Andrea Menard is Metis, and carries the name Skooteah Eqahh which means “Fire Woman” in Anishinaabe. She is an actor, a singer, and the founder of the Sacred Feminine Learning Lodge.
A creative tour-de-force, Andrea is probably best known for her roles on the APTN hit shows Moccasin Flats, Rabbit Fall, Blackstone, and Wapos Bay. As a singer she has released four albums, and her one-woman show — the Velvet Devil — was made into a film. But her “new love” is the Sacred Feminine Learning Lodge, a series of events, courses and online workshops Andrea teaches to “help you develop your Sacred Feminine Leadership skills and assist your Goddess in taking Her rightful place in society.” Andrea wants to help people “get in touch with their spiritual power, their spirit, their deep wisdom inside.” She says, “Empowerment is a big part of what the Scared Feminine Learning Lodge is all about. I help people with healing, circles, modalities, vocal work, cleansing, and some inner processes that help people get back to centre.”
Seeking her own creative identity led Andrea to get grounded in her Indigenous roots. “When I was younger, people would say, ‘So are you an actor or are you a singer?’ I’m like, ‘Well, I am but I’m more. And…I’m an actor and a singer and a writer.’ Or ‘a speaker and a writer.’ Then, of course, being Indigenous, I realised, ‘No, I have to think of the circle. I have to think of the medicine wheel. There are four parts to me. I don’t have to pick one; I’m too creative for that.’ So, I like to think of myself as a medicine wheel of the main things that feed my soul: an actor, singer, writer, and messenger.”
Andrea’s inspiration for the Scared Feminine Learning Lodge came from the wise words of an elder who said, “We are in the time of the rise of the sacred feminine.” For Andrea, “it was like a bomb went off in my head! ‘Boom!’ That’s what I’ve been doing; everything I do has been empowering people to get in touch with their feelings and inner worlds. To connect with the natural world so we can all walk a little gentler on this planet. That’s why I’m not just one thing.”
When she was younger, Andrea admits she “didn’t have a clue.” No one in her family had ever gone to university, so Andrea had no experience with that process at all. “I didn’t know how people went to university. I didn’t know how they paid for university. I mean, I missed all of the applications, because [other] people’s families knew the drill, but I sure didn’t’. I’m like, ‘I don’t know how to do this!’”
Andrea was similarly unsure of how to choose a career path. “I didn’t realize that I had the option of being an actress or a singer.” She thought she might teach drama. “That was the most creative thing I could think of.
“But when I went to university, everything opened up. All of a sudden I met people who were just going to be actors. … I met all sorts of creative people who knew about the industries. Theatre, film and tv, stage management, technical trades. There are so many jobs within these creative industries. It surprised me so much.”
Unsurprisingly, Andrea offers encouraging advice to young people starting out on their own paths: “Don’t give up, don’t give up! Believe in yourself! I believe that everyone is born with a contribution to make this a better world. I think of all the Indigenous young people who have this powerhouse gift inside of them, and they don’t know. They don’t know that they’re here to share it.
“You have a responsibility to share [your gift]. But you need to find it first. … No one is here to tell you what that is. No one will necessarily champion you…No one knows what that is until you bring it out…Your gift to the world is to find what your gift is, and to share it. So, go after that, believe in yourself, find it and share it, because the world needs you.”
Special thanks to Jessica Dee Humphreys for authoring this blog post.
Future Pathways Fireside Chats are a project of TakingITGlobal's Connected North Program.
Funding is generously provided by the RBC Foundation in support of RBC Future Launch, and the Government of Canada's Supports for Student Learning program.