In memory of Joan Glode, pioneering advocate for indigenous children’s rights

Joan Glode was a pioneering activist and community leader whose work for Indigenous children's rights had a lasting impact across Canada.  (Indspire/Youtube – photo credit)

Joan Glode was a pioneering activist and community leader whose work for Indigenous children’s rights had a lasting impact across Canada. (Indspire/Youtube – photo credit)

Joan Glode, celebrated pioneer of indigenous children’s rights and community leader of Mi’kmaw, has died at the age of 75.

According to her obituary, Glode died March 9 at her home in Whites Lake, NS.

Born in Halifax in 1947, she was one of the first Mi’kmaq to receive a master’s degree in social work from Dalhousie University in 1973.

She also received both a National Aboriginal Achievement Award and the Order of Canada in 2009 for her contributions to the welfare of Indigenous children and families.

Glode was the founder and CEO of Mi’kmaw Family and Children’s Services and has spent her career improving the lives of Indigenous children.

Cindy Blackstock/Twitter

Cindy Blackstock/Twitter

Glode’s partner Nakanakis said that behind all of her accomplishments she is a giving and compassionate person.

“That’s a woman you don’t forget after you meet her,” he said. “No matter who you were, she could talk to you. She could show you what was in her heart.”

He said he’s received a surge of support from people whose lives Glode has touched. He said she has traveled the world as part of her ministry to tribal children and has brought Mi’kmaq pride with her wherever she went.

“Of her 75 years, I only really knew her for 46 or maybe 47 of those years and that just wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough.”

“One of the smartest women I will ever meet”

Cindy Blackstock, fellow pioneer in Indigenous child and family welfare, knew Glode well. She remembers her as “one of the wisest women I will ever meet.”

She describes Glode as a passionate advocate and someone who always reminds those around her who they are fighting for.

“Joan Glode knew how to deal with difficulties.” said Blackstock. “She would get into trouble so that First Nations, Métis, Inuit families never had to be on their own.

“She was an agent of good people, and she challenged us to ask more of ourselves than we thought possible.”

Olivia Stefanovich/CBC

Olivia Stefanovich/CBC

Blackstock said she and Glode worked closely, including in the creation of Jordan’s Principle and related victories before Canada’s Human Rights Court. Jordan’s Principle ensures that all First Nations children living in Canada have equal and timely access to the supports and services they may need.

“Every child who has ever received Jordan’s Principle service, or families who have received support through prevention services, owes Joan Glode a thank you,” Blackstock said.

Blackstock said Glode recognizes the enduring importance of her work.

“She had a duty to leave a legacy that goes beyond the memory of her name – that your true legacy will be lived out in a generation of children who may never know who you are, who will live healthier and happier childhoods than it would otherwise be wanted to them.”

A memorial service will be held on March 25 at the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Center in Halifax.



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