“How powerful is that, that we come together to celebrate our womanhood, ourselves as life givers. We come from all four corners of this world to celebrate one another, to have that harmony.” — Elder Elizabeth Letendre
By Paula E. Kirman
The sixth annual Daughters Day took place on Sep. 9 at Edmonton City Hall. Organized by the non-profit group Canadians for a Civil Society, the event celebrates the lives, contributions, and achievements of women and girls, while striving for an equitable society, social justice, and human rights.
A major part of Daughters Day is presenting the Daughters of the Year Awards. Nominations are taken from the general public and the winners are chosen by a jury of women. Rachelle Venne, CEO of the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women, was one of the six women chosen this year.
Venne has been developing programs specific to Indigenous women since 2008, and advocates, under the guidance of a provincial board, for access to support and opportunities for women to become successes in their families and communities.
The IAAW has hosted the annual Esquao Awards for the past 22 years, celebrating and acknowledging the work of more than 400 women from over 90 communities in Alberta.
Rachelle Venne is the daughter of IAAW founder Muriel Stanley Venne, who was in attendance at the awards ceremony.
“Rachelle has followed in her mother's footsteps,” said Audrey Poitras, president of the Métis Nation of Alberta, who spoke at the ceremony. “She has had a great role model to guide her down the same path of helping others.”
Poitras also said that the the Métis Nation of Alberta fully supports Daughters Day and other “initiatives that celebrate the lives of women who, a lot of the time, work in the background to ensure that other women can get the support and encouragement they need to succeed in life. Women who sacrifice a piece of themself so that others can prosper.”
Daughters Day began with an acknowledgement that the event was taking place on Treaty 6 territory. Elder Elizabeth Letendre led the opening prayer. She has been an Elder with Edmonton Catholic Schools for 13 years.
“How powerful is that, that we come together to celebrate our womanhood, ourselves as life givers. We come from all four corners of this world to celebrate one another, to have that harmony.”
More information about Daughters Day, including Daughter of the Year nomination information, can be found at http://www.daughters-day.com .