Jaadaas Jagwaa is bringing Indigenous leadership to the forefront of Airdrie.

The Haida/Nisga’a First Nations woman organized an Every Child Matters vigil, to remember the hundreds of children found buried at former residential schools, on National Indigenous Peoples Day

In 2021, she also requested Airdrie City Council approve a permanent memorial to lost Indigenous children by painting orange footprints in Nose Creek Park.

“There actually is a very large Indigenous population in Airdrie but there is just nothing culturally to immerse ourselves in,” says Jagwaa. 

“I thought it was time for me to start taking some personal steps towards becoming the Indigenous woman that I was meant to be.”

Jagwaa has also worked with Airdrie Public Library to create an informational video on how to smudge, and has been an orange shirt speaker at various schools in Alberta since 2019.

She eventually hopes to open Airdrie’s first Indigenous trading post, with additional room for teaching children powwow dancing, Indigenous-led yoga and other wellness activities. 

Nominator Sue Methuen says Jagwaa also makes house calls for smudging and gifts dreamcatchers to vulnerable people.

“Jaadaas’ warrior name is Longfeather, which means warrior with a long reach,” says Methuen.

“She speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves.”