Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre

Fall 2020

Lori Campbell named 2020 Woman of Inspiration by Universal Women's Network

Lori CampbellLori Campbell, director of the Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre has been recognized as one of the 2020 Women of Inspiration by the Universal Women’s Network.

Campbell was nominated for three categories in the 2020 Women of Inspiration awards including authentic leader, difference maker and Indigenous leader, ultimately winning the award for Indigenous leader. She was nominated alongside 150 female leaders and allies from across the country, earning one of 64 awards at the virtual ceremony on November 14, 2020.

“It is so exciting to receive recognition for my work as an Indigenous Leader on a national scale,” said Campbell. “But I also feel tremendously honoured to be nominated in the categories of Authentic leader and Difference Maker. It tells me that I’m making a difference, not only in the Indigenous community but as a leader in the broader community.”

Campbell was nominated for the award by several students, mentors, colleagues from across the Waterloo community, noting that she feels truly humbled to receive such strong support from her community.

“When I was younger it was hard to imagine receiving this type of recognition,” said Campbell. “I never really saw myself reflected in leadership positions. But I really hope my work inspires young women, particularly Indigenous women to make their voices heard and for them to know that they belong in leadership positions.”

In her role as WISC Director and adjunct lecturer of St. Paul’s Indigenous Studies program, she works to foster the development of Indigenous youth and their skill sets, encouraging students to be ‘unapologetically Indigenous,’ as they reach their academic goals.

“There are so many people I want to thank for supporting and inspiring me throughout my career, “ said Campbell. “To the numerous Indigenous women scholars that have come before me, it’s because of you, I am able to do what I do.”    

Over the span of over 13 years, Campbell has led with progressive leadership to bring communities together and make impactful contributions to student services, academics, research and administration. She also holds two undergraduate degrees (Indigenous Studies and Psychology), a master's degree in adult education and is a PhD candidate in social justice education.

Campbell is excited to continue her work as a leader in the Waterloo community and we are so lucky to have her leading the way for St. Paul’s newest addition to academic programming, Indigenous Entrepreneurship!

Amy Smoke honoured with two awards

Amy SmokeWISC manager Amy Smoke and former WISC coordinator Shawn Johnston are co-recipients of the Atlohsa Peace Awards in recognition of their significant contribution to addressing truth and reconciliation in the Waterloo Region.

In June, Amy and Shawn co-founded O:se Kenhionhata:tie Land Back Camp which was originally based in Kitchener's Victoria Park but has since moved to Waterloo Park. The Atlohsa Peace Awards have been given annually since 2018 to honour those who have made outstanding contributions, inspiring social change in the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation.

Through their work with Landback, Amy and Shawn engaged with citizens and local governments about local response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission 94 Calls to Action.

Previous winners of the Atlohsa Peace Awards include Waterloo alumnus and award winning author Jesse Thistle.

Amy was also recently honoured by the Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation with the 2020 Ken Murray Award. They are the second recipient of the award which was launched in 2019 to recognize individuals under age 50 who demonstrate their committment to Waterloo Region by doing more good working to create caring communities where everyone thrives. 

17th Annual St. Paul's Pow Wow reaches large virtual audience

On September 26, the Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre (WISC) at St. Paul’s, hosted the 17th annual Pow Wow which is typically held at Waterloo Park via Facebook live. The virtual Pow Wow was a huge success and has been viewed more than 7,300 times!

“Having the pow wow this year, even during a pandemic, was extremely important to us and our community,” said Lori Campbell, WISC director. “It is a time for many of us to celebrate culture, share knowledge and connect with those we care about. We saw others had done virtual pow wows, so we decided to try it as well and we are so glad we did!” 

Even with the virtual event it was still possible to showcase the traditional elements of the pow wow such as the sunrise ceremony, opening prayer, the grand entry song, traditional dancers and a community hand drum circle. As host, Amy Smoke, explained each upcoming segment of the event, and the stream transitioned to various people and locations, ensuring all health and safety measures were followed throughout.

Mural by Alanah JewellNormally the pow wow would include a large number of vendors, selling food, Indigenous clothing, art, crafts and other goods at the event. Since this could not be replicated in an online format, the WISC team instead incorporated a live mural painting by local Indigenous artist  Alanah Jewell and her partner Luke Swinson on a shed near the WISC’s ceremonial fire grounds.

“This was an exciting way to incorporate visual art into the pow wow in a way that we had never done before,” said Chloe Racine Blair, WISC assistant. 

Campbell shared that the mural is a representation of community, ceremony and belonging.

“Being at St. Paul’s we love to have a place where our students can be themselves and know they belong on campus,” said Campbell. “It is great to have a wonderful partnership where we have space to freely practice ceremony, culture, traditions and share knowledge with one another.”     

The live stream also fostered a very active comment section, which allowed for an educational open dialogue between the audience and presenters. Another unique benefit of hosting the event virtually is the record number of people that were able to experience the pow wow and are still able to experience it through the recorded version.

The WISC team looks forward to hosting the next annual pow wow at Waterloo Park when the COVID-19 pandemic has been resolved.