About me

I am from the Frog dodem/clan. My Anishinaabek name is Makadaygobwiik. I carry other names too. They have come at different times of my life. I grew up next to Lake Superior but spent my early years in Toronto: Willowdale, North York, Scarborough; the traditional territory of A Dish with One Spoon where I was born.  There are many parts of my childhood that influence my work. Whether it be the inspiration in spending a lot of time outdoors. Or the relationships that gave me my identity.

About my business 

I am a certified teacher, with the Ontario Teachers Certification. I have a Masters of Education, and I am a published writer. A huge part of my work is around education and the TRC and to help support the process around having these difficult conversations and help to create change and create spaces.

beSuperior is located in the city of Thunder Bay, Ontario and offers services that are rooted in Indigenous perspectives.

beSuperior is about recognizing  the Lake: a place of imagination, connection and inspiration, and courageous. being Superior, is about existing in courageous ways. My identity matters because it connects me to who I am, and how I work. I see, myself as being strongly influenced by the work ethics of my grandfathers, who were also both entrepreneurs: both though, working on the Land.  beSuperior is a sole proprietorship and I am Indigenous/Anishinabek and Newfoundlander woman from Biigtigong Anishnabeg formerly Pic River though residing in Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada.


I truly believe in education as a transformative act. As empowerment. As in, when we invest in our learning, we are investing in ourselves, to be better leaders, that speak to the demographics and the people around us. So we can be kind. We can be sensitive. We can learn with our hearts, and have the courage to do so. Learning is also about the spaces we provide. We have to chose this carefully and with great detail and thought.

nurturing a connection to where we live

Drawing on the beauty and power of the Big Lake we live by and gain our sustenance from, has always been an inspiration for me. beSuperior was hoped to instil this inner beauty and belief in connection.

beSuperior strives to ignite a light within all those who participate in programming or consulting with beSuperior.

beSuperior is about recognizing the ability to believe the sky is the limit, and that at the same time we are grounded by the knowledge of our roots.

Nurturing a connection with the place we live, and making this a possibility is a testimony of our strength and creativity. beSuperior utilizes an Indigenous Methodology approach and is guided by respectful work, reciprocal work, relevant work, and lastly relationally which translates to the importance of the circle and how we are all related. These are the basics of Indigenous Research Methodologies. (Shawn Wilson, Margaret Kovach)

beSuperior believes that its cultural component, creative edge and unique vision of strength centred approaches including decolonizing which is essentially building upon our strengths.  Using Reggio methods as a base, which is based on multiple intelligences, in recognition too of the environment as the third teacher. So the environment we learn in is just as important as what we are learning. Encouraging inquiry is also important and critical thinking.

building relevant spaces that speak to the ones we are working with and for

I believe in infusing as many spaces with Indigenous Knowledge and in being culturally appropriate, and supportive in the best ways possible, and importantly, asking ourselves, how does our location or space, reflect the quality of what we offer? Does it? I really believe as Dr. Emily Fairies, a Cree Scholar shared, in her work around how schools need to be a site of both decolonizing and healing.

Giving back is part of what I do, because I think we need to create more spaces for us to come together in our expertise and field.  If we don’t shine the light for one another, who will? If we are not there, to help support much needed conversations.  Knowing where we come from and honouring that knowledge, is a beginning.


Thinking about how we build those better futures for ourselves, our families, #tipi #foundation #selfactualization #first

via Maslow’s hierarchy connected to Blackfoot beliefs

Justice For Colton – Calgary and Vancouver

Go Fund Me:



Events for Colton and family,

Vancouver and Area:


Calgary and Area:


According to Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If you are surrounded by toxic, negative people it will surely bring you down. When you have people in your life with similar values and dreams it will drive you to better yourself. The energy within the group will bring everyone up and everyone will thrive.

read more at:



painting for all seasons



Ontario hub for community-based Indigenous health training launched at Western University – Media Relations

Western University has become the hub of a provincial network of Indigenous health training that is both culturally relevant and scientifically rigorous. The Indigenous Mentorship Network Program of Ontario launches…

Source: Ontario hub for community-based Indigenous health training launched at Western University – Media Relations

Indigenous Knowledge Conference in Thunder Bay – November 14 -16, 2017

Welcome to Thunder Bay’s 1st Indigenous Knowledge Conference on November 15, 16, 2017 to be held in the Robinson Superior territory in the sacred Lands of Anemki Wajiw hosted by beSuperior Consulting. 

beSuperior is honoured to have renowned legendary educator, and leader in Indigenous thought and academics, Dr. LeRoy Little Bear as the Keynote Speaker.

rsz_11rsz_leroylittlebearDr. Little Bear is a member of the Blackfoot Confederacy.  He is the founder of the Native American Studies Department at the University of Lethbridge – where he served as Chair for 21 years – also went on to become the founding Director of Harvard University’s Native American Program. He has made contributions in justice, land claims, treaties, and hunting and fishing rights. He is a leader in Indigenous philosophy.


The aim is to examine what and how Indigenous Knowledge is expressed, and how we can facilitate this in our practice and our work, so that, we are best meeting the needs of our clients, learners, and for better understanding and good relations.

November 14 Evening – Coffeehouse & Connecting – 6-9 p.m.

November 15 Conference Day 1 – 9-4 p.m.

November 16 Conference Day 2 – 9- 4 p.m. with a panel discussion in the afternoon


  • Dr. Little Bear – Keynote Speaker
  • Dr. Cynthia Wesley- Esquimaux – Panelist, for Day 2,  https://www.lakeheadu.ca/users/W/cwesley2
  • Kelvin Redsky – Early Years & Culture, Shkoday Abinojiiwak Obimiwedoon – Thunder Bay Headstart
  • Lorna McCue – Kitchen Conversations for Action on Inclusion – Ontario Healthy Communities Coalition. For more information, see http://www.ohcc-ccso.ca
  • Peter Moses –  Experiences and Stories of the North, Economies and Indigenous Knowledge, Biigtigong Anishinaabe
  • Jana Rae Yerxa – Gii-kaapizigemin manoomin Neyaashing: A resurgence of Anishinaabeg nationhood
  • Stephanie McLaurin – Ft. William First Nation, Indigenous Governance –                  The (Im)Possible Task of Translating Leadership in the Sugar Bush
  • Aleksa Sherman – PARO Centre – Entrepreneurship
  • Michelle Richmond-Saravia – Designing an Approach To Learning on the Land & An arts based learning activity – hands on.








The Eclipse

Today a time of transformation. The sun and moon will pass by. Say hello I suppose. Have a moment of peace.  A story about the sacred union.  Ill be watching on the ground in the trees.  I will chose some trees, and experience this mystery   with my sons.  A time for renewal.  Make some new intentions. Hit reset. Believe in change. Its happening all around. It was that easy.

Learning Resources from the AFN



About AFN Tool Kit

The Assembly of First Nations has developed the It’s Our Time First Nations Tool Kit as the basis of a comprehensive strategy to reach out to First Nations students, teachers, schools, communities and the Canadian public at large. The resource is designed to bring together First Nations and non-First Nations people and foster a spirit of cooperation, understanding, and action.





About being an Indigenous Woman

As an Indigenous mother I know, I have to stand a little taller, and remember the strong legs I stand on, that have stood in the faces of both beauty and oppression, especially for my son’s.
These same legs which have carried me miles from my homeland to places far, wide and then back again, to home.
That have carried not one, but two bodies: mine and my child, four times over.
By building those muscles I am committing to walking a path of beauty, confidence and strength.
 I walk with responsibilities as a mother and nation builder, and especially sister and daughter of the nations.

Beauty is something bestowed on all of us, in magnitudes and that we should never be ashamed of our body, certainly not the one the Creator gave us.

That we are a walking testimony of Love.

Strength is about loving that shade of mocha I am in.
Strength is about choosing colours that make me feel beautiful.
Strength is about embracing a caring and loving attitude.
Courage is about accepting values of beauty rooted in your strength.
Courage is about being in love with the ones you were blessed with.
Courage is about being open to love because it is that Love that healed you in the first place.
“DNA is Earth and Sky. The evolution. The continuation.”
(J Trudell)

“I questioned myself, but Ramona the strong woman is back.” #RamonaBigHead #Strength #Resilience

“This is nothing new,” says Linda Many Guns, a professor in the Native American studies department at the University of Lethbridge. “The only reason we are talking about this particular incident is, somebody hit the wrong button and sent a message to the wrong person.”

While many of the incidents have occurred in and around Lethbridge, Many Guns doesn’t single it out as an urban hotbed of racism. “Anywhere you have a large population of indigenous people within a larger community, this will happen,” she says, noting that the Blood reserve is only 65 kilometres from that city.

Ramona Big Head, who has yet to receive a direct apology from the sender of the text, says she was first crushed by the slur. “I started to internalize it, like I was my fault,” she says. “I questioned myself, but Ramona the strong woman is back.”

In fact, the experience has been nothing short of transformational.


Fortney: Racial slurs hurt all, but prompt some to action














Fortney: Racial slurs hurt all, but prompt some to action







“I am not going to be silent anymore,” says the educator and current PhD candidate, who has been receiving messages of support from across the country.

g’ zaa’ gan / i love you

wild rice dreams

when i was young
a girl with crooked thick braids
all i really wanted to hear
was my mama’s voice saying,
i love you

or wishing my mama would hold me close
wrap me in her wiry arms so that i could smell
the cigarette smoke hiding in her hair

this she could never do though
from a past never spoken
i asked my mother how
to say i love you in anishnaabemowin
and she tells me

i ask her again
how do you say i love you

and she says it louder,

she says it as if i am deaf and the words are digging into the hard earth
so, i ask her again knowing
this is the only time
i will hear her say
these words

she says it over and over again

g’zaa’gan, g’zaa’gan, g’zaa’gan

until she shakes loose an imaginary skin

she is…

View original post 21 more words

Decolonizing, 12 Steps

by Ryan McMahon

(This copy may vary slightly from the broadcast version.)

If I could buy Canada one gift on its 150th birthday, I’d buy it a 12-step program.

No, not that 12-step program. A 12-step program on decolonization.

In fact, if I had three wishes and a shirtless, magic genie … well, it’d be awkward. But, I’d use all three of those wishes on an effort to decolonize this country.

I don’t have a magic genie or three wishes. And herein lies the rub.

Many probably don’t even believe Canada has a history of colonialism.

This country is pretty good at ignoring its not-so-pretty past. Famously, just a few years ago, our former Prime Minister Stephen Harper said it himself.





Building Strong Children, begins with Strong Relationships

Cajete writes:

So, I grew up under the tutelage of my grandmother who influenced me in a variety of ways. In many ways she set the tone for the kinds of thinking that I do now, the kinds of work that I do in community building, and also the kind of work I do in taking a look at the concept of Native science.

She was a matriarch. She was very knowledgeable about farming; very knowledgeable about plants and animals; very knowledgeable about Pueblo traditions.

She grew up herself in a time when Pueblo communities were very cohesive and very self-sufficient in their social relationships and social organization. It was a time when what you learned in the community was what helped you to sustain and to remain sustainable within your family and community.

Those are the kind of influences that I had as I was growing up that I still remember today — being taught about relationships, relationships to my immediate family and also extended family. The whole notion of who you are related to — notions of respect — working in different kinds of context where you are working to help others.

All of those kinds of notions of relationship, respect, and responsibility that I learned and internalized at a very, very young age, I think are the foundations of what I continue to do and elaborate on in my career as a teacher, as an Indigenous educator.

You can read more of what he has to say,


An article on Land Dispossession


The other thing that has struck me is how private land is so much a part of the areas in and around where I live now in Thunder Bay and the impact of that way of thinking, and how it feels to live around that privitization, especially while raising children. Where I myself was not defined by boundaries, or at least, they were different ones, my children have that feeling of having to double check, am I overstepping a boundary here, that constant recognition. I suppose it also comes down to the borders, the frontera, the geopolitical realities.

Being 300 plus km from my home community is a different feeling…. altogether. Land is such a huge concept, and traditional territories- that knowledge of where, or why, of who , and the stories of the Land.

We live in a world dominated by the principle of private property. Once indigenous people were dispossessed of their lands, the land was surveyed, subdivided and sold to the highest bidder. From high above, continents now appear as an endless property patchwork of green and yellow farms, beige suburban homes and metallic gray city blocks stretching from sea to shining sea.

The central logic of this regime is productivity, and indeed it has been monstrously productive. In tandem with the industrial revolution, the fruits of billions of acres of dispossessed and parceled indigenous land across the Americas, Africa, Asia, Ireland and Australia enabled two English-speaking empires – first the British and then the American – to rise to global dominance. The latter remains the most productive economy in the world.

Property also embodies and upholds a set of values and relationships to land. It propagates a utopian vision called the American Dream, wherein hard work, land and a home are platform for boundless opportunity – or at least escape – from capital domination. It separates humanity from all other animals and cements man’s mastery over the natural world and all living things.



History of Thunder Bay

I have always wondered about the vibe in the city I live in. I haven’t bothered doing research. Of course I have heard about the oral stories here. About sacred sites. I have also studied the fur trade and know the contexts. But the stories told thru the euro centred ways of understanding, from the position of a capitalist, and someone who clearly benefited, is a different story that that, say of my grandparents. Clearly, I have found myself impacted by the racialised colonialism here. I’ve looked at the murals in the city, depicting the fur trade, as if it were some sort of celebratory act. I have also nursed along the shores of Lake Superior, feeling very inherently Indigenous and female empowered. At the same time, I have felt demeaned, alone, and tired. I have felt disconnected, dismayed and far from home. I have felt like a stranger in my own territory- Fort William First Nation is a sister to Pic River. I have sought out Land connections only to feel far. Then I have felt the need to connect with the Land in other places- where I truly have felt that sacred connection. I have also dreamed, of being far away. The energy at times too intense. When I think about the fur trade, what that meant, how that looked, I am still not sure I understand. I never romanticized the fur trade. There are so many starting points of history. This one tells the story of Thunder Bay, not of the Indigenous community, but the settler story, of Thunder Bay.

In 1905, the Fort William band was forcefully uprooted and relocated from their reserve site on the shores of the Kaministiquia River so that settlers could build a grain terminus for the Grand Trunk Pacific railway. This intervention was pursued under the auspices of the Indian Act which granted the Governor in Council the power to expropriate lands for the purposes of building public works and securing settler economic development. As historian P. Whitney Lackenbauer recalls, “when the Grand Trunk Pacific indicated that it wanted 1600 acres of prime reserve land to build terminals, and initiated expropriation plans, the Surveyor General at the DIA told the band that he wanted the entire reserve and that it would be moved elsewhere.”[3] Though the grain terminus was never actually built, the settler intervention was supposed to plug the Thunder Bay region into the prairie wheat market and resuscitate what was at that time a fledging local economy by constituting the region as an important transhipment hub…