Rally for Remembrance – Speaker’s Bio

Geraldine (Gramma) Shingoose is a grassroots grandmother. Her spirit names are Sky Woman and Northern Lights Woman, and she comes from the Bear Clan. She is a Sauteaux Woman from Tootinaowaziibeeng First Nation, Treaty 4 Territory.

Vivienne Ho is the founder of Women’s March Winnipeg and the President of CUPE Local 2348. She is the Chair for CUPE Manitoba’s Human Rights Committee.

Nahanni Fontaine is the NDP MLA for the St. Johns constituency in the Province of Manitoba. 

Nahanni serves as the NDP House Leader; Critic for Justice; and Spokesperson for Status of Women and Veterans Affairs. 

Nahanni has a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree from the University of Winnipeg in Environmental Studies and International Development and a Masters of Arts (M.A.) degree in Native Studies, Women’s Studies and Critical Theory from the University of Manitoba.

Nahanni has dedicated the last twenty-two years to fighting for the rights of Indigenous women and girls, including the critical issue of including the issue of missing & murdered Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirited (MMIWG2S). 

Nahanni provides workshops, training and keynote addresses on the historical and contemporary context of Indigenous women and girls in Canada.

Nahanni has served as a representative of the Indigenous community municipally, provincially, nationally and internationally on a number of boards and committees, including the Winnipeg Police Advisory Board, Canadian Race Relations Foundation, Native Women’s Association of Canada, Mother of Red Nations, RCMP Aboriginal Advisory Board and the United Nations Working Group on the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to name but a few. 

Nahanni is the recipient of several awards, scholarships and fellowships, including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s Doctoral Scholarship; the YMCA Women of Distinction Award; and the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Person’s Case.

Before being elected to the Manitoba Legislative Assembly, Nahanni served as the Director of Justice for the Southern Chief’s Organization for ten years and afterwards, as the Province’s Special Advisor on Aboriginal Women’s Issues for the Aboriginal Issues Committee of Cabinet of Manitoba for six years.

Alaya McIvor is a 37  year old Trans Indigenous Women from Treaty One Territory. She Originates from the Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation, a Northern community 190 Kilometers Northwest on Lake Manitoba shore lines. She currently resides in Winnipeg.

Alaya is a strong Indigenous transgender woman in her determination and lived experience to advocate for Indigenous women, children and exploited persons. She is survivor of the Canadian child welfare system where she became vulnerable and victim to being sexually exploited and human trafficked throughout Canada. Alaya’s strong will supported her survival. She now uses her story and voice to educate and inform people on these realities, risks and how to make changes. She uses her voice, strength and resiliency to create meaningful change.

Alaya is a strong champion and strives on building up survivors and empowering others to speak up and speak out.  She works with many community organizations supporting their initiatives and has been instrumental in developing many new initiatives surrounding the exploitation of vulnerable peoples. Some initiatives Alaya has been involved with include Tracia’s Trust: Manitoba’s Sexual Exploitation Strategy in partnership with the Province of Manitoba, Buying Sex is not a Sport, Assembly Of Manitoba Chiefs initiative on Human Trafficking & Sexual Exploitation, and other sister community organizations which work with survivors and  vulnerable peoples.

In addition to speaking on ending violence against women, Alaya uses her knowledge and lived experience to promote and champion system change. She’s previously sat on various boards including , The Indigenous Advisory Council on Policing Crime Prevention for the Winnipeg Police Board, CAAN Trans Natinol Project  and Manitoba Moon Voices Inc.
Alaya continue to develop survivor peer lead programming for marginalized youth and adults in her goal to champion change.
Alaya is a strong Survivor  advocate and activist in the areas of sexual exploitation, human trafficking and issues surrounding violence, rape and MMIWG2S. Her passion in speaking on the realities of vulnerabilities and promoting systemic and individual change allows her to be acknowledge as thriving leader among her community.

Debbie Boissonneault is a union leader who has worn many different hats.

Debbie started in the union at Local 1599 as recording secretary, becoming the Vice-President and then the President.

Presently, she is the President of CUPE Local 204, of 14,000 Healthcare workers; Vice-President of CUPE Manitoba, a voice on the Healthcare Bargaining Committee

She has been employed for over 20 years at Grace hospital. Served 7 years on CUPE National Healthcare Issue committee and served 9 years as CUPE Manitoba Human Rights Chair.

Debbie has attended and supported many human rights events. 

She is a mother of 2 and a grandmother of 2.

Stephanie Swain works as a Direct Support Worker with people who have developmental disabilities and is the 4th Vice President of the Manitoba Government and General Employees Union, as well as the Chair of the MGEU’s Women’s Committee. She also sits on NUPGE’s (the National Union of Public and General Employees) Advisory Committee on Women’s Issues. She is the former Director of the MGEU’s Community-Based Social Services Component and recipient of the United Way Winnipeg’s Labour Volunteer Service Award. Stephanie is a passionate advocate for labour rights, and against gender-based inequality.

Leah Wilson (they/them) is a student and a community activistCurrently, Leah is a Master of Arts candidate in Law and Legal studies at Carleton University.  Leah’s research has focused on human rights, transitional justice, settler-colonial relations, and financial literacy. They graduated from the University of Winnipeg in 2019 with a BA, double majoring in Human Rights and International Development Studies. Thye have served communities in Winnipeg in many roles, and currently works as the Communications Coordinator for Make Poverty History Manitoba and serves as the Co-Chair of Advocacy for the Institute for International Women’s Rights-Manitoba (IIWR-Mb). In May 2020, IIWR-Mb launched a Feminist Response to COVID-19 campaign to address the disproportionate crisis-imposed impacts on women, girls, and gender-diverse folks. The Feminist Response to COVID-19 Campaign and Leah’s work has been featured across platforms and in CBC Manitoba. Born and raised on Treaty 1, Leah acknowledges that it is only with the presence of Indigenous peoples, communities, and their resistance on the land before her, that they are here today.

Opre Roma, buna ziua ahoy I’m Luca Gheorghica, (they/them or he/him). I like to take the radical approach to systemic Barriers while being kind. Nice to meet you.

Luca works in poverty awareness and community action with Community-engaged learning and is a Paca person with lived experience.

Micaela Crighton was born and raised on Treaty 1 territory and is grateful to the First Nation and Metis peoples and communities on whose land she resides. Micaela joined the Insitute for International Women’s Rights – Manitoba (IIWR-MB) in 2014, becoming actively involved in the Advocacy Committee and the Board of Directors in 2017. As the co-chair of Advocacy, Micaela has been instrumental to the Institute’s advocacy campaigns over the last five years, dedicating significant time and energy to the 16 Days of Activism every year. In her time with IIWR-MB, Micaela has been privileged to work with many community activists and organizers in Treaty One, across the country and internationally.

Micaela graduated from the University of Winnipeg in 2019 with a BA, double majoring in Human Rights and Theatre Performance and are one half of a local improv duo that has performed across western Canada. In other parts of their life, Micaela is a passionate aquatics instructor and competitive paddler who strongly believes in non-traditional education and discovery through sports, theatre, and outdoor education.