The most trusted Indigenous advisors in Canada.


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

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… Read More

Neegann Aaswaakshin

Vice President and Partner (British Columbia)

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. Neegann is a passionate… Read More

Melissa Hammell

Vice President

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… Read More

Brenda Macdougall

Partner & Senior Education Consultant

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. She began… Read More

Cassidy Caron

Cassidy Caron


Cassidy Caron is a Métis woman with roots in the historic Métis communities of Batoche and St. Louis, Saskatchewan. She grew up closely connected to her Métis traditions and heritage and is driven by her… Read More

David Turner

Vice President and Partner (Alberta)

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… Read More

Vanessa Watts

Senior Associate

Vanessa Watts is a member of the Bear Clan from Mohawk and Anishnaabe Nations. She is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and the Indigenous Studies Program at McMaster University. Vanessa teaches… Read More

Patrick Kelly

Senior Associate (British Columbia)

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… Read More

Lynne Toupin

Senior Associate

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… Read More

Elders and Senior Advisors

Maria Campbell

Senior Advisor

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… Read More

Fred Kelly

Senior Advisor

Fred Kelly is a citizen of the Ojibways of Onigaming, a community of the Anishinaabe Nation in Treaty #3. Kizhebowse Mukwaa (Kind Walking Bear) of the Lynx Clan is an Elder in Midewin, the Sacred… Read More

Bob Watts

Senior First Nations Advisor

Robert (Bob) Watts is a much sought after expert in Indigenous policy, negotiations, training and conflict resolution. He is the former Interim Executive Director of the Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which examined and made… Read More