Montreal conference connects female Indigenous leaders

A two-day conference in Montreal brought together some of the highest-ranking female Indigenous leaders in Quebec.

The goal, they say, was to encourage other women to come forward.

“I think everybody’s [path] to leadership is different and how they get there, but all it takes is a spark and someone to interest them and say, ‘Hey, I can make a difference,’” said Kahsennenhawk Sky-Deer, grand chief of the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake. “I said it as well today, you don’t have to be an elected leader to be a change maker in the community.

“Everyone can put their mind to whatever is that they want to.”

There were about 250 people at the conference that coincided with International Women’s Day.

Given the people attending, Many Gull-Masty, grand chief of the Grand Council of the Crees of Eeyou Istchee, called the event “historic.”

“For me, being the first woman to be elected grand chief was hard because there were questions that I could ask the previous grand chiefs, but from time to time there were questions that perhaps I really needed guidance from a woman,” she said. “Another goal of this conference is for me and others to connect with other leaders who can help me find answers to my questions.

“It’s women’s rightful time to rise up and take their place and lead our people.”

The conference featured a variety of workshops and panel discussions.

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