Sitting down with Sky-Deer, Kahnawà:ke’s new grand chief, after historic wins for women in politics

Kahsennehawe Sky-Deer’s win was followed by appointment of first Inuk governor general and first female AFN national chief


It’s been a high-profile, historic two weeks for Indigenous women in politics.

Canada, the Assembly of First Nations and the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) community of Kahnawà:ke all made history by appointing Indigenous women to key leadership roles.

And it started when Kahsennehawe Sky-Deer won Kahnawà:ke’s popular vote, becoming the first woman to be elected grand chief of the community and first LGBTQIA+ member to hold the role.

Without missing a beat, Canada then appointed Mary Simon, who is Inuk from Nunavik in northern Quebec, as governor general.

Days after that, the Assembly of First Nations elected RoseAnne Archibald, its first female national chief.

In this, Sky-Deer sees a shift.

“That’s what we’ve been waiting for is that sense of empowerment that’s been missing because we’ve been so low and oppressed and feeling like helpless,” Sky-Deer told APTN News.

APTN’s Lindsay Richardson sat down with Sky-Deer as the new grand chief of the Mohawk Council of Kahnawá:ke settles into the job.

Sky-Deer has big shoes to fill but feels she’s up to the challenge.

Watch the interview above.

Reporter / Montreal

Lindsay was born and raised on the unceded territory of Tiohtià:ke (Montréal), and joined APTN News as a Quebec correspondent in 2019. While in university, she collaborated on a multiplatform project about the revitalization of the Kanien’kéha (Mohawk) language to commemorate the International Year of Indigenous Languages. Before APTN Lindsay worked at the Eastern Door, CTV Montreal and the Montreal Gazette.