Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

StFX Coady International Institute announces 2017 Coady Chair in Social Justice

May 26th, 2017
Dorene Bernard

StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald and Coady International Institute Director and StFX VP Dr. June Webber are pleased to announce the 2017 Coady Chair in Social Justice, Dorene Bernard.

“Ms. Bernard has dedicated her life to sharing her teachings and building alliances to promote Indigenous worldviews on the environmental impacts of climate change,” said Dr. MacDonald. “We are honoured to have her leadership at StFX and the Coady International Institute.”

Ms. Bernard is a member of the Sipekne’katik Mi’kmaw Community and resides in the Mi’Kmaw community of Indian Brook, NS. She holds a Masters of Social Work degree from Sir Wilfred Laurier University in the field of Aboriginal studies. Her career in social work spans 21 years within Mi’kmaq communities, beginning in the field of child welfare and moving on to the healing informed Community Support for Residential School Survivors and families.  

As a Grassroots Grandmother and Water Protector, Ms. Bernard has dedicated her life to sharing her teachings and building alliances to promote Indigenous worldviews on the environmental impacts of climate change. Her important work is building community capacity to nurture respectful relations with our shared environment. She also contributes significantly to the advancement of Mi’kmaw Treaty Rights implementation by raising awareness of Indigenous sacred connections to Mother Earth.

“Now in its sixth year, Ms. Bernard is the first Indigenous woman to be appointed Coady Chair in Social Justice. As an environmental leader and as an expert in community healing she will bring her remarkable breadth of knowledge and experience to the StFX and broader community,” says Dr. Webber.

Ms. Bernard will be leading a number of engagements to incorporate the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to drive systemic change and foster collaborative action to protect and honour water and Mother Earth.

Ms. Bernard says her goal is to “Continue to do work that nourishes my spirit and I believe is good for creation, with the guidance of my ancestors; and to learn and share my knowledge and cultural teachings as a Mi’kmaq woman.”

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