Our Team
First Peoples Group prides itself on providing consultant teams customized to match client needs. Starting with the firm's core team of consultants, we build the right team for each mandate by drawing on the large network of subject-matter experts that we have developed through our many years of successful collaborations. These experts include educators, sociologists, economists and health care professionals.

Core Team of Consultants

Guy Freedman
President and Senior Partner

Guy Freedman President and Senior Partner of the First Peoples Group, Guy Freedman is an entrepreneurial leader and talented facilitator with diversified experience in the development, implementation, management and operation of projects, services and programs. Guy is a thought leader on contemporary Indigenous issues.

Neegann Aaswaakshin
Vice President and Partner (British Columbia)

Neegann Aaswaakshin Neegann Aaswaakshin is Saulteaux of the Anishinaabe Nation, a member of Fishing Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan, and Bear Clan. Her name O’Niigaannii Aaswaakshin means "leader to lean on" in Anishinaabemowin.

Brenda Macdougall
Partner & Senior Education Consultant

Brenda Macdougall Appointed as the Chair of Métis Research at the University of Ottawa in 2010, Brenda Macdougall has worked with a number of Metis communities documenting their cultural history through the stories of families. Recognized as one of the foremost scholars on the Metis, she is invited to speak at community, government, industry, and academic events, sits on a number of national and provincial committees, and oversees a number of significant research grants.

Melissa Hammell
Senior Associate

Melissa Hammell Melissa Hammell grew up in Ottawa and is proud of her Anishinaabe (Kitigan Zibi) and European mixed heritage. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication from the University of Waterloo, specializing in public speaking and group facilitation.

David Turner
Vice President and Partner (Alberta)

David Turner A non-status Indian of Saulteaux (Pinaymootang First Nation, Manitoba) and African American descent, David is an independent consultant with a Diploma of Social Work (Honours) from Mount Royal College in Calgary. His experience includes initiatives in health, social services, management, policy development and community engagement. David has worked with both urban and First Nations social services programs.

Vanessa Watts
Senior Associate

Vanessa Watts-Powless Vanessa Watts is a member of the Bear Clan from Mohawk and Anishnaabe Nations. A faculty member at McMaster University in the Indigenous Studies Program, Vanessa teaches in areas of Contemporary Indigenous Issues, Residential Schools, Indigenous Sovereignty, Indigenous Knowledge and Methodologies, and Government and Politics.

Mark Freedman
Senior Associate (Manitoba)

Mark Freedman Mark Freedman, a Metis originally from Flin Flon, Manitoba now residing in Winnipeg, is a corporate relations professional with over 25 years of experience in government and private sector projects including the development and implementation of key strategic initiatives and programs.

Patrick Kelly
Senior Associate (British Columbia)

Patrick Kelly Patrick is a member of the Leq:amel First Nation (Sto:lo Nation.) He operates a consulting business and was Advisor and Director of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry. In September 2012 he completed a five-year term as Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor of BC.

Lynne Toupin
Senior Associate

Lynne Toupin Lynne Toupin is an experienced professional who has worked in the public, nonprofit and cooperative sectors in Canada. In the last twenty years, she has led and managed a number of national non-profit organizations, successfully engaging boards of directors, staff teams and other stakeholders to work strategically and collaboratively toward clearly defined results.

Elders and Senior Advisors

First Peoples Group is fortunate to have well-known Elders to call upon. Our writer emeritus and Elder from the Métis community is the renowned author and teacher, Maria Campbell, our First Nations Elder is Fred Kelly, an esteemed First Nations leader from the Ojibways of Onigaming.

Our Senior First Nations Advisor Robert (Bob) Watts is a former Assistant Deputy Minister for the Government of Canada and a graduate of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and Fellow at the Harvard Law School where he researched and lectured on the role culture plays in conflict.

Maria Campbell

Maria Campbell Maria Campbell is a writer, playwright, and teacher. She started her career in 1973 when she published her first book, Half-breed. That book has become a literary classic and continues to be one of the most widely taught texts in Canadian literature. Professor Campbell has also written four children's books. Her most recent book, Stories of The Road Allowance People, translates oral stories into print and is being re-published.

Fred Kelly

Fred Kelly Fred Kelly (Kizhebowse Mukwaa - Kind Walking Bear) of the Lynx Clan is an Elder in Midewin, the Sacred Law and Medicine Society of the Anishinaabe and a Keeper and Practitioner of Sacred Law. In 1965, at the age of twenty-three, he led the first protest march of its kind in Canada that is now known as the birth of the indigenous civil rights movement in this country. He was one of the organizers of the National Indian Brotherhood and assisted in its transition to become the Assembly of First Nations.

Bob Watts

Bob WattsRobert (Bob) Watts is a much sought-after expert in Indigenous policy, negotiations, training and conflict resolution.

Our Resource Network

Sometimes we realize that we can’t do it all. When we can’t, we reach out to our extensive network of friends and professionals who can help us meet any mandate we are given.

FPG has unprecedented access to nation-wide networks of experts in our three business lines. Our strong connection to our communities allows us to maximize our resources by building on our relationships to meet specific client needs and mandate requirements.