Cherry Smiley, advocate for native women impacted by sexualized violence, wins 2016 Trudeau Scholarship

Cherry Smiley/Image via Concordia University

Feminist Current would like to offer a hearty congratulations to ally Cherry Smiley, who has been announced as a 2016 Trudeau Scholar by the The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. The Trudeau scholarship honours individuals who have “distinguished themselves through academic excellence, and civic engagement.”

The Trudeau Scholarship cohort, consisting of 15 PhD students dedicated to social change within the disciplines of Social Sciences and Humanities, joins a team of nearly 400 researchers and intellectuals, “committed to applying their knowledge and skills to pressing Canadian and global issues.”

“I’m really grateful to the Trudeau Foundation for giving me this opportunity,” says Cherry Smiley, “and I’m thankful to Concordia University, who supported me through the application process.

“I’m especially thankful to my allies, family, friends, and partner, Alex, for their love and support through this. That’s why I’m doing this work — to try and make things better for all of us.”

Smiley, Co-founder of Indigenous Women Against the Sex Industry and former member of the Aboriginal Women’s Action Network and the Native Women’s Association of Canada, is a PhD candidate at Concordia University in the field of Communications. She is an accomplished academic and activist, having won the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case in 2013, and SFU’s Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy in 2014. Her work on the issue of prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation of Indigenous women and girls sets her apart as a leader within the feminist community, both within Canada and abroad.

The Trudeau Scholarship, which provides PhD candidates with a total of $60,000 annually, will allow Smiley to expand her research, which comes as a refreshing surprise to feminists who are accustomed to denial of funding for initiatives addressing sexualized violence against women.

Jess Martin

Jess Martin is a public relations professional, an aspiring writer, and an assistant editor at Feminist Current. She prefers to write about feminist topics, disability, or environmental issues, but could be persuaded to broaden her horizons in exchange for payment and/or food. In her spare time Jess can be found knitting, gardening, or lying in the fetal position, mulling over political theory that no one in their right mind cares about.