Nation, located on the northwestern shore of Lake Winnipeg where the Saskatchewan River enters the lake. Her lyrics are created from her life in the north. Her song Mr. Miserable made the top 100 on Trax 100. https://jadeturner.ca/

Althea Guiboche –Ojibway, Duck Bay, Manitoba – AKA ”The Bannock Lady” is going on 6 years feeding the homeless in Winnipeg, Manitoba, through a charity called Got Bannock, and feeds 300 people every third Sunday of the month. http://www.gotbannock.ca

Amanda G Lathlin -Cree, Opaskwayak Cree Nation, Manitoba – Amanda was elected MLA for The Pas constituency in 2015 and was the first First Nations woman elected to the Manitoba Legislature. She was re-elected in 2016 https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007225008534

Ashley Callingbull – Cree, Enoch Cree Nation, Alberta – 2015 Mrs. Universe – Callingbull is very devoted to her culture and people, and takes pride in her Native Cree heritage, and has shown this through her volunteer work with community elders and aboriginal youth. Ashley is a model, actor, and First Nation’s activist. She was a contestant on the Amazing Race Canada in 2016. Ashley has graced the magazine covers of Chatelaine, OptiMYz, and Dress to Kill and currently writes for Flare Magazine. Ashley is currently the face of Canadian based jeweler Hillberg & Berk 2018 collection. Ashley is also a spokesperson and model for the Nike N7 organization. https://ashleycallingbullofficial.com/

Bernadette Smith Ojibway, Duck Bay, Manitoba – Smith is an MLA for Point Douglas in Winnipeg, and activist for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and is the founder of the Drag the Red – Between May and October, volunteers drag the river searching for loved ones, and clues about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. https://video.vice.com/en_ca/video/searchers-drag-the-red/55959b5e238147364dbc2093

Cindy Paul– Metis/Cree – Fort Vermillion Alberta – multi-nominated singer/ songwriter. She is known for her powerful and strong storytelling in the music she writes. Her video “You can fancy Dance” was viewed over a million times on social media – https://youtu.be/Whg_DrisN18

About Rhonda Head

Rhonda is from the Opaskwayak Cree Nation in Northern Manitoba. Rhonda is a Mezzo-Soprano Singer and has received 11 music nominations for the CDs that she has released to date.

Rhonda was communication officer for her reserve for 5 years and Editor for the local paper Natotawin. Rhonda enjoys interviewing the people who are involved in the pow-wow community and the music scene.

3 Comments on “25 Awe Inspiring Indigenous People”

  • Avatar for Al Manook

    Al Manook


    Wes Studi just earned Oscar recognition for Lifetime Achievement. Younger, Adam Beach is busy helping other actors and natvies. Buffy Sainte Marie is still creating and working for her people. Authors, such as Sherman Alexie and Tommy Orange, for just two, are selling books about Natives. We have poets; sportsmen and sportswomen; Political leaders, and many others who contribute to the mainstream society. All should be encouraged in every say. And finally, thank you so very much for the list you gave to us.

  • Avatar for Nicole



    Enoch Cree Nation is located in Alberta, not Manitoba.

    • Avatar for Rhonda Head

      Rhonda Head


      Thanks will correct it.

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