University of Winnipeg Associate Professor Dr. Chantal Fiola was one of five women honoured at the Âpihtawikosisân Iskwêwak: Honouring Métis Matriarchs event in Ottawa, co-hosted by Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak (LFMO) and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
The five women – Dr. Fiola, Michelle LeClair, Victoria De La Ronde, Chelsea Vowel, and Tai Amy Grauman – were recognized for their courage as leaders in social justice in academia, the arts, law, and public service during an awards ceremony on March 8, in conjunction with International Women’s Day.
LFMO is a National Indigenous Women’s Organization (NIWO) for the Women of the Métis Nation, advocating nationally and internationally for the equal treatment, health, and wellbeing of Métis people, with a focus on the rights, needs, and priorities of Métis women, youth, children, and 2SLGBTQQIA+.
It is truly meaningful that my efforts are being acknowledged and uplifted by Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak.
Dr. Chantal Fiola
Dr. Fiola was recognized as a gifted inclusive leader in the Métis Nation, and a courageous advocate for Métis, Michif, and Âpihtawikosisân people. Her work supports the diversity of members of her Nation who practice ceremony, as well as those who are exploring ceremony as part of their spiritual practice, especially members of the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community.
“I am deeply honoured to be recognized by Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak,” Dr. Fiola shared in her acceptance speech. “It is truly meaningful that my efforts are being acknowledged and uplifted by LFMO, the national organization representing Métis women and 2SLGBTQ+ people across the Métis homeland.”
Dr. Fiola has also been profiled in LFMO’s new Ready 2 Listen project, highlighting outstanding Indigenous women, girls, gender diverse, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ individuals, which was also launched at the Âpihtawikosisân Iskwêwak event.
Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak’s mission is to ensure that Métis women from across the Motherland are safe, respected, connected, and empowered, and have the capacity to work with Canadian and Métis governments and organizations to help create the conditions for healthy, vibrant, and productive communities throughout the Métis Nation.
Dr. Fiola is an Associate Professor in the Department of Urban and Inner-City Studies at UWinnipeg. She researches, publishes, and teaches in the areas of Métis (and selected First Nations) identity, culture, spirituality, history, sexuality, sovereignty, and methodologies. Dr. Fiola is a founding member of the Two-Spirit Michif Local of the Manitoba Métis Federation, and sits on other boards, including for the Two-Spirited People of Manitoba. Dr. Fiola is two-spirit, Midewiwin, a sundancer, and lives with her wife and their daughter in Winnipeg.