NICOLE NEIDHARDT, TEKATSI'TSANEKEN EVERSTZ, & GINA MOWATT
A conversation with Nicole, Tekatsi’tsaneken, and Gina
Nicole Neidhardt is Navajo, American, Canadian, and has Scottish, German, and French roots. She is currently living in Victoria, British Columbia, where she graduated with a bachelor of fine art in visual arts and a business minor from the University of Victoria. She grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Navajo side of her family is from Round Rock, Arizona. A multitude of perspectives shapes her way of viewing the world, but her Navajo self is what grounds her. Art has played a crucial role in her life, providing opportunities to connect with other Indigenous peoples, and she has seen how art can be effectively used to promote the resilience, beauty, and diversity found in Indigenous nations across North America. Art has been her tool to share Indigenous ideologies, histories, and contemporary realities.
Tekatsi’tsaneken Everstz is a strong and proud member of the Bear Clan, who hails from the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake, Quebec. As an Indigenous ambassador, rights advocate, and social innovator, he has dedicated himself to strengthening Indigenous perspectives in the social and environmental movements by enhancing youth engagement. In holding reciprocity as a core principal, his mission throughout his life’s journey is to thrive. His goal is to become a key figure in fostering Indigenous transculturation on an international scale, and support the new generations of Indigenous youth in the attainment of excellence in analytical skills, strategic thinking, and emotional intelligence. Through this journey, he believes we will see our young people become pioneers who embody the vision, expertise, and capacity to create the positive changes in their communities and beyond, and which will define what it means to be an Indigenous leader within the twenty-first century.
Gina Mowatt grew up on Vancouver Island, and was raised by her mother, father, sister, and her mother’s family who is of British, Scottish, and Scandinavian decent. Her father is Gitxsan and Scandinavian and was adopted into a white family on Vancouver Island. Gina has her Bachelor of Arts with a major in First Nations Studies and a History Minor from Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, British Columbia and an Executive Education Certificate in Reconciliation, Conflict Prevention, and Creating Inclusive Societies from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. She was the Valedictorian in her VIU Aboriginal Graduation in 2015 and the recipient of the Nanaimo Business Award the same year. The landscape of the island, her father’s family history, and her journey through academia and career has had a strong influence on her life. These pieces of her life have come together to ignite a passion for social justice, environmental protection, cultural revitalization, truth telling, reformation of the current state and advocacy for marginalized and underserved populations. This journey is just beginning and she hopes to walk along a path that has been forged by many great leaders.