Dorene Bernard, is a Mi’kmaq grassroots grandmother, of Sipekne’katik. She has a Master of Social Work degree in Aboriginal Field of Study, from Sir Wilfrid Laurier University. Her Social Work career spans 20 years, in the field of Aboriginal Child Welfare, and moving on to work with Shubenacadie Indian Residential School survivors and families in Healing programs, within Mi’kmaki.
Over the past 10 years, Dorene was inspired by Anishanabe Grandmother Josephine Mandamin’s Mother Earth Water Walks, to walk for the water here in Mi’kmaki. In her responsibility as a Mi’kmaq woman and water protector, she was drawn to the water to work for the protection of the water, educate about the sacredness of water. Dorene was the Coady Chair on Social Justice in 2017 at the Coady International Institute, sharing her knowledge of Indigenous social justice issues, Environmental Racism and Climate Justice in Mi’kmaki.
She is a mother of 4 and grandmother of 9 beautiful grandchildren, who inspire her to continue to do the work that she does. She volunteers with several social justice organizations, including Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women/Girls, Residential School Survivors, Treaty Truck House, Peace and Friendship Alliance NS, Council of Canadians, Indigenous Climate Action, Native Women and National Aboriginal Aids Network and is a practicing herbalist and star quilt maker.