Jeannette Corbiere Lavell
Jeannette Corbiere Lavell is an educator and lifelong advocate for Indigenous women's rights. Born into the Wikwemikong First Nation on Manitoulin Island, she completed business college in North Bay before moving to Toronto, where she worked for the Native Canadian Centre. In 1970, she lost her status under the Indian Act when she married a non-Indigenous man. Noting that the same did not apply to Indigenous men, she challenged the Indian Act. Although her initial challenge failed, it inspired further challenges, which ultimately succeeded. Corbiere Lavell has worked closely with many Indigenous organizations; she is a former President of the Native Women's Association of Canada and a co-founder and former president of the Ontario Native Women's Association. Corbiere Lavell has been awarded the Order of Canada, a Governor General's Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case, and honorary doctorates from York University and Nipissing University.
“Any barriers, any goals that are there, we can depend on our family to help us, but also ask the Creator, our guardians, our ancestors to help us.”