Chelsey Johnson (she/her) is Ohkwa:lí (bear) clan, Onʌyota’a:ká: (Oneida) from Southern Ontario. She comes from a long line of Oneida women in the matrilineal society of the Haudenosaunee and currently resides in Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation where she grew up. She holds a Combined Honours Bachelor Degree in Communication and Theatre & Film, as well as a Master of Arts in Communication and New Media from McMaster University.
In her graduate studies, Chelsey’s Major Research Paper titled “Empathic Traditions: How Indigenous Knowledge and New Media can Save the Earth,” explored the myriad Indigenous cultures that demonstrate a unique way of relating to the natural world and how these relationships can help society shift their perspective when it comes to interacting with Mother Earth. Chelsey is passionate about protecting and preserving the environment and has been active in her home community advocating for more sustainable practices.
Chelsey began work in her home community as the Communications Officer for the Six Nations Elected Council in June 2014. Here she gained valuable experience responding under high pressure situations to community emergencies while keeping communication open, clear and effective. During her year at Elected Council, Chelsey also served as a youth representative for the Ontario First Nations Young Peoples Council – a regional youth council that represents the youth of all First Nations in Ontario.
Soon thereafter, Chelsey began working at Six Nations Polytechnic (SNP) as a consultant for the Indigenous Knowledge Centre and was quickly promoted within the organization to the role of Communications Officer. During her tenure at Six Nations Polytechnic, Chelsey oversaw the rebranding of the entire organization, which included the development of a new website, logo and brand identity. As part of the Senior Management team at SNP, she was able to provide strategic advice and direction resulting in the organization being featured in multiple national media articles as well as a cover story in Maclean’s Magazine’s 2019 Education issue.
In 2019 Chelsey spent five months as the Marketing Coordinator at Indspire in downtown Toronto. Here she oversaw targeted marketing tactics to create awareness of new programs, events, student scholarships, bursaries and national events including the Indspire Awards, and the national Soaring gathering for Indigenous youth.
In her current role as the Communications Manager for the Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation, Chelsey again executed a complete re-branding strategy for the organization, which has resulted in communications with key stakeholders improving by over 80%. Chelsey manages public relations which resulted in favorable media coverage for the corporation in national outlets such as the Toronto Star, and TVO.
In addition to occasionally photographing and emceeing events, in her spare time, Chelsey also enjoys giving back to her community. Since September 2021, she’s been providing communications consulting services to the newly established Survivors’ Secretariat. The Survivors’ Secretariat has been appointed to oversee the Police Task Force in their search for the unmarked burials of Indigenous children on over 600 acres of land associated with the Mohawk Institute.