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She Is Wise Conference 2024

Updated: Jan 29

ONWA's She Is Wise Nibwaakaa Inaadiziwin: 5th Annual Conference is happening January 22-24, 2024 at the Sheraton Fallsview in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Stay tuned for up to the minute updates by exploring this blog or following ONWA on social media:




What is the She Is Wise Nibwaakaa Inaadiziwin Conference?

Nibwaakaa Inaadiziwin (she is wise in ways of life) captures the voices and perspectives of Indigenous women, that seek to change the narrative of violence, through collective cultural and gendered empowerment. It acknowledges the wisdom and intelligence of women, as well as the life-giving power she carries within her.

ONWA is committed to creating safe spaces for Indigenous women’s storytelling that are culturally grounded, gender-based, and trauma-informed. This training will build upon the work of Indigenous women; retelling a story that has largely gone untold and replenishing our bundles with wise practices that will support efforts to build Indigenous women’s leadership. In doing so, we envision empowered women, strong families, and safer communities. Learners can incorporate these wise practices into their work while continuing to support Indigenous women and their families.

2024 Theme

The theme for this year’s conference is honouring the roles Grandmothers, Mothers, Aunties, and Daughters play in preserving and protecting Mother Earth. She is us and we are her. When she is well, we are well. Women are the sacred carriers of water, without water life is not sustainable. The knowledge shared throughout the conference will enrich participant’s understanding of the vital historical roles Indigenous women have played and continue to play in sustaining life on Mother Earth. This year we acknowledge, honour, and celebrate Indigenous women as they take up their leadership roles protecting Mother Earth for generations to come. 



In the News

Cora McGuire-Cyrette: She Is Wise Conference | Superior Morning with Mary-Jean Cormier | Live Radio | CBC Listen

ONWA CEO Cora Mcguire-Cyrette discusses being a disruptor, making waves, and being leader. Click here to listen.

Aired: January 25, 2024


'Be disruptors' is the message at 5th annual She Is Wise Indigenous women's conference

Ontario Native Women's Association held the conference in Niagara Falls, Jan. 22 - 24 | Lisa-Marie Esquega | CBC News. Click here to read.

Released: January 26, 2024


Welcome & Pre-Registration: Sunday, January 21, 2024

Excited to welcome all participants to the empowering She is Wise Conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario!  Let's celebrate the strength and wisdom of Indigenous women, fostering connections, and inspiring positive change.  

Together, we're shaping a brighter future!  #SheIsWise2024 #ONWA


A heartfelt chi miigwetch (big thank you) to Joe, Ariel, and Lance from the Six Nations Smoke Dancers for gracing ONWA with their incredible presence and leading us in traditional Haudenosaunee dances, including the powerful Social Women's Song.

It was an absolute honor to have them guide us through these meaningful movements during the early registration for the #sheiswise2024 Conference. Their talent, wisdom, and generosity filled the space, leaving a lasting impact on all of us.

We are immensely grateful for the opportunity to learn from such dedicated individuals who share not only their artistry but also the rich cultural heritage behind each dance.


Day 1: Monday, January 22, 2024 - Grandmothers

Whitefish Bay First Nation
Fort Erie Niagara Chapter of Native Women
Sioux Lookout First Nation Health Authority, Thunder Bay, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation


"She Is Wise is about affirming and acknowledging of greatness, and celebrating our greatness. You are magnificent." - Joan Riggs


Chief Sherri-Lyn Hill, Six Nations of the Grand River

“Your wisdom remains the cornerstone of building stronger and more resilient communities” -Chief Sherri-Lyn Hill, Six Nations of the Grand River


Chief Claire Sault, Mississauga's of the New Credit First Nation

“I was responsible for my healing path forwards. As I got older, I realized I had a fire in my soul. ... Wisdom, we already have it, it is already inside of us (called Elder, she told me). The true gifts are already inside us, and they are ...” - Chief Claire Sault, Mississauga's of the New Credit First Nation


Cora McGuire-Cyrette, CEO Ontario Native Women's Association, and Minister Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

If we are going to change the world, it we are going to make a difference. We need to begin with understanding. We need to recognize the culture, encourage them to grow. What does reconciliation mean to you? I answered with 1 word: empowerment." -Minister Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions


Alana Roberts, Youth Director, ONWA

The She Is Wise Conference is so important, it is integral to so many of our cultures and traditions. Our knowledge and solutions are needed now more than ever”. - Alana Roberts, Youth Director, ONWA


Cora McGuire Cyrette, CEO, ONWA

"Indigenous women lead differently. We lead from the heart. We lead from a community perspective, from the ground up. Being a leader is a difficult role, and an important one." - Cora McGuire Cyrette, CEO, ONWA


Left to right: Ma-nee Chacaby, Anishinaabe; Jan Longboat, Mohawk; Levinia Brown, Inuit; Pearl Gabona, Métis

"I think it is our responsibilities as Grandmothers is to instill a love of Mother Nature in our children and grandchildren." - Pearl Gabona, Métis

"To be a leader, you have to have followers. You have to role model what it means to lead, you have to be worth following. Otherwise, you are just out for an afternoon walk." - Jan Longboat, Mohawk



We are creating art pieces depicting our collective experiences of receiving knowledge from the grandmothers through life's journey during the Honoring and Celebrating our Knowledge Keeper Grandmothers activity at #sheiswise2024 conference.


“Keep doing the work, because that is the medicine. It is what helps us be well. [...] Traditionally, women had certain roles in the community. It was the responsibility of the mothers to look after the family. It was the old ladies, the grandmothers, to look over the health and wellbeing of the community as a whole." - Keynote Speaker Kim Anderson, Firebrand Grannies: Looking to our Past to Shape our Future, #sheiswise2024 Conference


Chi miigwetch (big thank you) to Bianca, Harmony Blackbird, Kendal White, and Becky Hill for sharing your meaningful stories during the Lifecycle Reflection activity at #sheiswise2024 Conference.


“One our greatest gift’s is to remember. To remember our stories. To have our memories, because we were meant to be in those places, to receive those teachings. […] We can not talk about one thing, because in our language we understand that everything is connected. […] We are all a part of this puzzle. We each have something that helps make this vision complete.” - Norma Jacobs, Water Teachings and Finding our Identity, #sheiswise2024 Conference


In 2021, ONWA undertook a small study to explore the experiences of Indigenous women entrepreneurs in Ontario. Read the Heart Work: Experiences of Indigenous Women Entrepreneurs (2021) report, available on:


“Representation matters more than I can even understand. […] You feel proud when you see your people succeeding. […] We don’t have to know everything. We can learn as we are building and growing. We can get there if we have the confidence to jump in and try.” - Keynote Speaker, Jenn Harper, Cheekbone Beauty, at the #sheiswise2024 Conference Indigenous Women’s Economic Development Forum


Chi miigwetch (big thank you) to Karen Bird, Michelle Derosier, & Samantha Loney for instilling wisdom during the Panel at the #sheiswise2024 Conference Indigenous Women’s Economic Development Forum

“There is a struggle in trying to balance the two worlds of capitalism and my Indigenous values and still grow a business. […] We can do both.” - Michelle Derosier

“Our ceremony is the only way our people are going to heal. When I speak to women about when they began their healing journey, it all starts with ceremony. Ceremony will be at the core.” - Karen Bird

“If you feel called to do something, do it. Follow your heart, trust in yourself, and just go do it. No one really know what they are doing, no one is ever fully prepared.” - Samantha Loney