Keynote Speaker for Heartwood Gathering 2020:
To be announced soon!
Past Keynote Speakers:
2019: Beverley Gray
Beverley is a herbalist, aromatherapist, natural-health practitioner, healer, yoga teacher, natural food cook and enthusiast, journalist, and an award-winning natural health-product formulator. She owns the Aroma Borealis Herb Shop in Whitehorse, Yukon. Beverley loves to share her passion for wild medicinal and food plants through herb walks, talks and medicine making. www.aromaborealis.com www.borealherbal.com
Beverley Gray is the author of the national bestselling and international award winning book, The Boreal Herbal: Wild Food and Medicine Plants of the North.(2011)
She is also the author of, A Field Guide to Medicinal Wild Plants of Canada published by Harbour Publishing (2013).
2018: Jan Kahehti:io Longboat
We were so honoured to listen and soak in the wisdom of Jan Kahehti:io Longboat, the Keynote Speaker at the 2018 Heartwood Gathering.
Jan Kahehti:io Longboat, Turtle Clan of the Mohawk Nation, is an Elder, educator, writer, herbalist, cultural advocate, and visionary, having dedicated her life to the dissemination and learning of Indigenous language and culture.
Longboat ran a ten-year program called Idawadadi, which won the Aboriginal Healing Foundation’s best practices award and an outgrowth project entitled Dotah’s House to assist Indigenous women survivors to heal from the abuse of Residential Schools while strengthening their communities through cultural knowledge.
Frequently called on as a counselor, committee, and board member, Kahehti:io has served on the Centre for Indian Scholars and Association of American Indian Physicians, Chiefswood National Historic Societies Board, Six Nations Elders Council, Kanatsiohare:ke Mohawk Community, the Children’s Aid Society of Brant, among others. Longboat continues to serve as a board member at the St. Michael’s Hospital Well Living House project in Toronto as well as the on the Elders’ councils at the University of Toronto, Enaahtig Healing Lodge and Learning Centre, and the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto.
Jan Longboat is currently an Elder Advisor to the Ministry of Justice: Indigenous Peoples’ Court in Brantford. She taught at Mohawk College, McMaster University, and the University of Toronto and has worked with several Indigenous health centres including Wabano, Desdwadadesnye, and SOHAK. In 2017, she was appointed the Order of Canada.
Kahehti:io received her degree as a Natural Health Practitioner from the Canadian College of Natural Medicine and received a degree in counseling from Laurentian University. She continues to live, teach, write, and garden on the Six Nations of the Grand River, where she was born and raised.
Want a taste of what Jan is like as a speaker? Check out this video
2017: Emily Ruff
Emily Ruff, Executive Director of the Florida School of Holistic Living, and founder of the Florida Herbal Conference, is a community herbalist who has practiced the art and science of plant healing for over a decade. Her studies have taken her around three continents where she has studied under healers of many traditions. Her background in gardening and botany came in childhood while wandering the wilderness and digging in the sandy soils of Florida with her grandfather, a tobacco farmer turned urban gardener, and her father, a botany and astronomy professor. Her journey into herbalism continued through apprenticeships in Guatemala under the tutelage of local healers on the southern coast of Lake Atitlan, in the mountains of Vermont at the feet of Rosemary Gladstar, and in the Central Florida apothecary Leaves & Roots with herbalists Carolyn Whitford and George D’Arcy. Emily’s academic studies include Ethnobotany, Philosophy, and Women’s Studies at the University of Central Florida and Curanderismo with the University of New Mexico. She is a Bach Flower Registered Practitioner.
Emily’s dedication to preserving bioregional medicinal plant traditions and ecosystems led her to become active in the organization United Plant Savers. Inspired by a need for greater connection among her regional community, she founded the Florida Herbal Conference event in 2012, an event which continues to sell out annually. In past years, she served multiple terms as president of the Herb Society of Central Florida and as co-founder of Homegrown Local Food Cooperative. Most recently, in response to the tragic shooting at Pulse Nightclub, Emily founded the Orlando Grief Care Project. From the community relationships cultivated through the national response to this tragedy, Emily has formed the Herbal Action Network to continue weaving the web of compassionate herbalism into community engagement. Her most recent work has taken her to Cannonball, North Dakota where she served with the Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council.