Janis Monture is from Six Nations of the Grand River, Mohawk Nation Turtle Clan. From 2003 up until December 2013, Janis was the Executive Director of the Woodland Cultural Centre, one of the largest First Nations-run cultural centres/museums/galleries in the country. While at the Woodland Cultural Centre, she made large impacts in the organization’s development by leading the Centre’s $450,000 capital renovation project for its museum building in 2012; leveraging more funding to hire 2 more full-time permanent staff one of which was the organization’s hiring of its first ever Artistic Director; and completing a 3-Year strategic plan which included a fully implemented marketing initiative which has now boosted visitor attendance and media coverage of the Centre’s exhibits and events. From 2010-2012 Janis Monture held the position of Executive Director/Artistic Director for which she oversaw the Visual and Performing Arts programming as it pertained to the Centre’s artistic mission.
Ms. Monture for a brief 18 month period was on secondment to Harbourfront Centre in Toronto as the Guest Artistic Director of Planet IndigenUS in 2009, the largest international Indigenous contemporary arts festival in the world with over 350 artists programmed in various disciplines such as: music, dance, theatre, literary, circus, and visual arts. In 2012, Janis was the co-Artistic Director of Planet IndigenUS primarily responsible for the programming at Woodland Cultural Centre which saw new programming added in the area of comedy, pow wow drumming, and an outdoor sculptural exhibition. Janis Monture has been appointed Artistic Director of Planet IndigenUS for its 2015 festival and continues to expand and diversify the programming with a new partnership with the Pan Am Games.
Janis Monture attended the University of Western Ontario with a Bachelor of Arts in History and received her diploma in Museum Studies from Algonquin College. Janis continues to volunteer in her community at Six Nations and in Brantford and is a board member of Kaha:wi Dance Theatre.
As associate director for museum programs at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian, Tim Johnson manages the largest structural group, which encompasses exhibits, education and cultural interpretation, publications, seminars and symposia, cultural and performing arts, visitor services, film and video, community services, and programs research. These units are spread across the museum’s facilities in Washington, D.C. and at the George Gustav Heye Center in New York City.
Mr. Johnson also serves as publisher of the museum's flagship magazine, American Indian. During his tenure at the museum he has successfully supervised popular and critically acclaimed exhibits ranging in cost from $15,000 to $5.65 million and representing myriad orientations from ethnography and history to contemporary arts. He has also launched innovative pubic programs such as the Mother Earth festival (in conjunction with Al Gore's Live Earth 2007 global concert) that brought an American Indian environmental perspective to millions around the world, and implemented transformative communications strategies designed to enhance classroom education about the American Indian experience nationwide.
Prior to his current position at the National Museum of the American Indian Mr. Johnson served as executive editor of Indian Country Today. As a communications manager and strategist he launched or remodeled three leading and influential American Indian publications. These include: Indian Country Today, the nation's most prominent American Indian newspaper and leading source of Native policy analysis and perspective; American Indian, Celebrating Native Traditions & Communities, the quarterly magazine serving the membership of the National Museum of the American Indian; and Native Americas, the journal of hemispheric American Indian studies established by Cornell University's award winning Akwe:kon Press. For nearly three decades, through these and other journalistic works, he has conceptualized, written, and edited content covering a range of American Indian topics including the historic foundations and applications of tribal sovereignty, policy and politics, business and economics, land rights, health, arts and culture.
Under his guidance, Indian Country Today moved from being a regionally-centered publication to that of a credible national American Indian newspaper respected for its consistent ability to responsibly inform policy makers about the most pressing events and issues in Indian country. The newspaper has also served as a beacon to tribal leaders in its support of tribal government sovereignty and is noted for its steadfast defense of American Indian economic interests. During his time at Indian Country Today Mr. Johnson built a roster of national columnists as well as a network of guest columnists and advisors that remains without rival for its extensive collective
knowledge and direct experience in shaping, assessing, analyzing, and commenting on American Indian policy.
His work at Indian Country Today culminated with publication of the book, "America Is Indian Country: Opinions and Perspectives from Indian Country Today." Planned at the outset of Mr. Johnson's incumbency at the newspaper, the book presents a record of the dominant issues in Native and public life during the first five years of this century as understood, analyzed, and assessed by contemporary Native thinkers and writers. Fulcrum Publishing describes the book this way: "'America Is Indian Country' goes way beyond the usual litany of complaints about historical injustices and atrocities. The book is replete with nuggets that crisply and passionately explain many current issues facing tribes, from preservation of traditional culture to the defense of precarious new economic potentials based on tribal sovereignty. It is a book that reflects Indian perspectives and becomes, in fact, a Native critique of American life."
Prior to his work at Indian Country Today, Mr. Johnson was the founding assistant director for Community Services during his first tour of duty at the National Museum of the American Indian. During that time he conceptualized and served as the founding editor-in-chief of the museum's magazine, American Indian. From this senior management position he forged a Community Services unit that continues to serve as a vital link between the museum and Native communities throughout the Western Hemisphere. The department continues to facilitate public access to the museum's cultural, educational and human resources, and cultivates partnerships with tribal and cultural organizations. Through collaborative extension efforts the Community Services unit also implemented several respected programs. These included the Native Artist Fellowship, Visiting Professional Program, Internship Program, generation-to-generation conferences, community-based workshops, and expressive culture radio programs.
Under Mr. Johnson's direction, in October 1999, the department organized the successful conference — American Indian Origins: Cultural, Historical, and Scientific Understandings. In addition, his book, "Spirit Capture: Photographs from the National Museum of the American Indian," published in 1998 by the Smithsonian Institution Press, remains one of its most cherished titles and formed the conceptual basis for the museum's positively critiqued exhibit of the same name.
Additionally, Mr. Johnson was the original conceptual editor for the inaugural book of the National Museum of the American Indian's museum on the National Mall. Entitled "Native Universe: Voices of Indian America," the book was co-published through a unique partnership involving the Smithsonian Institution and the National Geographic Society. General edited by Gerald McMaster and Clifford E. Trafzer, the book retained the structure and editorial direction first envisioned by Mr. Johnson, as well as the bulk of contributing writers he brought to the project. The book's introduction leads with a description of his in-flight interview with Chickasaw astronaut John Herrington. This historic interview was a fitting symbol of American Indian recovery at the beginning of the 21st Century, conducted American Indian to American Indian.
Previously Mr. Johnson worked as executive manager for communications and development in the American Indian Program at Cornell University's Akwe:kon Press. It was there in the summer of 1995 that he co-founded Native Americas, the leading university-based journal dealing with American Indian topics in a way that transcended established political and intellectual borders within the Western Hemisphere. Toward this project Mr. Johnson was instrumental in helping raise more than $1.4 million dollars from private donors and foundations. He also served as an editor of "People of the Seventh Fire," Dagmar Thorpe's book of expression and commentary by Native cultural and intellectual activists and leaders who dedicated themselves to the restoration of cultural lifeways within their Native communities.
From 1989 to 1994 Mr. Johnson served as communications director and as a program officer for Plenty Canada, an international development organization that works extensively with indigenous peoples. Noteworthy projects included reconstruction and rehabilitation assistance, in the aftermath of the Contra war, for Nicaragua's Miskito, Rama and Sumu Indian communities residing along the Atlantic coast and on the Rio Coco River border with Honduras, and integrated agriculture and nutrition projects for Mayan Indian communities in the highlands of Guatemala. Other Plenty Canada development projects in the southern African countries of Lesotho, Botswana and South Africa, involving community forestry, gravity-fed water systems and conservation, were documented in Mr. Johnson's book, "Echoes of the Ancestors." Toward these and other projects Mr. Johnson helped raise more than $1.1 million in donations from private donors and foundations to trigger triple-match funding from the Canadian International Development Agency and other government agencies.
Mr. Johnson's professional history also includes work as a lecturer in Buffalo State College's Department of Communication, where he taught news reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. In 2005 he returned to his alma mater as a volunteer adjunct lecturer to provide advice and guidance to the College in its successful effort to establish a program entitled the American Indian Policy and Media Initiative. The initiative conducted several studies aimed at strengthening the general public's awareness and knowledge of American Indian political, social, cultural and economic realities. Toward that effort he helped raise more than $650 thousand dollars during the first four months of 2005. He holds a bachelor degree in Communications from the State University of New York College at Buffalo.
From 1984 to 1990 he worked at the Niagara Gazette (then a Gannett newspaper) in various capacities, first as a news photographer and later as a news and editorial columnist writing on American Indian topics. He was also the founder of Turtle Quarterly, an award-winning cultural magazine that served the membership of the Native American Center for the Living Arts, during his tenure there from 1981 to 1988 as media director. Throughout his seven years at the Center, Mr. Johnson was involved in Native community-based research, publishing, exhibition development, theater productions and myriad public programs.
Along with his wife Lisa (Oneida) and their two children, Chelsey and Ryan, Mr. Johnson (Mohawk) lives in Six Nations of the Grand River. He and his family are active in community life, beginning first and foremost with their ownership and management of The Bear's Inn, now in its seventeenth year of operation. From this private sector base Mr. Johnson has encountered and worked with numerous community development initiatives ranging from reproductive health to agricultural education to business support.
For nearly thirty years Mr. Johnson has applied his talent and energy to the creation and leadership of both public and private sector projects and organizations that benefit American Indian peoples. Although he has held several influential positions (most of which he helped create and define), his favorite job title remains "Dad."
Danbi Cho is a Mi’kmaq citizen, member of the Miawpukek First Nation. Danbi is recognized as a strong contributor who is passionate about Indigenous community development and economic reconciliation. One who works hard to advance progressive sustainable relationships between Indigenous peoples and business Canada; providing resources and strategies to develop and achieve desired, measurable outcomes. He embodies a unique set of skills gained through a diverse employment background, with several years of experience in Indigenous relations channeled through various sectors – including non-profits, international sporting organizations and government (Indigenous, federal, provincial and municipal). Danbi is currently enrolled in the Indigenous Governance Program at Ryerson University and is ambitiously dedicated to strengthening Indigenous relationships across Turtle Island.
With an acute understanding of Indigenous business practices and public affairs, he has been recognized as an effective communicator and talented in identifying and procuring Aboriginal-specific economic opportunities. Danbi has achieved practical results by working collaboratively with people in diverse settings and is highly-skilled in developing and maintaining working relationships across the country. In 2015 he delivered on the objectives set out by the Aboriginal Leadership Partners and the Aboriginal Relations portfolio within the TORONTO 2015 Pan American / Parapan Am Games. Fast forward to 2017 and Mr. Cho now holds the title of Research Associate at The Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB). In this role, Danbi conducts research to build a detailed understanding of the Indigenous economy, identifying community needs and the aspirations of Indigenous entrepreneurs.
In addition to serving on the board of KDT, Danbi volunteers his time with the City of Toronto and the Prince’s Charities of Canada; working on the development and implementation of various economic strategies.