Ryan Gustafson

Pronouns: He/Him
Tribal Affiliation: Whitesand First Nation


Ryan Gustafson is a member of Whitesand First Nation, Ontario, currently living in Thunder Bay. His mother was influential in guiding him on a path that led to arts, culture and community. This exposure was integral to the development of his passion for singing and dancing. Powwow culture has always been an important part of his life, and he raised his children within the same environment. Ryan is highly skilled in porcupine quill roach making, feather working, woodworking, beading and sewing—traditional practices that he carries forward as an Anishinaabe husband, father and grandfather. His work is a way of reconnecting with the land and teachings of the Anishinaabe culture. Ryan finds joy in learning and challenging his abilities. With the support and inspiration of other Indigenous artists and elders, he has explored the making of tikinagans, the cradleboards used by the Anishinaabe to carry babies. In the process, he has helped over forty communities to revitalize their own making of tikinagans. Ryan is the recipient of various Ontario Arts Council grants to pursue both learning and teaching—which highlights the fact that he is both a quick and eager student and an excellent, natural teacher. Ryan is always willing to share his knowledge with kindness.