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Marilyn Poitras Law + Community Builder + Educator + Ethical Spaces

Featured

"The Art of Inclusion"

An innovative changemaker of Michif descent hailing from Southern Saskatchewan, Marilyn Poitras is a lawyer, negotiator, professor, film producer, and most importantly a community builder. Recognized for her expertise, she is the recipient of the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal and the National Aboriginal Land Managers Association Recognition Award. Combining her Harvard degree and the teachings from traditional Knowledge Keepers in communities all over the world, Marilyn is paving the pathway to an Indigenous language of design thinking for social change.

Relying on her life experiences, Marilyn has a love for bringing people and ideas together through culture, music, art and story, seeing an opportunity to practice inclusion at every step of the design process. Her vision to change understandings of inclusion, voice, and the growth of Indigenous practices at every level of Canadian society has caught the attention of the University of Saskatchewan’s Indigenous Law Centre, the College of Law, and the Banff Centre. These are just a few among the multitude of community-based organizations, non-profits, and corporations across Canada that look to Marilyn Poitras for her expertise in evaluating and redesigning internal spaces and structures. 

“I like to stretch the word ‘law’. When we think about law, we usually think of black letters on a page, but it goes way beyond that it is not just rules that control us but those that bind us and help us flourish. In Indigenous cultures, the artists are the law keepers.”

Reflecting on her past work as a Commissioner for the National Inquiry on MMIWG, Marilyn looks forward to a justice system that will adopt ethical inclusion practices and incorporate more Indigenous laws and understandings. She brings her talent and dedication to honour the realities of powerful Indigenous women everywhere to dismantle existing misrepresentations and fight for their recognition as contributors and builders.

Through her core values of empathy and kinship, and the teachings of natural, spiritual, and human law, Marilyn Poitras is committed to the advocacy of inclusive and ethical spaces. She is the proud and unapologetic voice for the hidden figures of our society, and one of her many gifts is being able to look around the table, notice who is present, who is missing and then ask, “Why?!” 

  • Ethical Spaces: Diversity, Inclusion, and Design Thinking

    With a sharp eye for possibility, Marilyn asks crucial questions about our living and working environments and opportunities for inclusion. Tapping into her expertise in design thinking for social change, Marilyn dismantles the internal status quos to bring people together and reimagine structures and living/working environments. 

    Marilyn will empower audiences with:

    • The art of inclusion and tools to revitalize your organization or community with designs for inclusivity
    • How to evaluate existing structures for hierarchical values 
    • The discovery of internal status quos and how to break free of moulds 

    Indigenous Laws/Practices: Natural and Spiritual

    An expert in the field of Law, Marilyn has also become an expert in Indigenous Natural Law, learning from many Indigenous Knowledge Keepers. Marilyn is uniquely able to combine Western legal traditions with Indigenous ones. Her passion for Indigenous laws and practices--encompassing the natural, spiritual, and everything in between as well as expertise in Western or North American Law will transform and empower audiences, bringing a new level of justice, insight and inclusion to all organizations and audiences. 

    Join Marilyn in this presentation to:

    • Unlock diverse worlds of Indigenous customary and traditional law; discover the tremendous impact of implementing and preserving traditional systems of knowledge
    • Understand an authentic Indigenous voice and expand ways of imagining justice and law to include all communities
    • Explore decolonization and post-Indianism

    Indigenous Women and Girls and Two Spirit Peoples

    Marilyn is dedicated to developing solutions for building recognition, inclusion, and the promotion of historic and contemporary Indigenous perspectives. Building safe, sustainable, and secure spaces for Indigenous people, Marilyn transforms audiences with an explosion of rich ideas for all aspects of community development, urban and rural. She includes all voices from all intersections and inspires an awareness to underlying destructive systems. Marilyn, instills a deep understanding of the Indigenous experience, and contributions with eloquence and empathy. She enlightens audiences to the historic violence against MMIWG and 2SLGBTQ+ with solutions, empowering all to create change within all spheres of influence. Marilyn inspires audiences with an awareness of the power of Indigenous Women, Girls and Two Spirit that will in turn extend to the well-being of men and boys.

    In this presentation, audiences will:

    • Develop an understanding of the systemic misrepresentation of Indigenous women and persons 
    • Learn about the injustices that have disproportionately affected and perpetuated cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and children
    • Discover the importance of recognizing the contributions and realities of Indigenous communities for an equitable future
    • Understand the traditional systems for evaluation and assessments of community needs through the lens of this Indigenous woman

    Mental Health: Professionals and Happiness

    Marilyn Poitras, through story and vivid language, shares the real issues faced by demanding professional careers. Mental health issues, such as addictions, clinical depression and PTSD, are common in many fields of work. Informed by her own experiences and research in psychology, Marilyn debunks the pop-culture portrayal of professionals and provides practical solutions and insight on maintaining well-being.

    In this unique presentation, Marilyn shares: 

    • Sustainable tools for eliminating negativity in a legal career 
    • How to deal with cynicism and pessimism to optimize success 
    • Tips and practices that all start with your personal code of ethics
  • Awards and Highlights:

    USSU Teaching Excellence Award in Criminal Law nominee (2009-10)

    National Aboriginal Land Managers Association Recognition Award for the Design and Implementation of the Indigenous Peoples Resource Management Program for the University of Saskatchewan (2007)

    Saskatchewan Centennial Medal, Government of Saskatchewan, in recognition of Aboriginal Women (2005)

    YWCA Women of Distinction Awards, “Leaders Among Us”, Women in Professions Category, Saskatoon (2003)

    Regina Métis Women Aboriginal Achievement Award, Law and Justice Category, Regina, SK, (2000)

    E.M. Culliton Scholarship, Law Society of Saskatchewan Scholarship (1994)

    Harvey Bell Prize, Native Law Centre, University of Saskatchewan (1994)

    Superior Propane Learner Award, Assembly of First Nations Awards Dinner, presented by Peter Gzowski (1994)

    Federal Department of Justice Native Student Law School Scholarship (1991-1994)

  • Client List:

    University of Athabasca: World Heritage Indigenous Forum conversations with Elders of North America Moderator (2021)

    Western Law TRC (2021)

    University of Ottawa (2021)

    Harvard University (2021)

    Metis Nation Saskatchewan Ministers Gathering (2020)

    Montana Native Women’s Coalition (2019)

    University of New Mexico: 50 years of Indian Civil Rights Act Conference, “Moving Away from the Same Old” (2018)

    University of Calgary (2018)

    Alberta Teachers Federation (2017)

    Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice, Civil Justice and Economics (2017)

    Alberta Association of Women Lawyers (2016)

    Canadian Bar Association (2015)

    The Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs (2013)

    The Saskatchewan Police College Recruit Training (2010)

    National Aboriginal Land Managers Association (2005)

    Canadian National Judicial Institute (2001)

Relying on her life experiences, Marilyn has a love for bringing people and ideas together through culture, music, art and story, seeing an opportunity to practice inclusion at every step of the design process. Her vision to change understandings of inclusion, voice, and the growth of Indigenous practices at every level of Canadian society has caught the attention of the University of Saskatchewan’s Indigenous Law Centre, the College of Law, and the Banff Centre. These are just a few among the multitude of community-based organizations, non-profits, and corporations across Canada that look to Marilyn Poitras for her expertise in evaluating and redesigning internal spaces and structures. 

“I like to stretch the word ‘law’. When we think about law, we usually think of black letters on a page, but it goes way beyond that it is not just rules that control us but those that bind us and help us flourish. In Indigenous cultures, the artists are the law keepers.”

Reflecting on her past work as a Commissioner for the National Inquiry on MMIWG, Marilyn looks forward to a justice system that will adopt ethical inclusion practices and incorporate more Indigenous laws and understandings. She brings her talent and dedication to honour the realities of powerful Indigenous women everywhere to dismantle existing misrepresentations and fight for their recognition as contributors and builders.

Through her core values of empathy and kinship, and the teachings of natural, spiritual, and human law, Marilyn Poitras is committed to the advocacy of inclusive and ethical spaces. She is the proud and unapologetic voice for the hidden figures of our society, and one of her many gifts is being able to look around the table, notice who is present, who is missing and then ask, “Why?!” 

Speaker Summary

Location: Canada

Language: English

Website: Click Here

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