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.

First Peoples Group Consultants

Heather Watts

Heather Watts (she/her)

President and Partner

Heather Watts is Mohawk & Anishinaabe from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. Education has been a central part of her work over the past ten years, graduating from Syracuse University with a degree… 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

Melissa Hammell

Senior Associate

Melissa Hammell is a talented facilitator and community connector with over 18 years of experience working with urban Indigenous communities. Melissa strives to balance her Anishinaabe (Kitigan Zibi) and European mixed heritage, using her experiences… 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

Danielle Roy

Danielle Roy


Danielle is French-Canadian with Haudenosaunee ancestry from Iroquois Falls in Northern Ontario.  She moved to Ottawa for her post-secondary education in 2014 and has since been on a continuous journey working alongside the Indigenous community… Read More

Ally Freedman


Ally Freedman is a young Métis woman with strong roots in Northern Manitoba/Saskatchewan. She also has Italian and Jewish heritage. She has a BA Honours in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations from… Read More

Elders and Senior Advisors

Maria Campbell

Métis Elder

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

Guy Freedman

Chair and Founding Partner

Chair and Founding Partner of the First Peoples Group, Guy Freedman is an entrepreneurial leader and thought leader on contemporary Indigenous issues. Guy is a proud Half-Breed (Métis) from Flin Flon, Manitoba with roots dating… Read More

Fred Kelly

First Nations Elder

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 Fellow (Reconciliation)

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

Velma McColl

Velma McColl

Strategy Advisor

Velma McColl is delighted to join First Peoples Group as a strategy advisor during a time of growth and opportunity. A Westerner with more than 20 years in Ottawa, Velma is committed to resilience in all things.… Read More

First Peoples Group West Consultants

Neegann Aaswaakshin (Senior Associate)

Vice President

Neegann Aaswaakshin is Saulteaux of the Anishinaabe Nation, a member of Fishing Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan – Treaty No. 4, and Bear Clan. Her name O’Niigaannii Aaswaakshin means “leader to lean on” in Anishinaabemowin,… Read More

David Turner

Senior Associate

A Non-Status Saulteaux from Pinaymootang First Nation in Manitoba and African American, David is an independent consultant with a Diploma of Social Work (Honours) from Mount Royal College in Calgary. His experience includes initiatives in… Read More

Patrick Kelly

Senior Associate

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