Tansi, weyt-k, way’, Mikelle Sasakamoose oma niya niwihowin. Ahtahkakoop, Tk’emlups te Secwepemc, Syilx otchi nia.
Mikelle is a member of the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation. She is also Secwepemc and Syilx, and was born and raised on her reserve at Tk’emlups te Secwepemc. She has been a federal public servant working in Indigenous relations for the past 13 years in the Western Region and Northern Territories. Mikelle has been working in Indigenous relations at Transport Canada for the past 5 years. Mikelle is the co-chair of the Pacific Aboriginal Network (PAN), a network of Indigenous federal public servants representing 19 different departments and agencies in the Pacific Region. Mikelle is also the Transport Canada representative on the whole of government Indigenous Issues and Interests Committee working group, as well as a volunteer Indigenous awareness training facilitator.
Mikelle’s favourite and most important job, however, is cheering her three daughters on at the soccer field. She lives in Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam, and Squamish traditional territory.
What is matriarchy to you?
When I think about matriarchy, I think of the women who I come from and who have come from me. I think about my mom, who taught me to be strong and independent. I think about my grandmothers, who taught me about endurance and hard work. I think about my great-grandmothers who taught me about culture and about kindness. I think about my aunts who taught me about generosity and humility. I think about my sisters, who have taught me about loyalty and laughter. I think about my daughters and my nieces, who have taught me joy and love. And I know it is my responsibility to share these teachings. That’s what matriarchy is to me.
How did you get to where you are? What is your foundation?
I have been so lucky to have had some incredible people in my life – family and friends who have blazed some solid trails through some tough times, and others who have stood by me through thick and thin. Their example has inspired me to persevere and to shoot for the stars, and to be proud of who and where I come from, because that makes me who I am. That is always on my mind and in my heart, and it informs every direction I choose and every choice I make.
What words of wisdom do you have for your sector/industry?
Make space for Indigenous voices.
What is your vision for the next generation?
I want to see a healthy and happy generation embracing where they come from and proud of who they are, making a difference in the world.
What words of wisdom do you have for the next generations?
Don’t give up. Change is slow, but it is coming.
Women in Leadership has been awarded a contract with the Government of Canada, for a project called "The Indigenous Leadership Circle", which is a continuation of the work that the foundation has done over the last 20-years of engaging with the Indigenous communities on Women's Leadership.
The Indigenous Leadership Circle Team will be conducting research aimed at Professional Indigenous Women, Indigenous Women in the Education System and Employer & Industry Stakeholders and value your input through a series of surveys and round-table meetings. The results from the findings through these surveys and meetings will be showcased at our Indigenous Leadership Virtual Forum, which will be held on March 8, 2022. Stay tuned for more details!
If you are interested in participating, we would value your input. Our surveys for each target category can be found here below:
To learn more about the Indigenous Leadership Circle, please go HERE.