Mandates

Board of Directors

Click each photo to read each Board of Directors’ biography.
Roberta Hill
Roberta Hill
Geronimo Henry
Sherlene Bomberry
John Elliott
Diane Hill
Anthony (Tony) Bomberry
Dawn Hill
Alt: Robert (Bob) Sutherland

About the Board of Directors

The Survivors’ Secretariat, as a Survivor-led organization, is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of seven Survivors of the Mohawk Institute. The Board of Directors operates pursuant to the corporation’s By-Law.

The Secretariat would like to thank everyone who applied to be on the Board.

At this time, we are pleased to have all seven positions on the Board filled.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who are the Board of Directors?

They are a group of Survivors who attended the Mohawk Institute during its time of operation and are in the unique position to guide and direct the operations of the Secretariat.

Q: How were the Board of Directors selected?

The recruitment for the Board of Directors was posted broadly and in the communities that had children taken to the Mohawk Institute. An ad hoc selection committee, which included two Survivors and an intergenerational Survivor, was established to interview and select the founding Board Members to include gender balance and varying lived experiences at the Mohawk Institute.

Q: What are their responsibilities?

The Board of Directors provides governance and direction on policies and procedures for the Survivors’ Secretariat and the Executive Director. The Board of Directors operate pursuant to the corporation’s By-Law and are responsible for guiding the organization to fulfill its mandate in the most effective way possible. Board Members are committed Survivors and have a duty to make decisions that are in the best interest of the organization.

Q: Why does the Survivors’ Secretariat need a Board of Directors?

As an incorporated, not-for-profit organization in the province of Ontario, there is a legal requirement that the Secretariat have a Board of Directors. A group of Survivors at Six Nations of the Grand River, which started the work of the Secretariat, were clear from the beginning that the Secretariat needed to be Survivor-led. Having a Board of Directors comprised solely of Survivors ensures that Survivor voices are always leading the work and activities of the Secretariat.

How long is the term for a Board member?

It is a three-year renewable term.

Q: How often will the Board members meet?

At this time, the organization is new and the pace of work is rapid. As such, the Board will meet at least every two weeks, or more frequently as needed, in order to support the work.

Q: How does the Board make decisions?

The Survivors chose not to assign roles such as “President”, “Chair”, and “Treasurer” for the Board of Directors. It was determined that all Board Members would have equal and shared responsibilities to the organization. Decision making is done by consensus.

Q: How can other Survivors and Families Members of Survivors get involved with the Survivors’ Secretariat?

There are opportunities for Survivors and Family Members of Survivors to participate in the work of the Survivors’ Secretariat, such as volunteering or applying to be employed with the Secretariat.

Survivors and Family Members of Survivors are invited to volunteer to be part of the ground search.

Employment opportunities are posted here.

Q: How can someone learn more about the work of the Secretariat?

If you would like to learn more about the Survivors’ Secretariat, please visit our “About Us” section. We encourage you to have conversations in your community about our organization, and if you or anyone you know would like to share information about a potential death or burial of a child at the Mohawk Institute please consider contacting the Police Task Force or the Survivors’ Secretariat.

Roberta Hill

Roberta Hill

Meet Roberta Hill, Turtle Clan of the Mohawk Nation and member of Six Nations of the Grand River. Alongside a 32-year career as a nurse, Roberta is an active member of her community and is committed to creating a better life for her children and grandchildren. Roberta dedicates much of her time to the Woodland Cultural Centre’s Education Department and shares Canada’s dark history of Indian Residential Schools with visitors. She is also a strong advocate for the Mohawk Village Memorial Park in their efforts to create a space for healing.

“There was a time where I was lost, had to fend for myself, between the Residential School and Foster Care, I learned early that your lived experience stays with you, but each experience is only a small part of one’s life, it is not all of it.”

“My experiences at residential school and foster care were about control and authority and I didn’t want to live that way. Life was a struggle, and it was my choice to live that way or change. I made the right career choice and do not regret years in nursing.”

Jerome (Geronimo) Henry

Geronimo Henry

Meet Geronimo Henry, Bear Clan of the Cayuga Nation and a member of Six Nations of the Grand River. Geronimo is passionate about reclaiming language, connecting to culture and reconnecting with fellow Survivors. Anyone who spends time with Geronimo knows he is a master storyteller. He has had a career as an ironworker, industrial painter and in recent years has organized numerous Survivor Gatherings, programs and services at the Mohawk Institute. Geronimo was also part of the early lawsuits led by Muncey, Onieda and Six Nations Territory. He worked to get people mobilized in Six Nations and in communities across the province

“My focus has been to get justice for the kids who went to the schools. In the end, I do not want people to forget who we are. Everything I do and have done [for] the program, the lawsuit, [and] the reunions was for the kids.”

Sherlene Bomberry

Sherlene Bomberry

Meet Sherlene Bomberry. A Cayuga woman of the Wolf Clan and member of Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, Sherlene is recognized for her commitment to family and her work within the community.

A member of the Survivors’ Secretariat Board of Directors, and part of the founding Survivors’ Group, Sherlene strives to advance reconciliation and healing, as demonstrated by her work with Native Horizons Treatment Center. Her life’s path has taught her how to balance being a traditional person providing services to others and a woman focused on her own healing journey.

Sherlene encourages everyone to be a “Heart with Ears”, to learn how to really listen, and most importantly to take care of yourself and embrace your culture and language.

John Elliott

John Elliot

Meet John Elliott, Wolf Clan of the Mohawk Nation. John is a Survivor, a member of the Survivors’ Secretariat Board of Directors and a lifelong painter. In his free time, he likes to keep busy meeting with other Survivors and making canes that he sells to raise funds for the Mohawk Village Memorial Park.

“I remember J.C. Hill telling us we were going to the Mush Hole for truancy. I remember that first day, me and my brother, we didn’t like it so we ran away. I ran away a lot, every year on Christmas Eve, I ran. I went home. I had to have run away 20-25 times. I’ve been a painter my entire life. I had my own business in the end and wished I had done it 20-30 years earlier. I am happy pretty well all the time, really lucky, and I remember what I was taught when I first started out, never take something that isn’t yours, so I work to keep myself honest.”

Diane Hill

Diane Hill

Meet Diane Hill, a Residential School Survivor, member of Turtle Clan of the Mohawk Nation and a lifelong resident of the Six Nations of the Grand River. After 38 years as a teacher, Diane recently retired from her role as an elementary school teacher at Oliver M. Smith-Kawenni:io Mohawk N.S.L. program, where the focus of her work was on Kanien’ke:ha (Mohawk) and Cayuga language revitalization. She believes her work is about strengthening the children and deepening the importance of sustaining our communities for a safe and meaningful future.

Diane is a passionate woman committed to culture, ceremony, and language revitalization. She and her family spend as much time as possible reaffirming their connection to soil and the natural world, and she extends this connection and commitment to the Six Nations community.

Anthony (Tony) Bomberry

Tony Bomberry

Meet Tony Bomberry. Tony went to the Mohawk Institute when he was 6 years old, and then into foster care. During this time, there was a lack of positive voices in Tony’s life, and that is when he discovered running. Later in life, Tony started supporting and encouraging young runners to give back to their community.

Tony’s career in the justice sector includes time spent as an Indigenous Court Worker and Native Inmate Liaison Officer. These days, he is an Indigenous Law Worker at the Six Nations Justice Department.

“I remember being one of a few people doing this work. I recall one boss telling me, ‘Given my history, I should be in jail’. I see how far we have come; now we have our own justice programs. I am honoured to be a member of the Board of Directors with the Survivors’ Secretariat. I see the healing in my children. I am happy they and other children […] don’t have to experience Residential Schools.”

Dawn Hill

Dawn Hill

Meet Dawn Hill, Turtle Clan of the Mohawk Nation and member of Six Nations of the Grand River. Dawn is a teacher, mother, grandmother, sister, volunteer, and most of all, busy. She has the spirit of a practical joker and is a passionate advocate for students, evident when she shares stories about life in her classrooms.

Dawn has travelled the country, found her way back home and led a 28-year career as a teacher after years of working in office environments. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors at the Survivors Secretariat, the Mohawk Village Memorial Park and at the University of Manitoba.

“I think about my life, and I know, we need to bring attention to what happened, we need our culture and language. These days, I am part of a group trying to get funding for the language school. We have been turned down for funding, but we will keep trying. I really don’t think we should have to pay to get our languages back, they are the ones who took it. Children need to know the history, of the Indian Residential Schools…”

Robert (Bob) Sutherland

Alt: Robert (Bob) Sutherland

Robert (Bob) Sutherland was born in Moose Factory. Bob later attended Canadore College and Lakehead University, graduated from Teacher’s College with his certification in 1980. Over time, Bob’s focus moved from classroom teaching to counselling and he completed the Addiction worker training. These days, Bob spends his time in the communities, offering cultural programs, teachings, and working as a healer. He has travelled to Peru, Oklahoma, Montana, and Germany and has learned a lot.

“Over ten years, I attended the Mohawk Institute, Shingwauk and Moose Factory. The good thing was I already had my connection with the land, I kept that with me.”