Michele Audette is the president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC). As an advocate for aboriginal women across the country, the mother of five hails from an Innu community in northern Quebec and fought against sexist laws in Canada’s Indian Act that arbitrarily stripped many Native women of their Indian Status based on who they married. Women successfully fought to have those laws changed in the 1980s.
Ms. Audette was a Commissioner for the National Inquiry in the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. She is described by the Commission as the daughter of a Quebecois father and an Innu mother, growing up in an engaged environment at the confluence of two rich cultures, which she proudly represents. She entered politics at a young age, first as president of the Quebec Native Women’s Association and then as Associate Deputy Minister for the Status of Women in the Government of Quebec. She made the leap to the national scene as president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada. Her tireless efforts have helped to advance the cause of women and families.
She is quoted by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls as saying: “Every survivor, every family member, every community that has suffered violence, in all its forms, must be given the opportunity to heal and move forward. When Canadian society creates systems in which violence becomes pervasive, and which puts Indigenous women at risk, we fail our collective responsibilities. I believe in a Canadian society and in First Nation, Metis and Inuit societies where no one is left behind and vulnerable. This vision has always guided my actions and will guide them forever”.
Submitted by: Shawn Chisholm, Steering Committee Member, MentorAction