Speakers

doreenspence.png

Name:

DOREEN SPENCE

Organization:

Canadian Indigenous Women's Resource Institute, Executive Director

Session:

Friday, 10:30 am

Bio:

Between speaking engagements and her responsibilities as Executive Director for the Canadian Indigenous Women’s Resource Institute, Doreen still manages to find time to offer her wisdom to many local, national and international organizations. In particular, the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations which holds an annual conference in Geneva, Switzerland. In 2002, she was requested to provide assistance to the Slovakian government with regards to their relationship with the Roma people.

Doreen’s work in the field of human rights and the protection of fundamental freedoms for her people, is unsurpassed in terms of historical and social content; clarity and effectiveness of presentation; in-depth knowledge of various Indigenous cultures and her empathy with the people for whom she works.

Doreen has been active in many organizations, including the Alberta Civil Liberties Association, Committee Against Racism, Rotary Club, University of Calgary, and Hull Home for Troubled Youth.  She was the founder and President of the Plains Indian Cultural Survival School Society for seventeen years and was appointed Secretary of the Dignity Foundation, which is an Alberta-based human rights organization.

 

Achievements

& Awards:


•    Co-coordinated the first-ever First Nation’s program for the International Boy Scouts Jamboree in Kananaskis Country during July of 1993, and similarly coordinated the Provincial Jamboree in 1995. 
•    Frequent guest speaker at conferences, both nationally and internationally.  During the past few years she has traveled extensively for speaking engagements to:
        
-The Women and Wellness Conference - Phoenix, Arizona;
-International Spiritual Elders Conference - New Zealand;
-International Aboriginal Education Conference, - Wollongong, Australia;
-National Aboriginal Education Conference- Winnipeg, Manitoba;
-Educational In-service - Pelican Narrows, Saskatchewan;
-Healing Our Spirit Worldwide Conference – New Zealand.

•    Nobel Peace Prize nominee for the 1000 Women project, 2005
•    National Aboriginal Achievement Award nominee, Heritage & Spirituality, 2005
•    Founded and presided as President / Cultural Administrator / Program Director of the Plains Indian Cultural Survival School (PICCS) from 1980 to 1993, in Calgary, Alberta.
•    Member of the Committee Against Racism, Aboriginal Rights Support Group from 1981 to 1993.
•    Member of the Workforce Advisory Committee for Employment Equity, from 1985-1993.
•    Member of the Coalition of Environmental Groups from 1985 to 1993.
•    Actively promoted native health in City of Calgary hospitals (Foothills, Holy Cross, Rockyview, General and Colonel Belcher) via in-services promotion of native spirituality, Bridging the Gap between dominant societies and aboriginal people from 1985 to 1993.
•    Several Access Network appearances promoting Aboriginal equality in the work place from 1985 to 1993.
•    Networking in an advisory capacity with the Environmental Coalition Group re: Aboriginal Peoples Connection to Mother Earth from 1985 to 1993.
•    Organizer and Advisor to the Concerned Parents of Minorities Committee, Calgary Board of Education from 1988 to 1991.
•    Participated on major forums with international speakers for L.E.A.F. (Legal Education Action Fund) from 1988 to 1993.
•    Active with PTA Committees for 25 years; instituted several bursaries for Status / Non-Status students at PICSS, as well as one at Mount Royal College; organizer of various rallies and vigils for peace and unity of all cultures; keynote speaker to the Alberta Status of Women, working closely with a networking system; part of the networking system for John Young, a Native unit officer of the Calgary City Police Department. From 1988 to 1993.
•    Member of the Native Education Task Force for the City of Calgary from 1989 to 1993.
•    Served as member then Vice-President of the Calgary Aboriginal Awareness Society from 1989 to 1993.
•    Member of the Coalition of Multi-Faith Groups from 1989 to 1993.
•    Member of the Calgary Urban Native Policy Task Force from 1989 to 1993
•    Member of the City of Calgary Workforce Advisory Committee 1989 to 1993.
•    July 1990 Doreen made several appearances on radio, primarily “The Home Stretch” with Sharon Edwards speaking about Bridging the Gap Between Aboriginal Peoples and Dominant Societies, promoting understanding of our people.
•    Doreen held her first workshop on the Traditional Native Teachings at the Wild Rose College of Healing, in Calgary.
•    December 1990 Doreen participated in the World Indigenous People’s Educational Conference as both a presenter and a participant. She attended a National/International Radio program and made a television appearance, drawing parallels between all indigenous peoples around the world and their struggles. Doreen also gave a presentation to the Maori Queen on behalf of the City of Calgary.
•    December 1990 Member of the Coalition of Concerned Citizens ever since the Lone Fighters issue surfaced.
•    Presenter of Native Spirituality at the February 1991 Annual Teacher’s Convention, “Bridging the Gap” – Teachers’ Cross-Cultural Workshop/Sessions, and again in June of 1993.
•    Presented her paper, “Aboriginal Women in Religion” to the Women in Religion Conference at the University of Calgary on September 20, 1991. An abridged version of this paper was published in the book, “Gender, Genre and Religion, Feminist Reflections” published by Wilfred Laurier University Press for the Calgary Institute for the Humanities in 1995.
•    Presenter at the “Special Chiefs’ Conference on Education” held in Ottawa, November 1991.
•    From 1991 to 1993 Doreen was a member of the Alberta Civil Liberties Board; sat on the Local Management Board of the Native Friendship Centre; implemented the job training computer program at PICSS for the disadvantaged 18-25 year olds; also implemented the first Aboriginal Day Care Centre; actively involved in the Old Man River Dam vigil, the Little Buffalo Blockade (Mohawks), the Lone Fighters struggle, the James Bay Hydro, and the Uranium Mining struggles in Saskatchewan.
•    Presented her paper, “Native Spirituality and Education” to the Calgary City Teacher’s Convention, February 21, 1992.
•    Speaker at the Many Environments, One World Alberta Teacher’s Association Conference, 1992.
•    Presenter at the CAAS (Calgary Aboriginal Awareness Society) on April 25th, 1992, “Bridging the Gap”.
•    Received an International Award at the New Zealand Spiritual Elders Conference in 1992, along with His Holiness The Dalai L’ama.
•    Obtained the Chief David Crowchild Award in 1992.
•    Doreen did a presentation at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary April 21 to 22, 1993 on Native Spirituality.
•    Nominated for the Woman of Distinction Award in 1993 and 1994.  She also received a nomination for the Lamp of Learning Award through the Calgary Board of Education in May of 1993.
•    Attended and presented a profile of Plains Indian Cultural Survival School (PICSS) at the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples on May 27, 1993, held in Calgary.
•    Recipient of the 1993 Alberta Human Rights Award, presented by Alberta Government Minister, Gary Marr. Doreen was attending the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education in Australia at the time, therefore her daughters Jaimie and Kim accepted the award in her stead.
•    Submitted a paper to the Public Round Table Discussions on Health to the Honourable Diane Mirosh, Alberta Health Care Planning Secretariat, September of 1993.
•    Inducted into the Thunder Bay Elders Circle in the Fall of 1993.
•    Submitted a paper to the Alberta Human Rights Commission on the Status of Aboriginal People for the Round Table Discussions in Calgary, November 23, 1993.
•    Narrator for the 1993 video “Healing the Earth Through Aboriginal Connections” for the Calgary Board of Education.
•    Presented at the 1993 International Indigenous Spiritual Elders and Peoples Conference held in Auckland, New Zealand.
•    Submitted conference paper “The Preferred Future in Aboriginal Education, The Plains Indians Cultural Survival School” in Wollongong, Australia on December 17, 1993.
•    Mayor Al Duerr requested Doreen to be the narrator for the February 1994 video, “What’s in a Name, Calgary?” as well as contributing some of her ancestor’s experiences of having been the first settlers and farmers in the Calgary area – namely Sam Livingston and his wife Jane Howse (their home is one of the exhibits in the Settlement area of Calgary’s Heritage Park Historical Village).
•    Submitted a conference paper, “Education From an Aboriginal Perspective” to the Women in Wellness Conference in Portland, Oregon March 24, 1994.
•    Presented at the Gateway Centre and College of Ripon & York, St. John, England in April of 1994 (video-taped).
•    Presented a conference paper, “Education from a Holistic Perspective” at the 8th Annual International Native Education Conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba May of 1994.
•    Speaker of “Wilderness and Spirituality” at the AWA’s 25th Annual Conference, May 15, 1994.
•    Canadian representative to the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations (WGIP) held in Geneva, Switzerland in July of 1994 and has been ever since.
•    The ARC (Applying Research to the Classroom) University of Calgary magazine, Volume 12, Number 3 Fall, 1994 printed Doreen’s submission entitled, “Plains Indians Cultural Survival School”.
•    Sat on the Spirituality Panel and presented the workshop, “The Road to Wholeness: Youth and Spirituality” at the Wellness and Spirituality IV Conference held in Tucson, Arizona October 30 to November 2, 1994.
•    In 1995 Doreen contributed a chapter to the book, “Gender, Genre and Religion”. Her chapter was titled “Aboriginal Women and Religion”.
•    Attended the Euromeeting (European Meeting of North American Indian Support Groups) in Lucerne, Switzerland in July 1995.
•    Representing CUSO, Doreen and her husband Dave spent the winter of 1995 and spring of 1996 working with the Maasai people at a school in Arusha, Tanzania in Africa.
•    Lead the Sacred Run from Zurich to Geneva with a group of youth to highlight the Indigenous people’s struggle and to promote peace amongst the nations in 1996.
•    Submitted an Intervention at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland in 1996 called “A Political History of the Pitcairn People in Norfolk Island from 1856 to 1996”.
•    Delegate and presenter at the Indigenous Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, 1996. Her presentation was published in the book, “Visions Aloya Yola – Encounter ’96 Copenhagen” by Naturfolkenes Verden and Contributors.
•    September of 1996 - Founder and Executive Director of the Canadian Indigenous Women's Resource Institute (CIWRI) helping primarily Indigenous women and non-native persons understand and benefit from the healing aspects of the Traditional Indigenous teachings of native spirituality, individually and in community. Since its inception, CIWRI has consistently had 100 members / volunteers continuing to help Doreen keep these teachings alive in the Calgary area.
•    Keynote Speaker and presenter of “Building Bridges” at the August 7 to 10, 1997 North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto.
•    At the October 1997 Baha’i Womens’ Committee “Celebrating Women” Conference, Doreen presented “The Role of Women in the Moral and Spiritual Health of the Family” session with Dewayne Ward.
•    Kathleen E. DeWitt Newell of Calgary coauthored a paper titled, “The Results of Dirty Thinking”. She had interviewed several women for her paper’s research, one of who was Doreen. Quite a bit of Doreen’s interview was used in this paper in 1997. (Pages 13-18). It was part of a Joint Project, Bleeding from Alberta Budget Cuts, between the Calgary Status of Women Action Committee and the Women’s Collective and Resource Centre Society.
•    Submitted an Intervention at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland for the Partnership Task Force, entitled “Bkejwanong Territory, Walpole Island First Nation” on October 7, 1997.
•    Recipient of an International Award from the Council on Adoptable Children in November 1997, New York, NY.  Former First Lady Hilary Clinton received this award in 1998.
•    Attended the First International Training Session on Indigenous Peoples in Nuuk, Greenland, July of 1998.
•    Submitted an Intervention on the Canadian Indigenous Women’s Resource Institute (CIWRI) at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland July 27 to 31, 1998.
•    Zurich, Switzerland in August of 1998, Doreen was a panelist with journalist Oswald Iten questioning how the world is looking after the Environment, and our role in it all to make it better.
•    Initiated into the Circle of Elders with a Diploma from the Kotahitanga Building Society in special recognition for “Upholding the Traditions of the Spiritual Elders of the World”, August 2, 1998.
•    Doreen gave the blessing at the November 1998 conference, Universal Rights & Human Values: A Blueprint for Peace, Justice & Freedom in Edmonton. This conference marked the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She presented an abstract on Indigenous People: A Global Search for Justice, which was published in the book Peace, Justice & Freedom: Human Rights Challenges in the New Millennium.  The highlight for Doreen was to be seated next to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, for whom she holds great admiration for his integrity.
•    February 1999 she was the Keynote Speaker for CUPW National Annual Meeting at Nakoda Lodge, Alberta.
•    March 1999, Presenter during Native Awareness Week at the University of Calgary.
•    April 1999, Presented to the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League.
•    In November of 1999 Doreen attended INCOMINDIOS’ 25th Anniversary celebrations in Zurich, Switzerland. INCOMINDIOS is a North and South American Indigenous Peoples support group that operates out of Zurich.
•    Participant in the press conference announcing the creation of a new museum, NONAM, (NOrdamerika NAtive Museum) in Geneva, Switzerland to represent all of the Indigenous peoples from around the world.
•    Recipient of the Woman of Vision Award, hosted by Global TV, Calgary in March of 2000.
•    March 21, 2000 - Received the Racial Harmony Award for Peace and Unity by the Baha’i community.
•    In March of 2000, Doreen traveled to Germany for a Working Circle tour, “Indians Today”, promoting Women and Ceremonies in Traditional Indian Societies, visiting Poland, Slovakia, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
•    2002 & 2003 - Speaking Tours focusing on the Indigenous peoples of Eastern Europe (including Germany, Vienna, Slovakia, Poland, Czechoslovakian Republic, East and West Germany, and Switzerland). Each year Doreen was touring for approximately 2 to 3 weeks.
•    January 25, 2003 -Opened the NONAM Museum in Zurich, Switzerland, which represents all of the Indigenous peoples from around the world. She also met with Mayor Ledergerber and Councilor Monika Weber while she was there.
•    July 2003 - Presented the “Warrioress Peace Award” by the Amazonian Brothers in recognition of her work at the United Nations in Geneva as part of the WGIP (Working Group of Indigenous Peoples).
•    2003 & 2004  - Platinum Award for CIWRI awarded by the United Way of Calgary and Area.
•    2001 to 2004 - As a member of the University of Calgary Senate, Doreen’s most important contribution resulted in an Honorary University Degree presented to Tom Jackson for all of his community work and awareness-raising concerning national homelessness and the ongoing need of donations to the Food Banks throughout Canada. Doreen also served as Senate’s Representative to the Faculty Council of Nursing and the Diversity Advisory Council for three years each, and was a member of the Programming and Inquiries Committees for one year each.
•    July 26 to 30, 2004, Doreen was sponsored to attend the UNITAR training in Conflict Resolution by the United Nations. She attended this training programme, along with 24 other indigenous representatives, to enhance the conflict prevention and peacebuilding capacities of Indigenous peoples’ representatives, held in Cartigny, Switzerland.
•    2004  - Ambassador of the Way – Speaker – United Way of Calgary and Area.
•    Attended INCOMINDIOS’ 30th Anniversary in Zurich, Switzerland November of 2004, and revisited the now open NONAM Museum representing the world’s indigenous peoples.
•    December 2004     - Article written in the SURPRISE Strassenmagazin about Doreen, calling her the “Eagle Eye on the UN”.
•    February 2, 2005 CIWRI nominated for a United Way Champion Award at the 6th Annual ‘Spirits of Gold” Awards Gala and Dinner.
•    2005 - Nobel Peace Prize Nominee for the 1000 Women Peace Project. Winners will be announced October 7, 2005; award ceremony is in Oslo, Norway December 9-11th, 2005.
•    August 2005 Doreen was recognized for achievements and contributions she has made to Alberta for Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Education, and will be receiving the Alberta Centennial Medal on November 18, 2005 in Calgary.
•    August 2005 Doreen has been nominated for the 2006 National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Heritage and Spirituality.
•    Doreen conducts ongoing traditional native teaching and spirituality workshops for the Wild Rose College of Natural Healing, the Bow Valley College, AADAC and other related community-based organizations.