Woman Warriors Newsletter

Indigenous Feminist Panel: Infusing Matriarchy Into the Academy Video

International Women's Day Indigenous Feminist Panel

International Women’s Day Indigenous Feminist Panel was held on Friday, March 6th 11 am – 12 pm at the Murray Fraser Hall Building, University of Calgary.

It was only three weeks ago that I travelled to Calgary, Alberta to attend our International Women’s Day Indigenous Feminist Panel. It feels like a lifetime ago. I watched this video in disbelief of our ability to gather over one hundred people in a room and of our light hearted laughter. This video is a reminder of our lives before COVID-19. While I was editing this video I found myself cherishing the storytelling, laughter, and warmth generated from coming together for a common purpose. There is no immediate future where we will be able to hold gatherings like this one, which is why this video is special. Watching this video perked up my spirits and gave me hope for the days when we can gather again to share our stories. While we remain in physical distancing to save lives, we are never alone because our stories and community spirit keep us strong. It was a privilege to attend this event where we gathered to celebrate the strength, resiliency, and wisdom of Indigenous matriarchs and Indigenous academics.

Dr. Karlee Fellner’s reflections on our panel:
It was incredibly powerful to be in a room full of such strong feminine energy. It was a reminder that, as isolated as we may feel in this work, we are never alone. At any given time we are interconnected with the other Indigenous women who are doing this work, as well as with our ancestors: the strong women who birthed and raised us, and the incredible Indigenous women who have opened space for us in the academy. As difficult as it can be to be in these colonial spaces, it is worth it — we are shifting the academy, and most importantly, supporting our families, communities, and future generations.

Please email me your reflections after watching this video if you would like them featured in the next newsletter. Sending everyone hope, love, and light during these challenging times. If you have any suggestions for positive messages, stories, or photos you would like to share please contact me. Shelley@womenwarriors.club. Thanks.

Indigenous Feminist Panel 2020 members
(Left to right): Dr. Karlee Fellner, Dr. Jennifer Leason, myself, Ashley Cornect-Benoit, Pearl Yellow Old Woman- Healy. Special thanks to the panel members and moderators for creating an atmosphere of warmth, laughter, and memorable stories.
Dr. Leason standing in her new community engaged research space located in the Earth Sciences building UCalgary. She brought her daughter, Lucy (left) and son, Lucas with her for this special event. The room features her own original artwork pictured in the back ground. Her artwork are the illustrations for her book titled “Mayabbekamneeboon” which translates to “Blueberry Patch”. Click the above photo to go to her website.
Following the panel Dr. Leason hosted a luncheon with approximately 25 attendees to celebrate the opening of her new community engaged Indigenous research space. We had a wonderful lunch of soup/bannock and cake.
Shelley Wiart March 2020
March 5, 2020. I had the honour of presenting our Indigenous Women's Digital Health Stories and research to Dr. Leason's class ANTHRO 410 Contemporary Indigenous Affairs in Canada. It was a wonderful experience guest presenting to her class and I appreciated the opportunity.

Before & After Covid-19

When I was looking at these photos and how close we are standing together I realized how drastically our lives have changed in three weeks. I think most of us are experiencing a before and after COVID-19 hangover. For example, a few of the startling developments have been the cancellation of my 2020 speaking events and conferences; my three daughters ages 10, 8 & 7 are home from school and not returning until September; and, I have a general sense of disorientation and frustration trying to plan my life around what may be an entire summer of social distancing. Right now, I am struggling to keep up with my daughters’ homeschooling, my university course work, day-to-day chores, and have time for my own self-care. My focus has now shifted to my children’s education and my own. With my time restrictions in mind, I am limiting the Women Warriors newsletter to a monthly edition. Thanks for your understanding and please keep in touch through social media or my email: Shelley@womenwarriors.club.