Youth Education Day

Friday, May 18, 2018
University of Winnipeg Recplex / Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

1000 youth will be immersed in a cultural education day at the University of Winnipeg's Recplex!

In celebration of Manito Ahbee's 13th year, the 2018 Youth Education Day will have 13 female speakers. Students will be split into 13 groups and will experience a 10 minute presentation from each speaker.

This year's presentations will be centred around the power of women. Women traditionally played a central role within the family, and Manito Ahbee's Youth Education Day will highlight the importance of Indigenous women and their impact in society.


  • Chante Speidel is the reigning Miss Manito Ahbee. She is a proud Cree and Lakota from Sapotaweyak Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. Chante has spent her life learning the rich culture, customs and traditions of her heritage.  The title of Miss Manito Ahbee Youth Ambassador honours the memory of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls. Chante will speak about the ribbon skirt and why she wears it to honour these women.  
  • Randi Bird is a women's Northern Buckskin dancer from North Dakota.  She is the head lady dancer for this year’s Manito Ahbee Festival.  She will explain her regalia and what pow wow means to her. 
  • Morning Star Roberts is a Fancy Shawl dancer from Oklahoma and the head young lady dancer for this year’s Manito Ahbee Festival.  She will talk about what pow wow dancing means to her from a youth perspective.  
  • Sherryl Blacksmith is Ojibway from Swan Lake First Nation. She graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Education. She has been a teacher in many Indigenous communities throughout Canada. She has been following her culture and traditions throughout her life. She teaches alongside her husband David. They conduct the Spruce Woods Sundance in Manitoba and have been doing so for more than 20 years. She has been taught by her grandparents many teachings that she shares in communities. She is a proud grandmother, mother and wife that continues to teach what was shared by her grandmothers and grandfathers.
  • Leslie Spillet is the Executive Director of Ka Ni Kanichihk that supports women and their families. Leslie has made vast contributions for more than three decades to Winnipeg’s inner-city and Indigenous Community. She received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Winnipeg for her notable career as a compassionate advocate and activist. Leslie was inducted into the Order of Manitoba in 2012.
  • Mackenzie Anderson is an honour roll student at the University of Winnipeg Collegiate.  She is a part of the Miweyweywigaan lodge and her true name is Goonagiizhagokwe, meaning Snowy Day Woman. At 17 years old Andersons passion for art and contemporary topics that indigenous people in Canada face shows in her work. Her mother is Cree from Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation, and her father is Ojibwe from Pinaymootang First Nation. Mackenzie currently attends the University of Winnipeg Collegiate, where she is avid in her studies as well as her art. Winning 1st in the Aboriginal Arts and Stories contest in the junior division, she was honoured with a medal at the Governor General History Awards in 2017.
  • Raven Anderson is a post-secondary student who previously played for University of Winnipeg basketball team.  
  • Xochitl Ramos grew up in Los Angeles, California and is a Cora/Huichol Native with roots from Nayarit and Jalisco, Mexico. Xochitl has been involved with Native traditions for over 20 years and has been involved in protecting the ways of the ancestors, through organizing events, gatherings and providing workshops at conferences and community centers. She is dedicated and committed to uplifting and advocating for Indigenous women. She carries knowledge of what is known throughout the world as the “Aztec Calendar” and loves to share this knowledge with others to help give them a greater understanding of themselves and how they relate to the sacredness of Mother Earth. Through the teachings of the calendar, she hopes to empower Indigenous families to understand themselves, their children, and future generations to come.
  • Julia Perez-Pacheco lives in Los Angeles, California and is Cora/Huichol with roots from Jalisco and Nayarit, Mexico and Quechua from the Confederation of Tawantinsuyu in Peru. Her Indigenous name is Quetzalcihuatl which means Beautiful Woman of the Sacred Fire. Although she is young, about to enter high school, she has always been a leader in her community. Since she was a baby, she has participated in Native cultures from both North and South America. The Quechua prophecy of the Eagle and Condor speaks of the unification of Native people from the North and South and through her relationships to both her parent’s cultures, she embodies that prophecy. As a young leader, her vision is to work towards building unity between all Native nations and social justice for all people. In her community in Los Angeles, she is involved in organizing events for children and youth, such as conferences, runs and teaching classes about Native cultures and issues to her peers. She is fluent in both English and Spanish and is currently learning Quechua.
  • Leah Gazan is a member of Wood Mountain Lakota Nation, located in Treaty 4 territory Saskatchewan, Canada. She is currently teaching in the Faculty of Education at the University of Winnipeg. Leah has spent her career focused on supporting the advancement of Indigenous peoples through an advancement of fundamental Indigenous human rights across Canada. Leah has served terms on several boards in Winnipeg including the Board of Governors at Red River College, Manitoba Lotteries Research Council, the Taxi Cab Board and a five year term as President of the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg, a non-profit organization committed to providing leadership and support in the area of social planning and socially responsible policy development.
  • Jennifer Bone is a member of Sioux Valley Dakota Nation. Her Dakota name is Oyate Wacin Yapi Win, which translates to “the people depend on her.” She has served as an elected member of council since 2010, and is currently in my 4th term. During her time as council member she has held portfolios in the areas of Health, Education, Child & Family Services, and Employment & Training. One of her most memorable achievements was being nominated and receiving the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award for Social Action and Community Service in 2017.
  • Desiree Dorion is a singer-songwriter whose fourth studio album, "Tough Street" is a beautiful and humble homage to her upbringing. This is the Juno nominee’s most personal and honest work yet. The album compiles "darkly beautiful and introspective songs...[her] best recorded vocals yet," (Bruce Leperre, 730 CKDM). Her first two singles from the album, "Whiskey Knows" and “Like a Flower” landed on the Canadian country music charts and reached #1 and #4 on the National Indigenous Music Countdown. “Tough Street,” is nominated for Best Country Album at this year’s IMA’s. Desiree also works full-time as a lawyer doing child protection defense work and is the proud mom of two daughters, Grace and Natalie.

  • Christine Cyr is a traditional Cree/Metis woman from Winnipeg. She is a grandmother, mama, sister, daughter, auntie, and wife. She is a Sundancer, and she works in the community as an escaabe conducting Full Moon Ceremonies for women and leading Sweatlodge ceremonies with her husband.


For more information, contact Derek Hart: