Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie is a 24-year-old Anishinaabe Two-Spirit from Sagkeeng First Nation, whose community organizing and work with Red Rising Magazine has made them a household name.
“Activism to me is creating opportunities of dialogue, conversation, self-reflection and also community reflection and accountability,” Lavoie says. “It’s pushing against the boundaries of the status quo and addressing systemic issues of oppression while creating spaces to discuss solutions for creating a more just society.”
Lavoie pinpoints “climate justice and highlighting opportunities for Indigenous people” as “huge priorities.”
“My work within Red Rising has been a positive push to include more Indigenous perspectives within education and broader society,” Lavoie, who co-founded the nonprofit Indigenous magazine, explains.
“(W)e’re using that as an opportunity to do decolonizing and revitalizing work within Indigenous communities and give tools to non-Indigenous people to learn what allyship really is from Indigenous perspectives.”
Lavoie maintains that “a healthy community is a community that stands up against oppression, that comes together to promote healing, to figure out what needs to be done and who is going to be in the forefront.”
“It’s about people’s willingness to be radical in the times when it’s necessary, and I think right now it’s the time to be radical,” Lavoie says.
Lavoie shares the award this year with Michael Redhead Champagne, a familiar face in the Indigenous-led social justice movement in Winnipeg. Champagne has committed over 20 years to serving the North End community with a “hopeful and solution oriented approach to youth engagement, facilitation, community organizing and mobilization,” as stated on his website, North End MC.
Published in Volume 72, Number 12 of The Uniter (November 30, 2017)