Our Bio

Joseph and Kristy Pitawanakwat
How on earth did we get here? If we were to look back on our lives seven years ago this is not what we would have envisioned. I (Kristy) was just getting out of actors college at the Toronto Film School and Joe was just entering into a classical guitar program at Cambrian College. With our ambitions in the performing arts we were certain our futures would be as performers. Little did we know the turning of events that would unfold in our lives. Joseph and I have been together for seven years and married for nearly 4 years and now have a little toddler named Ruth. When we first began dating we spent many hours talking about our plans as performers but as the months went on a very interesting shift took place. While in college Joe found himself less and less in class and more and more outside in nature. As a child Joe spent the majority of his time alone outside in the trails behind his house and in the bush surrounding his camp in a place called Tamarack. He grew up with plants not realizing the huge role they would later play in his life. Throughout his year in college his interest in using plants as medicine was sparked and from there the flame of his passion was kindled. His memory for learning and remembering plants and their medicinal qualities was like nothing he had ever experienced before; it just stuck. By the end of his first year of college he had decided not to go back and to focus his energy fully on the pursuit of natural plant based medicines. He would begin the bulk of his studying with his own grandmother Thecla Phesant. Thecla's mother Bridget was a midwife and medicine women of her day and in many ways Joe is following in his great-grandmothers foot prints.
Over the next few years of our life we spent countless hours learning about plants traditionally, historically and scientifically. It wasn't long before we spent all our time picking plants and hanging them in our living room, our house had become a jungle. We learned how to dry the plants and use them fresh, turn them into many different forms of medicine including teas, tinctures, salves, steams, aroma therapy and much more. It wasn't long before we were teaching and doing workshops on all the knowledge we had accumulated over the few years of intense study and dedication.

Joseph is now near complete writing his own very exhaustive book proving plant-based-medicine using 3 proofs: Traditional, Scientific and The Doctrine of Signatures.

However, it doesn't stop there, as we learned about the different illnesses and ailments and the plants and mixtures needed to help with those conditions we soon realized that there was another step...Nutrition. As a woman who went through an eating disorder while in acting school I knew the importance of not only nourishment but also a healthy relationship with food. I knew that food was also medicine as prevention and sustenance. Most illnesses begin in the gut and what we eat really does become who we are. We knew that in order to heal people and truly teach people it had to be even more holistic, it had to be a life style. We have made holistic living our lifestyle by taking responsibility for our way of life. We began to eat healthier, then we began eating organically, then we began to really educate ourselves on eating fair trade, eco-friendly, non-GMO, locally and even raw. But the biggest change for us came 4 years ago when we decided to have our own garden and a huge one at that. Our life is dedicated to a pure and holistic way of living that goes back to nature at its core. We realize that everything we need to survive, thrive and heal on earth is here in nature given to us by our creator through His creation.  


  1. I enjoyed very much reading your bio and would like to discuss having you speak at the Trenton Woodlot Conference on November 22nd. Our theme this year is "Returning to our Roots" and traditional use of medicinal plants is high on my list of topics. Please contact me (Dave Sexsmith, Ontario Woodlot Association) at sexsmithd@gmail.com or phone 613-373-9334. I look forward to hearing from you.

  2. We would like to book you please. My work number is 705-774-9083 and my email suzanne@mpssas.com

  3. Aanii, I'm an Anishinaabek gichi-aya'aa. You were referred to me by my Manitoulin niichkeh. For twenty-eight of my seventy years I spent much time with my Father until he walked on 1977. Every year he would have me help him gather Arbutus for his sisters. He didn't share the teachings or language with me as it was against the law back then. Since then Arbutus has become an important part of my life. Because I am learning the language and using it as much as possible I am seeking the Anishinaabemowin translation as well as teachings of "Arbutus". Can you please help me?

    Chi miigwech
    Biboon Nini

  4. I am very interested in plant knowledge and medicine especially the labrador tea in the article.Thank you. Do you hold workshops?

  5. Aanii,
    We know that you are a busy man and well sough after. Rightly so. Your passion and expertise is awesome. We have two events that our student led association will be hosting this year and we would be honored to have you share. Please contact us for more information. gerard.peltier@canadorecollege.ca. Our event dates are September 25, 2019 and Jan.31,2020.

  6. Sekoh-Aaniin-Kwe-Hello Joseph

    My name is Bradley Gibson and I work at the York Region District School Board on the First Nations, Metis and Inuit Education team

    I am hoping to touch base with you and see if we might be able to have you join us for a series of teaching of Indigenous Medicine from now till May 2020.

    We would like to see about booking you for traditional medicine teachings a few times for the school year Oct 28th (Student Leadership), Dec 12th, Mar 2nd and May 6th

    I look forward to speaking with you Nai:wen - Miigwech


  7. Hi My name is John Tiggeloven and I am with the Stratford Festival Theatre. We have a project that we would like to discuss that is based on creating a garden that speaks to local indigenous culture within the landscape of a new facility that is being constructed. If this is of interest to you I can be reached at jtiggeloven@stratfordfestival.ca

    I look forward to speaking with you.


  8. Hello. I am a herbalist and naturalist in the Ottawa area. I was recently talking to a friend, Aryn Mahood, and she was talking about taking courses with you. I have been very interested in learning about plants from a more indigenous perspective. I am also sure I can find many others in the area who feel the same. DO you have any interest in coming up to Ottawa to do teachings, if I could put together a group. If not, do you have a schedule of teaching in Peterborough?

    thank you,
    Pierre Blin
    613 869-1597

  9. Curious how you hold space for Indigenous people to make sure your people have priority and access? There is a lot to be said for how we as Indigenous learn from colonizers and how we learn from our own ♡