The online women’s event YakFest will feature Vi Mundy—an Elder with the Ucluelet First Nation—as one of its special guest panelists.
Mundy is retired from her 30-plus year career with her nation, in which she wore many different hats—from secretary to manager to researcher to a late-in-life UVic student.
A powerful force in the workplace, she always used her positive attitude and tireless energy to encourage others to work hard and succeed.
A groundbreaker in her local government, she was chief for her tribe for two consecutive terms—the first woman to hold the post, although women have long been on the council, she said.
“My dad was chief many years ago—he had one lady councillor,” she said.
The titles have changed—now elected officials are called president and legislators. Mundy sees great hope for the future in sharp young candidates ready to be part of leadership.
“I really believe up-and-coming young women are starting to get that interest in the top level,” Mundy said.
She cites her beloved husband, Indigenous language instructor Bob Mundy, as her daily inspiration in conducting research about her nation’s history from resources in places like Victoria, Ottawa and Pennsylvania, piecing together fragments of knowledge, records and artifacts.
Mundy has spent countless hours gathering material, then coming home and comparing her notes to other notes—creating a data base.
The fruit of that research has been the return of precious cultural treasures to their home territory.
“When I got the first group of artifacts, it really almost regrounded me to see what we had all those many years ago,” she said. “To actually have it in your hands, in your community, there’s a real difference there in terms of getting regrounded in your history.”
Vi Mundy has provided consultation for those seeking information about the treaty process and negotiation.
Her other inspiration is her mother, the late Barbara Thompson Touchie, who was active in the UFN community and the community at large. She worked with Parks Canada, teaching local Indigenous history and language to Parks Canada staff. A regular at the Kwisitis Centre at Wickaninnish Beach, “she was always teaching them and telling them about the history,” Mundy said. “She made recordings for the displays—you can hear her voice. It’s amazing.”
Vi Mundy will be 74 this year. Known for not only what she knows, but also for her gracious spirit, she will be a wonderful special guest panelist for Women’s YakFest, said host Jacqueline Carmichael.
“Vi generously shares about her journey, and what her life has been like,” said Carmichael. “We can learn so much from her, and we’re so grateful she will join us. We welcome her friends and family, and the community of women everywhere to tune in.”
YakFest is scheduled for Monday, May 3 at 5:25 p.m.
Additional special guest panelists include: Lisa Mendis (a Winnipeg-based illustrator, print maker and graphic designer), Pierino Procino Di Zazzo (author of The Locked Door), Amanda Di Zazzo (author of Flashes), Kate McDermott (author and cooking influencer) and Cheryl Alexander (a conservation photographer working worldwide to ensure protection of wilderness and wildlife).
Nanaimo bookseller Andree Bizier will bring a two-minute Book Review, and the guest host for the month of May is Catherine Lewis.