Indigenous Women Leaders to Gather at StFX and Coady this weekend
Maori Scholar Dr. Ngahuia Te Awekotuku of New Zealand will give a public keynote address
More than 100 Indigenous leaders from across the country and beyond are traveling to Antigonish this week to take part in Coady Institute’s Indigenous Women in Leadership (IWCL) program’s Alumni Gathering, Nov. 1 to 4, at St. Francis Xavier Univerisity in Mi’kma’ki, the traditional and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq people.
Mi’kmaq entertainers Emma Stevens, We’koqma’qewiskwa The Women of We’koqma’q, and the Stoney Bear Singers will perform during Friday night’s opening ceremony and dinner that will include a Grand Entry. Stevens recorded Paul McCartney’s classic “Blackbird” in Mi’kmaq as part of the United Nations’ International Year of Indigenous Languages. The recording garnered international attention in the media when the recording went viral on the internet and caught McCartney’s attention.
After a day of discussion and dialogue Saturday Nov. 2, Dr. Ngahuia Te Awekotuku of New Zealand will give a public keynote address from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at Schwartz Auditorium. Te Awekotuku is descended from Te Arawa, Tūhoe and Waikato iwi. She has worked across the heritage, culture, and academic sectors as a curator, lecturer, researcher, and activist. Her areas of research interest include gender issues, museums, body modification, power and powerlessness, spirituality, and ritual.
Mi’kmaq Legends, Atlantic Canada’s premier indigenous theatre group, will perform Saturday night. Mi’kmaq Legends is a multi-media theatrical experience that combines the artistic disciplines of poetry, music, dance, and theatre performed by the Mi’kmaq Heritage Actors. The group has been a regular feature of the P.E.I. National Park interpretation program. In 2016, the Tourism Industry Association of Prince Edward Island presented the Parks Canada Sustainable Tourism Award to the group.
Sunday, the Indigenous Women’s Leadership Alumni Marketplace featuring art and handcrafts for sale by the Indigenous women leaders will take place from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. in Coady’s Main Foyer and Vegso Room. The marketplace is an opportunity for the public to meet these amazing women, learn more about the IWCL program, and shop. Later that night, 2018 IWCL graduate and international award winning singer Rhonda Head will lead an open mic entertainment session featuring other graduates.
Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation will host gathering participants on Monday, Nov. 4.
The women gathering in Antigonish are graduates, facilitators, mentors, and Elders associated with Coady’s IWCL program as well as Indigenous women graduates from other Coady certificate courses. Entering its 10th year, the award-winning IWCL program supports First Nations, Métis, and Inuit women who are committed to supporting development and social change in their organizations, communities, and Nations, using Coady’s innovative and blended approach to asset-based leadership development and prioritizing Indigenous women’s knowledge and ways of learning.
A goal of the gathering is to create space and opportunity to strengthen community, build bridges, and collaborate for change.
With the generous support of Comart Foundation (strategic partner), Imperial and Exxon Mobil (founding partner), and numerous individual, foundation, and organizational sponsors, the program and the gathering support Indigenous women as leaders in our communities, workplaces, and governments.
To learn more about the Alumni Gathering, visit: coady.stfx.ca/iwcl-gathering
To learn more about the Indigenous Women in Community Leadership program, visit: coady.stfx.ca/education