Margo Kane is an Aboriginal (Cree/Saulteaux) interdisciplinary artist who has been a leader in Aboriginal performing arts for 40+ years. For 20 years she has been Full Circle: First Nations Performance’s Artistic Managing Director. Ms. Kane has worked generously for the betterment of Aboriginal people, for example: she was key in the National Native Role Model Program, and launched the annual Vancouver Talking Stick Festival; supporting Aboriginal performers and presenting Aboriginal cultures to mainstream society, encouraging them to learn and explore as a way of healing and connecting with First Nations people. Community minded Margo has created many Outreach Programs including: Workshops in Schools Series, Community Ticketing Program and the Field Trip Program, targeting low-income families and under-privileged children. Her desire to create work that all can attend, regardless of financial hardship, and that has meaning for her people fuels her commitment to performance that is not only socially relevant but empowering.
Margo works tirelessly using art and performance to “heal from the past and build new relationships between Aboriginal peoples and all Vancouverites.
Gertrude Pierre has achieved a great milestone in her life and graduated with her Bachelor of Social Work degree in 2011 at the age of 64. Despite family being everything, she sacrificed time away from her husband, children & grandchildren. Since graduating she decided to help the people in the downtown Eastside. She shares the love, kindness and compassion in her work and has these folks adopt her as their mother or grandmother. From her hard work and dedication she has been recognized by the Circles of Understanding to be the respective elder for the residential school project “I Have to Tell My Story” She does this with humbleness as an elder should but she always goes above and beyond her work. She deserves the acknowledgement to be chosen as the Remarkable Woman, you will surely agree with me upon meeting her.
Aliya Dossa is deeply passionate about the environment and dedicates much of her time toward protecting it and educating others about the importance of environmental sustainability. Accordingly, she works with Metro Vancouver’s youth education outreach program to help high school students develop sustainability projects within their schools and communities across the region. Aliya strongly believes that involving people of all backgrounds, abilities, and generations is essential for tackling climate change, which is evident in the work she does. Recognized twice as a Top 25 Under 25 Environmentalist in Canada, as a result of a national youth environment group she co-founded, Aliya brings a unique, valuable, grass-roots approach to the work she does. She is humble, intelligent, and incredibly kind. Her continuous dedication to community initiatives is evident through her volunteer work with Girl Guides of Canada, where she brings awareness and discussion of social and environmental issues to young girls.
Metha Brown deeply believes that reconciliation is about awakening to those from whom we disconnect, building relationships through difference, and working towards more equitable communities in which the value of everyone, despite our differences, is affirmed and supported equally. This stems from spending her youth in rural South Carolina, where she was first exposed to persistent systems of inequality that shaped people’s everyday lives. She was inspired by artists who both invited and demanded that we wake up to the unexpected beauty, pain, achievements, and strife in our disconnected and unequal communities. Her tenacity, integrity, and creative spirit have drawn her towards progressively more challenging endeavours in reconciliation — from social services program development, public policy and community engagement, online multi-media storytelling and peace-building.
In New York City, Metha worked with people coming home from prison, helping them navigate the challenging road to re-integration. Her graduate work at UBC contributed to the creation of a historic working group at the Vancouver parks board. Part of this was a participatory video she produced that highlights the experiences of trans folks from many walks of life — from a youth worker, to an artisan, to a retired RCMP officer. The video offers audiences the opportunity to better understand the different ways people experience and express gender. The working group is engaging community members and staff to identify the barriers that transgender and gender-variant communities face when trying to access public spaces and find solutions to improve access. Metha co-facilitates workshops along with leaders from the trans community to offer parks staff opportunities to hear directly from affected community members.
During her work as programs director at Peace it Together, a Vancouver-based peace-building organization, Metha developed and directed a robust community engagement program that engaged local and international communities affected by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in critical and creative dialogues. She is deeply committed to creating spaces in which people take risks to courageously speak uncomfortable truths, practice critical self-reflection, practice deep empathy, and commit to working for a just, secure and sustainable peace.
Metha embodies the kind of diligent and joyful commitment it takes to develop more equitable spaces — whether through programs or community centres — so that people can discover their hunger to connect through and with difference.
Tanja Dixon-Warren has been Managing Producer of Full Circle: First Nations Performance for 5 years, and is the Artistic Producer/Co-Founder of Hoarse Raven Theatre. For 27 years she has been a professional free-lance actor and is proficient in all aspects of theatre production and management. Tanja has worked endless hours, patiently and with great sensitivity, mentoring emerging Aboriginal arts professionals in the areas of producing, production, grant writing, marketing and event planning. She has also been instrumental in many of Full Circle’s community Outreach Programs including: Workshops in Schools Series, Community Ticketing Program and the Field Trip Program, targeting low-income families and under-privileged children. As a non-Aboriginal working for a First Nations non-profit arts organization, Tanja has experienced first-hand the challenges involved in working within the Aboriginal arts milieu and has taken exemplary and meaningful steps to better her understanding of First Nations cultures and cultural protocols.
Tanja works tirelessly using art and performance to “heal from the past and build new relationships between Aboriginal peoples and all Vancouverites”.
Words will not be able to describe the impact that Sherry Grant has on her community, and her ability to promote empathy and understanding amongst groups and individuals. Sherry is the coordinator of a youth counseling program. She has worked at the program for almost 20 years, and she is highly regarded in the community of service providers. It would be hard to meet someone who is able to speak from the heart quite like Sherry can. Sherry works with some of the most vulnerable youth in the Downtown Eastside, predominantly from the Indigenous community. When you hear her speak about the community that she works with and the world at large it is both inspiring and humbling. The amount of empathy that she has is overwhelming, and her ability to express the need for more empathy and less judgment is infectious to everyone that she meets.
Carol Martin comes from the Nisga`a / Gitanyow Nation. She has been working at the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre as a community-based Victim Services Worker for more than 20 years. Carol is a courageous leader and advocate who supports women and assists in finding solutions to ending poverty, housing issues and violence against Aboriginal Women. She continually participates and speaks at the Annual Women’s Memorial March, Annual Women’s Housing March, and inquiries that support women living in the downtown eastside community.
Carol is a leader who speaks and acts from the heart. Her work continues to build positive harmony, support healing, and bridge diverse cultures together in the downtown eastside community.
Carol is a remarkable First Nations woman that stands and fights with love and truth to have Reconciliation in her diverse community.