Fourteen Indigenous women leaders concluded Coady’s five-month Indigenous Women in Community Leadership program with a virtual graduation ceremony March 1.

The graduates from communities across Canada joined Coady staff, partners, and their peers to celebrate their accomplishment.

“I began my learning journey with Coady Institute in April of 2018 when a pilot project came into my community,” Shelley Morin of Enoch Cree Nation, class speaker, says. “I didn’t know then how far it would take me.

“It took me far from my family, far from my home – as it did many of us – and far from my comfort zone; but it also brought me closer to myself than I ever would have imagined that it would.”

The virtual graduation included remarks from course participants and acknowledgements from Coady staff. Two participants each shared video presentations developed during the mentorship and community engagement portion of the program.

Rhonda Head of Opaskwayak Cree Nation showcased a video aimed to spread messages of love in the face of a suicide epidemic among Indigenous youth in Canada.

Lorelei Williams of Skatin Nations/Sts’Ailes Vancouver, an advocate for murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls (MMWIG), showcased a video aimed to enhance safety for women.

The videos were examples of the projects undertaken by each individual participant. Other participants shared their appreciation for their experiences, for the program, for their facilitators and mentors, and for each other.

“I can’t remember a time when I felt more hopeful, more connected, and more excited to see the world with these new eyes,” Morin says.

“As women we have many amazing gifts to share with our families and our communities and I pray for this very important work to continue in a good way for each of us.”

Congratulations to the Indigenous Women in Community Leadership class of 2018.