Gayle Frank has always been passionate about Indigenous rights and advocates to bring awareness to issues affecting Indigenous Women and Youth. While serving on the Board of Directors as the First Vice President for the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), Gayle facilitated and participated in engagement sessions for the Descheneaux c. Canada (Bill S-3), an Act to amend the Indian Act to address sex-based inequalities within the Indian Act. NWAC provided recommendations to the Inquiry and held provincial level engagement sessions, in which Gayle facilitated trauma-informed workshops to gather lived experience data.
Gayle also has lived experience as a registered First Nation woman and has found that legislation plays a direct role in the racism she has lived through from a child to an adult. Being the very first person in her family to attend public school was a privilege that carried a burden of intergeneration trauma as 3 generations of her family attended residential schools. The lack of cultural identity combined with poverty and racism within schools created a young child that was afraid to learn about her culture. Fortunately in high school, First Nations education was picking up and Aboriginal Education workers were introduced to the school systems. The changes over the decades have allowed for growth for younger people to be more culturally aware. Addressing microaggressions and unconscious bias is needed at all levels of society and something I consider to be a shared responsibility.