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Women of the Nistawoyou

Honouring Heritage Through Community Engagement

The Women of the Nistawoyou virtual exhibit explores the life stories of ten exceptional matriarchs who maintained the livelihoods of their communities by preserving and teaching Indigenous traditions within the traditional land of Dene, Cree and Métis people in the Wood Buffalo region. 

Women of the Nistawoyou include Nancy Woodward, Bertha Clark-Jones, Catherine Kathleen (Kay) Loutitt, Dorothy McDonald, Katie Sanderson, Elsie Cardinal, Lina Gallup, Elsie Yanik, Jenny Flett and Mary Rose Lapoudre (Cardinal).

In 2016, the Nistawoyou Association Friendship Centre organized a region-wide initiative to recognize the women of the Nistawoyou and were community-nominated and celebrated among residents, family and friends.

The Centre recognizes this exhibit as a homage and tribute to the women who’ve helped build the foundation of the Centre’s mission by investing leadership into their everyday lives.

The extraordinary group of women were, and are, trappers, political leaders, social innovators, environmentalists, teachers, community developers, business owners, midwives, healers, and nurses whose daily lives cultivated expressions of their heritage and culture. 

They touched lives in their communities in various ways and have preserved centuries of teachings and traditions with humility, truth, courage, honesty, wisdom, respect, and love are most exemplified.

Welcome to learning how the Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo communities define an Indigenous woman leader. The journey will take readers on a discovery to understand how their roots and sacred teachings have fostered and preserved our Alberta heritage. 

Start reading the story

The Women of the Nistawoyou virtual exhibit was compiled by Josephine Eric and edited by Dawn Booth. The project was made possible through the Nistawoyou Association Friendship Centre’s community collaboration in conjunction with the Fort McMurray Heritage Society and Centre d'accueil d'établissement.