Dawn is the Director of the First People’s House of Learning at Trent University. Previously, she was the President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), where she played an instrumental role in the appointment of an independent commission to investigate the disproportionate rate of violence against Indigenous women. Along with her colleagues, she led a tireless campaign to raise national attention and pressure on the federal government to recognize and act on the disparate number of indigenous women who had either gone missing or had been murdered. Her persistence, while presiding at NWAC, culminated in the launch of a national inquiry into Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women.
“We couldn’t conceive of a more deserving candidate to receive the Award this year,” says Amanda Dale, the Clinic’s Executive Director. “Dawn has dedicated not only her work but her life to improving the conditions experienced by Indigenous women drawing critical attention to their heightened risk for violence. Her formal advocacy began in 1994 as a youth director on the board of the Ontario Native Women’s Association, and she has not looked back since.”