ONWA held their second annual She is Wise Conference this past March at the Marriott Hotel in Downtown Toronto. It was also the second year in a row that I was invited to photograph it, and I was honoured to do so. For those of you who don’t know what this conference is all about, it’s easiest to just quote the mission statement for the event.
“The Nibwaakaa inaadiziwin (She is Wise in the Ways of Life) Conference captures the voices and perspectives of Indigenous women, fostering a discourse of strength, that seeks to change the narrative of violence, through collective cultural and gendered empowerment..”
It was 3 day conference filled with a lot of great speakers and exercises for everyone in attendance. Some of the notable speakers were:
Chief Stacey Laforme – Chief of the Mississauga’s of the Credit First Nation
Dr. Dawn Harvard – ONWA President
Cora Lee McGuire-Cyrette – ONWA Executive Director
Minister Caroline Mulroney – Minister of Attorney General
The exercises ranged from KAIROS Blanket, Building our Bundles, Women as Medicine, Taking Care of Elders and Self Defence. Some of the key performances included a Hoop Dance by 14 year old Theland Kicknosoway and a Keynote Address and Performance by Susan Aglukark.
At least for me, the 3 days went by very fast, and even though I was hired to photograph, it’s hard to take in all the information while doing so. I feel very lucky to be a part of such an important event. I’m already looking forward to the next one!