Rematriation

Rematriation’s Story

Vision

Rematriation is the realization of twenty years of dreaming by our Founder, Michelle Schenandoah. While riding the NYC subway as a young, Oneida woman in her early 20s, she noticed Black and Latina women enjoying magazines designed just for them. As an Indigenous woman she wondered, “Where’s my magazine?” Two decades later in 2017, Shenandoah founded Rematriation Magazine as the answer to this question. Today, Rematriation is a multi-media initiative engaging in film production, digital content creation and community engagement. Rematriation is the home of Rematriation Magazine and, most importantly, a community of Haudenosaunee and Indigenous women choosing to heal together. We continue to re-imagine the ways in which a “magazine” can shift narratives, defy stereotypes, and reflect our own experiences.

About

Rematriation is a Haudenosaunee-led, digital storytelling platform connecting Haudenosaunee and Indigenous women across Turtle Island and around the world. We rematriate through Indigenous women-led, in person gatherings; online, Indigenous women-only spaces; and initiatives designed to educate the public and build allies.

Our Mission Statement

Rematriation is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the movement of Rematriation across Turtle Island by uplifting Indigenous women’s voices and raising human consciousness toward living in balance with Mother Earth.

Connect

Rematriation supports Indigenous women gatherings in the restoration of individual, family, and community-based wellness. Rematriation’s programs and content engages Haudenosaunee and Indigenous Sisters across Turtle Island, including Canada, Mexico and New Zealand.

Represent

Rematriation creates opportunities for Indigenous Sisters to attend public events. Visible representation of Indigenous women at public events is a crucial first step towards overcoming stereotypes. We are often called upon in these spaces to share our cultural perspectives and experiences. This allows our voices to be heard, our issues to be addressed and helps build bridges of awareness and understanding. By creating pathways of inclusion, we encourage our women’s leadership to flourish and help create a more equitable society.

Educate

Rematriation offers public education to build allies, share untold history and contemporary issues. Rematriation provides public events and produces articles, podcasts and videos to share across our digital platforms. Rematriation aims to claim space in public media for sharing authentic Indigenous women’s truths. Our voices have been silenced for hundreds of years. Our presence has been excluded for far too long. Indigenous women and Peoples are now sharing our truths with the strength of our ancestors behind us. Rematriation is here to uplift these truths.

 

Our Team

Michelle Schenandoah

Founder
Kaluhyanu:wes “She is Fond of the Sky”
Onʌyota’:aka (Oneida)

Michelle is an inspirational speaker, writer, thought leader and traditional member of the Onʌyota’:aka (Oneida) Nation Wolf Clan of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. She is the founder of Rematriation and the non-profit Kanenhi:io Ionkwaienthos. Raised in a family of traditional leadership, she carries the values and responsibilities of being Haudenosaunee throughout her life. Inspired by her grandmothers who led generations of Oneida Nation land claims, Michelle carries her ancestors’ passion to rematriate her people’s lands and bring about the truthful telling of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy’s influence on the world.

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Michelle’s life experiences paved the way for her to found Rematriation in 2016. As a traditional member of the Longhouse, a trained lawyer and a visionary for change, Michelle creates space for Indigenous voices to be honored fully with light and love. Most recently, as Founder of Rematriation, Michelle directed and produced the Rematriation films: An Indigenous Response to #MeToo and the 10-part series, Indigenous Women’s Voices, with Mohawk Director, Katsitsionni Fox. Through her storytelling as a filmmaker, writer and speaker, Michelle creates safe spaces to share tools and resources that she has learned from her own healing journey and lived experiences.

She is co-founder, owner and principal at Indigenous Concepts Consulting with her husband, Neal Powless, she helps non-Indigenous businesses and media companies develop their own organizational best practices through an Indigenous lens. She holds a JD and LL.M. in Taxation from New York Law School, a MS from the S.I. Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University, and a BA from Cornell University. Throughout her career, Michelle has advised tribal governments across Turtle Island, studied facilitation and healing methods in a variety of traditions and worked for numerous non-profits, including: The American Indian College Fund and Children of the Earth.

Michelle is a current board member for the Everson Museum of Art. She has previously served as President of the Board of Directors for the non-profit, Seven Dancers Coalition and as a board member for the NAMMYS where she helped establish the Native Music category in the GRAMMYS.

She lives on her people’s homelands with her husband and their four beautiful children.

Pamela Pembleton

Administrative & Operations Lead

Kanienkehaka (Mohawk Nation)
Ronathahionni (Wolf Clan)

Pamela was born and raised in the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory by her parents, along with her three siblings. She grew up in the power and support of her matrilineal identity, being raised and surrounded by strong Kanienkehaka women. Pamela is the mother of two sons, Rakwirahes (He protects the trees) and Rarontiiostha (He makes the trees pretty again). In her spare time, she enjoys reading, the outdoors, and spending time with her family. She continues to live in Akwesasne with her sons and dog, Scarlet.

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Pamela is a 3rd generation survivor of the Canadian Residential School System. Her maternal grandmother, along with her little sister, was taken from the arms of their mother to a Residential School in Spanish, Ontario, a place where the atrocities of abuse will never be known but will run in the veins of her lineage. Pamela has always known this of her heritage and knew it was her life’s purpose to love and protect women and children. Caring for women has been a passion of Pamela’s and has always been present in various forms in her life. Pamela graduated from the Pre-Health Science program at St. Lawrence College and hoped to one day become a midwife. Life guided Pamela into a different course but caring for women and babies always wove its way into her path. Pamela found her way to Rematriation in 2023, where she became the Administrative and Operations Lead, taking care of the daily business aspect, honing her skills as caretaker of administration, and supporting the Rematriation work.

Caryn Miller

Marketing Lead

Gawëöwi’ ni’gya:söh
Onöndowa’ga:’ ni’ah
Ageswë’gai:yo’
Ohi:yo’ jo:negano:h nöda:ge:’

Caryn Miller is a dedicated traditional member of the Seneca Nation Hawk Clan, raised on the Allegany territory. She received a B.S. at Syracuse University with a dual major in Marketing Management and Entrepreneurship & Emerging Enterprises and a minor in Native American & Indigenous Studies. Driven by her connection to her identity, she takes pride in providing her best contributions possible from an Indigenous woman’s perspective. Caryn aspires to continue working towards uplifting Indigenous voices and connecting with like-minded individuals.

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Outside of her work, Caryn enjoys hiking, volunteering, travelling, and learning new skills. She brings her tenacity and eagerness to continue growing her skill capacity in each aspect of her life. Caryn is a leader in the Seneca community. She has been recognized by her nation for her extraordinary commitment to her community’s growth and flourishment with the 1st Annual Youth Eagle Award in 2016. More recently, she has been selected as a participant in the American Indian Science & Engineering Society’s (AISES) newly established Indigenous Womxn in STEM program. She continues to influence change within the community and inspires the youth to pursue their goals. 

Afton Paulena Lewis

Community Engagement Lead

Diné (Navajo)

Afton P. Lewis is a member of the Navajo Nation. She is of the Mud People Clan born for the Black Sheep Clan. Her maternal grandfather is of the Coyote Pass Clan and her paternal grandmother is of the Edge of the Water Clan. Afton grew up in the Four Corners region of the Southwest in a small town called Farmington in New Mexico.

Afton is a filmmaker, editor, producer, and entrepreneur. She was inspired to join the film industry since she was young but since working for Rematriation, she has found the passion to be in charge of her own media company.

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Afton’s interest in filmmaking began as a young child when she watched films that her grandparents made for their grandchildren. To date, she has created and directed several video projects and is now sharing these skills with Rematriation. For over four years, Afton has been a production assistant on Rematriation Media projects and most recently took a leading role in managing the Rematriation App. Afton has been featured in the Daily Orange, took part in the international Lightful Bridge Program, and participated at the MIT Solve US Equity Summit in 2023.

Afton currently lives in Onondaga territories also known as Syracuse, NY. She lives with her boyfriend Cameron and mother-in-law Diane Schenandoah.

Rematriation Board of Directors

Christina Jimerson

Board Member
Onöndowa’ga:’  Seneca Nation

Christina “Chrissy” Jimerson, Seneca Gaming Corporation’s Executive Director of Compensation and Total Rewards, has been honored as a Buffalo Business First 2020 Women of Influence “Behind The Scenes” Award Recipient. Her advocacy for the Seneca Nation of Indians led to her election as a Councilor from 2012-2016, the Legislative branch of the Seneca Nation government. In this position, she also served as the Tribal Council and Executive Liaison for the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act. During her tenure on the council, she served on several committees, including Budget and Finance. As a Councilor, she often traveled to Washington, D.C., to speak with elected officials about matters important to the Nation, including advocacy for the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act passed in 2014.

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Additionally, Jimerson also served as the alternate delegate for the Seneca Nation at the National Congress of American Indians. Her commitment to community affairs continues with her position as second vice president of the Board of Directors of the Native American Finance Officers Association (NAFOA), a national organization dedicated to growing tribal economies and strengthening tribal finance policy, and serving on the Brooks-TLC Hospital Board of Directors where she is a member of the Finance Committee.

During her 13 years in the Seneca Gaming Corporation Human Resources Department, she has been a driving force behind the success of the department, serving the entire corporation with over 3,700 employees spread across four properties throughout western New York. She is committed to serving the corporation and her community. In addition to her M.B.A. from Canisius University, Christina also has a B.S. in Health Services Administration from the State University of Fredonia in New York. Jimerson is an incredible asset to her local community and the organization, as well as to advocacy for the world at large.

Chelsea Sunday

Board Member
Akwesasne Kanienkeha Mohawk

Taiawentón:ti Chelsea Sunday is from Akwesasne, on the Ontario-Quebec-New York state border, is also co-founder of Ionkwahronkha’onhátie’ (We’re becoming fluent), an adult language program. She and her co-founders Karonhiióstha Shea Sky and Kaienkwinehtha Ransom wanted to create a space for language learners to continue their language journey outside of Kanien’kéha immersion programs. Iethiiehiá:rons means ‘we raise them’ in Kanien’kéha (Mohawk language) and is the name of a project that supports parents raising their children with Kanien’kéha as their first language.

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Grassroots organization Ionkwahronkha’onhátie’ has been supporting Mohawk (Kanien’kéha) language learners since 2019 and is a recipient of one of this year’s Bell Let’s Talk Diversity Fund grants. Chelsea Sunday is an organizer for Ohero:kon (Under the Husk), a rites of passage ceremony that Mohawk youth volunteer to participate in. She’s also a strong advocate for returning to traditional ways of learning in her community, especially as someone who grew up attending non-Native schools her whole life. Sunday explained that the Mohawk people’s traditional way of learning is like giving birth to a child who would hear Kanien’kehá directly from her voice. “It would learn how to navigate the world, and it would be through me and my relatives,” she said. For example, rather than only learning Western subjects like math or language arts or focusing on standardized testing and grades, Sunday wants youth in her community to learn from their elders how to catch food, navigate waterways, use traditional medicines, and speak in their language.

Christina Porter

Board Member
Christina is a gifted Indigenous healer, seer, public speaker and spiritual wellness mentor to many.

Melissa Powless-Chacon

Board Member

Melissa is a member of the Oneida Nation Turtle Clan of Wisconsin. She is a cause-driven organizational change and development consultant and a certified community transformational coach based in California. Her work includes working with nonprofits, schools, tribes, and philanthropic communities on a wide range of issues affecting Native American youth, families, and communities.

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She is also devoted to creating opportunities that lead to the well-being, safety, and equal rights of youth, women, and families of color from urban, rural, and tribal communities. She uses her ancient wisdom and design abilities in the community to produce cultural and holistic approaches to healing, empowerment, and transformation.

Rematriation Board of Advisors

Diane Schenandoah

Advisor
Tekahnatshyali:te
Onʌyota’:aka (Oneida)

A Faithkeeper of the Oneida Nation, Diane is a traditional titleholder who carries the responsibility of upholding, sharing and honoring Haudenosaunee spirituality and lifeways. She was born into a large Haudenosaunee family and resides in her ancestral Onʌyota’:aka (Oneida) Nation homelands in upstate New York. She is the daughter of the late Clifford Schenandoah, who was an Onondaga Nation Pine Tree Chief and jazz musician; and the late Maisie Shenandoah, an Oneida Nation Wolf Clan Mother.

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Recently, she served as a consulting sculptural artist, with Jane DeDecker, for the Haudenosaunee representation of Laura Cornelius Kellogg in the Congressional Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission’s sculpture in Seneca Falls, NY. Diane is currently a faculty member at Syracuse University’s Barnes Center at the Arch. Her role as ‘Honwadiyenawa’sek’, which translates to The One Who Helps, practices Intuitive Energy Work for students, faculty, and staff. She holds annual Full Moon Ceremonies, and Haudenosaunee Social Dance gatherings bringing Haudenosaunee and SU community together.

Diane was a backup singer and percussionist for her sister and internationally renowned singer/songwriter, Joanne Shenandoah. Together they have traveled the world performing and exhibiting her artwork. Diane is mother to Rematriation founder Michelle Schenandoah; she also has four sons and many beautiful grandchildren.

Neal Powless

Advisor

Hawhenawdies, Neal J. Powless, MS, NCC, and PhD Fellow at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, is a traditional member of the Onondaga Nation and Eel Clan. He currently serves all Faculty, Staff and Graduate students at Syracuse University as the University Ombuds, providing confidential, informal, independent and neutral crisis management and crisis resolution.

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Mr. Powless has taught courses and presented across the country for nearly 20 years about Indigenous culture and value systems. He is the Co-Founder/Co-Owner of Indigenous Concepts Consulting, a firm that he currently runs with his wife, Michelle, to bridge Native American ideals and culture with organizations and individuals all over the world. They are currently working on projects for a multi-dimensional media platform, curriculum development, an Indigenous health & wellness initiative and script development of another Major Motion picture with a major Studio label.

As a Co-Producer for the Major Motion Picture “Crooked Arrows”, Mr. Powless was responsible for Native story line development, cultural sensitivity and procuring financial investments. He co-produced the NY Emmy Nominated “Game of Life; Heart and Soul of the Onondaga” a short documentary about the cultural origins of the game of lacrosse, as well as collaborated with ESPN on multiple film projects.

He is a producer and participant on the film: An Indigenous Response to #MeToo which is free on Vimeo. He has been screening the film and conducting community dialogues around sexual assault at college campuses and communities who have restorative justice programs. Also, in 2018, one of his PhD papers was published in the book Nasty Women and Bad Hombres: Gender and Race in the 2016 Presidential Election.

Since 2014, Mr. Powless has been the Head Coach for the Netherlands National Lacrosse team that competed in Denver in 2014-2016, and now the Netherlands National Indoor lacrosse team since 2017 and are currently ranked 8th in the world. He was a 3-time All-American lacrosse player which led to his 7-year professional lacrosse career. He played for the Iroquois Nationals in 6 World Lacrosse Championships and made the tournament’s All-World Team in 2002. Mr. Powless has won a total of 5 Professional and National Championships in his career and was inducted into the Nazareth College Sports Hall of Fame in 2009 and the US Lacrosse, CNY Chapter Hall of Fame in 2017.

He formerly served Syracuse University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs and Career Services. Mr. Powless has a Masters in Counseling from Syracuse University and a BS in Psychology from Nazareth College. His current PhD researched is about Indigenous imagery in contemporary Major Motion Pictures. He resides in Upstate New York with his wife, Michelle Schenandoah-Powless and their 4 children.

Jonel Beauvais

Advisor

Jonel Beauvais is a Wolf Clan, Mohawk. Who is the proud mother of three children and chosen auntie, sister, and friend to many. She works diligently to empower and induce healing within all Native/Indigenous communities in order to prosper in the Haudenosaunee teachings of good medicine and good minds. She intends to offer support and insight for those struggling spiritually and emotionally, with hopes of reviving the strong medicine she feels we all possess. Her vision is that we may attain peace within in order to restore our nurturing Indigenous communities, with the hope that our grandchildren yet to come will continue to flourish in our ways of life.

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Ms. Beauvais recently moved from working for Kahwatsiraien:ton, which was founded, to supporting the families of Ohero:kon. She has dedicated seven years as a council member and Lead Auntie for all adolescent girls entering their first year of fasting in Ohero:kon “Under the Husk,” which is the Rights of Passage for youth in Akwesasne. Through ceremony, these youth commit to four years of fasting, during which they attend weekly gatherings throughout the winter months, where traditional/modern teachings are presented to the young fasters and their families. All with the intention of receiving a vision, insight, or guidance on the purpose of their journey into adulthood.

Ms. Beauvais is also the Co-Creator of the Welcome Home Circle in Akwesasne, inspired by her carceral experience and the undeniable need for representation and support for those directly and indirectly impacted by the criminal system, especially in Native communities. She is actively working on their “Tiny Home Project,” which will give those transitioning back into community peer support and safe housing to ensure those coming home can demonstrate transformational justice.

She has also been a consultant for the Tribal Youth Resource Center, local schools, and Higher Education Institutions. She was chosen to be one of the first three fellows to represent the Haudenosaunee Fellowship at Cornell University and is actively advocating for Native Youth in these spaces of academia.

On July 29, she traveled to Quebec City with a delegation of Haudenosaunee Leadership, where she addressed Pope Francis on the atrocities the Church has played in the genocide against the Indigenous peoples across the Western Hemisphere through the Cradle Board Mandate. In 2022, she received an award from the Women’s Institute for Leadership and Learning for her dedication to raising the voice of women and helping them attain pride and power through personal accountability.

In the spring of 2015, she began her five years of cultivating support and experience around intimate and systemic violence with the Seven Dancers Coalition as Community Outreach in Upstate New York on the U.S./CAN political border of her home territory in Akwesasne. The Coalition seeks to educate Tribal communities and service providers through training and presentations on Sexual Assault, Domestic violence, Campus Safety, Teen Dating, Sex Trafficking, and Stalking. She received the 2020 Visionary Voice Award, nominated by the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault and granted by the National Sexual Assault Resource Center.

She is also a member of the Section 84 parole board of Akwesasne and the Neh Kanikonriio Council. This restorative Justice initiative integrates Indigenous ways of mediation to reduce incarceration and provide a more interpersonal means of healing for both parties.

In 2019, she was picked as one of ten women nationally to represent a fellowship for formerly incarceration or directly impacted women of color through the Community Change organization. With peer-to-peer mentorship, community organizing skill building and cultivating change in the hearts of women directly impacted by social violence, prison systems, and immigration. In 2020, she was accepted to be on a national cohort of women through Columbia University’s Women Transcending fellowship. She also organized to support formerly incarcerated women to build power, gain resources, and strengthen leadership development. In addition, she was invited to sit on the national #FREEHER board with the Circle for Justice Innovations, which gives out grant opportunities for women of color who are in their communities working to address mass incarceration.

Ms. Beauvais is invited to various speaking engagements and was recently invited to represent the U.S. as a Tribal delegate at the Third Annual Trilateral Working Group in Mexico City. Indigenous representatives from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico addressed the adversities Indigenous women face (Oct. 2018). Her passion is to share her life experiences as a native woman who has witnessed and lived the adversities of addiction, caretaking, incarceration, sexual assault, suicide, and other forms of violence.

Louise McDonald Herne

Advisor

Wakerahkáhtste Louise McDonald Herne is a Bear Clan Mother for the Mohawk Nation Council. She is a trusted advisor for families and community youth and works closely with them in their homes and schools. She bestows traditional names in the longhouse and provides spiritual counsel for all those seeking support.

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Through her work as a matrilineal leader and as a mother, she is a founding member of Konón:kwe Council, a circle of Mohawk women working to reconstruct the power of their origins through education, empowerment and trauma-informed approaches. Louise champions the philosophy of Kahnisténhsera, “Mother Law” –a natural law that binds Ohnwehón:we, or Indigenous, kinship society. She is also the lead conductor of the Moon Lodge Society, a convening women and girls on a monthly basis in line with the full moon cycle. Louise is the principal organizer and leader of Oheró:kon, a traditional Rite of Passage ceremony for Mohawk youth. Since 2005, she has guided hundreds of community families and volunteers through self-reflection and Ratinonhsón:ni cultural instruction and ceremony. 

She has also presented at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and lectures regularly at universities throughout Canada and the United States on Ratinonhsón:ni philosophies and self-determination in regards to women. She has been the Distinguished Scholar in Indigenous Learning at McMaster University Institute for Innovation and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (MIIETL) and received an honorary PhD from SUNY Canton. Her most recent work includes a feature in the documentary film, “Without a Whisper: Konnon:kwe” about the Ratinonhsón:ni women’s influence on the women’s rights movement.

Samantha Doxtator

Advisor
Samantha Doxtator is a member of the Oneida Nation of the Thames, Wolf clan. In July 2021, Samantha’s younger sister Sasha passed away. Sasha was in University and researching Indigenous Astronomy. Over the course of three years she gathered information, created a course curriculum and a 2 hour presentation. Before she passed she gave Samantha all of her research. A Part of Samantha’s grief recovery is accepting the gift to continue her late sister, Sasha’s work and research. Sasha always wanted the pair to do this presentation together, and unfortunately she ran out of time on this earth world before they could do that.
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Fortunately with the help of technology, recordings, and logistics, Samantha is able to travel across Turtle Island reciting their presentation with her sister. As Samantha’s work continues to grow and create new theories, she travels Indigenous Country to help lift that blanket of oppression using Astronomical Knowledge, Ancestral Technology, and Original ways of Knowing. Her shared information connects neural pathways to the amazingness of Indigenous Existence. The presentation shares how smart, innovative, and creative, Indigenous people are. Our ancestors weren’t only scientists, but also astronomers, architects, engineers, biodiverse farmers, artists, designers, doctors, and lawmakers before educational institutions existed.