Leah Gazan is a member of Wood Mountain Lakota Nation, located in Treaty 4 territory Saskatchewan, Canada. She has spent her career focused on supporting the advancement of human rights at local, national and international stages. Her work has centred around her deep belief that all persons require the basic human rights to allow them to fulfill their right to joy for themselves, their families, and their communities.
community leader, Advisor, Speaker, Author, Media Contributor & Proud Lakota
Leah has been a fearless community leader who has served terms on several boards including the Board of Governors at Red River College and as President of the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg, a non-profit organization committed to providing leadership and support in the area of social planning and socially responsible policy development.
Leah has been a very active participant in social movements including as a participant in Idle No More and a co-founder of the #WeCare campaign aimed at working with the boarder Canadian public to ensure an end of violence against Indigenous women and girls. Most recently, Leah has been actively engaged in lobby efforts for Bill C-262, the Indigenous Human Rights Act, to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
In 2015, Leah was one of six people across Canada to be selected for the International Leadership Program with the United States Consulate. Leah has also presented at the Standing Committee on the Status in Ottawa to testify about how the federal government fared in addressing the issue of violence against Indigenous women and girls. In April 2015 Leah was one of two representatives selected by the Province of Manitoba to make at statement at the United Nations Permanent forum for Indigenous people about the need to acknowledge injustices that were perpetrated against Indigenous adoptees during the Sixties Scoop.
Leah is regularly seen in the media and has been featured and interviewed for main news broadcasts and print media throughout Canada and the Unites States. In addition to being featured in the New York Times in 2016, in 2017 Leah’s written submission about her family history was one out of hundreds featured in the New York Times Speaking about the theme “Canada 150” . Leah has published poems and chapters in books, including the Award Winning The Winter We Danced edited by The Kino-nda-niimi Collective. In 2015 Leah completed a TEDx Talk titled 'The Eye of the Colonial Storm” about the correlations between the incarceration of Indigenous women and colonial violence.
Key Achievements & Milestones
July 2016 — Ongoing
Served as a lead campaigner, speaker, organizer, and lobbyist for Private Members Bill C-262, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, an act ensuring the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
United States Consulate, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Served on an advisory for the United States Consulate exploring initiatives to support sustainable food production.
CBC Community Consultation on Race, Culture & Inclusion
Meet with thirty community leaders in the City of Winnipeg to discuss how to address racism in the City of Winnipeg.
Special Standing Committee on the Status of Women,
Federal Government, Ottawa
Testified at the Special Standing Committee on the Status of Women about violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada.
International Visitors Leadership Program,
United States Consulate
January 2015 — February 2015
One of six Canadian leaders chosen to tour the United States in the First Nations Governance program facilitated by United States Consulates.
Cofounded the #WeCare campaign with local artist and musician Raine Hamilton, aimed at mobilizing Canadians to lobby governments to address the crisis of violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada.
Social Planning Council of Winnipeg, President
July 2011 — October 2015
Served as Chair on Social Planning Council of Winnipeg, an organization that supports improving the standards of living and quality of life for Winnipeg residents.
Human Rights Museum, Winnipeg Manitoba
Keynote presenter at the executive training program on Indigenous and Human Rights. I presented a piece to be published in the near future about Canada 150 and what it meant to me as an Indigenous person living in the Canadian colonial state.
University of British Columbia: Indigenous Rights Implementation Workshop
Facilitated a two-day workshop for the United Steelworkers to assist with the advancement of Indigenous partnerships, policies, and community relations.
Saskatoon Remand Centre
Facilitated an identity workshop for incarcerated men at the Saskatoon Remand Centre.
TRC Calls Churches to Action Conference
Provided a keynote address about the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
St. Jerome University
Served as a panelist exploring reconciliation in Canada with Niigaan Sinclair and John Burrows.
Wilfred Laurier University: e(RACE)r Summit
Facilitated a panel titled “Telling Stories: Institutional and Student Stories About Racism”at the e(RACE)r Summit on Race and Racism on Canadian University Campuses.
University of Winnipeg: Weweni Indigenous Scholars Speakers Series
Served as a panelist with Dr. Pam Palmater and Dr. Ron Innes discussing Indigenous peoples participation in electoral politics.
Served as a panelist with Cindy Blackstock and Frank Cormier discussing the issue of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada.
March 2014 Participated on a panel with First Nations leaders to discuss the theme “What will it look like for First Nations in seven years.”
University of Winnipeg: Racism and the City of Winnipeg
Served on a panel with Wab Kinew and Nancy Mcdonald, the author of Mclean’s article “Winnipeg: Voted Canada’s Most Racist City” discussing racism in the City of Winnipeg.
Broadbent Institute: Progress Summit
Panelist discussing “Gendered Minefield of Online Harassment” in relation to violence against Indigenous women and girls.
Book Launch: The Comeback with John Ralston Saul
Panelist with John Ralston Saul and Niigaanwewidam Sinclair discussing the content and practical applications of the book The Comeback.
Solidarity Committee for Ethiopian Political Prisoners: Night of the Disappeared
Facilitated a presentation about the crisis of Murdered and Missing Women and Girls in Canada.
Speak up For Democracy - Winnipeg Town Hall
Spoke on a panel exploring the current state of the Canadian democracy with the Honourable Elisabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada and former CEO Dennis Lewycky from the Social Planing Council of Winnipeg.
Workshop Presenter Involve Conference,
Christchurch, New Zealand
Facilitated a workshop focused on effective training initiatives for Indigenous communities, based on the recommendations outlined in my Capstone Masters Project.