Braiding Stories to Live By: Indigenous Young Women’s Gatherings

Braiding Stories to Live By

Braiding Stories to Live By was created in 2019 as a gathering space for Indigenous young women (10 to 17) to gather and engage in experiences designed to nurture for us all, a deeper connection with our Mind.Body.Spirit.Emotions. We weave traditional teachings with contemporary experiences and begin to embrace and create our individual stories as Indigenous Women. Braiding Stories to Live By is free to join due to generous donations and in collaboration with the University of Alberta. If you are interested in collaborating with us to have us come to your community, or your school, in person or virtually please send an email and we will begin the collaboration!

Contact Information:

BSTLB Phone number: 780-715-4694

Kyla Cardinal ~ Co-ordinator/co-creator

Trudy Cardinal ~ Director / co-creator

Quote from director Trudy Cardinal: "This idea of stories to live by is that the stories we are told or that we experience shape our identity and how we live in the world. I was really interested in creating a space where young Indigenous women can come together with multiple generations of women to create this beautiful circle of intergenerational knowledge. So how do we honour that deep wisdom from our ancestors and our culture with who we are in this moment to create a vision of who we want to be in the future?"


The Team:

Meet Dr. Trudy Cardinal

Trudy Cardinal is a Métis/Cree associate professor from Northern Alberta who currently works at the University of Alberta, Edmonton. Originally from Slave Lake, she grew up in the communities of Wabasca, Slave Lake and High Prairie. She was an elementary school teacher for 13 years before going on to graduate school to obtain her master's degree, then her doctorate. BSTLB builds on her doctoral research which focused on identity, in particular, the ways Indigenous young women negotiate who they are and are becoming in the midst of the stories told to, by and about them. With her daughter she co-created, the Braiding Stories to Live By ~ Indigenous Young Women's Gatherings. The intent is to co-create, in community, and allow the gathering to unfold and become with the input first of community women, the team, and then with the young women themselves.

Link to an interview with director Trudy Cardinal :

Meet Kyla Cardinal

Kyla is a Métis woman from the town of High Prairie, Alberta. Kyla enjoys practicing a healthy, active lifestyle with her family. Health and fitness keep her balanced but Kyla has also found great value in continuing to learn about her culture and spirituality. Connecting to her roots has been both healing and empowering in her adult life. Her hope is that young women can find these connections to self and with each other earlier in life to understand that we have the tools and teachings within us to walk a good path and to know that together, like a braid of sweetgrass, we are stronger. Kyla attended Grant MacEwan University and since then brings with her a wealth of knowledge gained from various positions that promote her passion for the wellbeing of youth and their families. From her earlier roles such as a Parent Educator in St Albert supporting young moms and their babies, to her current position as an Indigenous Liaison for the Catholic School board, she creates welcoming spaces by bringing her artistic abilities, her creative vision and her ability to connect with children, youth and families. She is enthusiastic about helping to co-create a gathering and a strong intergenerational circle to surround Indigenous young women. Drawing together the people who have guided her along her path in Fort McMurray in the creation of the Braiding Stories to Live By team, Kyla hopes to help create a space where Indigenous young women can come to explore who they are, and who they are becoming.



The Braiding Stories to Live By project is made possible by donations from Urban Systems Foundation, the BHP Foundation, and Barry and Suneeta Jobanputra through the Aabhaar Fund, as well as several other generous individuals. As a nonprofit, the committee works all year long to keep the cost free, and to be able to continue to offer rich and diverse experiences. If you wish to make a donation you can contact Sean Mowat at and reference the name of the project: Braiding Stories to Live By.