In May 2019 I was honored to receive an Esquao Award from the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women for Leadership in Education. It was difficult to wrap my head around this achievement because so often in Indigenous education we are breaking new ground with everything we do so it takes a lot of courage and persistence. Things that a hoop dancer would be well prepared for. One of the lessons I was taught was that the hoop represents a challenge in life, the more hoops a dancer uses reflects how they handle challenges in their life. The more you go through a hoop the better you become as a dancer, the same thing goes for the challenges in our life, the more we go through those challenges the stronger and wiser we become. So my message would be to go through each hoop that life gives you! Each one is an opportunity for growth.
Read my acceptance speech here:
"First of all I would like to thank the creator, my friends and family, and those who nominated me, and the organizers at IAAW. I am born of missing and murdered Indigenous women. I am born of residential school survivors and Metis Resistance. I am born of colonization and assimilation. I am born of survivors and warriors. I am born of culture carriers, storytellers, and medicine people. I carry the wounds and the resilience of my family and ancestors.
I want to share a story about my oldest son, Matt. When he was in daycare he would cry every time we left. One day another mom brought in her child’s favorite music, so I thought I would bring in a powwow CD. The daycare was so excited to have this that they started exploring drum music from around the world, it wasn’t until the native drum played that my son took notice. He recognized the big drum from all other drums. He went to a toy drum in the room, called his friends over and showed them how to drum. They watched powwow videos on youtube, and he exclaimed ‘mommy – daddy’ it was the first time they heard him speak. The next morning he grabbed his own shoes and coat and went to the door. I didn’t have to fight with him. When we dropped him off he no longer cried. His culture allowed him to feel safe, to share his knowledge, and to be happy and successful. This is the reason that I do this work, this is my why."
Hiy hiy, thank you!
'Cree Woman Speaking' is a space to share my voice. My goal is to spread awareness and share wisdom as I learn and grow as a dancer, choreographer, and woman. My passion is to show the healing power of dance and culture. I love learning from elders, experience, and research and being able to synthesize Native and non-Native ways of knowing!
All Cara Mumford Cree Hoop Dance Idle No More Indigenous Dance International Women's Day 2017 Life Givers Missing And Murdered Aboriginal Women Native Hoop Dance Native Women Nehiyawak Reconciliation Resilience Rulan Tangen Sacred Hoop Sisters In Spirit Stolen Sisters Sugarray Robinson When It Rains World Championship Hoop Dance Contest