As the snow continues to fall across the Motherland and as we gather around fires with blankets and loved ones, LFMO has been steadily at work across a number of fronts. From the launch of our Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care survey to our first-ever Mothers of the Land, Waters and Skies engagement session to our continued Show Your Pride engagement circles, our staff have been ever busy listening to the voices, experiences, wisdom and recommendations from Métis women and creating space for Two Spirit and LGBTQQIA+ folks across the Motherland.
We look ahead to a new calendar year following the new mandate letters from our federal department colleagues. As well as new and exciting opportunities to gather together safely in the New Year, we also look forward to a time of rest and rejuvenation as the holidays approach.
Our offices will be closed from December 23, 2021 – January 4, 2022 so that our staff can relax, celebrate and spend time with their family, friends and loved ones.
Manitou Kesi-kaw! Miyeustaen nwel pi kootawn d’lawn neu. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Board of Directors and staff at Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak / Women of the Métis Nation. All the best for a great holiday season and fantastic year ahead. Stay safe.
Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak
5th Meeting between Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders
On December 8, LFMO President Melanie Omeniho joined National Indigenous Leaders President Cassidy Caron (MNC), National Chief Elmer St. Pierre (CAP), President Natan Obed (ITK), President Lorraine Whitman (NWAC) and Acting Executive Director Rosemary Cooper (Pauktuutit) in the 5th Virtual Meeting between Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) Ministers responsible for the Status of Women.
The newly appointed Minister of Women and Gender Equality, the Honourable Marcia Ien, spoke to Canada’s continued commitment to end Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ folks in Canada, the importance of a National Action Plan with teeth and the need to have these conversations more regularly as there is so much more work to be done.
LFMO also heard from National Indigenous Leaders and each of the provinces and territories across the country about what they are doing to end gender-based violence in their towns and cities. President Omeniho emphasized, we must continue to be multifaceted in approach and address all the social determinants that contribute to gender-based violence.
Reach for the Sky Project Launch
Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak is ready to launch our Métis Women’s Leadership program. Partnering with the University of Alberta and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), LFMO is developing a distinctions-based, gender sensitive, youth-centric leadership skills, job readiness, and employment training curriculum for Métis youth and young adults.
This educational programming will serve as a model of Indigenous self-determination of integrated Indigenous culture and education, using a gender-sensitive approach to Métis youth employment and leadership.
We are looking for young Métis women who are deeply passionate about helping build the strengths and capabilities of our home communities. Reach for the Sky is a program that will train, support and mentor our young Métis women in their leadership goals and employment opportunities.
Be sure to look out for the release of our promotions campaign in the following weeks. For further updates, check out our project website page here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
She is Indigenous Project Expansion
Since its launch in June 2019, She is Indigenous has been a major figure in shifting narratives about First Nations, Inuit and Métis women with an aim to end violence with respect. More than 350 Indigenous women and gender diverse folks have been featured and there are so many more stories to tell.
LFMO is excited to announce a project that will breathe new life into the campaign as well as add a gender diversity component to the project, with the creation of gender diversity resources and the addition of new featured faces to the campaign.
Stay tuned for more details as we launch the call for nominations! For more information, please email email@example.com.
Mothers of the Land, Waters and Skies
LFMO held its first-ever Mothers of the Land, Water and Skies engagement session on Monday, December 6th with Shayla Oulette Stonechild, a Métis and Nehiyaw Iskwew yoga instructor and founder of the Matriarch Movement.
Opening with a wellness session and guided meditation, Shayla walked us through the importance of our connection to nature and its healing power – reminding us that to heal the world around us we must first heal ourselves. The discussion portion of the session focused on the future of Métis women leading climate change, and what Métis futurism might look like to each of us. LFMO plans to start the New Year off with a second engagement session.
Our first engagement session was such a success that we’ve decided to host a second session in the new year. Following COP26 – arguably one of the most important climate conversations – Métis women’s voices are finally being given a platform to get loud about where they stand with climate action. LFMO could not be more excited to facilitate these conversations and to build these ideas into our current and future programs.
Join us for our next session on February 4, 2022! For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
From Seed to Heart
Bringing climate action to our communities is also on our minds, and with our From Seed to Heart Community Garden project and through the support of our Grandmothers, LFMO hopes to do just that.
Through traditional herbs and medicinal plants, we hope to provide 65 communities with the tools they need to create and maintain these local gardens as we send out seeds, seedlings and tools, medicines like tobacco and sage, plants like strawberries and mint and other plants to Métis women across the Motherland.
These plants and medicines can be cultivated and cared for by our communities in their own homes to commemorate and celebrate the survivors of the residential school system and to honour those who never made it home. The goal of this project is to support healing and awareness and to act as an aid in sharing teachings of these traditional practices in cultivating these plants.
More information will be shared in the coming weeks about how to get involved with this project. For more information, please email email@example.com.
Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care
This month, LFMO launched an online survey to better understand Métis families’ early learning and child care (ELCC) needs across the Motherland, especially in light of the pandemic. We are looking to gather information on the collective experiences and options available to Métis families as well as recommendations moving forward.
Please take our survey here. Your response will help to inform and identify the gaps and barriers in ELCC programs across the Motherland and you will be entered into a draw to win a $250 VISA gift card.
As part of this work, we are also developing Métis-specific resources and programs for families, coming to you soon! For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gender-Based Violence Toolkit
December marks a number of gender-based violence (GBV) prevention and awareness campaigns, like the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women on December 6 and the 16 Days of Activism from November 25 – December 10. It is timely that LFMO is heading into the community consultation phase of this multi-year project to develop and share our Métis trauma-informed GBV toolkit for service providers assisting Métis women, Two Spirit and LGBTQQIA+ folks fleeing violence.
In the New Year, we look forward to meeting with survivors, families, our grandmothers and knowledge keepers, service providers and our Show Your Pride engagement circle to evaluate and validate LFMO’s draft GBV toolkit. Stay tuned for those details! For more information, please email email@example.com.