One of the key components of Coady Institute’s Indigenous Women in Community Leadership (IWCL) program is connecting program participants with the guidance and support of experienced Indigenous women mentors.
Gaya’do:węhs Lu Ann Hill-MacDonald is a Mohawk woman of the Bear Clan from the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, Ontario, Canada. As an Education Consultant, she is dedicated to advancing Indigenous education programs.
“As an Indigenous woman, I learned that knowledge and experience gained is meant to be shared,” Gaya’do:węhs says.
“Indigenous women’s leadership begins with a solid understanding of cultural identity and women’s roles and responsibilities,” she adds. “With this knowledge and experience, Indigenous women are better equipped with the strength and leadership to fulfill their roles and responsibilities within their families, their communities, and their Nations.”
Gaya’do:węhs says one of the most impactful experiences as a program mentor is when she worked with a participant who turned a personal loss into an impactful program aimed to combat Indigenous youth suicide.
“She was able to refocus her energies to plan a program for young men. I’m so proud of her.”
“Everyone has a role to play in amplifying Indigenous women’s leadership. Indigenous women are the nucleus of their families and the success of all relationships that extend into community. Everyone benefits when Indigenous women are respected, supported and encouraged.”
In addition to generously sharing her knowledge, skills, experience, and energy with developing Indigenous women leaders, Gaya’do:węhs is also a strong advocate for improving policy and governance in education, which she approaches from both Early Childhood Education (ECE) and Institutions of Higher Learning levels.
In addition to being an ECE instructor and trainer for the ECE Supervisors Program, Gaya’do:węhs was appointed by the Order in Council to assist in creating the regulatory College of Early Childhood Education in Ontario – the first of its kind in Canada. As an advocate for Indigenous Institutions of Higher Learning, she has worked with the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium, and served as Co-Chair of the President’s Committee on Indigenous Issues at McMaster University, Governor on the Board of Fanshawe College, and Senior Policy Analyst for the Assembly of First Nations.
She is also a cultural awareness training facilitator for KAIROS Canada, an organization well known for the Blanket Exercise Workshop which aims to “build understanding about our shared history as Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada by walking through pre-contact, treaty-making, colonization, and resistance”.
Gaya’do:węhs says she is “thrilled to learn people are stepping up to support Indigenous women’s leadership at Coady” through the Circle of Abundance – Amplifying Indigenous Women’s Leadership campaign.
“Everyone has a role to play in amplifying Indigenous women’s leadership,” Gaya’do:węhs says. “Indigenous women are the nucleus of their families and the success of all relationships that extend into community. Everyone benefits when Indigenous women are respected, supported and encouraged.”
Amplify Indigenous Women’s Leadership by joining the Circle of Abundance – donate today!