• CBC Vancouver Inspiration Series Highlights Aboriginal Women Leaders

    Dream Makers panelists spoke of their motivations, challenges and how to move forward


    On June 16, CBC Vancouver presented CBC Vancouver Inspiration Series: Dream Makers, a panel event that highlights successful aboriginal women and celebrates the unique experiences that have led them to become leaders in the community.

    The panel discussion, moderated by CBC's Duncan McCue and hosted by Lisa Charleyboy, featured four female leaders who shared their stories of how they overcame challenges to achieve success.

    The speakers were:

    ·  Melanie Mark, a community advocate

    ·  Dorothy Grant, an acclaimed artist and fashion designer

    ·  Laurie Sterritt, the director of Aboriginal Employment, Education and Procurement at B.C. Hydro

    ·  Dr. Gwen Point, the Chancellor of the University of the Fraser Valley

    Here are highlights from the event:

    We're all in the middle of a big city here, running big city lives. How do you stay in touch with culture here in the city?

    Gwen Point: There's no question that it is a part of who you are, and I make it a part of who I am. I tell people I'm First Nations, whether I'm dressed in my traditional regalia or I'm dressed in street clothes. I make it a part of my day. I go from a longhouse to my job, go from my home to a sweat lodge. And I've had the privilege, of course, of teaching about First Nations. When I ask the elders, how do you teach about a longhouse, how do I teach about a cedar tree? They told me, don't talk about it, do it. So education — I bring my students to a longhouse. I make it a part of my everyday.

    How, as indigenous women, do you balance the responsibility to your community versus being an individual and individual success?

    Dorothy Grant: I think it's by example. In 1989, I did my first fashion show in Hotel Vancouver and it received incredible response. About three weeks later, I took that same show to Skidegate and I asked young people and elders to be my models. We did the very same show, but with different models. My community just embraced it and this was very early on. I've kept that connection with my people and that's been very important for me, that they, in the beginning, endorsed what I was doing because nobody at the time was doing anything like this, so it was really stepping out on the ledge. To have their support was a major thing for me. Each sort of success that I've had, I feel like my community's been behind me.

    For more panel discussion highlights, click here.

  • Now on Curio.ca: Conspiracy of Silence

    Conspiracy of Silence (1991)

    A tragic and troubling true story which made headlines across the nation, this two-hour drama recounts the life of Helen Betty Osborne, a young Aboriginal student who was brutally beaten and slain in a The Pas, Manitoba town in 1971.

    Osborne’s murder remained unsolved for nearly 16 years, despite the fact that within days of the tragedy, rumours began circulating of the identity of the four men involved. It gradually came to light that rather than come forward with information, the townspeople closed ranks and refused to help the RCMP in their investigation. When finally brought to trial, a grim account of racism and conspiracy unfolded.

    Based on material from the book Conspiracy of Silence by Toronto Star journalist Lisa Priest.

    WARNING: This program contains disturbing images, language and subject matter. Viewer discretion is advised.