These amazing women shared their stories and Spoke their Truths at the 2019 Indigenous Women’s Leadership Summit. Each individual revealed how they’ve overcome many challenges and obstacles throughout their personal and professional journeys.
Métis Nation, MB and SK
Andrea Menard is a Creativity Fire-Starter and an Expert in Feminine Leadership. As an accomplished Métis singer, actress, and speaker, Andrea uses her gifts in creative and emotional expression to help individuals own their voice, express their creativity and enhance their own mental health. Andrea is a five-time Gemini-nominated actress, a 15-time music award winner, one of the stars of the Netflix series, Blackstone, and her TEDx Talk called Silent No More has reached over 125,000 views. As a professional speaker, she uses her life as a Métis celebrity, a music messenger, and an advocate for ending violence, to entertain and inspire audiences from all walks of life. Whether she is addressing a hall of businesswomen, a high security room full of NATO Generals, or a stadium of Indigenous youth, Andrea’s uplifting musical keynotes land exactly where they need to – in the heart.
Angela Sterritt is an award-winning journalist and writer from British Columbia. She has worked as a journalist for close to 20 years and has been with the CBC since 2003. Her reports have appeared in the Globe and Mail, The National, CBC’s The Current, and various other news programs. In 2017, with her team at CBC, she won the investigative award of the year from Journalists for Freedom of Expression. Angela currently works with CBC Vancouver as radio, online and television reporter and host. In the fall of 2017, she launched “Reconcile This,” a CBC column that explores the tensions between Indigenous people and institutions in British Columbia. In less than a year the column has won an international Gabriel award and RTDNA awards. Angela is Gitxsan with the Gitanmaax band in Northwest B.C.
Squamish Nation, BC
Carolyn Roberts uses her voice to support Indigenous resurgence through education. She is a Coast Salish woman belonging to the Squamish Nation. Carolyn is an Indigenous academic who holds two degrees from UBC, a Masters in Aboriginal Education and Leadership and a Bachelor of Education. She also holds a Bachelor of Jazz Studies from Capilano University. She has been an educator for over 20 years and is currently the Principal of Xwemélch’stn Etsimxwawtxw school of the Squamish Nation, where they are working towards revitalizing language and culture by converting their elementary school into a Squamish language immersion school. She believes it is a critical time for Indigenous people to remember who they are and where they came from in order to know where they need to go, moving forward using traditional ways of knowing as a foundation. Carolyn is a leader for the resurgence of Indigenous people reclaiming their languages, history and cultures. Her work is about grounding the next generation of Indigenous children in their culture and ancestral ways to work towards a brighter future for all Indigenous people and the seven generations yet to come.
Cold Lake First Nation, AB
My name is Chas Desjarlais and I am a nêhiyaw/Metis educator and scholar working for the Vancouver School Board as the Indigenous Education District Vice Principal. I am a member of Cold Lake First Nations and a Treaty Six First Nation; and doctoral candidate in the Department of Educational Studies pursuing a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy. I am grateful to be given the opportunity to be living the ‘good life’ and take great care in ensuring that I share the ‘gifts’ I have received from the Creator with those I get to work with. Who I am and where I come from greatly influence my leadership and how I engage and interact with administrators, educators and students. Living and leading, walking the path of ‘miyo-pimatisiwin’ (living the good life) as a nehiyaw/Metis iskwew is my sole purpose is to pass those teachings onto my two daughters, Paige and Kaylyn.
Nuu-chah-nulth, Gitxsan and Kwakwaka’wakw, BC
Connie Watts is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, curator, educator and designer of Nuu-chah-nulth, Gitxsan and Kwakwaka’wakw ancestry. Born and raised in Campbell River, Connie has a Bachelor of Interior Design from the University of Manitoba, and a BFA from Emily Carr. Her award-winning work is often rooted in forms and knowledge drawn from First Nations cultures, while her sculptural objects incorporate modern fabrication and design techniques. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, and her work is included in numerous corporate and civic collections.
Connie previously sat on the Emily Carr Board of Governors for six years, and worked as a Curatorial Project Manager for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Committee’s, Venues Aboriginal Art Program. She has also been affiliated with the British Columbia Arts Council, the First Peoples Cultural Council, the Vancouver Foundation and the Contemporary Art Gallery, among other institutions. She has recently accepted a directorship on the YVR Foundation Board.
Kainai First Nation, AB
Crystal is an award winning educator who uses her creative talent to research and design Indigenous Ways of knowing and learning pedagogies. She is a Blackfoot (Kainaiki) woman from the Kainai (Blood) First Nation in southern Alberta. Crystal is mother to two wonderful children, daughter Tricia and son Alex.
As a little girl growing up on the Blood Reserve, surrounded by poverty and emotional hardship, Crystal witnessed firsthand the damaging inter-generational effects and impacts that the Indian Residential Schools had on her family and community. She shares these experiences with her students and other faculty to show them that with persistence and determination, we can carry on the legacy of our ancestors and live in a good way. Her personal Call to Action is to research, create and develop anti-racist pedagogies and build intercultural competencies for all learners. She now applies her own learned skills and competencies to indigenize and decolonize curriculum at Bow Valley College in Calgary, Alberta. Her first successful task was to initiate the TRC Call to Action #24 for all nursing students in their Practical Nursing Program. Crystal looks forward to being a speaker at this year’s Indigenous Women in Leadership Summit 2019.
Inuk was born and raised in the Northwest Territories (NT); she is of Inuvialuit (Eskimo) and European decent. When you meet her; it does not take long to notice her love and respect for her people, land and traditions of the Northwest Territories which is shared through her creations. Since she was a child, Inuk wanted to be a fashion designer. Her artistic journey began in 1990 when she discovered her ‘natural ability to caribou hair tuft’ which eventually led to her becoming a “Master Tufter”. Over the years, Inuk has taught thousands of people around the world, from all walks of life and ages. With each caribou hair tufting, lesson and demonstration she is literally preserving a piece of the Northwest Territories heritage, one tuft and stitch at a time. Inuk is also a strong advocate for the Arctic’s sustainably resourced furs and hides, which she turns in to wearable one of a kind creations. Inuk knows there are no limits creating art; you can see the utmost care, quality and originality in each of her creations.
Jace Meyer is a Metis speaker, teacher, and artist working at Shopify in Ottawa, ON. Jace holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of Victoria and has co-created science, technology, engineering, and math curriculum with 1.25 million youth from coast to coast to coast. Jace is Shopify’s Lead for Indigenous entrepreneurs and leads the Indigenous employee resource group, bringing together aspiring and current Indigenous entrepreneurs with Shopify employees. This is promoted to make improvements to commerce for Indigenous people. A recent milestone: In partnership with the Native Women’s Association of Canada, Jace helped 40 Indigenous women launch their online store and make their first sale in under 30 minutes on Shopify. Follow Jace on Twitter and Instagram: @jaceactually
Ojibwe, Whitefish Bay, ON
Jenn Harper, founder of Cheekbone Beauty, was born in Thunder Bay, ON and relocated to the Niagara Region where she was raised and developed a passion for cosmetics. She believed here needed to be a Canadian brand, that was never tested on animals, free of all the junk, and that gave back to the First Nations community. This didn’t exist, so Jenn created it!
During the development of Cheekbone Beauty, Jenn researched both the industry and charities that help close the educational funding gap that exists between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. Jenn found the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society (FNCFCS) and Cheekbone Beauty continues to support the FNCFCS today. During Cheekbone’s infancy, Jenn suffered a heavy personal loss with the suicide of her brother B.J. This loss, though difficult, has remained a driving force behind Jenn’s desire to see her company succeed with its mission. Jenn speaks regularly to university, college and high school students about social entrepreneurship, empathy and the history of her family. In 2017 Jenn was awarded the “Social Enterprise Award” at the 17th Annual Women in Business Awards for her work on Cheekbone Beauty. In 2018 Jenn was invited to sit at the table with Prime Minster Trudeau and discuss the strategy for the Women Entrepreneurs Fund (WEF). Most recently Jenn faced the Dragons on CBC Dragons Den which will air this Fall. Cheekbone Beauty was awarded the “Social Enterprise of the Year” in Ontario by Start Up Canada this past June.
Stó:lō/Soowahlie and St’at’imc/Xaxli’p First Nations, BC
Jo-ann Archibald, Q’um Q’um Xiiem, from the Stó:lō/Soowahlie and St’at’imc/Xaxli’p First Nations in BC, is professor emeritus of Educational Studies in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia. She has held the following positions at UBC: director of the First Nations House of Learning, director of UBC’s Indigenous teacher education program (NITEP), associate dean for Indigenous Education, and a full professor in the Educational Studies Department in the Faculty of Education, UBC. She received a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) degree from UBC, a Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree from Simon Fraser University. She has also held various positions with NITEP for 18 years and was a faculty member at UBC for 34 years before retiring in 2017.
Jo-ann’s scholarship relates to Indigenous knowledge systems, storywork/oral tradition, transformative education at all levels, Indigenous educational history, teacher and graduate education, and Indigenous methodologies. From 1992-2019, Jo-ann edited an annual theme issue of the Canada Journal of Native Education (CJNE). Jo-ann is the author of numerous publications related to Indigenous Education. Her book, Indigenous Storywork: Educating the Heart, Mind, Body, and Spirit published in 2008 by UBC Press continues to be used by students, academics, and teachers. This book focuses on the role of Indigenous stories and storytelling for holistic learning, teaching, and research.
Jo-ann received a National Aboriginal Achievement (Indspire) Award in 2000; an honorary Doctor of Letters from Capilano University in 2012; the SFU Outstanding Alumni Award for Academic Achievement in 2012; a 2013 American Education Research Association Scholars of Colour Distinguished Career Contribution Award; a 2015 Killam Award for Excellence in Mentoring from UBC; an Award for Lifelong Service to Education from the Association of BC Deans of Education in 2017; an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Kwantlen Polytechnic University in 2017 and from the University of Northern British Columbia in 2019; and a Teaching and Teacher Education Legacy Award from the American Education Research Association in 2019. Jo-ann was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2018.
Moose Cree First Nation, ON
Jocelyn Formsma is a member of Moose Cree First Nation and resides in Ottawa, Ontario. She was born and raised in Mushkegowuk territory (James Bay) in the Eastern side of Treaty #9 in Northern Ontario. Jocelyn completed both her Honours Bachelors of Social Sciences and Juris Doctor (JD) at the University of Ottawa. She has over 18 years of experience working with First Nations and Aboriginal organizations in the areas of social development, Indigenous children’s rights, law, media, youth engagement, and international advocacy.
Called to the Bar of Ontario, she worked as an Associate Lawyer with Nahwegahbow Corbiere Genoodmagijig Barristers and Solicitors until 2018. Jocelyn also volunteers as a board member of the National Indian Child Welfare Association (based in Portland, OR), a Champion of the Feathers of Hope, founder of the Morningstar Fund and the Chairperson of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) Board of Directors. Ms. Formsma is currently the Executive Director of the National Association of Friendship Centres.
Julie Grenier is from Kuujjuaq, a small community in Nunavik, Northern Québec. She currently resides in Notre-Dame-de-l’ile-Perrot, a small community west of Montreal, with her husband and three children. Having an Inuk mother and Francophone father, she was raised with both sets of values from those cultures. After studying sociology at the University of Ottawa, Julie completed her studies at the École Nationale de Police du Québec with a certificate in Indigenous Policing. Julie is currently working as the Director General for Taqramiut Nipimgat Incorporated, a regional radio and television production company that serves the Inuit of Nunavik Northern-Quebec. She is also CEO of her own Arbonne, social marketing business. She has served a two-year term as a Board of Director for daycare centres in Kuujjuaq and is currently the Taqramiut Nipingat Incorporated (TNI) representative for Esuma, a regional working group that focuses on school perseverance. She was appointed by the TNI Board of Directors to sit as their representative on APTN’s membership table and is currently serving a 3 year term as Board of Director for the north eastern quadrant. Beyond her contributions to Boards, she has been beading and sewing since the age of eight, and has taught art to community members. One of Julie’s collaborative work is on permanent display at the museum or Man in Paris and she has been recognized by the Nunavik Arts Secretariat for her work.
Katherine Rae Fancher was born in Nome, Alaska and graduated from Bethel Regional High School in Bethel, Alaska. She then attended 2 formative years at Alaska Christian College in Soldotna, Alaska. She was then admitted to the United States Naval Academy, where she became the first Alaska Native female to attend and graduate from the institution; in 2010, she commissioned as an Ensign into the United States Navy where she served on DDG109 USS JASON DUNHAM then at Beachmaster Unit 2 in Virginia. After an honourable discharge, she began working in the food manufacturing industry and then moved on to working as a Test Engineer for Huntington Ingalls Industries in Newport News, VA building nuclear submarines.
Métis, BC & AB
Kiana is a mixed heritage woman who is very proud of both her Métis and mixed European ancestry. Kiana’s Métis (Fraser family) homelands are rooted in Fort Chipewyan, AB and she has had the privilege to be born, learn and grow up a guest on the unseeded and ancestral territory of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples. Kiana is a proud Métis Iskwew, a storyteller, a creative thinker, a researcher, and a lover of an exquisite cup of earl grey tea. Kiana is fierce in her pursuit of ensuring all young people across the nation know unwaveringly that they are leaders and that they belong. She embraces radical curiosity around the idea of learning to lead.. together. Kiana invites you to join the conversation to ignite innovative thinking about how we co-create spaces of belonging and how we navigate a path forward together.
Cumberland House, SK
Leah Marie Dorion is an interdisciplinary Metis artist raised in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. A teacher, painter, filmmaker and published writer, Leah views her Metis heritage as providing her with a unique bridge for knowledge between all people. Leah holds a Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Arts, and Master of Arts degree. She has numerous creative projects to her credit, including academic papers for the Royal Commission of Aboriginal Peoples, books for children, gallery showings of her art works, and numerous video documentaries that showcase Metis culture and history. Leah’s paintings honour the spiritual strength of Aboriginal women and the sacred feminine. Leah believes that women play a key role in passing on vital knowledge for all of humanity which is deeply reflected in her artistic practice. She believes women are the first teachers to the next generation.
Sechelt Nation, BC
Linda Epp is a survivor of the Sixties Scoop. Her ancestry stems from the Sechelt Nation on the Sunshine Coast of BC. She organizes the Whistler’s Sisters in Spirit Vigil on October 4th which honours the hundreds of missing Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited in Canada. Leading up to the vigil she installs “Red Dresses” in various locations which signifies an Indigenous woman, girl or two-spirited who has gone missing or has been murdered. Linda was nominated and a finalist for Whistler’s Citizen of the Year 2018, which was an acknowledgement of this work and other volunteer work she does in the community. In March 2018, Linda was invited to speak at Tedx Quest University to share her life experiences and the work she does for Indigenous causes.
Melanie Mark’s story is one of firsts. She became B.C.’s first female First Nations MLA when she was elected to represent Vancouver-Mount Pleasant in 2016. In 2017, she became the province’s first female First Nations cabinet minister, appointed to the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. As the first in her family to graduate high school and complete post-secondary education, Melanie knows the transformative power of education. She is committed to breaking down barriers to education at all access points.
Melanie is Nisga’a, Gitxsan, Cree, Ojibway, French and Scottish. She has deep roots in northern B.C. and grew up in the projects of East Vancouver. Before entering politics, Melanie advocated for youth, the homeless, sexually exploited children and Indigenous peoples in the justice system. She co-founded the Vancouver Aboriginal Community Policing Centre, led a national project with Save the Children Canada, and served as an advocate with British Columbia’s Office of the Representative for Children and Youth. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science with a minor in sociology from Simon Fraser University, a criminology diploma from Native Education College/Douglas College and an advanced executive certificate in general management from Queen’s School of Business in Kingston, Ont. Melanie believes, “It is our collective responsibility to disrupt the status quo and inspire this generation to be the innovators, change makers and leaders of tomorrow.” Her most important role is as a proud mother to Makayla and Maya with her husband, Cassidy.
Born and raised by a single mother on welfare in Winnipeg’s inner-city, Melissa Brown lived a very underprivileged life with an immense amount of adverse experiences. From as far back as she can remember, life was never easy. For Melissa, pain and trauma was experienced at every stage of her life beginning at the age of 4. As a survivor of many things, from childhood molestation and teenage sexual assault, to severe domestic violence and addiction, Melissa naturally acquired an enormous amount of strength and wisdom and it was her resiliency that enabled her to thrive. After spending 7 consecutive years as a post-secondary student studying, psychology and sociology at the University of Winnipeg, and then, addictions and community support at CDI college, Melissa decided that she owed it to herself and her sons, to take a much-needed break. During the twelve months Melissa devoted to herself, her sons, and her freedom, Melissa embarked on a soul-searching journey and it was during that time, that Melissa tapped into her passion for cooking, had her vision, and discovered her purpose.
Ts’il Kaz Koh First Nation, BC
Michelle Cameron is a 2-spirit Dakelh woman, Frog Clan, from Ts’il Kaz Koh First Nation in Northern BC. She has her BSW and MSW, with a focus on Indigenous issues. Michelle worked for 9 years in the RCMP as an intelligence analyst, investigated police misconduct for 2 years, and then joined the University of British Columbia as an Advisor/Investigator to investigate sexual misconduct on campus. She has traveled extensively across the province facilitating community consultations and outreach in her various provincial and federal government roles. She draws her teachings from her mother and uncle, who are hereditary Chiefs active in bah’lats (potlatch) in their territory.
Squamish Nation, BC
Myia is a proud youth from Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation), with Ukrainian and Norwegian roots. She just graduated from UBC on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ speaking Musqueam people, where she studied Environment and Sustainability and First Nations and Indigenous Studies. Myia learned on the land from Dene Elders, community members and Indigenous scholars at Dechinta University on Yellowknife Dene territory and studied on Haida Gwaii to learn from the Haida community. She is currently a teacher at the Vancouver Aquarium, wilderness guide and finishing up at Groundswell, an alternative business school for social entrepreneurs.
Growing up in Squamish, she explored and loved taking care of the land that her ancestors have occupied since time immemorial. Grateful and humbled by this, Myia is building a non-profit that will create more opportunities and accessibility for Indigenous women living in Vancouver to be out in nature with her and connect with the land and each other. Grounded in her values, she sits on the Squamish Nation Youth Advisory Committee and is attending SFU in Fall 2019 for the Squamish Nation Language Program. You can find Myia hiding in the mountains, swimming in the ocean or drinking coffee at an unreasonable hour.
Gitxsan, Annishnabe & Métis, BC
Namawan Sterritt is a Gitxsan, Annishnabe and Métis artist, singer and speaker. His most recent keynote speech was on the topic of climate change at the City of Vancouver’s United Nations Safe Cities, Safe Public Spaces forum. He also gave the keynote talk at Surrey’s Social Innovation Summit, on the subject of Indigenous innovation.
He has also performed at the Justice Institute of B.C. and St. Georges School and sang at many events. Sterritt also assisted with the painting of a 20-foot mural in Yingtan, China.
SENATOR PATTI LABOUCANE-BENSON
Metis & Ukranian, SK
Senator Patti LaBoucane-Benson is a Metis Ukrainian who grew up on Treaty Six Territory. Patti previously worked for Native Counselling Services of Alberta (NCSA) for 23 years leading research projects, video productions, historic trauma-informed service delivery.
Dr. LaBoucane-Benson was recently a mentor and lecturer for the Peter Lougheed Leadership College, a lecturer for the University of Alberta Executive Education, and the Conference Director and Lead Facilitator for the Nelson Mandela Dialogues, Canada 2017. She recently sat on the Ministerial Panel on Child Intervention for the province of Alberta. Based on her PhD research, her first novel The Outside Circle is a work of creative non-fiction about healing and reconciliation for an inner-city Aboriginal family. The Outside Circle was on the Globe and Mail’s Top Ten Canadian books and was named a CBC “Best Books of 2015”, an Outstanding International Books 2016 by the United States Board on Books for Young People, and winner of the Burt Award for First Nations and Metis Literature. Patti has been awarded the Alberta Aboriginal Role Model Award for Education, the Legal Aid Access to Justice Award and the Rotary Paul Harris Fellow
Opaskwayak Cree Nation, MB
Rhonda has received 13 nominations in total and won six international music awards since she began her music career in 2010. Rhonda has had the opportunity to perform in some of the most amazing venues – Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Centre, the Viper Room, the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 5 Lands Walk Festival in NSW, Australia, and numerous other venues. Rhonda also recently released an autobiography called Mezzo-Soprano – Memoirs of a Rez Girl. It wasn’t always an easy road for Rhonda, she was diagnosed with a brain tumour when she was 22 years old. Rhonda took a year off to recuperate from the 11.5 hour surgery. When she thought her life was back on course, she received devastating news again when she was 30 years old, that the tumour grew back. Once again, she took time off and took care of her health. Despite the setbacks and challenges, Rhonda continued to follow her passion of music.
Rosalind, θiθiliwət (pronounced: theetheeleewut), is a practicing lawyer and an elected councillor of the Musqueam Indian Band. Rosalind grew up in Musqueam, the oldest of six children, and resides in Musqueam today. Rosalind’s parents are Theresa Campbell (nee Point) and Ben Campbell.
Rosalind’s Aboriginal Law practice is focused in the areas of corporate commercial and governance. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2006 and a Bachelor of Laws degree in 2009. Rosalind was called to the bar (Law Society of B.C.) in 2010. Her experience prior to law practice includes many years as a legal assistant and then as a tax administrator for the Musqueam Indian Band. As an elected Musqueam councillor, Rosalind currently sits on both the Title and Rights and Finance and Administration Committees.
Rosalind is a strong supporter of the revitalization of hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ (Musqueam dialect) and completed several years of hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ courses offered by UBC to begin to learn her ancestral language. She took this institutional route as most fluent speakers of hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ had passed by the late 1990s when Rosalind began the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ courses. Rosalind has volunteered as Chair of the Musqueam Land Code Committee as well as a director on the boards of several non-profit organizations that support Canada’s indigenous peoples in the areas performing arts, education and social services for indigenous women and children.
SIERRA TASI BAKER
Squamish Nation, BC
Sierra Tasi Baker, MSc is an award-winning Squamish Nation, Coast Salish, Kwakwaka’wakw, Tlingit & Haida designer, community consultant, entrepreneur, artist, storyteller and knowledge keeper. Her work focuses on furthering Indigenous design and research methodologies whilst focusing on daylighting hidden histories and reconciliatory narratives. Sierra’s company, Sky Spirit Consulting, leads community consultation and Indigenous cultural education initiatives locally and internationally.
Ktuaxa Nation, BC
Sophie Pierre served her community of ‘Aqam (the St. Mary’s Indian Band) of the Ktunaxa Nation for 30 years, 26 as elected chief, and was the administrator of the Ktunaxa/Kinbasket Tribal Council for 25 years. Sophie was recognized with the Order of Canada in 2016; the Order of British Columbia in 2002 and the National Aboriginal Achievement Award in the business category in 2003. Since her retirement in 2015, Sophie has been appointed to various Foundations including the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation as a Mentor, to the BC Achievement Foundation, the Vancouver Foundation and most recently to the BC Parks Foundation. Sophie, a grandmother of four, also spends much of her time as an elder advisor to her community and to the Ktunaxa Nation.
Tanya Snowshoe was born and raised in Inuvik, Northwest Territories. She is Dene (Gwich’in & North Slavey) and considers her knowledge of the history of her people important as it shapes who she is as a person today. Tanya is an Intergenerational youth who strives to make changes, especially around the impacts that Residential Schools have done to her communities and people. The many struggles she has overcome has made her into the strong Indigenous woman she is today.
Métis, BC & AB
Teara is a commercial pilot and former CEO of Kîsik Aerial Survey, an air operation she built from the ground up. Becoming a pilot was transformational, truly giving this young Indigenous woman wings – she loves to see others fall in love with flight. She established the Aviation Leadership Foundation, she recently launched Give them Wings (Indigenous Youth Taking Flight), and she serves as Board Director for the British Columbia Aviation Council. With the launch of Iskwew Air, Teara’s entrepreneurial spirit takes her into a new arena as the first Indigenous woman to launch an airline in Canada.
As the visionary of the Raven Institute, she sees connected hearts, minds, and hands in a united and thriving nation. A new initiative RavenSPEAK (Indigenous changemakers – visible, masterful, amplified, and connected) is where stories are told, truths are unearthed, voices are heard, and a new narrative begins – elevating the important messages and remarkable profiles of Indigenous peoples. Teara holds a Master of Arts in Leadership degree from Royal Roads University, and she is a Certified Executive Coach. The journey of learning now takes her back to Royal Roads as Associate Faculty and to Fielding University where she is studying in the Human Development Ph.D. program. Teara is a proud Métis bridge builder.
TERRY LYNN LUGGI
Prince George, BC
My traditional name is Yabalee meaning before the dawn. My given name is Terry Lynn Luggi. I was born into the Lhts’ehyoo or frog clan and come from the dark house. I am Dakelh, or more commonly known as Carrier, and Wet’suwet’en. I am a member of the Stellat’en First Nation along the shores of Fraser Lake in the central interior of beautiful BC. I make my home in my grandmothers traditional territory of Lheidli T’enneh, or Prince George. I am a proud mother of an adult son.
As with all of my family and home community, I attended the nearby Lejac Residential School. I’ve been intentionally on my healing journey since the early 1990’s. My hearts desire is for healing and reconciliation for my people, whatever that may look like. I am a trainer for Returning to Spirit (RTS), a reconciliation program borne out of addressing the impacts stemming from residential school.
the tough put on lipstick!”
Mi’gmaq, Listuguj, QC
Victoria is CEO & Co-owner of Wejuseg Construction and owner of Wejipeg Excavation. She’s a partner in several joint ventures and volunteers countless hours, mentoring for the Coady International Institute’s Indigenous Women in Community Leadership and New Brunswick’s Joint Economic Development Initiative, an Aboriginal Business Accelerator Program. She is also a regular facilitator of Financial Fitness Workshops for Indigenous women. A Mi’gmaq from Listuguj, Quebec in Gaspésie, Victoria holds a BA and an MBA from the University of New Brunswick at Fredericton. She is a proud alumnus of the 2017 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference.