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About Us

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Melanie Goodchild

Melanie Goodchild

Founder & Co-Director

Melanie Goodchild (Anishinaabe) is moose clan, from Biigtigong Nishnaabeg and Ketegaunseebee First Nations in northwestern Ontario. She is the founder and Co-Director of the Turtle Island Institute and she is a Faculty member of the Academy for Systems Change. Melanie believes in reawakening and honouring the teaching methods of her ancestors, of 'coming to know' on the land, and so she supports initiatives that seek to connect people to ceremony, story, art, language and the land.

She has an HBA and MA in Sociology and is a PhD Candidate in Social & Ecological Sustainability at the University of Waterloo. She is a Research Fellow at the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation & Resilience (WISIR) and her work focuses on understanding complexity theory, resilience thinking and deep systems awareness from a uniquely Anishinaabe perspective. Melanie is an alumna of the International Women's Forum (IWF) Foundation's executive global leadership program (2015/16) sponsored by Harvard Business School and INSEAD and she is a proud member of the Iron Butt Association, riding her Harley-Davidson motorcycle 1000 miles in 24 hours.

Photo Credit:  Joe McKay
Terrellyn Fearn

Terrellyn Fearn

Co-Director

Terrellyn Fearn is Snake Clan, and a member of Glooscap First Nation in Mi’kma’ki with strong Mi' kmaq lineage from her paternal grandmother and rich Irish roots from her maternal grandmother. She grew up on the shores of the Bay of Fundy in close relationship with the land and water. As Co-Director of Turtle Island Institute, she brings wisdom and understanding of Indigenous well-being and community building through rematriation and Indigenous ways of knowing. Terrellyn has extensive experience decolonizing programs, Indigenizing practice, and facilitating healing through this lens. Her work over the last 25 years has focused on advancing social justice and systems change in the area of health, gender-based violence, education, and healing. She is privileged to have worked with over 340 rural and urban Indigenous communities throughout Turtle Island.

Terrellyn is a mother and founded her business to provide balance in raising her son and contributing meaningfully to community. She founded Spirit Moon Consulting in 2004 shortly after the World Health Organization launched the first ever World report on violence and health. Spirit Moon was designed to advance healing and well-being through education and training by developing trauma informed curriculum, training design, and delivery that centers Indigenous knowledge and ceremony.

In 2017, she was the Director of Outreach and Support Services for the Canadian National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) and led a 2.5 year process for family members and survivors of violence to share their truth. She is a MEd. candidate at York University and a Research Associate at the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation & Resilience (WISIR) focusing on understanding complexity theory, ethical space of engagement, Indigenous feminism, and healing centered design. She sits on the Indigenous Advisory Circle for the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime focused on the decolonization of the Canadian criminal justice system.