Favourite Local Activist

Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie

1. Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie
2. Tie: Andrew Vineberg / Michael Champagne


In the fall alone, Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie has been to Standing Rock, Ottawa and Marrakesh, all as part of actions around climate justice.

They see a lot of intersections between struggles on and off campus.

“I’m very engaged with the external influences and also pushing out (the dialogues that are) really happening inwards in the University,” Lavoie says.

Lavoie is the Vice-President External Affairs with the University of Winnipeg Students Association (UWSA). They intended to get an Indigenous Studies degree and then leave university, but then they connected with different movements.

“I have so much more invested in the student movement, I have so much more invested in the climate justice movement, in the Indigenous resurgence and movement, that I feel needed here longer than I anticipated,” Lavoie says.

They see a lot of work yet to be done around the divestment movement at the University of Winnipeg (U of W) and the areas of environmental and climate justice.

“When I went to Ottawa and was protesting the Kinder Morgan pipeline and got arrested on Parliament (Hill), I think that was a big big thing for me,” Lavoie says.

“Being really roughed up by RCMP officers as an Indigenous person, and with other Indigenous people who were getting roughed up and everyone else wasn’t …  the way I saw it was like a small sacrifice with what was going on in Standing Rock.”

Activism has been part of Lavoie’s life long before their UWSA role. For example, they highlight the importance of work done with the Red Rising Magazine collective.

“Having young Indigenous youth voices is important, because there’s a huge demand for it,” Lavoie says.

For future activists, Lavoie says it’s important to keep energy and passions going but remember that no one’s working on these issues alone.

Published in Volume 71, Number 13 of The Uniter (December 1, 2016)

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