onkwehonwe | haudenosaunee | kanien'kehá ka | wakhskare:wake
Pass The Feather is First Nations owned and operated from the Mohawk | Algonquin | Mississauga territories of eastern Ontario (Hastings). Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk) live in this territory of Moira Lake and Madoc including several families from Akwesasne territory (Francis, Allards & Mitchells).
This is a unique and traditional Haudenosaunee led business specializing in bundling services of sacred feathers. Dawn is also a creator of Indigenous inspired graphic design, photography and websites.
she keeps the feathers
Dawn Setford (Mary Francis Whiteman) Iehstoseranónnha is Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk), Wakhskare:wake (Bear Clan) and a Feather Keeper whose familial territory is St.Regis/Akwesasne. Her family was one of several Akwesasne families that settled on the banks of Moira Lake, Madoc, Ontario.
Dawn is the founder and president of the Indigenous Arts Collective of Canada (a Canada Not-for-profit Corporation) and owner at Pass The Feather. In taking inspiration from the Haudenosaunee Seventh Generation Principle, Dawn Iehstóseranon:nha, founded the Indigenous Arts Collective of Canada in 2012 to preserve and revitalize endangered Indigenous art forms and enrich lives through Indigenous arts and culture. In safe and inclusive spaces, through community based learning, she engages, [re]connects and empowers Indigenous women by promoting the transfer and conservation of cultural knowledge; securing the capacity for the next seven generations to retain and cultivate intrinsic cultural connections. Seven years later she launched her first Indigenous Women's Arts Conference.
Dawn is a community-engaged visual and media artist who advocates for equality and facilitates the creation of informed opinions of Indigenous cultures.
Dawn's background in the arts, business marketing and management is combined with her graphic and web design skills to produce organic and Indigenous inspired branding for organizations and entrepreneurs.
work and education
Along with the IACC board of directors and friends like Zainab Muse and Mme Michaëlle Jean (Michaëlle Jean Foundation) we facilitated Remember Me: A National Day of Remembrance for the 1st National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, Parliament Hill, Ottawa (2021)
Dawn is the organizer of the Indigenous Women's Arts and Entrepreneurship Conference. This event is held in Ottawa and offers free traditional Indigenous arts workshops to hundreds of Indigenous women. The conference also boasts a diverse vendor membership; dozens of artists sell their products in the shopping centre during the IWAC.
Dawn is the creator of IndigenARTSY.com. Under the umbrella of the Indigenous Arts Collective of Canada, Dawn has created the largest on line Indigenous artist collective and launched a new on line marketplace to advance Indigenous arts and artists.
Dawn has been a graphic designer for over 25 years. Her web and graphic design work includes All Image Promotions (1994-1998), Century 21 Central America (1999), Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (Walking In Her Moccasins), Millside Ceramics, Remember Me: A National Day of Remembrance (First National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, Parliament Hill, Ottawa, the Grey Bruce Aboriginal Qimmiq Team and 15 years serving the veterinary industry.
Dawn has contributed to many advisory groups and has consulted with many organizations that are exploring better relationships with Indigenous people. She was a roundtable collaborator for the Indigenous Arts Economic Study by Indigenous and Northern Affairs, a regular contributor to Aboriginal Women’s Economic Quarterly Indigenous, Spirit Magazine (Indigenous & Northern Affairs Canada) and works retail spaces and the powwow trail to market, educate and promote the hand made works of fine Indigenous artisans.
Dawn attended Niagara College, Brock University, George Eastman House (analog photography) and Dundas Valley School of Art. Major - visual arts, Minor - Aboriginal Studies.
Dawn spent 3 years living in Central America studying Indigenous cultures, their language and arts.
On March 22, 2022, International Women's Day, Dawn Iehstoseranón:nha and Marleen Murphy were honoured to be invited by Mme Michaëlle Jean to attend a private breakfast with her family, the Mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson, Councillor Theresa Kavanagh, Council Liaison for Women and Gender Equity.
After breakfast the small group joined the public in a ceremony to present Mme Jean with the 'Key to the City of Ottawa' where she presented her Keynote Address to a national audience.
During her address, Mme Jean commended the work of the Indigenous Arts Collective of Canada and called out the organization, Dawn and Marleen for their work in Truth and Reconciliation at the fist ever National Day of Truth and Reconciliation on Parliament Hill, September 30, 2021.
It was an honour and here is a short clip of that meaningful moment. The full video of that day can be found on City of Ottawa YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/SOSWmOSS-kY
feathers and workshops
Dawn is a Feather-Keeper and artist. Her extensive collection of feathers is utilized in workshops where participants create talking feather bundles, personal smudge feathers and regalia fans.
Dawn is an Indigenous adoptee and infuses her workshops with important perspectives regarding intergenerational trauma and the 60's scoop - a program aimed at removing young children from their communities and placing them in non-Indigenous homes. She explores sharing circle customs, bird medicine and intergenerational trauma in each workshop.
Dawn’s workshops are held in safe spaces within public and private school systems, summer camps, workplaces, community groups, federal buildings and on-reserve educational facilities.
Some of her workshop and consulting work includes private and public school boards across Ontario, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, University of Ottawa, Ryerson University, Ottawa School of Art, Residential School Survivors Adjudication Secretariat, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Correctional Service of Canada, Oshki-Pimache-O-Win: The Wenjack Education Institute, Justices of the Peace Appointments Advisory Committee. Ontario Court of Justice
Dawn spearheads a program that helps Ontario hunters recycle the wings and tails of their harvest and works closely with wildlife rehabilitation centres, zoos and aviaries. Her husband assists her with picking up the birds and Dawn walks out all birds through ceremony with her close group of Elders. The feathers are then used in workshops to teach equality, Indigenous bird medicines, sharing circles and restorative justice practices. * Please note that all workshops are canceled due to COVID-19.