The Why

Many Indigenous peoples who live in the most remote regions of the country experience an extreme lack of access to essential and affordable resources.

In addition, Indigenous peoples experience ongoing negative impacts of forced assimilation, restrictive policies, and displacement. Examples include residential schools, intergenerational trauma and many other policies under the Indian Act 1876.  Therefore, Indigenous peoples in Canada face striking inequities in health and wellness outcomes, education, food, economic sovereignty and housing security, particularly those living in northern and remote communities. 

True North Aid believes that Indigenous self-governance and self-determination are key to addressing these inequities and empowering Indigenous peoples to build a brighter future.

Who We Are

As a Canadian registered charity, our mandate is to provide practical humanitarian assistance through initiatives established on eight foundational stones of support. These include self-determination, reconciliation, water, food, health, housing, culture and education.

All our activities are designed to help inspire and empower Indigenous peoples to pursue their dreams and, in turn, empower their communities. Through reconciliation and educational activities, we raise awareness and promote a nation-to-nation relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, acknowledging the past wrongs and finding ways to engage in a path forward. 

Our team combines years of experience working with nonprofits, industry and human services. They are committed to lifelong learning to improve relationships, be advocates, and provide space for Indigenous Peoples. This includes understanding the importance of relationships, respect, reciprocity and responsibility within our work. 

We are guided by the Indigenous Advisory Committee and Elders, who speak into and provide us with direction and leadership in how we engage with their people, understanding that every community is different.

At its core, True North Aid respects the diversity of belief and conviction found with the people and organizations we support and the people and organizations who support us. True North Aid does not fund activities that directly promote the beliefs and/or convictions of any group. However, we are open to partnerships with organizations whose initiatives and activities fall within our mandate as approved by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and are aligned with our mission of helping to close the gap to the many inequities faced by people living in northern Indigenous communities.

Our Definition

True North Aid’s Definition of Northern and Remote: 

True North Aid defines ‘north and remote’ as communities that are in the northern regions of Canada (approximately north of 55° latitude), and/or more than two hours from a city or town with:

  • a hospital; 
  • access to specialized care and support services; 
  • big box stores and grocery stores;
  • other essential goods and/or services

*Please note, that exceptions  can be made based on specific circumstances

Our History

For more than a decade, True North Aid has been dedicated to providing practical humanitarian support to northern Indigenous communities in Canada. 

Established in 2009, True North Aid was founded by Rachael McIntyre (Brown) of Ottawa, ON. Having joined her grandfather on several trips to the north, Rachael witnessed first-hand the inequities faced by many remote Indigenous communities and a lack of access to necessities that many Canadians would take for granted.

Inspired by humanitarian work that she had taken part in overseas, Rachael returned to Canada with a mission of starting a Canadian charity dedicated to supporting northern & remote Indigenous communities with practical humanitarian support. In 2012, True North Aid became a registered charity.

In True North Aid’s early days, Attawapiskat, ON, experienced a food emergency and a significant housing crisis. True North Aid stepped in to provide emergency food support and furniture for many of the homes in the community. This project offered national exposure and highlighted the real need for True North Aid’s work.

From 2013 to 2016, George Woodward became the Executive Director of True North Aid. He worked with groups throughout the Greater Toronto Area to provide practical assistance to communities along the James Bay coast through winter gear, heaters, clothes, and other necessities. In partnership with several organizations, True North Aid also provided hundreds of layette bags filled with critical care items for young mothers and infants at the birthing center in Iqaluit and Igloolik in Nunavut.

In 2017, True North Aid went through another change in leadership. With little money and no partners, Kenneth Smid ramped up operations as the new Executive Director. Over the next six years, as Canadians have turned their attention to the challenges Indigenous communities face in Canada, hundreds of volunteers and thousands of donors will discover True North Aid and come alongside to support our work through volunteerism and financial contributions.

Since then, True North Aid has doubled annually and supported hundreds of community-led projects. In addition, hundreds of thousands of pounds in supplies have made their way to northern communities in Canada. 

True North Aid is inspired by people who want to make a positive change in Canada. We are proud to stand in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples and their basic human right to provide for their families and communities. In all that we do, True North Aid recognizes the incredible injustices of the past and their great impact on the present. True North Aid continues to commit to truth and reconciliation and to see remote and northern Indigenous communities thrive.

Indigenous Advisory Council

Christine Lefebvre

Christine Lefebvre is a mixed-blooded Mohawk presently residing in Kitchener-Waterloo, whose family resides in Kahnawake and Akwesasne First Nations. Over the last 25 years Christine has shared experiential learning through transformative knowledge methodologies and exchanges. Christine teaches reciprocal practices within Indigenous knowledge systems and shares this way of being while engaging with a diverse range of participants. Christine has done extensive public speaking, teaching, workshops, publications, and has led community driven initiatives and engagements. Christine applies experiential knowledge practices to assist and enable Indigenous youth leadership as well as empowerment through mentoring, fostering relationships, guidance, creative inquiry and healthy role modeling. Christine is an experiential knowledge teacher, auntie, and helper who invites all people to take action in being stewards of the earth.

Norman MacCallum

Born and raised in Buffalo Narrows, Sask, a member of the Woodland Cree Nation (Elder), completed high school, college and some university , worked the mining industry, Federal and Provincial Government. worked 7 years in Nunavut and western Arctic as the alcohol and drug specialist and 1 years as the Executive Director of the Fort Providence First Nations and 2 years as the Aboriginal Consultant for Imperial Oil. Blessed to sit on many committees that were geared to helping aboriginal peoples and communities, also had the privilege of being a member of Prince Albert Police Commission for 6 years, also attended Bible College graduated as a Pastor finally celebrating 40 years of sobriety from alcohol and smoking.

Christine Lefebvre

Christine Lefebvre

Christine Lefebvre is a mixed-blooded Mohawk presently residing in Kitchener-Waterloo, whose family resides in Kahnawake and Akwesasne First Nations. Over the last 25 years Christine has shared experiential learning through transformative knowledge methodologies and exchanges. Christine teaches reciprocal practices within Indigenous knowledge systems and shares this way of being while engaging with a diverse range of participants. Christine has done extensive public speaking, teaching, workshops, publications, and has led community driven initiatives and engagements. Christine applies experiential knowledge practices to assist and enable Indigenous youth leadership as well as empowerment through mentoring, fostering relationships, guidance, creative inquiry and healthy role modeling. Christine is an experiential knowledge teacher, auntie, and helper who invites all people to take action in being stewards of the earth.

Norman MacCallum

Norman MacCallum

Born and raised in Buffalo Narrows, Sask, a member of the Woodland Cree Nation (Elder), completed high school, college and some university , worked the mining industry, Federal and Provincial Government. worked 7 years in Nunavut and western Arctic as the alcohol and drug specialist and 1 years as the Executive Director of the Fort Providence First Nations and 2 years as the Aboriginal Consultant for Imperial Oil. Blessed to sit on many committees that were geared to helping aboriginal peoples and communities, also had the privilege of being a member of Prince Albert Police Commission for 6 years, also attended Bible College graduated as a Pastor finally celebrating 40 years of sobriety from alcohol and smoking.