We Rise – A Conference for Change

Our friends at the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) Women’s Secretariat contacted us about this exciting project in late 2020. Led by the Saskatchewan First Nations Women’s Commission (SFNWC), they were in the process of shifting front line service delivery related to First Nations women and children to a newly-formed nonprofit, Red Eagle Lodge. Red Eagle Lodge would assume the operation of three important events, the Strength of our Women Gala, Saskatchewan Indigenous Women’s Leadership Forum, and Commemorative Event & Powwow for MMIWG, Families & Survivors. Red Eagle Lodge would also add a new event to its programs, a conference that would educate people about MMIWG2S and the Calls for Justice, and lead to the development of a strategic action plan for change.

Our COVID-19 world meant this event would have to be virtual, with attendees joining from their phones, tablets and computers, and also that some traditional means of promotion (e.g., posters) wouldn’t be available to us. Ben and I set to work with Jocelyne Wasacase-Merasty, brainstorming names, assembling a jigsaw puzzle of speaker ideas and format ideas, and establishing a list of deliverables required to bring it all together.
Once the name We Rise was approved by the SFNWC, we moved on to visual identity. It was important to the FSIN that we incorporate the “woman rising,” an icon inspired by a gorgeous painting by artist Danielle Kehler that FSIN had purchased for fundraising. We had transferred this icon to red scarves that had been gifted to women at an FSIN Cultural Celebration and Pow Wow in 2019.

The “woman rising” became the “I” in “We Rise”. Next up was the creation of a poster, and after many hours of visual brainstorming, we fell in love with the application of the logo on an iconic kokum scarf worn by so many Indigenous grandmothers. Strong. Resilient. Matriarch. Healing. 

With the branding in place, we were off and rolling, developing the website; refining the conference format and inviting speakers, workshop facilitators, performers, elders, and FSIN and SFNWC representatives; building a strategy to raise funds to cover the costs of the conference; choosing a virtual platform; assembling a videography and production team (three cheers for Avery Kewistep and Marcel Petit!); planning promotion (thanks to First Nations University, the We Rise Ally behind our province-wide billboard campaign!); and more.
Foundation is privileged to be a We Rise ally. MMIWG2S is our reality. Mothers. Sisters. Daughters. We all need to do our part to work toward solutions, in community. We Rise is sure to educate, inspire, and build relationships that will drive change, and we are so grateful to be a part of it.

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