2016 Featured and Invited Speakers

Plenary Panel: Indigenous Youth (Friday 3:30 – 4:30)
This panel will feature three local Indigenous youth who have taken a lead role in planning and implementing the youth conference. The panel will offer insight into what Indigenous youth view as most important in terms of reconciliation both locally and globally. This interactive presentation will encourage listening and understanding and ultimately the bridging of visions and goals among those wanting to build a better world.

Wab Kinew (pron: WOB ka-NOO) is a one-of-a-kind talent, named by the National Post as “an aboriginal leader seeking to engage with Canadians at large”. He is the Associate Vice-President for Indigenous Relations at The University of Winnipeg and the author of the Number 1 national bestseller “The Reason You Walk: A Memoir.” In 2014, Wab successfully defended Joseph Boyden’s “The Orenda” on CBC’s Canada Reads literary competition. In 2012, he hosted the acclaimed documentary series “8th Fire”. His hip-hop music and journalism projects have won numerous awards. He has a BA in Economics, is completing a Master’s degree in Indigenous Governance and is a member of the Midewin. Kinew is also an Honorary Witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. In April 2016, Kinew was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, thus continuing to skillfully embrace the tension between grassroots activist and member of a provincial government.

Sandra Morgan is a Guatemalan activist, feminist and artist who is used to speaking out against the system. Now, Moran has a new role – member of the Guatemalan Congress. In Guatemala’s 2015 general election, Sandra Moran was elected as Guatemala’s first openly gay member of congress. Moran will bring her agenda of social justice, particularly for Guatemala’s women, Indigenous and LGBTQ communities, as a lawmaker who is now part of the system. She has come a long way. Born in Guatemala City in 1960, she grew up during the worst oppression of Guatemala’s 36 year civil war that brutally targeted social and economic activists, particularly among the country’s majority Indigenous population. Due to threats, Moran was forced to flee Guatemala in 1981, and spent time in exile in both Mexico and Canada. After continuing her activism from abroad, (which included being a member of the peace activist musical group Kin Lalat) Moran returned to Guatemala in 1995, a year before the country signed its peace accords which eventually led to a truth process that acknowledged the genocide of at least 200,000 people. Moran participated in the peace negotiations on behalf of Guatemalan women and also co-founded the first collective of lesbian women in Guatemala called Mujeres Somos (We are Women). Moran sees her struggle for LGBTQ rights as part of Guatemala’s overall popular struggle for justice: “It’s always been very important for me to be myself and identify who I really am. My work had helped make the LGBT community visible and I’ve contributed to organisations which put LGBT rights on the table.” Ms. Moran’s perspective as both activist and member of congress situates her uniquely in her life long struggle to build the world we want. (Quote taken from an article by Nina Lakhani for “The Guardian,” February 11, 2016).