The Nobility of the Female Soul includes a
Leader, Decision-Maker, Educator or Mediator,
Negotiator, Center of the Family and Community.
She also needs a rollicking good sense of humour
to handle it all. (Author unknown)
Native Women's Association of Canada
The NWAC is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nation and Metis women. Since 1974, NWAC's mandate is to achieve equality for all Aboriginal Women in Canada. This organization is actively involved with partner organizations across the globe towards this goal...including The United Nations and Amnesty International to end the discrimination against indigenous women.
Aboriginal Women have of course made notable contributions to Canada.
Here are a few examples:
Susan Aglukark: Talented singer and songwriter from the Canadian Arctic.
Anna Mae Aquash: Canadian activist born on Mi'kmaq reserve in Nova Scotia who dedicated her life to helping native people.
Pitseolak Ashoona: A talented Inuit artist from the Canadian Arctic.
Molly Brant: An influential Mohawk diplomat.
Amelia Douglas: A pioneer in the fur trade.
Pauline Johnson: Mohawk poet and performer who increased awareness of Aboriginal culture.
Mikak: Inuk leader who worked to develop peaceful relationships with Europeans in Labrador.
Nahnebahwequay: Heroic pioneer in the battle for Native Rights.
Alanis Obomsawin: Distinguished filmmaker from the Abenaki Nation.
Buffy Sainte-Marie: Talented musician and activist, born to Cree parents in Saskatchewan.
Shanawdithit: Courageous woman who was the last of the Beothuks in Newfoundland.
Tookoolito: An important guide and interpreter in the Arctic
Kateri Tekakwitha: Mohawk woman who maintained her religious beliefs even when persecuted.
Thanadelthur: A Chipewyan Dene woman, influential in the fur trade.
Molly Rools: At age 23 became North America's first female sea captain in 1939.
Sally Ainse: Oneida Trader, diplomatic courier and landowner.
Demasduit: A heroic Beothuk woman
Mary Two-Axe Early: An activist from Kahnawake Reserve in Quebec.
Elsie Knott: The first female Indian Chief in Canada under the Indian Act.
Marguerite Vincent Lawinonkie: A talented Huron woman who helped save the Huron-Wendat.
Kirkina Mucko: An inspirational midwife and nurse from Labrador.
Angela Sydney: A woman dedicated to preserving her Tagish and Tlingit heritage.
Charlotte Small: The woman who helped David Thompson map a nation.
Note: Many of these women are featured in the books ~
100 Canadian Heroines: Famous and Forgotten
and 100 More Canadian Heroines: Famous and Forgotten.
Each has a story and history to share...about which few of us non-Natives know.
From the foregoing list, I confess that I'm familiar with only 4 or 5 names.
Sally Simpson, a student at Wilfrid Laurier University, stated, “We don't celebrate these significant people and in my opinion, we need to.” Through her studies she has created a list of indigenous firsts through Canadian history...in their profession or of cultural significance. Her list has now grown to include 60 women. Proudly she discovered the number of Six Nations Women making it on the list.
Words of Aboriginal Wisdom
In Honour of all Women...Past, Present and Future
Bullying, cyber-bullying, jealousy, hate, greed, lies, arrogance, searing self-absorption, destructive 'power over' mentalities...are all wasteful pursuits...and causes the female heart to fall to the ground and the world to shatter that much more. It is beyond healing...beyond human conscience when women fight with each other. We are Mother Earth's heartbeat...the life-givers. It is our responsibility to bring 'peace, harmony and balance' back to the world. This will not happen if we contrive to find fault with ourselves and perpetuate it on our sisters. Remember sisters, as the Cheyenne say, “When the hearts of women are on the ground...all the weaponry in the world will not save the earth.”
(Shannon Thunderbird...Coast Tsimshian Elder)
Ojiba Teaching: The woman is the foundation on which nations are built. She is the heart of the nation. If that heart is weak, the people are weak; if her heart is strong and mind is clear, then the nation is strong, knowing its purpose. She is the center of everything. (Late Elder, Art Solomon)
Cherokee Saying: When the white man discovered this country, Indians were running it. No taxes...no debt...women did all the work. White man thought he could improve on a system like this.
Haudenosaunne Teaching: Before the men could go to war, it was customary for women to make the moccasins. If the women did not want war, they did not make the moccasins.
Courage is the capacity to confront
what can be imagined.
Merle Baird-Kerr...compiled March 2, 2015
Your comments are welcome...email to: