The Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women (IAAW) is a non-profit organization that recognizes the role, value, and achievement of Aboriginal women in society and raises awareness about the challenges and obstacles they face. IAAW is based in Edmonton and operates in chapters across Alberta.

Esquao is the stylized version for the Cree word for woman and is copyrighted.


With grace and power, Aboriginal women express their Esquao spirit.


IAAW provides advocacy, programs and services for advancement of the roles and achievements of Aboriginal women.

President’s Message

Late in September 2020 I accepted the role of President for the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women. This is such a great honour and privilege, and I am so humbled to be asked to take this important responsibility on. To follow in the footsteps of a trailblazer as Muriel Stanley Venne, founder of this incredible organization, is a lifetime opportunity to say the least.

It has been 15 months since the Final Report on the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered and Indigenous Women and Girls was released to the public in June 2019. The Report calls for transformative legal and social changes to resolve the crises and trauma that continues to impact Indigenous women and girls’ everyday lives. With the involvement of and direct engagement with families of Missing Murder Indigenous Women and Girls IAAW has identified priority actions and recommendations which, if taken up, will contribute to the development of effective strategies to achieve the Calls for Justice.

IAAW recently made the important step to associate with the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC). This relationship provides an opportunity for

IAAW to be the national voice for Indigenous women and girls living in Alberta, to participate in the national conversation on topics that impact Indigenous women and to continue to advocate for Indigenous-based solutions.

This past year, we have all experienced adversity through the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on our everyday lives. IAAW is acutely aware of the real-life impact of the on-going Covid-19 pandemic on Indigenous women and girls, and we strive to ensure that addressing this reality is a core aspect in all of our work.

Victory often comes from navigating through adversity and I am so very proud and honoured to work alongside the dedicated board and staff at IAAW to make life better for Indigenous women, girls, and families. While our challenges are great, so are our achievements. Let us steward our time here on earth and empower each other to persevere through these challenging times.

I look forward to connecting with many of you as we continue the way forward.

Lisa D. Weber

Annual Reports

IAAW prepares Annual Reports to share information about our organization, our objectives, successes, key findings from our programs and other highlights. Please find our existing Annual Reports below to download a PDF version.

April 2019 – March 2020 Annual Report
April 2018 – March 2019 Annual Report
April 2017 – March 2018 Annual Report
April 2016 – March 2017 Annual Report


The Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women is a vital resource for the Aboriginal community and the general public.

Incorporation Information

Scope of Territory: Provincial/Territorial
Incorporation Information: Non-Profit Society
Charitable Status: Not registered as a charitable organization
Date of incorporation: September 29, 1995


IAAW is governed by a provincial board of directors. The CEO is the only staff member who reports to the board, and all contractors and staff report to the CEO. Elections are conducted every three years and directors can serve for multiple terms. Visit Our Team page to learn more about our Board and Staff.

Community outreach is made through chapters and currently happens with requests made by communities for training or leadership days.

Want to join our team? Visit our Career Opportunities to see our current available positions.