Indigenous Research Initiative Steering Committee


Researchers emerge from different corners of Ontario. One has a question and one has a magnifying glass.

The Indigenous Research Initiative relies on the advice and guidance of the Indigenous Research Steering Committee to work with and within Indigenous communities in a good way. In accordance with its terms of reference, the Indigenous Research Initiative Steering Committee:

  1. Provides advice to the OHTN in its efforts to nurture and support research relevant to Indigenous peoples in Ontario
  2. Advises the OHTN on Indigenous research priorities
  3. Assists the OHTN in developing capacity building and research programs that embody the OCAP principles of Ownership, Control, Access and Possession and ethical research principles specific to Metis and Inuit communities
  4. Educates the OHTN about Indigenous research methodologies and approaches so that they can be incorporated into OHTN funding programs
  5. Advises the OHTN on the most effective ways to engage and communicate with Indigenous stakeholders, including developing a strategy to disseminate information on the state of the HIV epidemic among Indigenous people in Ontario
  6. Assists the OHTN in building effective working relationships with Indigenous leaders and communities – in particular on developing a Memorandum of Understanding with Indigenous/Aboriginal communities in Ontario in order to support the development of culturally safe prevention and treatment interventions.

Committee Members

Since May 2014 when the committee was established, all of the people below have contributed to the work and dialogue of the Committee offering diverse perspectives and experiences.

In particular, we would like to acknowledge and celebrate the work and lives of two former committee members, Charlie Hill and Tony Nobis, who joined us in this journey and passed away as members of the committee.  We thank them and wish them well on their continued journey in the spirit world.

Committee Member Term Affiliation
Crystal Basi 2016- present Executive Director of Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council of Toronto (TASSC)
Bonnie Freeman 2014-present Community member
Kerrigan Johnson 2017 – present Executive Director of 2 Spirited People of the First Nation
Lindsay (Swooping Hawk) Kretschmer 2017 – present Executive Director of Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy (Oahas)
Laura Liberty 2015 – present HIV/AIDS Coordinator Union of Ontario Indians
Doe O’Brien-Teengs 2014-present Community-base researcher and PhD candidate, Lakehead University
Todd Ross 2015 – present Metis Nation of Ontario
Wanda Whitebird 2014-present Oahas worker
Ed Bennett 2016- 2017 Executive Director of 2 Spirited People of the First Nations
Charlie Hill 2014-16 Indigenous leader
Randy Jackson 2014-16 Community-base researcher, McMaster
Tony Nobis 2014-17 Executive Director (former), Oahas
Art Zoccole 2014-16 Executive Director (former) of 2 Spirited People of the First Nations

Ex-officio member:  Jessica Demeria Coordinator, Indigenous Research Initiative

Members of the IRSC are guided by the 7 Grandfather Teachings in discussions and decision making processes. Each member has equal standing within the group. Members of the IRSC committees are expected to actively participate in the work of the committee, provide thoughtful input to committee deliberations, focus on the best interests of the OHTN and support and promote the work of Indigenous Research Initiatives in the community.