15 Jun Five Indigenous Speakers You Need to Hear
4 Minute Read | June marks Indigenous History Month in Canada. Learn more about some of the Indigenous voices on our roster and why they’re perfect for your next event.
Trigger warning: brief discussion of Residential Schools
Indigenous History Month is an opportunity for all Canadians to honour and recognize the heritage, contributions, and cultures of Indigenous peoples. Talent Bureau proudly represents many incredible Indigenous people, from best-selling authors and actors to marketers and advocates. Keep reading to learn more about the Indigenous voices on our roster.
To call Michelle Good incredibly accomplished would be an understatement. A member of Saskatchewan’s Red Pheasant Cree Nation, Michelle worked with Indigenous organizations for over 25 years. She earned a law degree so that she could better advocate for residential school survivors and managed her own firm. While working as a lawyer and activist, Good obtained a Master of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia. Not only is she a celebrated lawyer and Indigenous rights activist, but Michelle is the author of the bestselling novel, Five Little Indians — which also happens to be her debut. The novel has won multiple awards including the Governor General’s Literary Award and Canada Reads 2022 contest; Five Little Indians was also longlisted for the prestigious Scotiabank Giller Prize.
If you’re looking for inspiration, motivation and education delivered within a heartfelt narrative, seek out the words of Metis/Cree author Jesse Thistle. Established author of From The Ashes, Jesse speaks from his personal experiences of how acts of kindness can have a profound effect on an individual life. His exemplary growth and emotional recounting of personal hardship showcase the immeasurable importance of community, compassion and inclusion in modern life. Jesse’s words carry lessons on generational trauma, racism, and the arms of colonialism, and are a perfect stepping-off point for those wondering how to take the next steps toward the support of and justice for Indigenous and Metis folks today.
At the intersection of digital marketing and public relations, you’ll find Darian Kovacs, an Indigenous business leader and founder of Vancouver-based Jelly Marketing. With over 15 years of experience, a passion for education, and a strong creative streak, Darian specializes in mixing public relations with digital marketing to take brands to the next level. Some of his clients include La-Z-Boy Furniture, Rogers, and RBC. When he’s not coming up with the next great marketing strategy, you can catch Darian as the host of Marketing News Canada where he hosts guests like Guy Kawasaki, Neil Patel, and Malcolm Gladwell.
Canadian icon. If we only had two words to describe Tantoo Cardinal, those are the ones we’d choose. With a career spanning more than 50 years, Tantoo is best known for her acting roles in classic films like Dances With Wolves and Legends Of The Fall; she is one of the most recognizable Indigenous actors in the world. Tantoo was born in Fort McMurray, Alberta and raised by her Dene grandmother and has Cree, Métis, and Nakota heritage. In addition to her prolific acting career, Tantoo is known as an environmentalist and political activist — two causes that are near and dear to her heart.
Master storyteller, a leading entrepreneur, and mindset magician. Kendal Netmaker of the Sweetgrass First Nation is the leadership and resilience expert that your team needs – ASAP. Kendal shares his heartwarming real-life experiences with audiences to inspire and build resilient leaders and organizations. Named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40, Kendal has founded and invested in five businesses, including Neechie Gear – a lifestyle apparel brand that supports underprivileged youth participating in sports. He is a runner-up of the YBI Global Entrepreneur of the Year and the author of Drive to Succeed: From Poverty to Podium.