Indigenous Women in Community Leadership

Indigenous Women in Community Leadership (IWCL) 2022

May 30, 2022 – September 30, 2022

Applications for this program are closed.

Indigenous women are natural leaders and decision-makers; keepers of knowledge, culture, and language; protectors of land and water; activists and cycle-breakers. Indigenous women are forging the path to self-determination. This program is grounded in relational practices and mentorship opportunities that will build upon your already trusted leadership capacities for community-led, community-driven development. IWCL’s approaches to development and social change are rooted in individual and collective responsibility; reciprocity to community; and relationship to one another and to the land.

The Indigenous Women in Community Leadership certificate program is delivered through the Circle of Abundance, Coady Institute at St. Francis Xavier University (Antigonish, NS) located in Mi’kmaki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq. The program commitment is from mid-May to early October 2022 with online components followed by an in-person, on-campus residency May 29-June 10.

Personal benefits include:

  • Engaging as Indigenous leaders with the most crucial issues of our time;
  • Applying an abundance-based approach to leadership and community work;
  • Learning from our collective lived leadership experiences;
  • Identifying Indigenous leadership values and principles to live and lead by;
  • Building self-awareness by discovering your strengths and capacities;
  • Learning practical tools and strategies to lead community-driven change;
  • Designing and completing a community project;
  • Networking with a motivated and diverse group of Indigenous women change-makers.

Organizational benefits include:

  • Having a leader that uses abundance-based and community-led tools and approaches to lead;
  • Having a leader who builds on the strengths and gifts of people; and
  • Having a leader with a strong vision for the future.

Who should take the program?

Indigenous women who are passionate about positively impacting their communities, organizations and Nations through engaging learning experiences, mentorship, and circle of support. The strength of this course is the geographical and cultural diversity of the Indigenous women who come together to share and contribute meaningfully. The range of ages, experiences, backgrounds, cultural knowledge, responsibilities, and education creates a dynamic context for learning.

You are a great candidate if you are/have:

  • A First Nations, Metis, or Inuit woman who is committed to and actively working to make positive change in your community, organization, or Nation.
  • A diploma/undergraduate degree or higher in combination with sound oral and written abilities.
  • Minimum of 5 years’ experience in community work, at emerging or mid-career leadership level.
  • Limited exposure to leadership training or other educational opportunities.
  • Committed to being accountable to staff and mentors throughout the program.
  • Committed to applying your learning in your community, organization, or Nation
  • Committed to on-going learning and collaboration within IWCL and Coady graduate networks.

Approach to learning

This program uses a Two-Eyed Seeing (or Walking in Two Worlds) approach, meaning that teaching and learning practices are grounded in Indigenous worldviews, values and teachings while sometimes using western tools and methods that align with those practices. Participatory and experiential methods guide participants to reflect upon and share their experiences to deepen learning while building a circle of connection and support with one another. Land-based activities, Sharing Circles, Elder/Knowledge Keeper teachings, storytelling, ceremonial opportunities, skill-building exercises, and visits to local Mi’kmaw communities are just some of the ways participants engage in meaningful dialogue and learning.


Successful candidates will receive a full scholarship that includes tuition and program materials as well as travel, accommodations, and meals during the on-campus portion of the program. All other expenses are the participant’s responsibility. Scholarships are made possible through the Circle of Abundance campaign donors along with institutional and private donors who share Coady’s vision of community-based, citizen-led change.

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