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creation story        ᔦᐦᐁᐃᐧᐣ ᑫᐧᔭᐢᑯᐦᑕ 

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Indigenous Women Climb (IWC) began at the kitchen table. 

Between conversations, dreams and rants about the need for more Indigenous cultural knowledge and representation in rock-climbing and Land-relations. 

A growing collective of Indigenous women (non-binary, queer, trans, Two-Spirit and femme) climbers, IWC believes that Indigenous leadership is necessary in order to restore and transform our relations to the Land and Waters.


IWC is a volunteer-based collective that runs Youth and Family programming for Indigenous and BIPOC communities in service to safe, accessible and culturally grounded climbing. 

Ashleigh Thompson

Ashleigh Thompson (she/hers) is a member of the Red Lake Ojibwe Nation and a PhD Candidate in anthropology at the University of Arizona. She is passionate about all things Indigenous, especially food sovereignty, cultural revitalization, and education. Ashleigh believes being outside is paramount to healing and happiness, which she promotes through her writing and work as a sponsored athlete for Ultimate Direction and La Sportiva. She has given many presentations about Indigenous archaeology, recreating respectfully on Native lands, and creating outdoor spaces that are welcoming to everyone. Find Ashleigh trail running among ancient saguaros with her dog, Benson, or hanging off a rope on Mount Lemmon granite in Tucson, Arizona. 

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Cassie Aym

Cassie is a proud Niitsitapi from Siksika Nation, AB, Canada. She takes pride in giving back to her community through her career choices and hobbies. She currently works with Siksika EMS as a Primary Care Paramedic. In addition to her primary job, Cassie has been in the Canadian Armed Forces for 8 years serving as a medic.  She also had a key role in the establishment of Blackfoot Fitness, an initiative that brought fitness classes to Siksika in 2014. When she is not at work, you can find her rock climbing, summiting mountains and biking. Climbing has given her the opportunity to explore and connect with her ancestral lands. Cassie's relationship with climbing has grown to become both a teacher and a healer. Her experiences in the mountains have tested her physical and mental fortitude and has taught her that she is capable of conquering her fears. She believes "Change begins at the end of your comfort zone".

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Shaneyka Yazzie

Yá' atééh, my name is Shaneyka Yazzie. I am from the Navajo Nation, in Shiprock NM. I am an Indigenous Diné climber, continuing to learn moves and more knowledge along the way.


I look forward to bringing climbing initiatives to my community in the near future to my Diné relatives. 

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Erynne gilpin 

Erynne Gilpin is a mixed Michif, (Red River Métis [The Pás/Duck Bay, MB], MMF) Filipina and Celtic rock climber, educator (Ph,D), and film-maker based in Canada and Brazil. 


A climbing mama dedicated to land-based wellness, place-based knowledge, decolonization and healed futures. 

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Shaandiin Cedar

Shaandiin Cedar (she/her) is a Diné (Navajo) Tribal member originally 

from Northern Arizona. She is a sustainability professional and a 

proud Native activist working to elevate and celebrate Native and Indigenous people in the outdoors.


A NativesOutdoors ambassador

for the past four years, she is passionate about her Diné people

and accelerating climate action in every facet of her work.


She’s a published writer, a rock climber, and an outspoken advocate for justice work embedded into environmental, social, and

economic issues.

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Sarah Wild

Sarah Wild and Small is a Metis woman and a member of Metis Nation B.C. with Cree and Blackfoot traditions originally from Alberta and family history within Montana. Sarah has a deep interest in helping Indigenous Youth gain self-expression in natural environments that challenge body, mind, and spirit. 


As a Métis’ woman, Sarah co-developed the program “Wild and Climb” for indigenous youth in B.C. She says that time in nature builds confidence and leadership skills.  Sarah is a passionate climber herself and believes when youth are given an opportunity to express themselves in nature, they feel valued, respected, and empowered”


Sarah is grateful to be a leader and facilitator for Indigenous youth and woman in the Vancouver Island area of BC, Canada. Sarah has also designed many social media platforms that inspire individuals within their culture, mental health and physical wellness. 


To see some of Sarah’s work please link to: 

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