Hey everyone! I just got back from Canada, where I spoke at the Inspiring Leadership conference for women at the University of Regina. And man, did I come away inspired.

Here's a photo of me with a woman named Waneek Horn-Miller, who also spoke at the event. Waneek is a young Mohawk woman who grew up in every kind of poverty there is, except (thanks to her mother) a poverty of the spirit. When she was 14, Waneek was stabbed with a bayonet by a Canadian soldier during a stand-off on the reservation. She was trying to protect her little sister, and got in the way of the man with a bayonet. She was stabbed while her sister was in her arms. So she did protect her sister, but she was seriously wounded. (And may I just say — a BAYONET? In what century does this kind of thing occur? It's awful.)

She was already a promising athlete at the time, but the trauma of this event drove her to hide in her house, overcome by fear and panic. The story Waneek told us was of her mother coming into her bedroom at last and saying, "If you quit your life now, everyone in the world would understand. You've been through something unspeakably terrible. Nobody would blame you for staying hidden forever now. But if you do that, the soldier who attacked you owns your life. You will be his victim forever. And I didn't raise my daughters to be the victim of any man."

So Waneek came back into the world, after all. And exactly ten years later, she was competing in Sydney, Australia as the captain of the Canadian Olympic water polo team.

Today she's a fierce advocate for the rights of aboriginal people and the safety of women.

She blew my mind, is what I'm saying.

Here's an article about her, if you want to know more.

I'll never forget those words: "I didn't raise my daughters to be the victim of any man."

Onward, everyone.

Love, Liz

via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall