Mona Woodward comes from Kawatoose Saskatchewan and is Cree, Lakota, and Saulteux. Mona’s Indian name is Sparkling Fast Rising River Woman. Mona is a traditional pow wow dancer. She is an advocate for the prevention, education and brings awareness for Violence against Aboriginal Women and girls. Mona has worked in the Downtown Eastside (DTES), for over 20 years. Mona is Mother of four children and Kokum, (grandmother). Mona is one the founding members of the Sister Watch Committee. The committee formed after her cousin was thrown out of a window in the DTES. Since then the Sister Watch Committee has developed a best practices approach against violence against women and has presented this across Canada.
Mona has been providing traditional teachings and taking women to ceremonies such as the sweat lodge and smudges before and after performances. Mona has partnered with many Organizations to help battle homelessness and poverty that is rife in the DTES for First Nations People.
As part of the work with Butterflies in Spirit Mona also sits on the Board OF BIS, Mona also encompass mentoring and utilizing first nations healing tools. Mona has provided culturally-based teachings which assists participants in fostering healthier cultural identities, provides opportunities for involvement in wellness activities that foster healthier choices and decision-making, and offers access to ceremonies and has provided support, guidance, and role-modeling in a safe, non-judgmental atmosphere.
Mona believes that an Elder and Youth connection has the potential to increase the resiliency and capacity of young women and girls – assisting them to make positive decisions and connecting them with mentors in the process. By providing young people with positive experiences and personal qualities, they can grow up healthy, caring and responsible individuals, educating them on how to protect themselves and have trust in the system to protect them as well.
Mona Woodward presented to the Mayor & Council at a public meeting and often receives accolades from the Mayor and other elected officials. Mona Woodward has provided valuable input in the City’s report approved unanimously by Mayor & Council September 2011, on preventing sexual exploitation & addressing the health, safety, housing and exiting needs of people involved in the sex trade. Your Minister Shirley Bond wrote the city staff to congratulate the City of a job well done. February 28, 2013 Aboriginal Front Door Society & Butterflies in Spirit presented during the week of Sexual Exploitation to students from alternative schools in the East side of Vancouver, BC.
Mona’s open heart and shining spirit is inspiring to be around. Her way of sharing her knowledge about her culture and practices is easy to learn from and build understanding from. Mona is a welcoming, understanding and strong woman who’s wisdom and resilience touches all those around her.