Erin Brillon - Bio 

Haida Gwaii

Haida Gwaii

Erin was given the high ranking Haida name Kalga Jaad by her Naanay Evelyn Crosby who also holds the name. As the decendants of Jeannie Young, Elizabeth Bell and Edna Crosby, Erin is of the Laan'a Tsa'adas Clan.

Cree Nation

Cree Nation

Erin is Cree from her Grandfather Wylie Brillon from Northern Alberta

Singing a Haida Eagle Spirit Song

Singing a Haida Eagle Spirit Song

Opening ceremonially for Medicine for the People Photo: Melody Charlie First Nations Photographer

Joining with K'omoks First Nations

Joining with K'omoks First Nations

It is amazing when our nations can join together in support and leadership. Haaw'a to the K'omoks cultural leader Andy Everson and Chief Rob Everson et. al. for standing with me. Photo: Melodie Charlie

Regalia making

Regalia making

Teaching youth to sew their own regalia

Drum Making

Drum Making

Erin teaches drum making to youth groups

Drum making

Drum making

Some of the activities we teach youth at summer cultural camp

Erin leading youth in songs

Erin leading youth in songs

Warming up in the TeePee

Warming up in the TeePee

Practicing for our presentation

Youth Group Performs

Youth Group Performs

National Aboriginal Day at K'omoks First Nation

Climate Action Now

Climate Action Now

Erin Founded a Social Enterprise

Erin Founded a Social Enterprise

One Tribe is an artist collective which produces, markets and sells First Nations art though Wachiay Centre

The Amazing Andy's

The Amazing Andy's

Andy MacDougall (left) has been our Screen-Printing "Goo-Roo" at Wachiay Centre, combine his skill with Internationally renowned NWC artist Andy Everson (right) talent and we have the incredible combination for our Youth Art Design and Screen-Printing Course that I coordinate.

Kids can Screen Print too!

Kids can Screen Print too!

Erin & Daughter Screenprinting

Erin & Daughter Screenprinting

OneTribe

OneTribe

Meeting Penash Dasai

Meeting Penash Dasai

Doc Tusi & Dan Wildcat

Doc Tusi & Dan Wildcat

Erin, her mother Edna with two Indigenous leaders in Climate action. Dan is an author and professor at Haskall Indian Nations University, Kansas and Doc Tusi a Samoan leader and professor at University of Hawaii. Click the link for Dan' Book Red Alert.

Nahko Bear

Nahko Bear

Nahko is a Musician, Earth Warrior, and Protector of the Sacred, and his being radiates love like the sun. Medicine for the People truly is food for the soul. Photo: Melodie Charlie

Largest Climate Protest in America

Largest Climate Protest in America

My son with the Earth Guardians front and centre at the march in NYC

400,000 strong

400,000 strong

Meeting the Hulk- Mark Ruffalo

Meeting the Hulk- Mark Ruffalo

Mark is a huge climate action supporter and I have great respect for his work

Meeting musician Xavier Rudd

Meeting musician Xavier Rudd

Soulful, spiritual and deep music is what this guy is about, and we love him for it!

Meeting Buffy St. Marie

Meeting Buffy St. Marie

This woman is an ICON, she has been on the cutting edge as a singer, songwriter for decades and still rocks the house. I have profound respect for Buffy as an Indigenous woman and role model.

Nahko & Winona LaDuke

Nahko & Winona LaDuke

Winona has been an outspoken advocate for protecting the Earth and Indigenous food security and sustainability. Her foundation Honour the Earth is a beacon of hope and example of what can be done to live right on the Earth. Click the link for more information about Honour the Earth

Elder Phil Lane Jr.

Elder Phil Lane Jr.

Phil has been one cultural leader who has had a lifelong impact on my life. His Four Worlds Institute has brought Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples together to learn from each other and create life in balance and harmony with nature and spirit. I have great love and respect for this man.

Meeting Dr Evan Adams

Meeting Dr Evan Adams

Renowned for his role in the movie Smoke Signals, Evan has worked tirelessly in the realm of Aboriginal health and I admire him so much for his work.

David Suzuki

David Suzuki

I was a young girl when I became aware of David's commitment to preserving the environment when he stood with the Haida people in protecting the old growth forests on Haida Gwaii. David has made incredible contributions to informing the public via his TV show the Nature of Things, protecting the Earth and inspiring participation towards these causes. I am continually in awe of the commitment of his whole family in protecting the environment. Click to see more about how you can get involved .

Live by Example

Live by Example

Doing the Honour Your Health Challenge as group leader. 18 people participated in the 10k Sun Run.

All of my life I have been a bridge person, I am at home and walk easily between the Indigenous and modern worlds. Having grown up in city, small town and village (Vancouver, Prince Rupert and spending time in Haida Gwaii), has provided diverse environments for which to experience the world. 

 

The theme of my life’s work is the empowerment of Indigenous peoples. My work experience over the last 26 years has been in deep connection to my people. From my early teens I was assisting my mother, Edna Brillon, in promoting, marketing and selling Northwest Coast Native art. Growing up in the field of a thriving and internationally revered art form has had a lifelong impact. Being close family friends (distant relations) to famed Haida artist Bill Reid profoundly influenced my life. Art show openings, urban Indian feasts and Indigenous gatherings were a regular part of my life. I grew up with a deep sense of pride and reverence for my culture.

 

The experience of attending Phil Lane Jr.’s Four Worlds Gathering in Lethbridge Alberta was my first introduction to learning the deeply spiritual aspects of my Cree culture, when I was 17. Surrounded by Indigenous peoples from across the globe in ceremony was grounding and simultaneously mind expanding. This is when I began to grow a deep appreciation for the interconnectedness of all things, including the pivotal mind-body-spirit connection.

 

Since then, I have been active in my personal development following the foundations of the Medicine Wheel, through participating in various tribal ceremonies and attending a variety of personal development workshops and seminars. I have come to realize that I have a far greater than average capacity to give of myself because of the healing work I have done throughout my life.

 

As a young adult, I moved into the area of developing and coordinating healing programs on Indian Reservations throughout B.C. These programs addressed the intergenerational effects of colonization and the traumas of the Indian boarding school system. This provided me with an in-depth experiential understanding of the issues that are at the heart of the disempowerment of our people and its implications on race, class and gender. This work opened me to a profound sense of purpose early in life. 

 

For nearly 10 years, I worked for an Aboriginal non-profit, Wachiay Friendship Centre, which provides a variety of social programs for Aboriginal people on Vancouver Island, Canada. My work focused on the development, management, and facilitation of a variety of youth and family based empowerment programs. Three years into this work I realized my ability to create a positive impact was limited due to my lack of higher education. During this time I completed a bachelors degree in Liberal Arts; through which I did two Study Abroad excursions, one in Greece and the other in Italy. The basis of Liberal Studies is to provide an understanding of the influences and great minds who  have shaped Western Civilization through art, science, religion, philosophy, literature and politics. I hold a minor in Psychology and focused much of my personal studies in developmental psychology.

 

I volunteered with the Earth Guardians, an Indigenous environmental NGO in Boulder, Colorado. Through the many events and activities I’ve participated in, from the Unity Concert in South Dakota to the Peoples Climate March in NYC, I had the opportunity to connect with Indigenous leaders from across the U.S. and continue to support causes that preserve our planet for future generations. I also learned first hand the myriad of negative impacts of the oil and gas industry during my time in Colorado.

Since 2014, I have focused my energies into growing my business, Totem Design House. After years of wanting to collaborate on a clothing line with my brothers Haida designs, we finally were in a position to make it happen. Totem Design House has been an all consuming labor of love and has stretched my skills and abilities on so many levels. I have single-handedly designed, produced, marketed and administrated every aspect of the business thus far. As someone who doesn't consider business and capitalism my "life path", I have been driven to expand on my non-profit empowerment work. Even before TDH was profitable in the first year, I was donating to Indigenous youth projects. The development of Copper Legacy is my true passion of uplifting Indigenous people from the aftermath of genocide, colonial oppression and loss of culture. Developing programs and fundraising for projects that focus on cultural and language revitalization, NWC art development, healing/health/wellness, and environment/food sustainability. Totem Design House will continue to donate a percentage of profits to Copper Legacy, to expand programs.

 

I believe this is a pivotal time in human history to work creatively outside the status-quo culture to support and develop innovative solutions to empower Indigenous people to strengthen communities. I believe that change begins in small movements which catch on and grow to eventually change the cultural norms that have previously disempowered or limited us. I am convinced that now is the time for the wisdom of Indigenous peoples to influence the mainstream towards a truly natural sustainable way of life (ecological harmony, greater food security, local economies and so on). 

Unity Concert 2014 Photo by Melody Charlie

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Wellness & Healing Program Development/Consulting



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