INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY #IDW2019 — #BalanceforBetter

The late Grandmother Josephine Mandamin, Water Walker and Angela Trudeau at Anishinabe Ceremonies in Serpent River First Nation, 2017.

”Anishinaabe Kwewag (Indigenous Women), and all women, have the powerful ability to carry life which is born of sacred ancestral birth waters called forth by Nokomis Giizis (Grandmother Moon) after nine months. This process has taken place since time immemorial and reflects the sacred harmony of carrying/caring for the force we call “Life”.

It is therefore a woman’s responsibility to honour and care for Nibi (Water), the source of all life, for the next seven generations.” 

Grandmother Josephine Mandamin

BIMAADZWIN, AN INDIGENOUS-LED CONSULTING NEW-CO, CELEBRATES THE DIVERSITY OF THE WOMEN WHO MAKE UP THE MAJORITY OF TEAM LEADERS IN THEIR FIRM!

International Day of Women is a wonderful moment to celebrate and acknowledge the accomplishments of women in Canada generally, and those of Indigenous women specifically. When equal attention and power are given to diverse voices in public life, professional capacities and our personal relationships, everyone benefits and society is stronger.

These are the faces of the women of BIMAADZWIN– all strong, confident and accomplished women in their own right who support their communities, their families and who choose to work in the business landscape to cultivate successful business relationship that forge stronger Indigenous communities through “Affirmative Action”– an active effort to improve the employment or educational opportunities of members of minority groups, women and to create Gender equality. 

It’s thanks to business leaders like Annette Vernschuren, a Canadian Entrepreneur, and former CEO of Home Depot Canada who demonstrated  to women around the world that they could breakthrough the glass ceiling to lead in a male dominated boardroom and to  women like Jody Wilson-Raybould,  an Indigenous leader and former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, who were able to speak their truth and strive for excellence despite naysayers.  It’s women like these who help to give voice and encouragement for women to follow in leadership roles. The diverse and knowledgeable team of Women at BIMAADZWIN are reminiscent of these strong women blazing a trail for gender equity for all peoples.

“I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about a legacy, but I have always loved teaching, watching people achieve and become happier because of it.” Annette Verschuren.

What is unique about working in this new Indigenous-Led Consulting firm is that more than 60% of the team are women and the work is performed virtually– allowing the team to have more work life balance. These women come from a wide range of professions including Law, Environmental Studies, International Development and Business Administration and have earned a masters in their respective fields of study. They come from different ethnic backgrounds and work collaboratively to support the growth and prosperity of Indigenous communities across Canada.

BIMAADZWIN , is a young company that is growing daily. It encourages and supports the empowerment of women— professionals wanting to make a difference in their communities and in society. This is done through transformational leadership that creates an interconnected and integrated team environment—the bonus is that this cutting-edge company offers a shared virtual work space that encourages Indigenous development and innovation. This of course wouldn’t be possible without the Core Values shared at BIMAADZWIN, they are; Highest Order of Inherent Right, Cultural Reciprocity, Environmental Consciousness, Shared Mentorship, Family, Professional Agility/Innovativeness and Accountability and Transparency – that has created an environment of work-life balance for all team members.

Today we celebrate diversity, gender equality and salute all Women for the hard work and tenacity to move the goal post even further– a collective and individual responsibility of every person in this country is to celebrate women in their accomplishments and also to support women in the continued efforts towards equality.

For more information about BIMAADZWIN, our services and associates, please contact, Isadore Day, CEO and President by email at Iday@bimaadzwin.ca or by mail at P.O. Box 192 – 511 Highway 17E Serpent River First Nation Cutler, ON POP 1 B0

Messages from the women of BIMAADZWIN

Charu Murti, Organization Development Coordinator

I am where I am today because of being a woman.

From the experience of giving life. To the many layers of relational accountability.

From being a mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend. To the studying, working and volunteering for decades.

Heart and mind were ready ten years ago to learn and work on what needs to be done as a newcomer on this land.

Heart and mind were ready to see how we needed to protect the children of this land.

Here’s celebrating today the center of the circle of life – the Indigenous woman.

May we learn from her on how to protect and uphold all that is sacred. Whether it is land or water. Whether it is human or non-human living beings.

May we protect and uphold the Indigenous woman, today and always!

Sarah Yankoo, Director of Planning and Technical Sevices

“When we begin to understand the colonial legacy and its collateral damage to the minds and bodies of Indigenous women, we can begin to forgive, accept, and heal ourselves from the countless hurtful, damaging ways in which this trauma manifests itself. When we embrace our long-standing inner memory of the richness of our teachings, in those moments we reclaim and honor our ancestors’ truth, courage, and resilience.” – Nahanni Fontaine (Anishinaabe), in #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women by Lisa Charleyboy

I was raised in the wake of my mother’s reconnection to the Algonquin Nation. Separated from her family in the 60s Scoop, my mother met her three sisters, her Aunties, her community and her culture as I grew alongside her. As the Truth portion of Reconciliation manifests, many are learning about the traumatic histories we have endured for the first time. So much of this illumination will be led and supported by Indigenous women, two-spirit and non-binary people.

While this day celebrates and recognizes women, as a two-spirit woman, I feel it is dually important to recognize two-spirit and non-binary identities:

“I am a Two Spirit, the third strand in a thick braid, and my identity is weaved in between the male and the female, the community and academia, the traditional and the modern, the spirit and the flesh. Being Queer and Indigenous we stand at the crossroads of culture and the intersection of identity” – Damien Paul Montano, Kimiwan Zine: sikwan 2014

As a spirit woven between many dualities, I honor the balance and vision of all the feminine energies I have had the privilege of encountering in this life.

Nikki Bakes, Director of Operations

I often admire the trail blazed by talented and dedicated Indigenous women in this country. Examples of Indigenous women excelling in their occupations and communities abound, regardless of whether they are poets, lawyers, artists, doctors, teachers, or politicians.  One example of an accomplished Indigenous woman who has strengthened Canadian society by using her voice is Dr. Cindy Blackstock. Dr. Blackstock is a professor of Social Work at McGill University, Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society (FNCFCS), and a member of Gitxsan First Nation. 

Dr. Blackstock is a prominent advocate for Indigenous children. She has worked for more than 30 years aiming for First Nations children and families to be treated equal to other Canadian kids and moms. Dr. Blackstock has laboured to have the government implement Jordan’s Principle, a child-first health-care funding process and to ensure First Nations children on-reserve receive equal treatment and funding as those off-reserve. “I am always just stunned that I have to be an activist to get equity for little kids,” she said. 

For me, Dr. Cindy Blackstock is an inspiration and an example of what International Women’s Day celebrates. She is one of many determined Indigenous women leaders whose tireless work ethic, steadfast integrity, and courageous conviction in speaking truth to power is an example to others for how to live by one’s values in pursuit of justice and equality.

We each have an opportunity to make Canada a better place for all women and girls by implementing Jordan’s Principle and ensuring funding in health care and child welfare is equitable for Indigenous kids. When Indigenous women and children are treated equally, Canadian society is stronger.

Allison Deer, Senior Projects Advisor

Today we celebrate the International Day of Women #IDW, which has me reflecting on what’s changed from the days of suffragette in Canada (1917) and the feminist movement (1960’s) and, more specifically, the impact on the corporate world.  While the feminist movement inched women along the road to equality, greater representation, and better pay equity, women in subsequent years continued to strive for parity with their male counterparts; hence the pursuit of gender equality is still alive and well, but I think we are getting better at this determination which is evident on today’s—day of celebration!  

Women today have successful role models,  are better educated, and have access to wealth and better health care.  All of which contribute to the ever-growing number of women, whose faces, stories, and experiences now share the spot light in Forbes, the Economist, Time Magazine and other renowned business periodicals.  

There is hope for future generations of female leaders.  With more female role models, greater access to education and a particular style of female leadership, being more transformational in nature, perhaps the time is ripe for women to lead nations and the business world, especially, during these challenging times. There is no doubt that role-models and mentorship greatly influence and encourage more women to advance and take their rightful place in the corporate world.  Still, corporations require a blend of both female and male leaders and more importantly, a blend of leadership styles that can greater contribute to gender parity.   We have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.   Let’s continue to strive for better equality and continue this narrative. #BalanceforBetter

At BIMAADZWIN, the team is surrounded by talented, confident and professionals of women who lead by example, this is not surprising since its CEO and founder, encourages balanced leadership, team interdependence and interconnectivity, devolving future goals, and embraces innovation to attain our organizational goals;  #balanceforbetter is the goal. We are moving in the right direction!

Angela Trudeau, Cultural Coordinator and Administrative Suport

Recognition and empowerment of women today makes stronger families, communities and nations. International Women’s Day celebrates the achievements of women globally, while also raising awareness for the continued need of collective action for a gender balanced world. Although, inequity of women continues to be a global issue, more and more women and girls are rising to prominence, taking their place on the world stage of influence.  

At Bimaadzwin, the diverse influence of its women is revered and vital. It embraces an Indigenous value of balance. Inclusiveness, gender balance and shared leadership are values at the foundation of Bimaadzwin’s success. I unequivocally believe, if the world would embrace women equally, the world would be in a much better place than it is today. It’s all about creating a better world for our girls so that they don’t struggle with inequity issues the way our grandmothers, mothers and we have. And when they are women, it is my dream the equality gap will have been closed for them to thrive as world leaders.

Photos of the women of BIMAADZWIN

IWD2019 Reading List

Stolen Sisters: The story of two missing girls, their families and how Canada has failed Indigenous women
The Right To Be Cold: One Woman's Story of Protecting Her Culture, the Arctic and the Whole Planet
Birdie
A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder
Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City
Strong Women Stories: Native Vision and Community Survival
Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature
Nationhood Interrupted: Revitalizing nêhiyaw Legal Systems
Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Issues in Canada
Every Day Is a Good Day: Reflections by Contemporary Indigenous Women
Mean Spirit
Split Tooth
Half-Breed
April Raintree
I Am Woman: A Native Perspective on Sociology and Feminism
Secret Path
#Indianlovepoems
Beyond Blood: Rethinking Indigenous Identity
The Break
A Recognition Of Being: Reconstructing Native Womanhood


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