National Indigenous History Month

Land Acknowledgement

In the spirit of our endeavours to promote reconciliation, we honour the truth of the shared history and acknowledge Treaty 7 territory and the traditional lands of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot), comprising the Siksika, the Piikani, the Kainai, as well, the Tsuu t’ina, and the Îyârhe (Stoney) Nakoda (Wesley, Bears Paw and Chiniki) First Nations and the Metis Nation of Alberta (Region III). We are situated on the land where the Bow River meets the Elbow River, and the traditional Blackfoot name of this place is Mohkinstis which we now call the City of Calgary
(Women’s Centre of Calgary, 2022).

Why Acknowledge the Land?

Land Acknowledgements are statements that show we recognize and respect the land as the traditional territory of Indigenous people. It’s a way of honouring and appreciating the people who reside here and honouring the Indigenous people who have lived, worked, and played on this land presently and historically.

6 Influential Indigenous Women You Should Know

Flora Johnson

Flora is a professional artist in Calgary who has been part of the Artists in Residence at The Women’s Centre! She is proud of her Indigenous heritage and showcases women’s strength and spirituality through her works. She uses her skills as an artist to help her heal. Flora has volunteered her time at the Women’s Centre and has painted the lovely mural in the garden space! Flora also volunteers her time at local schools to work alongside Indigenous children to teach them through stories and art
(Johnson, 2020).

orange shirt

Phyllis Webstad

Phyllis is from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation (Canoe Creek/Dog Creek) in British Columbia, Canada. She is a Residential School survivor and creator of Orange Shirt Day in Canada. Phyllis is the author of The Orange Shirt Story and Phyllis’ Orange Shirt. Her experience with Residential Schools is what influenced her books as well as Orange Shirt Day. Phyllis says she chose the Orange shirt because that was the colour of the brand new shirt she wore and was stripped of on her first day at the residential school. She continues to tour the country to tell her story and raise awareness about the impacts of the residential school system (Orange Shirt Day, 2022).

Shina and Carolina Novalinga

Shina and Carolina are a mother-daughter duo originally from Puvirnituq, Nunavik, but have now relocated to Montreal. They had gotten a lot of attention on TikTok for their traditional Inuit throat singing and teachings. Shina has been throat singing since her mother taught her when she was seven. Carolina was one of four Inuit women who was taught the traditional singing to pass down to the younger generations. Shina uses her social media platforms to model traditional Inuit clothing, and in 2021 she was one of the models for a Sephora ad campaign with an all-Indigenous crew in celebration of National Indigenous History Month!
(Sandler, 2022; Wikipedia, 2022).

Michelle Chubb

Michelle Chubb is a Cree woman from Bunibonibee Cree Nation in Manitoba and currently lives in Winnipeg. Michelle shares her culture and experiences as an Indigenous woman through her social media platforms. She also raises awareness of national issues such as Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Children. She modelled traditional Indigenous clothing for Teen Vogue in 2020 and joined Shina Novalinga in modelling for the 2021 Sephora make-up ad campaign (Women of Influence, 2021).

Mary Two-Axe Earley

Mary Two-Axe was a Mohawk woman born on the Kahnawake reserve in Quebec. When she was 18, she moved to New York, where she met an Irish-American man named Edward Earley, whom she eventually married. Due to the marriage to a non-Indigenous man, she lost her Indian Status and could no longer live on the reserve or be involved in the community. Mary did not stand for that. She began to advocate for Indigenous women and changes to the Indian Act. In 1968 she established a provincial organization called the Equal Rights for Indian Women Association, and they fought for the changes. They received lots of pushback and backlash but continued to push forward. In 1985 parliament passed Bill C-31, which amended the Indian Act, removing the discrimination measure that took away women’s Indian Status and restored Status to thousands of Indigenous women. Mary Two-Axe Earley was the first woman to regain her Indian Status in 1985 in a ceremony with David Crombie, minister of Indian Affairs & Northern Development. Mary later passed away in 1996 (New Journeys, 2016).

Autumn Peltier

Autumn Peltier has been a Canadian water activist since she was 13 (now 17), advocating for clean drinking water in Indigenous communities and around Mother Earth. She comes from Wikwemikang First Nation/Manitoulin and is from Ojibway/Oduwa heritage. Autumn spoke at United Nations World Water Day in March 2018 and was honoured by the Assembly of First Nations as a Water Protector. She was later invited to Stockholm, Sweden, by the United Nations as a keynote speaker at World Water Week in August of 2018. Autumn was honoured by the Ontario Lieutenant Governor with the Sovereign’s Medal for volunteers for her exceptional advocacy. She was also recognized and honoured as an Ontario Junior Citizen for her advocacy and won a WE Day award for Youth in Action! Autumn continues to advocate for access to clean drinking water for Indigenous communities and Indigenous people worldwide (North American Association for Environmental Education, 2019).

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